Despite the score, this manhwa is a bit special in it's own regard, and I like to be fairly critical whenever reviewing. This way, I don't completely rip a series just cause and I don't feed the fandom if there is one. I always end in the middle, sometimes anyway. I RECOMMEND TO READ THIS IF YOU ARE INTO HEAVY DRAMA AND ACTION. Getting past that shpeal, Witch Hunt is a fairly average manhwa for the wrong reason.
The story comes off as generic at first, but it's a little bit deeper than what the viewer reads on the surface level. It's clear as daylight that
this manhwa suffers IMMENSELY with absolutely TERRIBLE pacing in the first 20 chapters. I'm talking going from meeting someone at a party and getting straight to it afterwards. The pacing is so bad that it may come off as an incoherent piece of fiction, but it really isn't. Obviously the bad start will throw off new viewers, but I urge readers of this review to bare with it, as the story picks up around chapter 20, and quite fast as well. The protagonist and heroine have weird chemistry and it feels somewhat pretentious at first, but they get fleshed out about halfway into it and bit by bit, everything falls into place regarding their relationship. Whoa, I said relationship, THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE (yet). The story gets pretty interesting, particularly because of the main conflict, which involves one of the main characters past. It's not something you see everyday nor is the problem solved in a generic way. Nail biting cliffhangers, although it suffers from a bad storytelling sequence.
Characters are different. Admittedly, the slow start made me want to "drop" this immediately, but I liked the character design so I stuck with it just to do it. Never would I have thought that I would find decent characters within such an uninspiring start. The main protagonist and heroine meet early and it's really open as to what they are and why the way they are the way they are. It was really confusing when I read it, but when the truth comes out, everything seems to make sense and give them a lot of depth and meaning. The relationship between the MC's is pretty awkward though. The antagonist(s) are interesting too as they directly tie in with one of the main characters. Several chapters are dedicated to their relationship and the reader probably will feel empathy for one side, if not all. Not too psychological, but that element is there and it creates for some decent drama.
Animation is pretty cool. I like the character designs, its not something I've seen, especially the main heroine. Also there is an obsession with a red head in manhwas. The action scenes are quite confusing, but none the less are detailed enough to get the point across. I recommend taking a 2nd look at the action panels because they are really hard to grasp at first glance. If the SFX noises were properly translated and put in the right places then it wouldn't be a problem but alas its what we get.
Overall, not too bad of a read. Despite the slow start, it comes out being quite a thrill and each chapter leading into the next with purpose. Ultimately, pacing is its biggest issue as it starts horrendously, and even then it still feels like there are things missing within the plot. Lots of depth in these characters, as well the supernatural beings in general. Admittedly, you can probably read the first 5 chapters and skip to chapter 20 without fretting too much. That's a problem in itself, but I do want to get a decent word out for this Manhwa, which honestly surprised me because it looked really uninspiring. This whole thing might be satire of witch trials but what do I know?
EDIT: as of chapter 86, this manhwa has gone down the drain in what seldom quality it had and has fallen into mediocrity. I won't change my score for the whole thing seemingly as it is unfair to the review, but score doesn't really gauge opinions and thoughts. Be wary of this title, as its very little writing and more art work than anything. CHAPTER 86 IMO, WAS THE LAST STRAW
Another Edit (completed): Ending was too rushed, very bittersweet in a neutral way, don't know whether to feel positive or negative about it. Leaning towards negative because the last 10 chapters were purely action and little narrative. Made the ending that should've touched the audience's heart, made me feel like it was just the author realizing his/her mistake and ending it abruptly. Overall, not a great read at all, but somewhat tolerable.
Witch Hunt is labelled as a "drama," or sometimes inappropriately as a "romance" (it's not a romance at all), but it's so much more than that. At a very superficial level, it maps to your classic "fantasy" manhwa, as its world centers around the existence of witches and demons. On closer inspection, it tells a story of human desperation and loneliness. A story of how even the most innocent and sweet desires can be corrupted when pursued in depravity, lust, and fear. And, ultimately, how the tragedy of the past can only be corrected by taking responsibility, facing, and accepting the past.
Story: 7 (WARNING: CHAPTER
I would prefer not to disclose too much information about this manhwa, but its poor description begs some attention.
Witch Hunt begins with a young, troubled boy named Gawin entering a new school. He expects to find himself in the "usual" situation (I'll keep that in suspense), but discovers a mysterious girl who avoids the rest of her classmates. When all of his classmates leave, Gawin goes back into the school and discovers that this girl has supernatural powers. The story unfolds to reveal that the girl, "Izzy Jang," is not at all what Gawin (or readers) has her made out to be, and that there are greater forces in the world that always dwarf the protagonist.
While it's true that parts of the story are somewhat poorly paced, these "leaps" are easily pardonable. They don't have a profound impact on story and, arguably, are constructive in reaching the heart of the story faster.
Also, the story gets plus points for the narrative style. Gawin is such an insignificant yet significant character. He shows us the world through a human's eyes, helping us understand how the otherworldly chaos of Witch Hunt guides his perspective and understanding of the world. Gawin's final reflections on the story give meaning to the repentance and sacrifice of Suri, who realizes that "fate" is not something beyond your control, but something that you embrace and willfully lead the present to.
In the middle of the story, the "main character" role smoothly transition over to Suri. The change in perspective is well-done and refreshing.
SPOILERS ARE OVER!!!!!!!!
If there's anything about this manhwa that's generic, it's really the art. Manhwas, in my opinion, have very clean art when compared to mangas. It's not necessarily the best art, but the character designs are interesting and are mostly appropriate (with the glaring exception of Pamela). However, I must note that many of the "antagonists" or antagonistic forces (if there really are any) in this story are beautifully drawn (10/10).
What traits or distinctions make a "good" character into a "great" one? It's hard to say, but after reading Witch Hunt I've realized that the relationship between characters is possibly the most important factor in determining that.
Alone, many of the characters in Witch Hunt fall flat, with the exception of "Izzy Jang" or maybe Gawin. What makes this manhwa exceptional is the blurred lines between evil and good, pure and noble intent versus selfish and malicious intent. The muddled yet deeply meaningful relationships between the protagonists and antagonists in this manhwa really made me feel something and, dare I say, helped me better understand the human condition. I, for one, can empathize with EVERY side in this story.
The only reason I can't give this a ten is because of a few side characters lazily tossed in with little development.
It's a good read. I finished it in a day... what can I say. There's action, there's magical powers, there's crazy monsters, there's twists, and there's master plans!
While Witch Hunt has a few shortcomings related to story and art, the incredible characters and meaningful connections in this manhwa make all of its mistakes look trivial. It's a powerful and entertaining read that can really teach you something deep and meaningful about human existence and "fate." On the other hand, you can just take it face value and enjoy the feels and epic action scenes. Either way, enjoy this read!