Saybil has no memories from before he was found in an alley and admitted to the Academy of Magic but if he doesn’t pass the special course he’ll be kicked out of the school and all of his memories related to magic will be wiped, aka all of his life’s memories. This special course isn’t the safest thing to do, as it involves traveling to areas where the anti-witch faction is still flourishing, and to basically spend several years as ambassadors of magic, but it’s better than failing completely.
Of course, Saybil and his classmates are going to have to make it to the witch’s village first without getting caught up in a witch hunt or worse…
The Dawn of the Witch is a semi-sequel to Grimoire of Zeroalthough you don’t need to be familiar with Grimoire of Zero to follow Dawn of the Witch. In fact, I watched some but not all of Grimoire of Zero And as a result I was fairly confused for this first volume with how much is different, like wondering why witches weren’t being persecuted by non-magical people and why beastfallen weren’t being hunted by witches. I ended up having to read up on the end of Grimoire of Zero to find out what happened after I dropped it. There is a brief in-story explanation but since I didn’t remember the names of any of the characters or countries it wasn’t terribly helpful. So, having some but not all knowledge of the previous series might be the most awkward mindset to start reading Dawn of the Witch in, since otherwise it’s a generic enough fantasy that it’s easy to jump into and figure out the rules of this world.
Not that it’s a particularly interesting series so far mind you. Generic is both an accurate and polite way to describe a vaguely medieval European fantasy setting with plenty of common trappings to decorate it (like, an inquisition aimed at killing witches, the half-human beastfallen who seem to have sexual dimorphism, etc). Saybil has been at the Academy of Magic for sometime now, long enough to redevelop a personality, but he’s as interesting as a wet piece of paper yet with the magical abilities of a Gary Stu, since it’s revealed here that it’s not a case of him not having a lot of magic, but rather it’s so much magic that he’s been unconsciously limiting himself while using it! (So, a power fantasy for people who also want to have a victim’s complex I suppose) There’s just nothing new about either the story or the presentation, making even a single, regular-length volume a slog to get through.
There’s nothing noteworthy about the art either, except in how badly it seems to execute its fanservice. People commonly talk about “butts and boobs” for fanservice but I would like to propose a third category, crotches, since someone on this creative team (possibly the original author, Kakeru Kobashiri, or possibly the manga artist, Tatsuwo) really seems to like them! But the fanservice just feels so odd, it’s not as if the images are drawn to titillate but as if the female (and it’s only the female) characters decide to sit down in such an awkward fashion so as to show off their butts/boobs/ crotches, but the framing makes everything decidedly unsexy.
If you’re a manga reader who likes fantasy, you’re certainly not lacking for titles right now and I can’t really say I’d recommend this title even if you’ve exhausted all of the current publications! I also don’t expect the upcoming anime adaptation to be any more interesting, Grimoire of Zero At least had a slightly more interesting hook in the form of its main characters but that isn’t the case here. It’s just a dull read through and through!