What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Burn the Witch! Now for those who don’t know, Burn the Witch follows the adventures of Noel Niihashi and Ninny Spangcole, two Witches working for Wing Bind in Reverse London, the western branch of Soul Society that is populated by Dragons and kept secret from the Human World’s London. If that sounds a bit familiar to you, then it is because Burn the Witch is a spin-off of Bleach. Yes that Bleach which you either rode to the end with, or got lost in everything so damn ridiculous about the series. Either way, I found myself very interested in this series because it seemed like something that would leave a better taste in my mouth.
Though as someone who only just realized the manga existed as the anime released, I was only able to see this series from the perspective of someone who was solely watching the anime. In turn this did create some concerns since there was no telling how the first part of the season was going to turn out to me. You had your introduction to Noel Niihashi and Ninny Spangcole, the kind of work they did fighting Dragons, other nuances of their job, and overall how this world works. That said, there was a lot of stuff happening fast here and not a lot of time to dive into the finer details of those things I noted. By the time I got to the end of that first episode? I definitely was left feeling like I needed a bit more to find my investment in this series. Fortunately, this was one of those series where everything was released at once. So from the next episode on the time was put into creating a stronger understanding of what was unfolding.
Now this isn’t to say that I have a problem with series which just jump right into it. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that in my opinion. It’s a bold move and a lot of the time it pays off in contrast to doing nothing that first episode and in turn spending too much time playing set-up. This was an already established world, and all we needed were those key moments here and there for them to take a step back to explain what we were actually seeing.
As the main characters, I also admired Noel Niihashi and Ninny Spangcole for the fact that there was nothing basic about them at the start. They already had their power, and they already had their position. These three episodes were all about us getting to know them through their actions. In other words, seeing how they did their job, and how familiar they were with how the world worked. It didn’t hurt either to see what motivated them to do what they do. One jumps in headfirst for the glory, while the other just loves the pay. Now as Witches, I loved the difference between the way they operate, and how a Soul Reaper operates. This is not to say that them using guns to fire their magic didn’t take some getting used to, because it did. However, there was no denying how cool it was to see something that was a part of their kit which was more natural than how the Soul Reapers use magic as lesser support.
Aside from that we also got to know some other key characters who have their role to play in this world. The only thing that didn’t change with Burn the Witch was how frustrating the Witches and Wizards in power can act. Having that one who is very laid back, that one who is a stickler for the rules, and the one who you might mistake for the enemy for the way that they conduct themself in action.
Throughout all three parts to this season, it was easy to see just where they were trying to draw the connections to Bleach. It was fun to notice these things because they weren’t thrown in your face, they were things you either picked up or had to have someone else point out to you. With that said, it was better that we could see how Burn the Witch was itself own thing. When you have a series which is connected to another, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that everything connects, but this really shouldn’t be a thing which readers and viewers create an expectation for. The best that you should hope for this series is the effort moving forward in making sure that we see this as a story which can hold its own. Now I also should say that this doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want to see a crossover. At some point down the road it wouldn’t be too much to ask for, but that’s just me.
The only thing I wish they put the time into addressing was how the Dragons are a danger to regular people. I know most of us want to assume that the reason is the same as why you wouldn’t want to make contact with a Hollow in Bleach. Though I personally would have felt better if there was something they could say themselves so that we weren’t simply drawing our own conclusions.
Overall, the first season of Burn the Witch made me a fan. I can only hope that when this one returns, they bring it back with more episodes.