The Dawn of the Witch, also known as Mahoutsukai Reimeiki, is an anime series by Tezuka Productions and is based off the Japanese light novel series written by Kakeru Kobashiri and illustrated by Takashi Iwasaki, with partial character designs by Yoshinori Shizuma. This is the sequel to Grimoire of Zero. Kodansha has published five volumes since August 2018 under their Kodansha Ranobe Bunko imprint. The anime series consists of 12 episodes of 24 minutes each.
So, I initially started watching this anime under the impression that it was something completely new only to find out later that this is a sequel/spin from Grimoire of Zero so I would like to touch briefly on Grimoire of Zero before wading knee-deep into The Dawn of the Witch. The synopsis for Grimoire of Zero is roughly: In a world of constant war between humans and witches, there exist the “beastfallen”—cursed humans born with the appearance and strength of an animal. Their physical prowess and bestial nature cause them to be feared and shunned by both humans and witches. As a result, many beastfallen become sellswords, making their living through hunting witches.
Despite the enmity between the races, a lighthearted witch named Zero enlists a beastfallen whom she refers to as “Mercenary” to act as her protector. He travels with Zero and Albus, a young magician, on their search for the Grimoire of Zero: a powerful spell book that could be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands. During their journey, his inner kindness is revealed as he starts to show compassion and sympathy towards humans and witches alike, and the unlikely companions grow together.
While Grimoire of Zero was enjoyable, admittedly, I enjoyed Dawn of the Witch more. The narrative for Dawn of the Witch was more exciting, intriguing, and interesting, and overall written better. The main character, Sayb, starts off with a mysterious past and is perchance grouped together with two other students. As they set out on a journey together with their professor to attend special training in a remote village, they experience various challenges as well as when they finally arrive at the village. As they conquer these challenges together the viewer learns more about the various characters who are quite likable as well as more of Sayb’s past and who he is as a person is revealed. Sayb has never had many friends and he has no memories from before he joined the academy. The narrative shows how he learns to handle the complicated emotions which come with growing close to the people around him, supporting each other, love, and finding something you want to protect and how best to do this. The various challenges they face not only direct the main character’s growth but pose their choices that would direct their futures as well.
The pacing is well balanced with some parts f the narrative slowing down whereas other parts picked up a lot. The viewer is faced with a couple of surprises although the story remains consistent. I really enjoyed the animation and style of this anime and all in all it was an enjoyable watch. I am looking forward to another season.