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Manga Review: Secrets of the Silent Witch Vol. 1 (2023) by Tobi Tana, Matsuri Isora & Nanna Fujimi

"It's the most difficult challenges that are the most enjoyable."

“Monica Everett is the Silent Witch, the only mage in the world who can use unchanted magecraft. But underneath all the fancy titles…she's also the shyest girl you'll ever meet! In fact, she learned unchanted magecraft just so she wouldn't have to speak in public. Monica may be talented, but she has zero confidence, and now she's being tasked with infiltrating a prestigious academy and protecting the kingdom's second prince! How will she survive?!” (Yen Press)

Secrets of the Silent Witch Vol. 1 Amazon

Adapted from the light novel of the same name by , “” is a fantasy-light series focusing on the relationships Monica builds while being hired to protect the second prince over magic-lead battles or ‘leveling-up.' This results in an exposition and text-heavy manga that may struggle to find an audience in the saturated fantasy genre.

Likely taking this approach because of the source material, the inaugural release of “Secrets of the Silent Witch” can be a slight slog for those expectant of the more sensational magic battles and kawaii personas that dominate the genre. Yet the manga exemplifies how a dialogue-heavy approach can favor an adaptation. Essentially, the biggest draw to the series is how well-considered and planned out the various characters are. For an initial release, the book introduces and establishes a rather large cast around Monica Everett, without feeling too overdrawn. The book particularly excels at explaining various characters' eccentricities, including Monica's obsession with numbers, which makes them endearing and pushes the desire to learn more about them.

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The visuals seem secondary to the story, with most of the book being serviceable. For a series set in a fantasy landscape, some readers may be disappointed by the lack of sensational elements or visual flair. The book excels in certain aspects, such as relating Monica's expressions amusingly and endearingly, but overall, it does the minimum to keep its readers engaged. In addition, the release itself is barebones, with only one color page and no bonus chapters. However, a note from and the original creator Matsuri Isora adds additional context to the adaptation of the book.

On initial impression, “Secrets of the Silent Witch” seems lacking in visuals and excitement, instead focusing heavily on building up its characters which in many ways doesn't offer up much past expected tropes. Still, the book slowly starts to impress upon the reader a strong sense of storytelling based heavily on crafting memorable personas, turning an initially dry experience into exciting and engaging storytelling. As the series continues, it will be intriguing to see how the team develops the story and whether later volumes are imbued with the action missing from the inaugural volume. Still, readers who appreciate character-building above all else will find much to love here.

The first volume leaves a favorable impression of what the light novel could be like. As someone who has yet to read the source material, the manga expressed the potential the light novel series may have. Luckily, the light novel is available from Yen Press for those who want to check it out.

About the author

Adam Symchuk

Adam Symchuk is a Canadian born freelance writer and editor who has been writing for Asian Movie Pulse since 2018. He is currently focused on covering manga, manhwa and light novels having reviewed hundreds of titles in the past two years.

His love of film came from horror and exploitation films from Japan that he devoured in his teens. His love of comics came from falling in love with the works of Shuzo Oshimi, Junji Ito, Hideshi Hino, and Inio Asano but has expanded to a general love of the medium and all its genres.

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