Have you ever sat down, opened a book, or turned on the TV only to immediately think “holy crap, this is really fucking cool” to whatever form of media you were watching? The sound, world, style, clothes, characters, just all of it screams “this is so dope!” It is rare for me to get this feeling, and as a content creator, I think the more series I watch it will only get more and more difficult for me to feel that way. But with that thought, there has been this author that never fails to make something outstanding cool to me. The legendary Tite Kubo is well known for his epic Shonen hit, Bleach, a series that easily has a special place in my heart. So when I heard he was publishing a one-shot turn into three-episode anime (movie), Burn The Witch, there was no chance I was going to pass it up. And boy what a time that was.
First and foremost I have to state something. Kubo has this incredible ability to make character designs and outfits that scream personalities. Bleach and Burn The Witch alike, every piece of the outfits match perfectly to what he as the writer is trying to convey. Noel, for example, classic kuudere, I knew this right away because not only how she carries herself, but her outfit, black, neat, to the point. Her partner Ninny, draped in her own style of a green jacket with a white shirt and shorts easily falls into the entitled tsundere. These are two things I knew as soon as they showed up on the screen showing yet again Kubo can make a massive statement with these rather minor details. Added with the feel of the world, the artist takes on the beast and people who reside in it I can say that he has not lost his touch, drafting one of the most vibrant fantasy series I have seen in a while. But with that whole bit out of the way, let’s look a little closer.
Burn The Witch takes place in Reverse London, which is like normal London but there are dragons amuck. It’s within this weirdo fantasy world we discover that dragons are very much so real and very much so dangerous. 72% of all death in London matter of fact can be attributed to these mythical beasts leading to the creation of Wing Bind, a company of wizards and witches tasked with managing dragons. Though challenging to be accepted, obtaining the title of wizard or witch is the only way one can interact with dragons legally, any forms otherwise are strictly prohibited as a felony offense.
The story follows the as mentioned Noel and Ninny as they accepted jobs from their boss, Billy Banx Jr, and trying to make some money along the way. It is set up as a pretty standard one does it for self-validation while the other is honestly just trying to make ends meet. It is within this narrative a trend starts to sit in that’s the plot for the series. Within the odd jobs, we discover there is another lad named Balgo Ywain Parks. Now Balgo has two problems, he is a type of human called Dragonclad, meaning dragons REALLY like to hunt him down. Second, he is a bit obsess with Noel, more specifically some garments of hers, which I am not saying I get but, I get. Now while I found Balgo extremely annoying in the one-shot, much to my delight he was charming in the animation, and I enjoyed the way Noel and Balgo interacted. Hell, one of my favorite things about the whole series is how Balgo goes out of his way to completely ignore Ninny just to get close/ hang out with Noel.
Which again, same.
The real issues come from Balgo’s first problem, however. Being a walking dragon bait it is determined that he is more of a problem than he is worth and a price is put on his head. This, of course, doesn’t go over well with Noel who is rather fond of him, and Ninny who honestly couldn’t care less but get roped into the mess anyway. Enter stage Macy Baljure. I should mention Ninny outside of being a witch is also a famous idol, again it’s just a power thing for her. Macy was formerly a member of Ninny’s group but after a nasty departure and some tabloid PR, the world saw it as Ninny outing Macy, who in real life was a dear friend. This matter is even more complicated as Ninny discovers Macy has been raising a little pet, a dragon she found in London. Now like I said, this is a massive no-no, and trying to reason with her friend Ninny tells her to hand it over, a move she doesn’t do.
This action sets the stage, a boy with a bounty on his head, a girl with a rogue dragon, and the fairy tale of a lifetime. What Burn The Witch is to me is a lovely throwback reference of fairy tales mixed with fantasy, anime, and Kubo’s on-point artwork. The sound is great the characters are fucking cool and even the villains, much like Aizen is wearing a ton of drip.
If you haven’t had a second to check out Burn The Witch I think it is definitely worth the watch. I have read the one-shot and though it is also quite good in comparison to the movie it didn’t quite stand up. It has been a while since Bleach has ended and Kubo has worked on any new work and I felt this was a fitting and perfect work to bring him back to the stage and I look forward to whatever he ends up getting into next.
As always, thanks for the read!