The Witch’s Monstrous Paintings
Published by Shueisha
“A girl’s creation will stop at nothing to keep his promise to her, all the while learning about the complexity of humanity.”
If you were not human, what would motivate you? What would you live for? This is the starting point for Loki, the protagonist of The Witch’s Monstrous Paintings,.
His best friend, a girl named Aisya, has an incredible talent, the ability to create miraculous drawings! But with great powers, there will always be people who wish to exploit them for their own agenda.
The exhaustion of over using her power starts to show when Aisha`s health begins to deteriorate. Always by her side, Loki starts to worry about her condition and begs her to stop drawing. However, his pleas meet deaf ears, as everyone seems to keep pushing Aisha to draw, with little care for the consequences.
Once rumors about the power of the painting’s failing start to spread, Aisha`s life is plunged into danger. Unable to watch his friend in such peril, Loki tries to help, where he learns he cannot touch her! In fact, he cannot touch anything!
Realizing he is just another of Aisha`s paintings, Loki feels powerless! Luckily Aisha is eventually saved, but Loki is left feeling hopeless as his new found reality becomes apparent.
Hoping to change the situation that her paintings have brought to the world, Aisha gives Loki a mission, burning all the magical paintings!
Loki starts a journey filled with magical battles and complex human emotions!
The way this manga “shows” the protagonist’s “weakness”, by action rather than dialogue is a great example of how to keep turning each page in wonder.
Reading the first pages I actually believed Aisha and Loki were having direct conversations, as I assumed he was a real, ‘flesh and blood’ character. Big was my surprise when I eventually noticed the small hints left on each page, showing the protagonist’s weakness.
This is a prime example of telling a story through images alone! If the story had started “This is Loki and he cannot be seen by anyone”, the surprise would have been lost, giving you no reason to turn the next page.
Even though he isn’t human, the introduction of Loki can be compared to that of a newborn. He’s apathetic to his surroundings, while at the same time, developing an emotional attachment to Aisha.
Seeing the treatment of Aisha at the hands of those around her, Loki slowly learns to hate, envy and question humans. Especially when he sees Aisha, desperately holding on to hope even in difficult situations.
I particularly enjoyed the following quote by Loki.
“Humans have a body and a voice that can move freely, that should be more than enough.”
This perfectly captures the theme of the story, as presented in the first volume. Loki’s journey will eventually take him to a magical battle with his promise to his mistress, all while existing as an abstract form of human nature.
The Witch’s Monstrous Paintings is, in essence a critique on human nature as seen through the eyes of an outsider. Though not a new concept to storytelling, the fact that our protagonist is a drawing, is not only a fine example of “meta” in manga, it’s a lesson in taking something old, and making it new. Surely, the oldest trick in the artists paint box!
” Loki is unique! just like me! Giving a new view to our friends! The readers!”
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