Witch Life In A Micro Room Volume 1: Modern Magic



Lives and experiences in manga, and media in general, tend to either be polished to their maximum potential or purposefully dragged through the dirt to create something intentionally gritty and rough. Finding a happy middle ground that finds satisfaction with the hands dealt to their characters are uncommon, and you might argue that it’s because presenting “average” as something alluring to a reader can be challenging. While I might not be able to say that Witch Life In A Micro Room effortlessly excels at dressing up daily life, I would say that for fans of this brand of slice of life (not quite Iyashikei, but not really an intense romanticized or drama filled style) it’s at the very least worth giving it a chance- just to see if it might be for you.

And what is this story that might be for fans of slice of life stories (or witches)? Well, the name does betray a good bit, but I’ll elaborate a little further. Madge and Ririka are two C-rank witches aiming to leave their mark on the glamorous and idealized appeal of city witches!…. though more often than not are just trying to make rent, and have a little leftover so that they can afford to eat. The first volume very quickly establishes how tall a task life as a modern witch is for those that aren’t naturally gifted in flashy or eye-catching manners. This, of course, is a detriment to witches like Ririka that don’t quite have a magic of their own, and to witches such as Madge who adhere to helplessly old and antique rules.

Evidently though, the pair strike up a very enjoyable dynamic. Ririka struggles with her identity outwardly, while Madge sticks closely to her magic, effectively swapping the complexes that you might have thought would affect the pair based on their designs. Personally, I think that’s just one of the many tricks that Witch Life In A Micro Room uses to its advantage to present readers with something engaging. It really does a lot to subvert expectations, challenge the reader’s viewpoint, and dredge the depths of characters very quickly.

You might think that with tendencies like that, a consistent story would be a challenge- but it really wasn’t in this first volume. It sets up a whimsical and odd magical world that blends with modern ideals and interests very easily, and is able to straightforwardly convert on that idea. Take the struggles of learning to become smarter or better, or overcoming your fears and shortcomings to do what you really want to, for example. While a lot of the smaller pieces tend to trade places and switch spots to keep things fresh, the larger and more sweeping aspects of the volume provide a consistency that allows those smaller pieces to put down roots when need be.

Of course, a story-slash-narrative is only one half of the equation for a good manga, as the art really needs to be there too, right? I bet you were expecting me to say it wasn’t that great, weren’t you? The leading question, the sort of meandering pace that betrays a desire to delay and avoid. Well, sorry to let you down but the art for Witch Life In A Micro Room is certainly a cut above serviceable, and it may even surpass good. It’s a bit of a weird thing to say with such uncertainty, but my argument is that your reception of the art lays in your perspective. Akitaka’s character designs are incredibly unique, as well as fluid and expressive to the max, but they’re simple- almost to the level of a 4-koma manga. Subsequently, the environments can feel a little lacking or loose without strong character art to draw you away from them. However, I think they’re perfectly solid. They’re not incredibly detailed by any means, but with Akitaka’s panelling, and just the right amount of detail they combine to make something that is pleasing to look at.

So Really, What More Is There To Say?

The answer to that is: not much. I think Witch Life In A Micro Room debuts with a very straightforward volume. It’s a story about two younger girls trying to make it in the big city, and together they bring out the best in each other as they stumble through a magical life. The character designs and expressiveness are impeccable, the environment art stylish and fun enough- there’s nothing to complain about. The hardest part is that with series like these, there’s not much to completely shower with praise. Everything does its part and nothing more, but that’s how you make an “average” slice of life. Anything too fantastic or creative and you risk stepping past the territory you’re aiming for.

Because of that, Witch Life In A Micro Room risks a good deal of potential readers, but I think in return for that risk, readers that pick up the series will be rewarded with something light, straightforward, and fun. Reading can be a chore at times, even heavy depending on what you tend to prefer. I think Witch Life In A Micro Room is the perfect getaway from typical reading habits for more than a good few people. So if you’re looking for a book-shaped break, this could be it.

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