Most everyone I know has picked up some new hobbies during the pandemic. For example, my wife is now incredibly into sewing and textiles; her next project will be recreating a spencer jacket from Hamilton(a musical neither of us has actually seen). Last summer, my friend Mike began designing a HeroClix campaign for himself and his son to play through. The campaign folds the end of Avengers: Endgame into an adventure set in the DC Universe, in which the Justice League must retrieve the Infinity Stones. It is extremely my shit, so I was happy to consult on it when Mike asked.
It is Mike’s fault that I’ve now purchased many new Justice League HeroClix, and that I will likely purchase more.
Good fantasy stories follow rules. Which is to say, the stories take place within worlds that bend reality’s rules yet remain internally consistent. In some cases, these stories even go so far as to make their world’s rules central to their narrative – which is the case in Kamome Shirahama’s Witch Hat Atelier.
However, the best fantasy stories are not content to spell out and stick to their rules. Instead, the best fantasies break their rules in surprising, dramatic, and often foreshadowed ways. Which again, is what Witch Hat Atelier does. More than anything else, it is Witch Hat Atelier‘s constant, clever focus on breaking and bending its own rules that makes it worth reading.