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The Dawn of the Witch Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

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The Dawn of the Witch Episode 1 Review – Quick Summary

In The Dawn of the Witch episode 1, “The Remedial Student and the Witch of the Staff,” Cervil/Saybil sat, drenched in the cold rain, his eyes glowing a soft blue in the night. He had no memory of who he was or why he was there, alone. A woman with similar glowing blue eyes came out of the shadows. Shielding him from the rain with her cloak, she said she would take him to someone more befitting. Who was she? Why did she want to help him? And why were their eyes glowing blue?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from The Dawn of the Witch Episode 1

The Dawn of the Witch Episode 1: Holt seems very open with Cervil

She’s the top of her class, and he’s at the bottom. But that didn’t seem to bother her at all. I respect that. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Holt is an interesting character. She said something early on that really caught my attention. She said something disparaging about a beastfallen. Cervil didn’t yell at her, but he quietly explained that she was stereotyping and should probably stop it. She paused, then thanked him for helping her learn something. What a refreshing attitude!

We learned through the episode that she’s at the top of her class and can use some advanced magic, too. Not only that, but she’s learned to be diplomatic. At one point, she told Cervil that she had discovered she could persuade people more often if she smiled brightly. Then she demonstrated one of her practiced smiles. That set the stage for my favorite quote.

Holt and Cervil had gone in search of the witch Roux Cristasse and the beastfallen Coudeau. Holt was furious. Two other students refused to help because they didn’t want to stick their necks out for a beastfallen. 

Apparently remembering their earlier conversation, Cervil asked why she didn’t just smile when she asked them. “I only force a smile for people I deem worthy,” she declared (22:54). He pointed out that she seemed to smile a lot around him, and he seemed genuinely confused.

Blushing, Holt says (23:02), “Actually, around you, I just get naturally smiley!”

It completely stunned him. Me, too. I did not expect her to be so open with him! Maybe that’s part of why it’s my favorite quote.

Best in Show Moment for The Dawn of the Witch Episode 1

The Dawn of the Witch Episode 1: Albus gives Cervil a real chance

Albus gave Cervil a real chance, based on his specific needs. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: It’s a Whole Old World!

Did you know this was a sequel to The Grimoire of Zero? I didn’t! I was sitting there mulling over the opening scene as the OP played. Startled, I paused it and backed up. “That looks like Zero,” I thought to myself. “And that looks like the Mercenary dude!” His name is actually Youhei, but I still think of him as the mercenary. I enjoyed the original series, and the link gives me slightly higher hopes for this one!

It was cool getting to meet Albus again. She’s an adult now, and she founded the Kingdom of Wenias Royal Academy of Magic. Good for her! Nice to see she’s made something of herself. Not only that, but she gave me my favorite moment in the episode, which I’ll get to in a second.

I want to get this off of my chest: Why did the show feel it was necessary to give me another “Really Seven Hundred Years Old” trope with Roux Cristasse? Would it have been too much to ask that they gave her a 35 year old body for her 300+ year old personality? Maybe seeing Mirellia Q Melromarc again gave me unrealistic anime expectatoins.

This graphic will be important in a minute! Link from one of James Mellville’s Twitter posts.

Dang it, anime!


Years ago, I was going to become a teacher. Stop laughing. I’m serious! Even now, thirty years later, I wonder if I made the right choice. Sure, the politics around teaching suck. But maybe fighting that was what I was designed for? We’ll never know now, because time is not reversible. However, I haven’t lost my zeal to help people identify and hone their talents.

Have you ever seen the above graphic? I told you it would be important! As someone who sees the world differently from most, I am keenly aware of the idea that illustration is trying to convey. True, Einstein may not have said it, but that doesn’t change its accuracy. Establish tree-climbing as a measurement of intelligence, and the fish will feel stupid. Ask a neuroatypical individual to process in a neurotypical way, and, well, you get the idea.

Delivery: Albus Gives Cervil a Real Chance

Albus understands that idea.

In my favorite moment, Albus had summoned Cervil to her office. The entire student body, Cervil included, thought she would expel him. Instead, she reminded him that the southern part of the country still showed hostility and bigotry against witches. She wanted to establish a village there as a sanctuary for magic users. She wanted his help to establish it.

She called it a Special Field Program. Obviously taken aback, Cervil asked to be certain that he was not being expelled. She confirmed that. She also said (05:55), “I can’t see you progressing within the academy. So, I aim to develop you in a different environment.”

The Dawn of the Witch Episode 1: Albus' offer surprised Cervil

Albus’ offer surprised Cervil. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

It might not seem like much. But to me, that was a revelation. The headmaster of the magical school recognized that her curriculum wasn’t working for one of her students. And she made accommodations for him. That’s absolutely what she should do, and it was absolutely amazing that she did it!

Sure, she had to hedge her bets. She had to tell him that if he failed to show progress within a certain timeframe, he would, in fact, be expelled. But that’s just bureaucratic ass-covering. She decided to vary the standard approach for a non-standard student. 

I thought that was just beautiful.

What did you think of Coudeau’s (Anilist’s spelling) way of keeping safe the students he was escorting safe? What were your favorite moments? Please feel free to let me know in the comments!

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13 thoughts on “The Dawn of the Witch Episode 1 Review – Best In Show

  1. So looking at you latest review , I decided to watch series for myself and then I saw all the Grimoire of Zero references. So of course I’m rewatching Grimoire of Zero . I forgot how much I loved this show 💕 I’ll start Dawn if the Witch after , but wow it’s been years since I’ve seen Zero and Mercenary.

    1. Grimoire of Zero was a quietly entertaining series that I remember fondly. I need to make time to rewatch it! Zero’s a great character, and so was Mercenary.

      1. I actually had to stop watching Dawn Of the Witch just so I could rewatch . And I’m glad I did . The show is awesome ! Plus you get to see young Albus . I think it really helped me understand the world a bit better .

  2. I knew this was a sequel/spin-off of Grimoir of Zero. That’s what put in on the map for me. I remembered the show very little, but I do remember enjoying it quite a bit. Did I enjoy this episode? Oh yes, I did – but not quite as much, I thought, as the first series. So I decided to go back and re-watch an episode or two of that one, to see whether I overrated that show in my memory. No – I underrated that show in my memory. I watched the whole thing in one sitting and went to bed late. This premiere isn’t quite up to scratch, but it doesn’t need to feel bad about it; the bar is higher than I remembered it being.

    Second, Youhei is just Japanese for Mercenary. It’s also a given name, but when they met and made that blood pact, they (or more specifically Zero) made a point of not sharing real names because of the power there-in. So she’s Zero (not her real name), and he’s Youhei (Mercanary – not his real name).

    I’m fairly sure Albus isn’t going to expell Zero’s handpicked pupil. It seems they teach sorcery; the magic circle/incantation stuff – and it seems he’s got aptitude for the witch stuff – the more creative magic. His problem is that it goes out of control, so he learns the sorcery stuff to control this, but that’s most certainly not the end goal here. Sending him to a village of witches might have been the plan from the beginning; he just needed a little stablising beforehand. (I’m talking with confidence, but I’m really just guessing here – and a lot of it is based on knowledge from Grimoir).

    It’s not quite as good the first season, but still enjoy it quite a bit. It’s a bit like Utawarerumono –> False Faces. Same relationship; enjoyable show, but not quite on par. I’ll be having fun, I think.

    1. I watched the original series a few years ago. It seemed absolutely charming in a very subtle way. I bet if I went back and rewatched it, my reaction would be similar to yours.

      I did not know that Youhei meant Mercenary.

      “Sending him to a village of witches might have been the plan from the beginning; he just needed a little stablising beforehand.” You say you’re guessing, but that makes perfect sense to me.

      “Utawarerumono –> False Faces”

      Interesting comparison — and another one that makes sense to me. I had a similar reaction.

  3. People who design intelligence tests generally are looking for the skills they think are most useful. If collecting fruit is important then climbing fruit trees is important to measure. What the intelligentsia of society look for are what traits match the traits they already have. Business people look for the traits that are most profitable in an employee.

    Intelligence is therefore what you are looking for and not an objective reality. It is based on what you want to see in people and thnk is useful. If you don’t think that climbing trees don’t bring benefits, superlative climbing skills get categorized as something other than intelligence.

    I agree with the “Really 700 years old” trope. It’s too often just a way to make it “ok” to lust after a loli. (Except for Rory in Gate. She wears it well.)

    1. Ok, so I watched ep. 1, and the loli is a Beatrice type. Obnoxious and childish but not a sex object.

      Unfortunately, Hort falls into another trope. They take the “Buxom is Better” to an extreme with her to the point where she looks like a caricature of it.

      1. There’s a loli taxonomy? That’s awesome! And you’re right. Roux Cristasse is a Beatrice type. So much so that her character design wouldn’t seem out of place in Re:ZERO, or Beatrice here.

        Yeah, about Holt… I like her attitude, but… I’ll just say I’m glad she’s not to the level of Occultic;Nine’s Ryouka Narusawa. She made it hard to watch that series. I kept wanting to buy the poor woman a back brace or something.

    2. The more I work with people in the mental health field, the more I see that your description of intelligence applies to behavioral norms, too.

      It’s heart-breaking.

      On a more positive note, I endorse that idea that Rory is Rory. She is not subject to the judgement or implications of any trope.

  4. Dawn Of The Witch. I’m hoping for a kinder gentler witch after my last witch review of Wandering Witch. Wanted Miyazaki, got Silent Hill level ignorance with Wandering Witch. Let’s add this to my wishlist and hope for the best. I think I like new review season for Anime best of all. Much better than Netflix made some new disappointing stuff here review it.

    1. I’m sad you didn’t like Wandering Witch! I enjoyed Elaina’s personality. Her deciding not to take on the magical flower field was such a realistic decision! At the end, when there were Multi-Elainas, we even got to see the one who had lost taking on that field.

      I’ll watch for your review of Dawn of the Witch, if you decide to write it!

      1. Did you read my review of the adaptation of the story in manga from the original light novel? It’s far different. The Anime kinda whitewashed away a lot of the grim of the story. Mainly how the field was probably cursed by the very guy who was supposed to be that flower girls brother… EXCEPT their relationship kinda says they were kinda hinky… Because he was jealous of the popularity she had selling those flowers. He locked her away in his home, cursed the flowers she harvested, and thought she would stay away. She didn’t. And she knew she was going to die out there. But she didn’t care. She died to get away from him. And the idiot, in the end, runs off to die with her corpse… Yeah. That Anime ending? You got the Safe For Puppies version. I reviewed the actual horrid ending of the story.

        Also the ending with all those people going to the fueld? Not in the original story. It’s all there to excuse away her horrible lackidaisy attitude. Heck. Halfway through Volume 1 of the light novel, according to the manga, even she realizes she’s notching it by not helping these people. Letting that girl die, letting another commit suicide to escape her slave master. Yeah. I cannot sympathize with a character that cold.

        1. I only saw the anime, so that’s what my reaction was based on. But even after reading your review of volume 1, I don’t think my position would have changed. What interests me about Elaina is that she’s more real than most characters in fiction (excepting some antagonists).

          Don’t get me wrong — I like upbeat stories. I like the good guys winning.

          But I also like a story that shows me more realistic characters. Think of the heroes in the world today. Name one that is being a hero just to be a hero.

          The best humanity can claim at this point in history is that we’ve come up with economic and social systems that sometimes don’t reward the worst of human behavior. That’s an improvement!

          Churchill said something to the effect that democracy is the worst form of government in the world — except for every form of government that came before it. Capitalism is the worse economic system the planet has ever seen — except for every economic system that came before.

          Heroes are a product of the world around them. That’s what I like about Elaina — she’s a product of her world, and it’s not at all a pleasant or wholesome place. What would people do with her kind of power — really? What would the brother you mentioned do?

          And how do those things interact within the context of that world?

          Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina looked at that world. It’s not a world that I want to visit personally, but I sure enjoyed a look at something different!

Please let me know what you think!

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