In the latest issue of Hana to Yume, Takaya Natsuki-sensei started her highly-anticipated new series, Liselotte to Majo no Mori (リーゼロッテと魔女の森）. She has mentioned that this series was going to have a different “feel” from her previous series, and after reading the first chapter, she’s definitely right on the money! This series seems to be much more “fantastical,” with magic being wielded left and right and vanishing witches appearing left and right. Click to expand for chapter 1 synopsis + pics!
The first page starts off by showing our heroine, Liselotte, who appears to be dressed in fine clothing and looking extremely serious. ‘So many humans…The reason of this human world…’ And it also shows a man with light-colored long hair, who is holding onto a sword that he’s pointing at Liselotte’s neck. We don’t see the full face of this man. In the next page, we see a sickle that Liselotte is wielding on a plot of farmland. Here, she is dressed plainly and has dirt streaks all over her. As she’s plotting the land for some possible farming, she sees a bug and gets somewhat enthused. As she’s remarking to herself, we see a boy with short, dark hair approach Liselotte, and addresses her as “Liselotte-sama.” He’s incredulous that he found Liselotte off by herself in the remote area and then exclaims in shock that she’s completely covered in dirt! Liselotte, upon seeing him, addresses him as “Aruto,” and hands out her hand and shows Aruto that she found a bug just now. He’s exasperated and says in a disgusted way that she really should not be touching those things. Liselotte says, however, that a bug in the dirt means that the soil is still good for farming. It’s been one week since they arrived here, and she has decided…
To create a vegetable field! Aruto is confused by her proclamation and Liselotte makes no note of it and just goes off to list the different types of vegetables she’ll cultivate: potatoes, onions, and you can’t forget carrots! Aruto finally stops Liselotte’s train of thought and asks her if she has any farming knowledge or experience. She says no, not at all. Aruto looks at her with a comedic cat-like glare and asks her sternly if she’s joking right now. She stops him and tells him to just hear her out. She presents to him a “know-how” FAQ guide on how to cultivate a garden. Aruto cuts her off briskly and tells him that’s completely useless and she should have packed some more useful things. Aruto and Liselotte are going back and forth (it’s like a stern boy-butler and his clueless lady), when all of a sudden, another character appears. It’s a girl this time, about the same age as Aruto, with a blunt chin-length haircut…In a maid outfit. Her name is Anna and she was wondering where the two of them were. Aruto tells Anna that Liselotte (who both of them address with the honorific suffix, sama) was saying something incredibly ridiculous just now. Anna is interested to hear what that was, and Liselotte is all smiles and tells Anna that she was thinking of cultivating a flower garden. Aruto snaps at her and tells her to not change her story! Liselotte tells Aruto that she’s not changing her story, and that she wants to plant both vegetables and flowers. They’re bantering back and forth when all of a sudden, they hear howling in the distance.
Aruto remarks that it must be wolves! It’s getting dark now and they really should be heading back. Liselotte starts to protest, saying that she would like to study the land a bit more, and Aruto is nearly losing it at this point (LOL) and it’s not until the calm & collected Anna pipes in that they will come back another time when Liselotte gives in and agrees to go back to their home.
They’re back to their house, which looks like a quaint country cottage. It’s night now and Liselotte is in her room with Anna brushing Liselotte’s hair. Anna tells Liselotte that she thinks that the farming is a great idea and that Anna would like to help out whenever possible. Liselotte is elated to hear this. Liselotte says that it’s the kind of thing that she’d love to hear from Aruto, who is Anna’s older twin brother. Just as Liselotte says this, Aruto barges in and tells them that he really regrets having heard their conversation just now. Liselotte tells him that it’s no good sneaking a peak! Aruto insists that he was doing no such thing. Then Anna chimes in and tells Aruto that that’s such a deplorable act…! The exasperated (and falsely-accused) Aruto pushes both of them out to the kitchen to eat since dinner’s ready. Aruto then tells Liselotte that even if she doesn’t cultivate the land for farming, she can just request whatever she wants and she’ll be able to get it. Since the provisions will be arriving tomorrow, can’t she just request for some vegetables and flowers from them?
Liselotte is silent for a while and then says that that’s not really what she had in mind. Then we hear wolves howling again. Anna wonders if the wolves created a settlement nearby, as the howling seems to be increasing these days. Then Anna goes on…Speaking of settlements, she knows of an interesting story. There apparently are witches who are living in a forest nearby. Aruto exclaims, “Haaa?!” Anna goes on to say that they live deep in the bowels of the mountain, free to do as they please. Then, they would sometimes appear all of a sudden and lend a helping hand to humans or cause harm to humans. And just like in the fairy tales, they would brew up potions in their cauldrons and cast spells with their glowing wands. They may also fly the sky on their brooms. As Anna goes on about witches, Liselotte looks serious and we see a brief flashback as she conjures up an image of a young boy with light-colored hair: ‘Do you know? Far, far east…’
Aruto cuts in saying that it’s nonsense, saying that witches, just like ghosts, probably don’t exist and these are just fairy tales. Anna rebuts and tells him that there seem to be a considerable number of people who have witnessed the witches in action. Aruto cuts in and asks Anna just where she heard all these stories. Anna then produces a book (not unlike the book that Liselotte showed Aruto earlier in the field) titled, “Shortcut Roads…Actually other walking paths.” Aruto is incredulous and remarks to himself that these people (Liselotte and Anna) brought along such useless things. As Aruto and Anna are “arguing,” Liselotte has been quiet the entire time. Then she finally says, “Far, far east, there was a witch, and during the winter…” Then trails off as she closes her eyes and thinks to herself, “Just like you…” Anna asks Liselotte if Liselotte knew of the witch story already. As Liselotte is about to reply, Aruto cuts in, irritated (but he’s too cute when he’s irritated, LOL), and tells them that it’s just a stupid story and that if she’s done with her meal, please clear out so he can clear the table. Anna smiles her knowing smile and tells Liselotte not to take it personally, as Aruto is just frightened by these stories. Aruto retaliates and tells them that that’s not the case, and that if they keep talking it’ll take forever for him to finish up working. Liselotte offers to help out with the cleaning, and Aruto bluntly refuses her offer. Liselotte asks why, since it’ll be faster that way, and Aruto says that it’s his and Anna’s job to do all the housework and that they’re not related by blood nor are they friends. Liselotte acknowledges that Aruto and Anna will forever call her “sama” and that indeed they cannot dine at the same table. Aruto says yes, that’s exactly the case.
As Liselotte goes to her room and turns the doorknob, she flinches in pain. She realizes that the blisters on her hand just burst. She smiles a bit sadly and realizes that working for just a short while already caused her blisters. She turns off the light to turn in for the night and thinks that she never imagined that she’d hear about witches here, and that she’ll ask Anna if she can borrow her book. She wonders, then, if this place really is the place that the light-haired boy in her flashbacks mentioned to her. As she’s looking out her window at the night sky, she’s here, she’ll live here, and she’ll keep living on tomorrow. She hopes that “he” is also living on, somewhere…He who is named Enlicht (エンリッヒ En-lit-hee) : I have NO idea how his name will be romanized!).
In the next scene, we see what seems to be a wolf running, then a man with light-hair running and climbing to the top of a tree. There is “something” near him, and that “thing” says to him in an creepy voice, “It’s possible you’re going to have your limbs torn off.” The man then leaps from the tree and off into the night.
It’s the next day now. Liselotte is in the kitchen peeling potatoes, and Aruto walks in asking what she’s doing. Liselotte says that she’s trying to remember how to cook and so she’s helping out Anna prepare their meals. Aruto abruptly turns to Anna and tells her that cooking is her job, but Anna says (in her usual deadpan way) that she momentarily forgot because they were having so much fun. Liselotte tells Aruto that it’s not Anna’a fault and that Liselotte one-sidedly decided to help out. Liselotte is really going at it with the chopping of the vegetables, as if she’s hacking into a human! Aruto yells at her to stop that sword-like maneuver! Then Aruto looks torn and asks Liselotte why she’s all of a sudden starting to think about farming or helping out with cooking…Why can’t she be like before? He clenches his fist and asks Liselotte if she plans to just die out here in the field. Liselotte tells him that that’s not the case. She doesn’t plan on dying and she doesn’t plan on rotting away…She wants to live. She came here to do just that. And, she says, she’s gotten sick of it. She’s gotten sick of the fact that she’s useless and can’t do anything, and she’s sick of herself just sighing the days away. Therefore, she decided to set out to “learn,” so that she can make herself useful. And so, she’s taking action to show that she can do it. Aruto looks down and tells her whatever, she can do what she wants, and leaves the room. Liselotte turns to Anna and apologizes that she may have put her in a tough situation, and says that she’ll apologize property to Aruto later.
Anna goes and finds Aruto in the lawn with his back turned towards her. He says that Anna’s always on Liselotte’s side. Anna says that that’s harsh…Then again using her trademark deadpan comedy, says that if he already knows, what’s the point in speaking out? Aruto then charges back and asks her if she’d rather have him cry about the prior incident, instead. ^^;;
Anna says she’s just joking and says that it’s only because she knows how Liselotte feels and also how Aruto feels. In the background, we see a horse-drawn cart pull up, and Anna remarks that the supplies have arrived. Aruto goes on and says that it’s not that he doesn’t understand how Liselotte feels, it’s just that what she really wishes for, they cannot just provide…At least not when they’re living here.
We now cut to Liselotte, who is walking along a remote hillside with a spade and bucket, and she see s a bird flying in the distance. She thinks to herself that maybe Aruto’s mood will lighten if she catches the bird and takes it home for Aruto to cook with. She then looks dejected and thinks if she should start practicing archery, then decides that Aruto will probably really get pissed about that.
As Liselotte is sighing, a mysterious woman covered in a black veil comes up from behind her with her with an apple in one of her hands, and asks her if she’d like an apple.
Liselotte freezes while the mysterious woman shows her the apple bucket she’s holding and tells her she has all colors, red, blue, yellow…And tells Liselotte to eat them all.
The next scene shows Liselotte falling into a dark void. Liselotte is panicked and wonders if this is the witch of the stories. As the witch is getting close to her face, Liselotte shuts her eyes and yells that the witch’s face is too close!! As soon as she yells, the tree-leaping man from before comes up from behind and pushes the witch away. He then slashes the blackness around them and we see the magical barrier that was surrounding them break away. Liselotte still can’t get a good look at the man’s face, but he gets up, and goes to the witch who is standing before them. He makes the witch disspiate into the air.
Liselotte can’t believe what she’s seeing. The man slowly turns around to face her. Liselotte struggles to say something and for now says, “Oh, oh…I guess I should say…Thank you?” Liselotte then reminisces again about the light-haired boy, Enlicht, from before. He tells her in the flashback that because there are witches at “that place,” when spring comes and goes, everything turns to white, and snow-like fluff blankets everything. A younger Liselotte asks, “Everything’s white? Then that means that it’s beautiful, and I’ll definitely come to like it. Just like you, the same color as your hair..” Then Liselotte breaks out of her flashback and she sees the current man standing in front of her. She finally makes the connection is about to say his name, “Eh—” when he falls over and rests his head on her shoulder. In fact, we find that he’s not only putting his head on her shoulder, but he completely falls on her!
As Liselotte is shocked and asks him if he’s hurt, all the while proclaiming that he’s heavy, she’s trying to stand him upright. Then we get another very brief flashback scene, where the younger Enlicht says to Liselotte, “Yes, and the color of the sky is just like you…”
Then the current Enlicht opens his eyes and touches Liselotte’s cheek, and their eyes meet.
After gazing into each others’ eyes, Enlicht says, “I’m…Hungry.” He says he’s hungry once more and slowly closes his eyes, and grabs a lock of her hair. Liselotte is dumbfounded for a moment and then we hear her yell, “Stop it!!! Stop trying to eat my hair!!!”
In the next page we see Anna and Aruto in the cottage, and Anna asks Aruto to rest for a bit and if he’d like some tea and that she’ll call Liselotte. Aruto blushes just a bit (as if he’s a bit bashful about the even before) and says that he was thinking of calling her himself. Anna then laughs, and Aruto asks what’s the meaning behind that laugh? As they’re bantering, Liselotte returns…With Enlicht passed out on her back!!! She’s completely exhausted and tells Anna and Aruto to please prepare four cups for now.
There ya go! First chapter and it was super-long because the chapter was 52-pages…Whew! I don’t foresee this being an ongoing synopsis review, but I’m sure I’ll chime in from time to time. So far, this series is extremely promising and very charming! There definitely is darkness that lurks within all characters behind the light facade, and I’m sure us readers will become privy to all of the back story as the series continues. Now, one thing I didn’t mention in the synopsis is in the scene where Liselotte and Enlicht are gazing at each other, he was holding onto some heart-shaped pendant. I have no idea but I assume it’ll play a role later on. Also, what was really mysterious was the first page, where a man with longer-hair had his sword pointed at Liselotte’s neck. A ton of fodder and foreshadowing!