The world is a strange place, and not because magic is real and so are talking cats, captivating flowers and zombies too. No, the world is weird because of the people, human and otherwise, that Elaina meets in her travels, people she would never have met if she had stayed in her hometown.
Much like in the first volume, Elaina the Ashen Witch is continuing to travel around the world on her broom and while she sometimes ends up becoming embroiled in whatever she encounters on her travels, ultimately that isn’t her goal. In fact, Elaina doesn’t really have a goal at all; she’s not traveling to see how other people live, to cause chaos or provide help, it’s simply the vague idea of “seeing the world” but you really have to wonder what kind of world she lives in. Many episodic stories like this one would feature a variety of characters, some good, some bad, and many in-between, but I’m not entirely sure we have met anyone that could be definitely called “a good person” after two full volumes of wandering.
Now it’s true that many of the characters aren’t bad, just misguided, but even those who had good intentions at heart seem to just be utterly dimwitted for the sake of the story and it’s hard to sympathize with them. Like the country where everyone loves cats — I love cats myself but with the way the people in that country act you would wonder if a cat lover had murdered Jougi Shiraishi in a past life. Or the country that had a fake (?) zombie outbreak as a tourist attraction which managed to morph into a real one, that story was at least silly but again with a premise like that it’s hard to see the characters as anything but two dimensional. And other times it seemed like the story thought it was being cleverer than it really was; in one instance Elaina discovers a runaway, recently married princess, who is being chased by both her fiancé and her female bodyguard, meets the other two in turn, and the ending is completely predictable yet it certainly didn’t feel as if that was what Shiraishi was aiming.
Even the more “serious” tales of Elaina come off rather off-kilter, like the one involving the beastkin girl Elise, and I just found it too tiresome to continue with a series where it’s always a story about encountering dim-witted or just plain evil people. I need more variety in a story! Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina is structured in such a way that the story could basically go on forever, as long as Shiraishi has ideas for new places for Elaina to travel to, but I’d argue that conversely this series could end whenever and should have already done so.