“Witch Watch” is the newest series to join the ranks of “Weekly Shonen Jump,” the biggest manga publication in Japan. This series looks to become a mainstay in the magazine and become the next big comedy/romance series.
Though it doesn’t fully succeed in its first chapter, it isn’t a complete failure either.
“Witch Watch” follows Morihoto, a young ogre living a quiet life disguised as a normal high school student. Right before his father leaves for a long overseas business trip, he tells Morihoto that he must become the familiar of Niko, Morihoto’s childhood best friend. Even worse, she’s moving in with Morihoto today.
This isn’t the most unique set up for a manga series. Having the protagonist’s childhood best friend move in with him for one reason another feels like something we’ve seen time and time again in the romance genre, with varying effectiveness. Even throwing in the twist that Morihoto is an ogre and Niko is a witch, it still feels like something readers have seen time and time again.
“Witch Watch” is, at the very least, well drawn. Mangaka Kenta Shinohara, best known for the 2007 series “Sket Dance,” knows how to make visually appealing manga. Though his art isn’t exactly unique and wouldn’t really stand out in a crowd, it’s easy on the eyes.
Niko has an especially nice design and, though Morihoto looks kind of generic, there is potential for him to get more unique with his ogre form as the series goes on.
Though the series sets itself up as a fairly generic comedy/romance, the last few pages of the chapter set up a grander story. With the promise that something bad will happen to Niko within the next year, an aura of danger is set around the series. Shinohara could take this any number of ways and, if he manages to create an interesting enough world, we could get something pretty interesting out of “Witch Watch.”
The series’ first chapter actually provides a few decent laughs. The gag where Niko turns herself into paper was quite clever and led to some great moments that are sure to bring a smile to any fan of comedy manga. Plus, Niko’s paper form is just plain adorable.
Though “Witch Watch” appears to be full-on ecchi with its set up, the first chapter avoids anything inappropriate, which is a nice touch. Sure, ecchi can be enjoyable here and there, but if overused, it can turn a series from something interesting to generic smut.
All-in-all, “Witch Watch” probably won’t blow anyone away with its debut chapter. With the reveal in its last few pages and two likeable protagonists, however, it is setting itself up for success. Whether or not Shinohara can actually create an interesting world and plot for Niko and Morihoto to exist in, however, is still up in the air.