PREVIEW: The Dawn of the Witch’s Opening Episodes Are Worth the Watch

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the Dawn of the Witch - But Why Tho

The Dawn of the Witch has surprisingly become one of my favorite anime this season. While its premise, like that of many others this season, captured my attention, I didn’t expect to find its simplistic but entertaining method of storytelling as compelling as it is. Not many might know that The Dawn of the Witch is technically a sequel. While not a direct one, the anime follows the events of its 2017 predecessor, Grimoire of Zero. However, instead of following the journey of a powerful mercenary and mage, we get to follow yet another anime amnesiac and his boisterous band of mates on theirs. The anime is set in a fantasy world where witches and The Church, who have fought and opposed each other for years, are now on peaceful terms. 

The story follows Saybil, the protagonist, aforementioned amnesiac, and struggling student of the Royal Academy of Magic. He’s tasked to venture out on a quest alongside his new mentor, Witch of the Dawn, Roux Cristasse, and his fellow students Holtz and Kidd as part of a unique training program. In the three episodes that have been released so far, the crew quickly grow a bond after going through multiple ordeals together, some more humorous than others.

The first thing I noticed and liked about the anime is how well it catches up viewers with no knowledge of the preceding title. The anime wastes no time explaining all of its narrative elements in a highly concise manner. We quickly learn about The Church, the witches it opposed, and the nature and origins of the Beastfallen race created by the witches. We also learn more minor but equally important details like the world’s four-tier magic system (hunting, protection, healing, and vegetation), Roux’s mysterious staff of Ludden, and more. We’re given just enough information about these plot points to understand the anime’s lore but not enough to be overwhelmed. And while these points are admittedly quite standard for a fantasy anime, they are presented in a really understandable and entertaining way.

Another part of the anime that I enjoy is its protagonist Saybil. He’s aloof and mysterious without being the typical edgy teenager. Like many fantasy anime protagonists, he has a strong affinity for magic but he doesn’t know how to control it, which gives him enough validation in the story without making him omnipotent. And because he’s lost his memories, it gives him a clean slate that the anime uses as an excuse to reintroduce the series’ core elements, which helps to prevent the anime from alienating a newcomer. Other than that, I also like the anime’s simple humor, presented chiefly through many innocent moments between its characters. While it won’t necessarily make you roll on the floor laughing, they’re funny enough to make you smile a couple of times. 

One of the few negatives I’ve noticed in The Dawn of the Witch is that the anime doesn’t really do anything new for a fantasy anime, especially if you’ve never seen its predecessor. And while the anime isn’t filled to the brim with overdone tropes, you will see a few that are common in the genre. As such, The Dawn of the Witch is essentially what you’d call a popcorn anime. Sweet, but won’t provide much nutrition. At least, for now.  

In terms of production quality, the anime is, again, pretty standard. While not on the same level as some of the anime airing this season like Spy x Family and Summertime Rendering, the animation from Tezuka Productions is smooth and crisp, and the character designs are incredibly detailed, albeit a bit simplistic. 

Overall, The Dawn of the Witch, despite not having a spectacular narrative, is still really entertaining thanks to its highly compelling characters and intriguing world-building.  

The Dawn of the Witch is streaming now on Crunchyroll.

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