Manga Review: Liselotte & Witch’s Forest V 1 & 2 by Natsuki Takaya

May Contain Spoilers

Here’s a quick combo review of the first two volumes of Liselotte & Witch’s Forest. To be honest, the first volume didn’t do much for me, but I like Takaya’s art, so I borrowed V2 from the library. This series features a saccharine sweet heroine, who is modest and self-effacing to a fault. I find this kind of character in shojo manga to be very boring, so after V1, I wasn’t expecting much. Liselotte is a lot like Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket, but without the conflicts of the Sohma’s, it fell flat for me. Then came the end of V2, and I’m a little more invested in the series.

Liselotte is of noble birth, and she has been exiled to the east of the east of the east by her brother. Vol1 introduces Liselotte and the other cast members, which include the twins, Alto and Anna, who have accompanied her as her servants. Yomi, a witch’s familiar, has forced himself on their hospitality, and Engetsu, a handsome warrior type, has also turned up. When she’s confronted by a scary witch, Engetsu saves Liselotte from certain doom. n gratitude, she invites him over for dinner, and he never seems to leave.

Liselotte has the feeling that she knows Engetsu from her past. He looks remarkably like En, her childhood friend. An attempt on her life, orchestrated by her older brother, shatters the idyll of her youth, and she is forced to flee her home. Now, living in the frontier bordering the Witch’s Forest, she attempts to make as comfortable a life for herself and her companions as possible, always with the threat of being spied on by her brother’s minions.

For the most part, V1 and the first half of V2 has Liselotte learning to plant a garden, plant flowers, and make her home more comfortable. She doesn’t know much about living on her own, let alone tending the vegetables. And forget about cooking – that’s one skill the pampered noblewoman has yet to master. If Anna couldn’t cook, they would probably all starve.

Liselotte determines that just like learning how to garden and care for her home, she also needs to learn more about the witches in the forest. With her companions in tow, she heads off with a clichéd awful cake that she baked herself, to meet her neighbors. After mixed success with the witches, the pace of the story finally picked up, and she is attacked by the assassin hired by her brother to kill her.

Okay, wow, so the action scenes might have been terrible and hard to follow, but there’s finally some life-threatening conflict in the story. Who is this assassin dude, and did her brother really hire him to kill his sister. And Why, why, why!?! Once again it’s mainly the art that’s kept me interested in the series, but now I am curious about Liselotte’s diabolical brother. What could the sweet natured girl have done to warrant a hired assassin to kill her?

Grade: 3.75 stars

Review copy borrowed from my local library

About the book:

Volume 1

Despite being completely hopeless at endeavors like farming and cooking, Liselotte, a young lady of noble birth and guardian to twins Alto and Anna, picks up and moves to a remote land. At the easternmost reaches of her new home lies a forest where it’s said witches roam. When Lise one day finds herself at the receiving end of an attack by one such witch, she’s saved by the sudden appearance of a young man named Engetsu. Though they’re strangers, Engetsu is remarkably similar to someone she already knows…?

Volume 2

Liselotte, the daughter of a feudal lord, has been exiled by her older brother to the land east of the east of the east. Despite the bitter past that put her in these straits, Lise enjoys her new life with her twin attendants, Alto and Anna, the familiar Yomi, and Eugetsu, a young man who not only harbors a secret but also bears a striking resemblance to an old acquaintance, Enrich. However, Lise’s quaint idyll is shattered when none other than a witch comes calling…!