Title: If Witch, Then Which? Vol. 2
Author: Ato Sakurai
Release Date: June 1, 2021
Publisher: Yen Press
If Witch Then Which? explores the age-old trope of a boy attending an all-girls academy dressed as a girl. However, a few twists are thrown in as our protagonist, Haruka Kuze is more or less doing this after Maruna Rinjou saved his life. In If Witch Then Which? Vol. 2, Rinjou keeps the tsundere act up, and Kuze continues to do all he can to help her through magic school. I’m sure you can guess that a few moments of chaos take place throughout.
If Witch Then Which? Vol. 2 seems to be set up as if it were anticipating an anime adaptations as the chapters each come off as episodes without any real story progressions, save for the final chapters. We get the obligatory bath episode where Kuze tries to hide his male features from the other girls and a full arc on a love potion. It’s all rather familiar, and nothing will surprise most manga readers.
That said, I do enjoy how Kuze lends assistance to solve most of the issues. With the help of Rinjou’s magic, they figure out the problem and eventually prove how well they work together. The final few chapters are perhaps the only ones highlighting any type of growth in terms of the character’s friendship and the story itself. This has to do with a hidden door in the school that only appears on a specific day. The mystery has high stakes and proves that this comedy can provide some compelling character moments.
The volume mainly only sticks to Rinjou and Kuze’s relationship and hardly involves the other students. I think the other students are entertaining enough to warrant a few extra scenes instead of just appearing for brief moments to say a funny line or two. I feel like highlighting these characters will make the school feel larger because right now, the entire story is so self-contained to the point when good moments happen, such as in the final chapters, they stand out way too much as if they don’t belong.
The illustrations throughout the entire manga are cute. There’s some great pacing for jokes, and the author seems to enjoy focusing on facial reactions more than providing detailed backgrounds. It works because the characters are likable. Thankfully, the tsundere elements aren’t overbearing, but Rinjou’s random outbursts towards Kuze weigh on the story’s pacing.
If Witch Then Which? Vol. 2 has its moments, but it does little with its characters as it focuses simply on presenting self-contained chapters with little growth. Each obstacle plays out the same as they begin with high hopes; something goes wrong, and they fix it with the power of Kuze’s fast thinking and Rinjou’s magic. It isn’t until the final chapters where you’re glad that you continued reading the entire volume, but that might not be enough to hold your interest for much longer. Still, I can’t lie and say I didn’t laugh during a chapter about making tea for a Mandragora.
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