Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina shares something in common with the following series: Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!, I’ve Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Magical Girl Raising Project and Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear. They all have female protagonists, but that is not the point I’m raising here. No, instead, what I want to bring to attention is that they are all light novels that went on to receive manga adaptations.
So once again, I’ll be taking a look at Elaina’s travels, but this time in manga form. Of course the light novel author Jougi Shiraishi is credited for the story, but the art here is by Itsuki Nanao. The manga is licensed for an English release by Square Enix Manga & Books. This first volume of the Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina manga contains chapters one through to four, as well as a bonus short story.
Ever since she was a little girl reading books of magic and adventure, Elaina has dreamed of following in the footsteps of her childhood idol, the witch Nique, and living a life of travel. Now a full-fledged witch herself, Elaina sets off on a journey without a destination, wandering far and wide to see the world. With each new place she sees and person she meets, Elaina’s world grows a little bit richer.
Much like in the light novels, the different chapters here correspond to the various locations that Elaina visits. Things start in pretty much the same way, too, with Elaina’s meeting with a girl called Saya. Other than that, the manga effectively cherry picks a handful of stories from the light novel, and brings them to us in manga style.
As a reader of the light novels, I know what to expect from each story, but I have to admit getting a kick out of recognising what is coming up. There’s no need to have read the light novels, before, though; you can enjoy Elaina’s travels with no prior knowledge whatsoever.
I will say that this volume does a pretty good job at capturing the different kinds of emotions you can expect from the series. One chapter gets a little dark, another one sees plenty of tears but there is also plenty of light-hearted moments to enjoy, too.
The Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina manga is off to a good start. We get some adaptations of strong stories from the first volume of the light novel. Elaina also makes for an enjoyable protagonist, and the manga has the advantage of showing us things like her body language and expressions – something not really present in the first-person perspective of the light novels. Then again, that perspective does give us insight into Elaina’s inner thoughts.
Whether it is in light novel or manga form, Elaina’s adventures do make for some compelling reading.