Witch Hat Atelier is an ongoing manga series by Kamome Shirahama. It’s currently at 12 volumes with an anime in production that I’m simply ecstatic for.
But what makes this series so special to me? I’m going to dive into five reasons I’ve fallen in love with the story (though my love has no bounds).
1. The Artwork
Shirahama’s artwork is simply gorgeous. Every page has illustrious drawings, from the characters’ expressions to the background scenery. You could spend hours admiring and pouring over the details of the magical robes, the water that seems to splash from the page, and the textures of all the Brushbug companion pets.
2. The Characters
Coco is an endearing, passionate main character. Her mentor, Qifrey, is perhaps one of my favorite character designs (in artwork and writing), growing as a father figure to Coco. Agott is Coco’s witchy rival-to-friend, and their relationship is so rich and real. Each of the characters have their own detailed motives, backstories, and personalities.
3. The Magic System
Witch Hat Atelier follows a “chosen one” story of a girl named Coco who gets swept up into a magical apprenticeship in order to save her mother. While the basic structure is like many stories we’ve seen before, each of the details brim with originality—like the magic system.
To channel magic, the characters use drawings of glyphs to create spells and items they need. This allows the characters to invent and create instead of stifling. However—this is one of the reasons for the main conflict in the series–how much should magic be controlled?
4. The Political Gray Area
As you discover more about the magical world and its rules, you begin to wonder–who are the actual bad guys? It’s not as black-and-white as it seems. To what extent can you perform magic? Can you heal? These are some of the questions that divide the witches.
5. The Kindness
Last but certainly not least, I’m in love with the kindness inked into every page of Witch Hat Atelier. Coco grows close to her apprentice peers and Qifrey. The connections between the characters are so sweet and loving, but the kindness spreads even further than just the good vibes of found family. Shirahama is dedicated to responsible disability and queer representation. Queer relationships exist and aren’t hidden. The disabled characters in Witch Hat Atelier are not “cured” or “fixed” with magic–rather, their disability is just one facet of their character. Sealchairs are magical contraptions, like a wheelchair but with wooden hooves, that allow characters like Coustas to move around.
When a new chapter of Witch Hat Atelier releases, I always know I’ll be greeted once again by the kindness of all of the characters.