A beautiful witch is traveling across the land on her broom, her hair flickering to the wind as she gaze at the passing landscape. In the distance is a country she has never seen, with unknown people and peculiar culture. Her heart beating of excitement by the awaiting discoveries, she soars into the sky. Who is she? She is Elaina!
I had read some chapters a long time ago, as well as a tiny bit of the manga. As I liked, I decided to pick this.
Wandering witch is the travel diary of Elaina, a lovely witch traveling at the tender age of 17. It’s probably reminiscent of Kino no Tabi, but as I haven’t read that, I can’t say that with certitude. Each chapters are a story about a country from Elaina’s point of view. Each country are odd, and provide different nuance of storytelling in short burst.
Elaina is the main character which hold all of these stories together. She is a witch who has a number of spell, but magic is barely the focus of this LN. Young and pretty, she seems nice at first sight, but she has some real spunkiness if you bother her, is rather cunning and self centered. Behind this is a tenacious dreamer and good hearted witch. Quite a multifaceted character and uncommon for a LN.
The other characters doesn’t have that much development, as very few are recurring. Low exposure characters featured for one chapter may have to rely on a gimmick to actually become a quick character on which you can apply some stereotype. Stereotype in this instance is not bad, as it fits with the whimsical nature of the collection of short sorties. Elaina will meet for instance a man who went through body building to save his sister, a princess who can’t leave her castle because there is a beast at night, but both of them have their twist. And many more, very few with names, but have their defining characteristic allowing them to stand on their own.
The stories are varied, whether it’s about the culture or the people of a nameless country. Elaina herself is light hearted, but some of the stories are on the sadder end of the spectrum. There is often no morales to be found in the end, Elaina is just telling something which happened or discovered. She may have done something, or she may just pulled into some odd circumstances, or get involved with other’s issues. Chapter 6, bottled happiness, is quite effective at delivering a poignant tale, with its end left to the reader’s imagination as it takes a sudden turn. There is some bittersweet moment, just as some good end too.
The collection is not in chronological order. Some past events may punctuate the travel, to give more background to Elaina, or other characters. Style wise, everything is told from Elaina’s point of view, at the first person. Effective and easy to read, it doesn’t provide incredible prose but it’s good.
Illustrations are LN standard, that is to say a few color pages at the beginning and black and white in the middle.
My general impression is that it’s a good read. I like whimsical stories and this fits the bill perfectly. Short stories format is moreover perfect for commute, and Elaina is an interesting character who is just not going to solve everyone’s problem in every country. She is a lovely traveling witch, nothing more, nothing less. If you can’t travel, it’s the perfect LN to read to instead wander in strange and foreign lands.
There is a manga of the young beautiful witch. I haven’t read much, it seemed to be faithful to the LN. An anime is also scheduled.