The Witch and the Beast

The Witch and the Beast anime began airing this winter season and has since gone under most people’s radars. The series has yet to crack the top 20, let alone the top 10, in Anime Corner weekly polls, nor did it fair well on the most-anticipated poll for this Winter 2024 season. It is also just outside of the top 20 highest-rated anime of the season on both MyAnimeList and Anilist. Well, I’m here to give everyone just three reasons why everyone needs to start watching this Winter season’s hidden gem.

1. All-Around Solid Production

The Witch and the Beast is animated by studio Yokohama Animation Lab, one that is relatively new compared to most studios nowadays and hasn’t landed any big titles up to this point. They recently produced Kingdoms of Ruin during the Fall 2023 season which received a lot of criticism. And outside of the ecchi series Miru Tights and action-fantasy The Iceblade Sorcerer Shall Rule the World, the studio has yet to deliver a “gem” so to say — until now.

The Witch and the Beast anime

The setting for The Witch and the Beast takes place in a Victorian era with breathtaking architecture where the details almost pop out of the screen. I’ve even found myself a lot of times pausing episodes just to marvel at the level of detail and effort put into all of the surroundings in the series. Art Director Hirotsugu Kakoi was also in the same role for big-name anime such as Inuyasha, Space Brothers, and Future Diary. So it’s no wonder a veteran in background art for almost 25 years was able to deliver for The Witch and the Beast.

The character designs are always crisp and never blur or distort to something like I’ve seen in Chained Soldier recently. The production for the anime is an 8/10 at the very least and most of the time goes above that. Action in the anime is thrilling to watch and it’s layered on top of solid sound design by Takuya Hiramitsu, who was also the sound director for the original Hunter x Hunter series in 1999. There’s no denying The Witch and the Beast has some veterans on its staff and it shows in every episode.

2. Interesting Story and Characters

The main cast of the series consists of Ashaf, voiced by Toshiyuki Morikawa, and Guideau, voiced by You Taichi. Morikawa’s biggest roles include Minato Namikaze from Naruto and King Julius from Black Clover while Taichi’s biggest main role is Dorothy from Princess Principal. The calm, cool, and collected mage that Ashaf is also playing in perfect contrast to Guideau’s loud, bad-girl type of behavior that constantly leaves every interaction with the two interesting.

With Guideau on the hunt for the witch that cursed her, and Ashaf practically being the mysterious guide we still have yet to uncover much about, the story has constantly reminded us so far that even though the two accept certain missions in order to take care of any dilemma involving magic, the main storyline never steers far of course. If you love brutal violence that doesn’t shy away from the grotesque, The Witch and the Beast may be another anime you should add to your watchlist immediately.

In just four episodes, we’ve only but received a taste of Ashaf’s true power and ability while Guideau shows right away in the first episode who she really is and what she’s capable of, and trust me, the action gets brutal. There’s never a dull moment with this story that also involves twists layered on top of twists. The characters are engaging from the start of each episode to the very end and we’ve got plenty more that will soon be introduced along the way.

3. The Next “Undead Girl Murder Farce”

Undead Girl Murder Farce was the 26th most anticipated anime for the Summer 2023 season and ended up skyrocketing to the 8th best anime in our Best Anime of Summer 2023 rankings as voted by fans and there’s not a shed of doubt that The Witch and the Beast can be the next one just like it. Ignoring poll results, The Witch and the Beast is the overlooked gem of the season that has the potential to pick up steam as the weeks go by and more people watch it because it’s simply that good.

Much like Undead Girl Murder Farce, this series follows two main characters who are on complete opposite ends of the personality spectrum and work together solving mysteries with the ultimate goal of the main female character being able to complete her goal. Tsuguru from Undead Murder Farce is basically Aya’s handler and protector while the same can be said for Ashaf and Guideau in The Witch and the Beast, except Guideau is the one who can kick some ass.

While Undead Murder Farce doesn’t necessarily bait into the witches and beasts kind of theme like The Witch and the Beast does and introduces prominent historical characters (fictional and non-fictional), the overall setting is around the same. Both anime are also produced by lesser-known, newer studios as well. Studio Lapin Track (Undead Girl Murder Farce) was made just a year before Yokohama Animation Lab in 2014 and also doesn’t have many “big name” series attached to its name.

Both series have great fighting animation and choreography. Both started their respective seasons underrated before both airing. The only difference is that Undead Girl Murder Farce cracked the top 10 in the very first week of the Summer 2023 rankings while The Witch and the Beast has failed to do so three weeks into the Winter 2024 season. But is there still hope? Absolutely. So be sure to go vote for the series in our Week 4 poll and onward!

The Witch and the Beast Info

The Witch and the Beast is listed for 12 episodes this season and releases new episodes on Crunchyroll every Thursday. Episode 5 of The Witch and the Beast will be released on February 1. The anime is based on the manga written and illustrated by Kousuke Satake that began serialization in 2016. The series was originally published in Young Magazine the 3rd (which shut down) and was moved to Monthly Young Magazine. The manga currently has 10 volumes published in both English and Japanese. Unfortunately, the series has been on hiatus since January 2023 due to Satake’s health with no timetable to return. The Witch and the Beast manga currently has over 500,000 copies in circulation as of January 2024.

Images via Crunchyroll
© Kousuke Satake, Kodansha / “The Witch and the Beast” Production Committee

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