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Good Witch of the West The Volume 1 Paperback – 15 Jul 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tokyopop (15 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598166204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598166200
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 18.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,085,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this manga about a young village girl who finds out she is a princess. The is based on a set of popular Japanese novels which are also being published by Tokyopop of the same name.

Now as you may have guessed from the title, the story has many references to more western fairy tales which is quite rare in a Japanese manga. It is nice and is done very well but one of the reasons I read manga is that I am so interested in Japanese culture. There's no need to fear in this manga, however as it still brings its own originality to it and the main charcter isn't going to be the kind of herorine you are used to from Grimm's or even Disney. She refuses to sit and wait for anyone to rescue her.

I would say that this manga isn't suitable for younger teens as it does have some disturbing scences. I have read up to volume three so far and cannot wait to find out more.

I think that you would enjoy this if you have enjoyed Tsubasa, Magic Knight Rayearth or Red River.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Promising, Beautifully Drawn, maybe even . . . epic? 8 Feb. 2007
By Kristin E. Johnson - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book, the first in a promising new fantasy series about a country girl who discovers she's the potential heir to a kingdom, is mostly about setup. This is hardly a surprise, though, since the popular Japanese book series it's based on is overflowing with diverse characters and intersecting plot lines. First and foremost is Firiel Dee, a kind, loving, spirited, fiercely loyal tomboy. Her father, fond of her though he is, is too busy working to give her the time of day. His foundling apprentice, the grim and scholarly Rune, won't talk to her if he can avoid it, and not very civilly when he can't. Her only really close friends are the elderly caretakers she lives with, and they kinda wish she were more feminine.

At a royal party, Firiel is given the rare choice of living with a foster-family of noblemen, or going back to her humble home. She says she'd much prefer home, thank you--and says it without the copious hand-wringing and inner turmoil that accompanies the decision-making processes of your typical shoujo heroine. Firiel loves her little family, whatever they might think of her, and that's enough. In other words, Firiel is already shaping up to be a refreshing and winning new heroine.

So it's all the more shocking when the very next day, she hurries home to find that home is gone: her caretaker friend is dead, her father has fled the country, and the caretaker's widow has just long enough to give a harrowing account of what happened, before she too is (presumably) destroyed.

Since the book starts with only a miniscule 2-page backstory, readers are nearly as much in the dark as Firiel. But those two pages, as well as scraps and bits of what the characters at that royal party say or seem to say, hint at larger, darker things going on than one might find in the usual evil vs. good fantasy. Rune might know something, possibly more than anyone, but he's not telling . . .

In that, Rune is intriguing. At first, Ogawara seems to be setting him up to be Firiel's companion and protector--Firiel all but bullies him into swearing to stay with her always--but then they are quickly seperated by the same mysterious cult that just destroyed Firiel's entire life. The cult leader addresses Rune as an ally. Rune hardly denies it, but nevertheless fights like anything to ensure Firiel's escape.

Who IS this boy? Who are these people? Why do they hate Firiel, and her father, and his books so much that they'll kill anyone who's so much as looked at them? How do they know Rune? He was just a toddler when Firiel's father took him in. What on earth kind of a history could he have possibly had at that age?

Firiel is left to find the answers on her own--and she's about as successful as any normal person who's just lost everything and everybody they ever cared about could be expected to be. She doesn't attract any cutely squabbling friends with magical superpowers to protect and guide her on the way, she doesn't grow more mature and steadfast of purpose (yet), and she doesn't have an adorable animal companion. She's totally alone. Within a few days, she's a crumbling, half-crazed wreck to boot. And she still has no more answers than when she first started.

All of this leads to the conclusion that this is going to be a fun and epic series, with all the dark and twisty trimmings of a really good story.
The artwork is beautifully drawn by Haruhiko Momokawa. He uses a "soft and kind" sort of style that, especially in Firiel's character design, evokes fantasy manga art from the late seventies and early eighties. It's flowing, lush, lovely, and easy on the eyes. Rune is given a slightly edgier look, his lines are unrelentingly dark and solid all the way through. Even in candid moments he looks like he's holding in some great and disturbing inner darkness. That said, there are occasional lapses, where adult and elderly characters seem rather youthful, and periphery characters are almost interchangeable in mien. Fifteen-year-old Firiel looks and acts barely thirteen--however, the artist explains, it has more to do with her "youngness" than actual age, and he plans to have her design evolve as the story progresses. There's even a charming comparison sketch in the back to show what she might look like in another four or five books.

All in all, I'm looking forward to the rest of the series and hope it lives up to the start!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Light read 25 Feb. 2008
By LutePlay - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a review of Noriko Ogiwara's NOVEL- The Good Witch of the West, Volume One, the original source for the manga series.

Good Witch of the West (no relation to Wizard of Oz) starts with the story of Firiel, who's been planning excitedly for the upcoming ball for the Queen's birthday- an event so precious, her tough surrogate-mother/neighbor has scrounged up material for her gown and her father has torn himself away from his astronomical calculations long enough to send his surly apprentice to deliver her an heirloom for her dead mother- a necklace. As you are probably already expecting, this necklace gets Firiel in trouble at the ball, regarding the past- her father's heretical research and her mother's high lineage.

Good Witch of the West is a very light novel- and not even a particularly well crafted one. Its world is charming, but never strongly drawn- though we do get some promise of seeing how truly nefarious it is in subsequent volumes. The plot has a few tense moments, but is somewhat abbreviated at times, maybe even predictable at points, but has promise. Its strength lies in the possibilities for its characters. Firiel is a light-spirited heroine and acts somewhat immature at times, but always true to the people she loves. Bravely, the novel doesn't gloss over her faults, and the novel definitely shines most brightly in her arguments with her father's apprentice, Rune. Rune is knowledgeable and clever to the nobility's games of power, but also disagreeable, pessimistic, and sometimes pretentious- a wonderful counterpoint to Firiel.

It's a shame that these characters don't get to act to their fullest potential yet in this volume, still reacting to the secrets and lies that are being unveiled. But there is much promise- and I'm willing to read through volume two to see if they fulfill this promise. (Especially since I've great respect for Ogiwara from her first novel- the more serious epic Dragon Sword and Wind Child, rooted in Japanese mythology rather than Western fairy tales.)

The printing- The book I received was not of the best quality. The ink levels vary from page to page- some pages featured the dark/crisp lettering while other pages suffered from out-of-ink syndrome (though always legible). The cover appeared to suffer this as well- being much too light and low in constrast. I've haven't bought any other Tokyopop novels, so I don't how it matches up, but it falls well below-par of Tokyopop's manga printings (which I have always great- clean, consistent printings on the inside, and colorful shiny covers on the outside).

The pleasant surprise of the printing is the illustrations that come interspersed in this novel. Well printed and add quite a bit of magic to the visualization of the world.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Great Series! 11 July 2007
By Ellen W. - Published on
Format: Paperback
I picked up "Good Witch of the West" because of the pretty artwork, but I've really gotten into it.

The story starts off pretty typical. A country girl named Firiel Dee goes to the royal ball and catches the attention of the prince. Then the "shocking" discovery is made that she is the daughter of the long lost princess, and she herself is a princess. But when she returns home with her friend Rune, they are attacked by mysterious men in black robes. The story has hints that it's going to get more intricate and darker. Whatever Rune has been studying is called heresy by the queen, and there seems to be some sort of cover up.

I like the characters, especially Firiel. She annoyed me a little in the first volume. She was a little too sweet and brave. But as I've read other volumes, she's won me over with her determined attitude. Firiel doesn't have any trouble standing up for herself, and she's not above going after revenge. I also like Adale's character. She's pretty and sweet, and seems submissive, but she's clever and takes charge when she wants to.

As I've said, the art is beautiful. All the characters have pretty faces, and the girls have flowing hair and gowns. The backgrounds are beautiful too, with countryside and castles. The art's perfect for the fairy tale setting. The only problem is that the men tend to look a little cross-eyed when shown from a distance, but this is easily overlooked.

"Good Witch of the West" is an often over-looked little gem. Don't make the mistake of passing it up.
Fantastic! 8 Oct. 2008
By Aila Yeatts - Published on
Format: Paperback

Ogiwara has obviously been studying western fantasy for a long time to come up with such delightful, well rounded characters and a detailed world for them to live in. Rune is by far my favorite character, followed by Firiel who starts out a bit timid, but grows into her own strong willed self. Princesses, courtly politics, hints of dragons, and a mystery surrounding her father's scientific research... this book has it all to give you a good read and start off what looks to be a great series.
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