Uta Isaki imagines a world in which Witches and humanity live side-by-side in harmony, and in doing so creates a series of loosely connected short stories that run the gamut between heartwarming and tragic, with everything in-between. Generation Witch (or Gendai Majyo Zukan) was first published in 2014 and features an excellent translation by Jill Morita.
I won't lie, the cover sold me. Three cute girls beautifully rendered in witches attire is pretty irresistible, and a quick flick through the pages told me that this quality was consistent throughout. This is a gorgeous book, and since taking on the mantle of Manga Editor, I've been blessed with a pretty solid stream of fantastic artwork - Generation Witch is no exception.
Without wishing to spoil the book for you, volume 1 contains four stories - three self-contained and another two-part entry, which oddly was my least favourite due to the main character being a rude jerk. However, even here the end result was gratifying, so I can't complain (other than to say yelling to someone that they're an ugly cow just because you have hang ups is a pretty crappy thing to do whatever the reason).
The first story takes us on a touching tale of sisterly bonds between apprentice to the high witch, Mari, and her non-magical younger sibling Eri. It's a short and sweet tale with a little sting at the end which is unexpected but rather lovely.
The second tale is our two-parter, where male witch (and aforementioned jerk) Takuya lives at odds with his powers, while Kouno is the sole member of the school's magical club (who receives some terrifically creepy chibi artwork) tries to offer her services to feel needed. A reluctant Takuya becomes involved in her quest and learns a little about himself at the same time.
Thirdly, our penultimate tale has a very bittersweet ending which I won't spoil for you here - safe to say it's utterly endearing but also rather sad in retrospect, though I imagine the author intended the tale to be uplifting rather than downbeat.
Lastly, we have a wonderful short story called A Witch and Fireworks. This is a rather haunting tale and, wonderfully, has little cameos from the other chapters during the fireworks display, which lends a feeling of unity to the whole book. It's funny how the little things make the big differences.
The book doesn't have much in the way of extras, but there are some gems within - the inside-cover has a delightful sketch of Kuono by the author, followed by two pin-up pages in colour featuring the cover itself and a another which is rather Gothic. The book ends on an afterword by the author and this gives us a little insight into the world of witches at large.
Overall, Uta Isaki has created a wonderful world full of myriad possibilities and emotions. If you're a fan of witches, romance and everyday occurrences, then this is a book for you. Highly recommended.