The Witcher: Ronin Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: November 2, 2022
Price: $19.99
Creator(s): Rafal Jaki (Writer); Hataya (Artist)
Format: 120 pgs., B&W w/ Limited Color, 7" x 10", Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5067-3350-0
Age Rating: 16+
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

This is not a "normal" manga, in size or format.  Instead, the pages are larger and there is limited color throughout.  The story, while set in The Witcher universe, is a folkloric Japanese story, so much so that the notes at the back of the book are necessary, because even a casual familiarity with Japanese folklore and mythical creatures isn't enough to cover the details.  For example, tengu or kappa might have been in stories that you have read, but the details of their actions or belongings will need the explanatory notes in this book.  In several cases, there are clues to the story hidden in the artwork, which is very interesting but also a little distracting, as the reader either needs to look for the notes, if any, or try to figure out what's really going on.

The result is that the story is very educational, but doesn't always flow smoothly.  As in other stories in the Witcher universe, the main character is not a nice person or very good at human social interaction, but he's remarkably good at dealing with non-human creatures. Unlike some of the other Witcher stories, the main character in this one is often willing and able to understand the viewpoint of the "monster," and try to understand the real story, rather than the first one that he's told.

This is only the first part of a longer story.  It stands alone, but the tale continues for at least a second volume, and if it is as good as this one, it will be worth reading.

Violence and nudity suggest an older teen and adult audience for this book.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.