By: Peggy Sue Wood | @peggyseditorial
OKAY… It’s Halloween, the spookiest day of the year, so I decided to write about one of my current favorite manhwa series that features witches while also remaining not-scary. This is also a series I highly recommend and if Halloween is my vessel to serve you this manhwa, then so be it! Coincidentally, it’s also Saturday, the day ANZ (the favorite I’m alluding to) usually releases, Chapter 55 is probably going to drop on Toomics.com any minute (Link) if it hasn’t already and I am HYPED.
ANZ is a series I started reading right when it came out on Toomics, and ever since then I’ve had this thought… Anz (our aptly named, blue haired protagonist shown above) is the next Witch of the Wind. He, our title-character, is the one who will succeed Cecile, the former Witch of the Wind. Though, there are a bunch of characters in the series saying he’s not the heir–particularly because Iliya, a girl about the same age as Anz, is claiming to be the heir–I am 99.99% sure that Anz is the true heir.
The odds that I’m right might not look so great, but hear me out anyway, because I think there is a compelling argument for Anz to be our Witch. SPOILERS, by the way (if that wasn’t clear before)…
At the start of the story, we learn that there are a select group of special witches called Guardian Witches who are all deeply connected through their magic even if they are not emotionally close. We learn this through the prologue chapter of the series as three of the guardian witches begin to cry over Cecile’s death, despite some of them having never met her or having no understanding as to what is going on. For example, Mule Grace, the youngest of the established Guardian Witches seen thus far, begins crying and asks why she’s doing so despite nothing going on presently to make her do so. Opera, one of the other Guardian Witches shown to be crying, tells one of the people around her that she and, by extension, the other Guardian Witches are crying not out of sadness or personal grief over Cecile’s death but because their bond as Guardians Witches transcends their individual feelings. She can’t help it and neither can any of the others.
Cecile’s death, the death of a Guardian Witch, is thereby marked by the other Guardian witches crying. Despite a handful of other characters appearing beyond the witches, only one other person seen crying during this time, apart from the Guardian Witches, is our title character, Anz (seen below).
Of course he would be crying. After all, Cecile was like an adoptive mother to him in addition to being his mentor, guardian, and caretaker. She trained him in combat, made sure to help him work through moments when he lost control of his blood-based power that wrecks his mind, as well as provide him with important life lessons and social skills. All of which allows us to make the assumption that their relationship was similar to an apprenticeship and found family as the series progresses. This could explain his crying, but then why are we only shown him and three other Guardian Witches crying? Cecile had other people she was close with–friends and members of her knights that were also like found-family. So, again, why are we only shown Anz in this chapter where we learn of Cecile’s death?
By featuring Anz as the only other person crying in the opening chapter that depicts the death of a Guardian Witch and by placing so much focus on it through their introduction of the three other Guardian Witches with no one else, we are given our first hint to Anz being Cecile’s heir.
Next, we have his apprentice-like relationship to Cecile. It would make sense for him to be the heir to her power as Mule Grace comments that each of the Guardian Witches normally takes on an apprentice when they are preparing for death. They slowly pass their powers over to their heir over time and that helps make the chosen heir the next Guardian Witch.
In the prologue, Riz Abramelin, the Second Witch of Frost and the Guardian Witch of Kelren, speculates that Cecile may not have had a chance to choose an heir. Cecile was the Seventh Witch of the Wind and has apparently died young for a Guardian Witch. However, I find it unlikely that Cecile left this world without choosing an heir–and not just because Iliya claims to have been chosen by her. It would make sense that Cecile had chosen an heir to her role and that the heir would be Anz given their close relationship. (Side note, from what I can tell, a Guardian Witch’s number is their literal number in the role’s line, hence Riz is the second witch of frost, Mule Grace is the fourth witch of strength, Cecile was the seventh Witch of the Wind, etc…). (Another side note, if a Witch does not choose an heir, than a new heir rises naturally over time.)
The only known rival to Anz being the heir is Iliya, the “supposed” inheritor of Cecile’s guardian role. However, Iliya isn’t introduced until several chapters later and, in our meeting of her, we do not learn of her ever crying in the same moment as the other witches despite the bond being established as transcendent between both chosen heirs and the current Guardian Witches (we know that heirs are included because Mule Grace, an heir, cries too).
One may argue that Iliya isn’t seen crying because she had yet to undergo her “Second Awakening,” which is when the status as a Guardian Witch is made clear through the awakening of their true powers, but if that was the case then Mule Grace wouldn’t have cried either since her second awakening happens much later in the work. One could also argue that we don’t see her crying because she had yet to be introduced as a character, but this event transpired during the prologue that too would not make sense.
With this in mind, what standing does Iliya have to claim herself as the eighth Witch of the Wind?
In argument of Iliya being the heir, Well, one of Cecile’s Knights (people chosen by the witches as aides and gifted some of the guardian’s mana), Eddie, says that Iliya must be Cecile’s inheritor since he could feel Cecile’s power coming from Iliya. And lending to this idea Anz comments that Iliya’s wind magic feels the same as Cecile’s magic. However this feeling that both Eddie and Anz have about Iliya’s magic can easily be explained by the very thing that defines Eddie as a Guardian Witch’s Knight—mana. Specifically, Cecile’s mana. Remember that each of the Knights of each Guardian Witch are given a fraction of their respective Guardian Witch’s mana when they become knights, making them feel like the Witch they’re a knight too. A perfect example of this is how Anz comments that he can feel Cecile’s mana coming from Eddie (seen in the image below), much the same way Eddie claims to feel Cecile’s mana coming from Iliya.
Heirs are also gifted the Witch’s mana but in a larger degree on top of what magic they already posses.
What is more likely than is that Cecile may have made Iliya a knight by giving some of her mana to the girl when she helped Iliya escape the corruption/corrosion—a place Cecile seemed to have found and saved many people during her time as the Seventh Witch of the Wind as well as a place she found Anz in and kind of raised him in. Cecile making Iliya a Knight would explain why Iliya’s wind feeling like Cecile’s and probably acts like a magical blessing that would allow Iliya to pass or think of herself as a potential heir to the Guardian of Wind’s role.
Anz being able to sense Cecile’s Knights and how the Knights respond to Anz’s approach when he comes to the Winfred Academy of Magic, thereby leads me to believe that Anz is more likely to be the heir than Iliya who can’t sense the other Knights well, if at all. Meanwhile, almost instantly all of the Knights can sense Anz coming close in the same way he can sense them.
What maybe the biggest factor against Anz being Cecile’s heir is his blood-based power, but within the context of the story that doesn’t seem to be a problem because we know that a person can have more than one type of magical blessing (these blessings are essentially the same as saying you can have more than one type of power—a fire user may also be able to use earth, for example). These blessings have no known relation to the heir’s role as the next Guardian Witch.
When it is unclear like this, what defines the Guardian Witch is their awakening, but those awakenings seem to happen only when the Guardian Witches needs and desperately wants to protect other people.
Anz will certainly struggle with this since has been cut off from people most of his life and has never been, as far as we’ve seen, in a position where he needed to protect others. Rather, his experience has largely been needing to be protected from himself, from other people, or even protecting other people from his blood-based powers by someone else.
It isn’t until Anz fights the Alpha monster (and a few lesser monsters) that appeared during what was supposed to be the Academy’s semi-safe training session off-campus that we see him really desperate fight to protect others for the first time. It’s then that we see Anz fighting to protect others for the first time and it is also the first chance we see for him to have a second awakening. However, due to his blood-based power, which he is familiar with and will protect him at pretty much any cost, Anz turns to the “easy” answer of using his blood powers rather than searching inward for the guardian power I believe is present within him.
His blood powers are essentially a crutch that he turns to during desperate times, something another guardian witch heir like Mule Grace who achieves her second awakening during this arc does not have and thereby cannot lean on to avoid reaching her true power as a Guardian Witch.
There are, of course, other hints too, such as Anz’s ability to use many of Cecile’s moves and attacks which other characters attribute to Cecile having raised and trained him prior to her death:
There is also Anz’s “visions” of Cecile, such as in Chapter 50 when he dreams of Cecile and begs her to take him with her, which she rejects by bonking his head and telling him to live his life prior to him waking up in the hospital. As with most comics, dreams give us foresight or define a unique/special connection.
All of this leads me to believe that Anz is the next Witch of the Wind. Though, I suspect that it will take some time before he can fully awaken due to his use and reliance upon his blood-based power.
So, what do you all think? Could Anz be the 8th Guardian Witch of the Wind? or do you have a more compelling argument in Iliya’s favor as heir to the role? I’d be happy to know!
With that, I wish you all a Happy Halloween, and I’ll see you next Saturday with another post!