I’ve written a little bit on Witch Hat Atelier in the past (written and drawn by the phenomenal Kamome Shirahama), and at some point I’ll find the time to give this incredible manga the glowing write-up it deserves – in the meantime though, to whet your whistle, I thought I’d talk a bit about my favourite character, Qifrey.
A witch professor and legal guardian of several unruly little girls, not to mention an insanely talented magic user, Qifrey is a DILF with a difference. This article won’t get into any plot specifics, so there is no reason for you to not start reading this manga as soon as physically possible.
This article is spoiler-free!
Who is Qifrey?
Qifrey is a witch (everyone’s a witch in this world, regardless of gender) and magic teacher who runs his very own atelier (an atelier is a private workshop or studio, by the way – why does this word crop up so often in manga and anime, anyway?), which he uses as a makeshift boarding school for his four witch apprentices.
In the world of Witch Hat Atelier, you see, magic users keep their distance from the rest of humanity, and enforce very strict rules within their own community, including rigid and authoritarian educational systems. Qifrey’s atelier acts as a safe haven for students who cannot or will not conform to the magical methods that are taught in traditional schools.
Light-hearted, kind, and amazing with kids (already husbando status has been achieved), Qifrey is also a magical prodigy, with a specialisation in water magic.
Why we love him
Personality aside for just a second, let’s take a moment to appreciate Qifrey’s god-tier character design – he is fresh as hell. Just wait till you get to the pages where he’s only wearing a slutty little turtleneck.
In seriousness, I love Qifrey for his quiet determination, his patience, and his enthusiasm for his students and their academic progression. He understands that each of his students are unique individuals, and gently guides them to grow by trying new things while encouraging their personal interests. He cares for all four girls like they were his own children, and it’s heart-stoppingly adorable.
Qifrey’s polite and friendly nature does, however, partially obscure a darker side to his personality, which I’ll leave you to discover for yourself, dear reader. His morals and principles are noble (noble enough, anyway), and he abides by them steadfastly – maybe too much so. Qifrey’s desire to make the world a better place is so strong that it can sometimes make him lose sight of what’s really important.
Why you will love him
I think that Qifrey’s sense of vulnerability is the most striking thing about him – he is incredibly open and honest with his students about his fears and the difficulties he encounters in his day-to-day life. Being partially blind himself, he is especially protective of disabled people (accessibility is a major issue in the world of Witch Hat Atelier, as it is forbidden to cast magic on a body) and teaches his students that the best thing to do with magic is to use it to help others live full and happy lives.
Qifrey is also clearly haunted by some unhappy events in his past – it can be easy to forget while reading this manga that he is still quite a young man – and still clearly has a long way to go before he can be free of them. Rather than suck it all up and present some stoic front, Qifrey has no problem with getting in touch with his emotions. While he may not always be truthful about why he is feeling a certain way, he still teaches his girls that there’s no shame in having emotions.
If you want more of Qifrey (and who could blame you?) you can check out volume 1 of Witch Hat Atelier on Amazon!
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