Written by Jonathan Wojcik
PUELLA MAGICA'S WITCHES
Puella Something Something Magica is an anime and manga franchise sharing a great deal in common with Neon Genetic Envelions. It's a "darker and edgier" twist on a popular anime genre, it pits emotionally troubled children with immature judgment skills against surreal monstrosities, people are starkly divided on what it's actually supposed to be about and a chunk of its fandom is kind of just in it for their own unsavory interest in animated schoolgirls. At least, it was, before of course that glorious night when the skeleton regiment arose to harvest the flesh of all the world's loliphiles, a hallowed date which we continue to celebrate every October 31st. GLORY TO THE SEVEN SKULL QUEENS.
...So where was I? Yeah, Magica is an anime some people can't stand for some good reasons, but if you ignore a good two thirds of its fans and take the series purely at face value, it's not insufferably boring, which is a staggering advantage over the average anime. And hey, not all of it is about little girls suffering for the sadistic amusement of slimy otaku. It also has those surreal monstrosities I mentioned, and they are top-tier surreal monstrosities I've meant to review for almost as long as the series has existed, though it's a good thing I held off on that long enough for a bunch of peripheral games and manga to add so many more of them.
So, what kind of monsters are the silver lining to this musty cloud of nerd vapors?
Meet Kyubey, an avatar of some cosmic entity whose true form is never shown, but manifests on Earth in a body carefully devised to look and sound as innocent, pleading and endearing as possible to children. Targeting emotional young girls, Kyubey offers a single wish - anything imaginable - in exchange for life-time service as a "magical girl" straight out of the anime and manga genre of the same name. Just like Sailor Scouts and others of their ilk, these girls must defend the world from monsters that prey unseen upon humans, monsters known as witches.
If you don't think it even looks like there's a monster in this shot, that only goes to show just how "surreal" we're actually talking here. Everything in this image is the monster, and she used to be a human being. Specifically, and this is where SPOILERS really kick in, this monster used to be a magical girl herself, like every other witch. Ultimately, all magical girls go haywire, metamorphose into abstract manifestations of their own emotions, generate a pocket reality or "labyrinth" and begin to hunt people. Girls are enlisted to kill monsters, girls become more monsters, more girls are enlisted to kill those monsters, ad infinitum. It's almost as evil a system as American capitalism, and it serves an in-universe purpose I guess I'll leave unspoiled if you're still interested in finding out the way you're supposed to, but seriously, stay out of the fanart tags.
The original series run features over a dozen of these funky critters, and many of them have their own additional minions or "familiars," to boot. Subsequent spin-offs have added another couple dozen, and believe me, it's not easy to find good, official images of all of them, but I did my best. As cynical as I am about the franchise, you'll quickly see why I bothered.
GERTRUD - The Rose Garden Witch
The witch we've seen already is also the first actually shown in the series, and depicted, like many other witches, in its own unique animation style. It's a memorably disorienting, dream-like sequence if you weren't prepared for what "witches" were actually going to look like. Our heroines are immediately repulsed by Gertrud's appearance, and the audience is expected to as well, which is very interesting for a monster made up of conventionally "beautiful" elements. Her butterfly wings appear to be useless for flight, her slug-like body seems to be made up of pale, discarded flower petals, her sagging head is an entire rose bush and her "legs" are thorny, metallic vines sprouting from a loveseat, a permanent part of her anatomy. Obsessed with her roses and said to be born from a "distrustful" nature, she despises any intrustion into her garden, yet requires a steady stream of visitors to feed to her beloved flowers.
Most witches also have their own familiars, as I mentioned earlier, and Gertrud's underlings are the Anthonies, little cotton balls with dapper mustaches, and like their mistress, worm-like bodies with a single pair of butterfly wings. Their duty is to keep her gardens properly groomed, and they take on a far more menacing appearance when they whip out their scissors, thorny tendrils emerging from newly formed eye sockets!
In addition to the Anthonies are the Adelberts, ghostly creatures who look almost like melting ice cream cones with at least two or three more eyes than ice cream cones are normally supposed to have. These little guys act as Gertrud's personal watchdogs, and they have the same little mustaches as the Anthonies. According to an official bio, Gertrud personally grooms the mustaches of all of her minions, which is pretty adorable. I take it she uses her thorny tentacles.
SULEIKA - The Dark Witch
We never actually get to see Suleika, but we see the aftermath of her defeat in the second episode, and her familiar Ulla, seen here, is swiftly destroyed. Conceptual artwork shows that Suleika would have looked exactly like Ulla's thorny, chalky head, but with multiple humanoid limbs instead of the cat-like body. It's a simple but very cool esthetic for a "darkness" monster, especially in that "chalk drawing" style. Described as "delusional" in nature, Suleika's power increases in total darkness, but she is easily weakened by any source of light, natural or artificial. Her minion Ulla's role is simply to dream, and can change into any shape her mistress desires, though presumably still prickly-headed.
CHARLOTTE - Witch of Sweets
If you really don't want to read even more SPOILERS, you should skip over to the next witch, Kirsten, because it's hard to talk about Charlotte without giving away a lot of plot points and a major twist from episode 3. A fan favorite, Charlotte takes the form of a seemingly harmless if eerily expressionless little humanoid with a piece of hard candy for a head and an insatiable appetite for desserts, but while she can generate as much ice cream, cake, candy and chocolate as she desires in her labyrinth, she can't seem to replicate cheese, her favorite thing of all.
Charlotte's true form is revealed only when someone has the audacity to attack her in the middle of her own eternal sugar binge, the tiny doll-like body erupting into an absurd, clown-like worm with a 60's cartoon vibe that would look right at home in The Yellow Submarine. It's cutesy, comical and much more expressive than its diminutive disguise, but it possesses shark-like rows of triangular teeth in a maw that can open much wider than it looks, and it uses them, too. That's spoiler #1: this ridiculous thing is the first witch we see to actually kill a person, when it bites the head clean off the seasoned warrior our other protagonists have depended upon for guidance and training. The kids are forced to confront the fact that what they've gotten themselves into isn't just fun and games, and it's a thought we've probably all had watching more optimistic action-adventure series...the villains may be cartoonish and the heroes may be glamorous, but when happens when somebody really loses?
Like Gertrud, Charlotte has two types of familiar that we get to see; Pyotr are stylized "mice" with huge, eye-like candy faces and tiny nurse hats, whose duty is to hunt for cheese. Polina, meanwhile, is a candy-headed humanoid nurse, who prepares and protects said cheese, and you'll also notice the hospital-like surroundings.
According to official notes and other clues, Charlotte's original wish was a single cheesecake, her terminally ill mother's favorite food, to share on her death bed. Charlotte's time as a magical girl was subsequently short lived, when she realized almost immediately that she could have wished her mother's illness away instead. It was this horrifying revelation that corrupted her into the saw-toothed cupcake eel we know and love, her hunger for cheese and inability to reproduce it representative of having lost her mother.
It's sad and all, but wouldn't being a cupcake eel kind of make you feel better about anything?
H.N. ELLY/KIRSTEN - The Box Witch
A "covetous" and reclusive witch, Kirsten generates a labyrinth modeled after a gigantic snowglobe, imprisons people and objects in glass cases and conceals most of her body inside a computer monitor, exposing little more than one hand and a head of long, black hair. A pair of red bows sometimes give the impression of eyes, and when her body is exposed in the movie version, it resembles a roughly painted, convoluted mass of flesh! Her alternate name, "H.N. Elly," appears to refer to an internet screenname, or "Handle Name" as they're known in Japan. Combined with her behavior and abilities, it would seem that Kirsten once lived her life through the web, shied away from human contact and enjoyed collecting things, so the question is, when do *I* get my nice hair and giant snowglobe? I've already got the convoluted flesh part down.
Kirsten's only known minions are a pair of mannequin-like, single-winged angels, Daniyyel and Jennifer, who help carry and organize her collection. One thing in particular that Kirsten/Elly collects are the memories of others, which she houses in more monitors and televisions. Intruders risk not only their memories taken away, but being shown memories they would have rather forgotten, and evidence suggests traumatic memories were a major part of her transformation into witch form.
ALBERTINE - The Scribbling Witch
This is another witch we never see in person, already killed off-screen before we encounter her familiar, Anja, who resembles an adorable crayon-scribble of an eyeless, limbless princess in an ever-changing vehicle, her lower body switching from airplane, to boat, to car as she careens around her labyrinth. All she wants to do is play, but Anja has the bad habit of transforming humans into rubber balls, which return to human form only after they've bounced once for every lie they've ever told. None of these details play into her anime appearance, but like a lot of background information, they were revealed through the official Japanese website. It's also alleged that if left unchecked, lost familiars like Anja can become full-fledged witches themselves, or reincarnations of the witch who created them!
GISELA - The Silver Witch
One of the coolest looking witches, Gisela takes the form of rusted motorcycle parts shrouded in filthy, black smoke, and occupies a labyrinth where everything but herself moves at accelerated speed. Her nature is said to be that of "freedom" or a "liberal" attitude, and her metallic parts only became to rusted from persistently visiting the seaside to watch the sun set over the ocean. When she needs to, she can also convert into a more bike-like form.
Gisela's familiars are the Doras. Just like her, they manifest as corroded mechanical parts emerging from puffs of soot. The Dora's duty is to "declare Gisela's opinions," though we can't understand what, if anything, they're trying to say; they communicate only by tooting and roaring from their exhaust pipes. In their animated appearance, these noises actually play a distortion of the famous Godfather theme, one of several hints that Gisela's human form may have been connected to a criminal motorcycle gang, many members of which notoriously go on to become Yakuza.
ELSA MARIA - The Shadow Witch
Taking a more or less human but pitch black form, Elsa is a "self righteous" witch who spends all of her time kneeling at an altar and praying for the well being of all living things, apparently unaware or indifferent to the fact that a steady stream of helpless victims are absorbed into her shadow.
While Elsa may be a plain and simple design on her own, her familiars are another story. They're collectively called "Sebastian's," yes, including the apostrophe, their purpose is to have blind faith in Elsa's prayers, and they drag anyone they can find into her shadow to become one of their new brothers or sisters, each with a completely different shadow-puppet head on a limitlessly extending neck. Elsa herself never even joins the battle, remaining turned away and praying while her minions kill and multiply, which feels like kind of a hackneyed "evils of organized religion" message, but still, shadow puppet cult. That's just too much fun.
UHRMANN - The Canine Witch
Again we have a witch who is never officially shown in the series, but we get a nice look at her unsettling minions, the Bartels, depicted by modeling clay figures slowly rotating in a dark void. Creepy. The witch herself resembles a dog with a pink mane, and her nature is to crave love and acceptance, but her Bartels have no thought or emotion. According to her official bio, "feigning affection" can be used to defeat her. Ouch.
OKTAVIA - The Mermaid Witch
Oktavia von Seckendorff is a witch we get to know in human form first, but I'll leave it to you to either watch or google who it is for yourself. Her design is interesting, resembling a mermaid in a suit of armor with a massive, valentine-shaped head that I always thought looked a lot like a pair of insect eyes. Her labyrinth is set up like a concert hall, and she's first seen strumming a guitar, all of which represents her craving for attention.
Oktavia's main familiars are the Klarissas, colorful dolls with creepy, dripping eyes who exist as backup dancers for her eternal concert.
IZABEL - The Artist Witch
One of the most abstracted and least "creature-like" witches, Izabel actually manifests as an elaborately carved marble archway, generating a labyrinth filled with "art" she takes enormous pride in - even though, canonically, she's not very creative and nobody entering her "gallery" will see anything particularly new to them. Due to her vanity and apparent sensitivity, her bio suggests bringing a "well known critic" to most easily defeat her.
The coolest thing about Izabel are by far her familiars, the Michaela. Their scribbled features and grimy paper bodies are one of the more nightmarish sights in the series, and somehow, Izabel forms these cut-out figures from the severed body parts of human beings. I really wouldn't be able to critique these; they're gorgeous. Izabel really is talented.
PATRICIA - The Class Representative Witch
An especially disturbing being, Patricia resembles a gargantuan, headless, footless, six-armed and inverted human body, her skirt and "legs" - ending in additional hands - actually constituting her "front" end. Her nature is described as an "onlooker," and together with her title, implies she was something of a wallflower in life, but may have longed for more popularity. Dwelling high in the sky, she spins a web-like labyrinth where she apparently "acts out the daily life of a student," and her bio even goes on to say that if you ring the appropriate bell, she'll really believe the school day has ended and attempt to return to her former human home. Given her sheer size, there's a lot of ways for that to go horribly awry.
Patricia's familiars, the Mathieu, exist only to act as the classmates in her delusional student life, and have no bodies above their waists. Their ice skates allow them to glide along the threads of their labyrinth, and additional, unseen threads are said to control them like puppets, with no consciousness of their own. As if that all weren't creepy enough, they also swarm out of Patricia's skirt. She's like a mama spider!
ROBERTA - The Birdcage Witch
Visually, Roberta is a tad redundant with Patricia and the Mathieu, appearing mostly as a pair of legs and part of a torso, though this witch is also confined to a bird cage, and her defining personality trait is "rage," constantly tantruming and stamping her feet. What really pisses her off is when she doesn't get the reaction she was really fishing for, but it's never specified what kind of response will appease her, and there's quite possibly no correct answer at all. She's also described as alcoholic, and her familiars, the bird-like Gotz, are highly flammable. This is just as well, because the Gotz symbolize "idiotic men" attempting to woo Roberta in droves, and she finds them "disgusting." A witch that can't stand its own familiars is an interesting twist; most of these beings surround themselves in an idealized fantasy, but Roberta's is closer to a personal hell. Maybe she really just wants to be enranged and disgusted?
KRIEMHILD GRETCHEN - Witch of Salvation
This is another witch of particular significance that I won't spoil entirely, but she's one of the most powerful and threatening we're ever shown, allegedly capable of ending the Earth in only ten days. Her nature is of "mercy," and she generates what she believes to be a "heaven" in which she intends to gather up all living things. She can be stopped only if the world somehow becomes utterly devoid of all grief before the ten days are up, which would convince her that her "heaven" isn't needed. Her mountain-sized form is mostly a hollow basket of black bands, topped by a relatively tiny humanoid body. Emphasizing her apocalyptic nature, her designer claims she's supposed to invoke the lower half of an hourglass.
Gretchen's face is seen very, very momentarily, but it's a delightful one, almost like the head of an inky black salamander!
Only briefly seen in one possible timeline, one enormous witch hurtles through space at the end of the universe, resembling a stylized, dead sun with the Earth and the moon as facial features. This entity is speculated by fans to be a final form of Kriemhild Gretchen should she successfully contain all the world's misery, but this hasn't been precisely confirmed.
The Stage-Constructing Witch
Appearing as a huge, upside-down floating doll, Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgi's Night) is a real-world German name for the 30th of April, when witches were said to gather on the eve of Saint Walpurga's feast. In Magica, Walpurgisnacht is believed to be the most powerful of all witches, already named and known at least in theory to magical girls throughout history. Formed when many witches merge together, Walpurgisnacht is destined to drift aimlessly around the world, everything in her wake becoming part of a bizarre stage drama. Her only familiars, which have no official name, are "clowns" represented by the silouhettes of past magical girls, possibly the original human forms of every witch she has absorbed.
HOMULILY - The Nutcracker Witch
Featured in the movie, Rebellion, the final form of this giant witch resembles a skeleton with most of her skull missing, leaving only the neck and lower jaw. Her wrists are also shackled together, but her trailing ribbons function as her arms anyway. There's also, for some reason, a gramophone protruding from her lower back. Because her missing upper jaw leaves her unable to actually crack nuts, the witch apparently seeks to be executed, and wanders in an endless funeral procession, laying waste to everything in her path. The symbolism is just a tad melodramatic, but what do you expect from an unhappy teenager that turned into a giant skeleton?
Of Homulily's familiars, the most interesting are the Lilia, teeth with fur hats who crack nuts for their creator, and Luiselotte, a rat hunter riding a tooth with hooves!
PORTABLE GAME WITCHES
We've now covered just about every witch that's appeared in animated form, but Magica's popularity has also spawned games and manga, none of which I've played or read and some of which look dreadful in the unfun sense, but which introduce some of my favorite witch designs - some of them even weirder than anything in the anime series.
CANDELORO - The Dress-Up Witch
A doll-like witch from the Madoka Magica Portable game, Candeloro's nature is to be "inviting," and she hates being alone. Her labyrinth resembles a giant-sized tea party filled with dolls and toys, where she believes she's treating visitors with hospitality but never allows them to leave. Her design seems a little plain at first, until you realize that the little red and blue apron around her waist is her mouth. It's also fairly cool how her arms are the ribbons of her bonnet, and her "face" is only a cluster of red lights or holes.
Like many witches, we can assume Candeloro's minions are created from humans pulled into her labyrinth. Given no names of their own, they appear as eyeless dolls bound by ribbons and with spell tags nailed to their heads, which you may recognize as a method of imprisoning spirits.
OPHELIA - The Witch of Wudan
Named after a female warrior in traditional Chinese theater, this witch wanders forever, surrounded by fog and by her familiars, seen here in the background. Ophelia's nature is "abandonment," and her journey has no goal or purpose that she can remember, nor does she even pay attention to the familiars who march with and defend her. The candle flame she has in place of a head is interesting, but what's really weird is that her familiars use their own stylized, two-dimensional faces as slicing weapons.
QUITTERIE - The Witch of Needles
A "respectful" witch, Quitterie still believes she's fighting to protect the universe, and she's encountered wearing her own carefully crafted mascot costume of Kyubey. Her real face is seen only momentarily, once she's defeated and the mascot head falls off, but the game graciously provides this gorgeous conceptual art of her complete form - a whimsical pincushion-rag-doll that would look right at home in an old-school Disney theatrical cartoon. It's really too bad she exists only in a portable game and spends all her time in disguise, I would have loved to see this expressive design fully animated.
ITZLI - The Oblivion Witch
Obviously one of my favorites, Itzli is one of the very few witches to ever appear completely organic, resembling a sessile, jelly-encased brain a "hair bow" formed from her own arteries and nerves. That is TOO freaking cute. Her nature is "vengeance," and she seeks to rid the universe of magical girls (and therefore witches) once and for all. She breaks up the stylistic motifs of the witches, sure, but that's to be expected, as her official bio says she was once a magical girl "from the end of the galaxy." An alien magical girl! Considering we've already seen several Earth witches retaining humanoid forms, is there really any telling how much Itzli has even diverged from what her species naturally looked like? Just how weird do magical girls get beyond our planet?!
Witch of Sewing
Our first monster from the second mobile game, there unfortunately isn't a lot of information available about this one's witches beyond their images and names. The Witch of Sewing seems a little redundant with Quitterie, but I guess it's good to know that witches are allowed to repeat themes. She's not as expressive or lively looking as Quitterie either, but you can read her eerie face as having either three eyes - one just a hole where the button fell off - or two button eyes and a circular hole mouth, turned askew like a flounder. Hard to say.
Witch of Springtime
I like the psychedelic, tacky floral pattern constituting this one's face, again with more than one thing you can read as more than one kind of facial feature. Her "hair" descending into a pair of giant hands is a nicely monstrous feature, and her legs appear to be a knife and fork, I guess because picnics, or something. It's also pretty cute how those giant monster hands have such elaborately painted nails.
Witch of Giraffes
Giraffes?! We knew witches could be themed around virtually anything, but this is so hilariously specific and clear out of left field. I guess this kid really, REALLY liked giraffes, or maybe she wanted to be taller? The only thing funnier than the very existence of a witch of giraffes is how she's just a giraffe's head with human legs and Lisa Frank angel wings, also covered in stickers because why not. If you can be a witch of giraffes, then when I'm done being a magical girl I wanna be a witch of chigoe fleas.
The Witch who Wants to Become a Bird
Another grazing mammal of the African savanna? Are she and the giraffe witch friends? Despite taking the form of a zebra, however, this witch apparently wishes she were a bird, and a crude facsimile of one seems to be growing directly out of her zebra flesh, which I'm just assuming is also the seat of her true consciousness.
Witch of Frogs
Frogs, at least, are an animal actually associated with witchcraft, and it's pretty cute how her crown resembles a three-fingered frog hand. As a small, adorable mascot-like witch I have to wonder if it's really what she looks like, or she has a concealed, monstrous form like Charlotte.
Witch of Dreams
Added as special content, there don't really seem to be any better shots of this one, though its design doesn't feel especially remarkable compared to other witches. You've seen one shadowy Jester head with a carousel for a body and one skeleton arm, you've seen them all.
KAZUMI MAGICA WITCHES
There are currently two manga spin-offs of Madoka Magica, and I wouldn't bother reading either one of them. At just a glance, they sexualize underage characters far more blatantly than the anime, which already teetered on a skeevy edge. The witches, at least, still get pretty cool, so rest assured I'll be showing you basically the only things worth seeing in these series.
"Pseudo witches" are apparently an early plot point in the "Kazumi Magica" manga, hastily created by implanting human women with "evil nuts." Unlike true witches, the process is reversible once they've been defeated. The first one shown is created from a policewoman, and takes on a shape like a preying mantis. It's a form much more traditionally "monster like" than other witches we've seen, and somewhat suffers for it. She's cool, and would stand out as a design with a lot of personality in some other series, but in this universe, she feels jarringly conventional.
The second pseudo-witch is much more bizarre, created from a cosmetics saleswoman and intend on attacking people whose makeup offends her tastes. She's basically a giant maggot-shaped monster with a blobby, tadpole-like face, while her original face, pale and almost vestigial looking, protrudes from a fleshy torso with a single eye in its chest.
No official names have been confirmed for these witches so far, but this one was designed by the artist to resemble a "child's illustration," and its domain seems to be anchored to a bookmobile. I really like the one blot-like eye and one "dripping" eye on its crude, egg-shaped face/body, it definitely looks as weird as kid's drawings often get. You can also see its familiars, tiny flying "bookmarks" shaped like people!
NIE BLUHEN HERZEN
This witch's name is supposed to mean "Never Blooming Hearts," but was written incorrectly in the manga. Its nature is of "self rejection," and it's one of those designs I wish I'd thought of myself, a veiny cartoon heart with a pair of defibrillators as tentacles and burnt patches for eyes! In addition to her electrical crackling, she also repeats "puchi puchi," the sound of protruding veins.
This one's name basically means "Doctor Cooking" in German, because she combines both a medical and culinary theme; injecting human victims with anesthesia, she then dices them into pieces with her cutlery limbs. I love how she kinda resembles a robed figure with cascading hair - or a cape - and an ornate "crown," but it's all just ropy flesh supporting a hypodermic needle, and the dark, dripping part might possibly represent blood.
The "bullet witch" whose attribute is "guilt," its name is "white queen" and it manifests as a shooting gallery dummy, with a flawless bullet hole straight through its head. It also uses its bladed arms together like a big pair of scissors. Another one that's cool and all, but not much to write home about.
Literally "hungry pump," this neat "ancient sea witch" initially appears as many little fairy-like jellyfish creatures, with fishy fins for "bows." These creatures merge together into a larger form that doesn't differ a whole lot, except its body is now more fish-like and its jellyfish aspect restricted to the top of its head. This form, in turn, can explode into a gigantic eel, which can be repeatedly healed by its jellyfish-hat, possibly an independent being!
RITTERUSTUNG VON HEULSUSE
Hearkening back to the more surreal and inorganic witches, this one is personified as an "animal tamer" and her nature is cowardice, taking on the form of a timid rabbit-like creature inside a cage-like humanoid with a whistle for a head. She also cat-like familiars with vertical forehead-jaws, which eventually turn on her.
PLEJADEN VON ASUNARO
Another one that feels like the "classic" witch style, Plejaden appears as a huge circle styled somewhat after the Nebra sky disk, but with a flower motif and a wicked little mouth encircled by rose-like folds.
The ultimate witch of this series, Hyades is roughly equal in size and power to Walpurgisnacht, and similarly represents a conglomerate entity, being formed from multiple soul gems. A little underwhelming for a final witch, and it feels more than a little like a sloppy retread, but it's one of the few witches to just look like an actual, Halloween-style witch, so I guess that's a plus.
ORIKO MAGICA WITCHES
Ready for the final stretch? This manga introduces only a handful of new witches, but some of them are exceptionally grotesque!
ROSASHARN - The Toy Witch
The first Oriko witch is a somewhat plain one, just a little girl with a glassy sphere for a head, though her familiar looks kind of like the shadow of a cartoon mouse - until it opens its sleepy "eyes" into just one mouth. Every witch in this series gets an image next to their prior, human form, except for Rosasharn, who's only shown with one of her familiars, so we can safely guess that she's an example of those witches who evolved from rogue familiars.
CECIL - The Elegance Witch
More than making up for Rosasharn's forgettable design, I love how an "elegance witch" looks like a giant, rotten skull. Invoking some sort of youkai, she hops around on a single deformed leg, she likes to lick intruders with her giant tongue and her long, filthy black hair functions as her arms. Most notable of course are her "eyes," a pair of ghostly faces that can stretch out on eel-like bodies! As if this all wasn't spooky enough, she also had the power to manipulate her blood as tentacles when injured. She miiight be my favorite witch, even if it's a pretty close contest.
Cecil also commands several equally bizarre minion types; when we first see her, she's hopping and singing amongst what look like globs of flesh in tiny dresses, and she's dragging along a mutilated corpse they seem to be either entering or emerging from.
Later, a fluffy, amorphous mass comes to Cecil's aid, like a cottony amoeba with a floral pattern and dozens of bony claws!
Finally, Cecil commands these little beanbag-like beings with spindly claws and puffy lips, which seem to be carried around in a little clay jar-like guy! These are also particularly youkai-like, but I can't say the other minions bring any one motif to mind.
Nothing is ever really known about Virginia. She attacks and gets defeated in only a page or two, but she's awfully cute with that single, giant eye on her mirror-like head.
STACY - The Cat Witch
Stacy's design is one of the more sexualized looking witches, which doesn't feel like it's in the same spirit of other witches and is more than a little unwholesome with these monsters originally being children. On its own merits as a monster design, the multi-faced cartoon cat head is a pretty cool and disturbing visual, and it's neat how the multiple tails form a set of huge, gnarly hands, I guess?
Our very, very final witch is another fetishy one, but a faceless tower of torsos is always a neat visual, and the best thing about this witch is that the little flower on her hat is her only eye. Precious! Overall, you're probably getting a strong "Silent Hill" vibe here, but while she's a little too over the top for earlier Silent Hill games, she's still a much subtler design than in later Silent Hill games, especially Silent Hill's own hokey "woman centipede" boss.
Finally, we've got this witch's familiars to look at, and...uh...I'm not the only one who sees it, right? That when they open their mouths they basically look like phalluses and butts at the same time? Not that there's anything wrong with being an assweiner slug in a little top hat. These critters at least were never human children, as far as we know.
So there you have it. Mighty Magicorb. A mixed bag of competent storytelling and distressingly common anime sketchiness, but with some magnificently inventive creatures that often think pretty far outside the box in terms of what a monster can actually look like and do. This was a pretty exhausting entry to research and write, but I'm feeling pretty inspired by all the weirdness we've now looked over.
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