TheGood Witch of the West, Volume 1,is the first installment of a manga adaptation of Noriko Ogiwara’seponymous light novel series. Art is by Haruhiko Momokawa.translation is by Barbara Randall Kessell.
FirielDee was raised in rustic isolation by her widower father and hiselderly retainers, with surly apprentice Rune as her main companion.Accompanied by a more outgoing friend, Firiel decides to attend aball given by a local count. Just like Cinderella in the fairy tale.Matters develop in a non-Cinderella direction.
AlthoughRune is taciturn to a fault, he makes a point of warning Firiel notto wear an expensive necklace inherited from her mom. Precisely whythis would be a bad idea is not explained. Of course Firiel wears thenecklace to the ball and of course the bauble is noted by someone whoknows what it signifies.
WhatFiriel does not know (but readers do, thanks to a brief prologue) isthat her mother had defied her royal family to marry Firiel’sfather. Professor Dee was too poor, too odd, to be a fit suitor for aroyal princess. Mom is long dead but her daughter Firiel lives. Andhas inherited mom’s necklace. And is a potential royal heir.
Someroyal families might act quickly to eliminate pesky heirs. Firiel’snewfound kin want to assimilate her. They offer to take her intotheir palace and give her the education proper for a princess. Firieldeclines. She is happy with the family that she has.
Orhad. Soon after she refuses assimilation, her home is burned, theretainers are killed, and her father vanishes on a mysterious errand.Only Rune remains. He helps Firiel escape death. He is her onlyally — an ally who (Firiel learns) belongs to a mysterious group withsecret goals.
Howlong can Firiel stay free?
Atleast Firiel’s new relatives don’t want to have her sewn up in asack and trampledby elephants! As far as I know. However, they are concerned about some (ambiguousas always) prophecies and some rumblings of dissent. They may laterdecide that Firiel is a threat. As they seem to have decided that herfamily was a threat.
Igreatly enjoyed the two volumes of Ogiwara’s Talesof the Magatama,translated by Haikasoru, so I had high hopes for GoodWitch.Alas, this manga failed to entice. The story It may be that Ogiwara’sstory ventures off in unconventional directions in later volumes. wasentirely conventional: hidden princess, dead mother, mysteriousprophecies, secret groups. To paraphrase Pratchett, tropes are thebricks and mortar from which stories are constructed. In this case,the bricks and mortar are so well-used as to be boring.
Noris Firiel all that interesting as a character. Perhaps the authorfelt it more important to sketch the setting and set the storyline inmotion. But other manga have accomplished the same tasks in moreinteresting ways and with more attention to character development.
Ofcourse, it may be that Ogiwara’s story will head in unexpecteddirections in later volumes. Possible but … I have many books,little time. I probably will not seek out further volumes of thisseries, although I might give the light novels a try.
TheGood Witch of the West, volume 1is available here(Amazon).It does not seem to be available from Chapters-Indigo.