|BURN THE WITCH|
|Genre||Action, Bangsian fantasy, Supernatural|
|Created by||Tite Kubo|
|Published by||Japan: Shueisha|
|Episodes||0 (Due to air in late 2020)|
BURN THE WITCH is a one-shot manga by Tite Kubo released in the July 16th, 2018 edition of Shonen Jump, detailing a day in the lives of two witches working for the Western Branch of Soul Society, located in Reverse London. It is the first work he has released since the last chapter of Bleach was released in Shonen Jump on August 22nd, 2016, and takes place in the same world as his previous work, set 12 years after the Quincy Blood War and 2 years after the events of chapter 686.
As Noel Niihashi walks down the streets of London in her school uniform while musing on how uniforms tell others who she is, she comes across Osushi sitting on the ground and prepares to give him a dog treat, only to be accosted by Balgo, who wishes to see her panties as usual. Kicking Balgo away, Noel notes that he is now able to finish his sentences even after being kicked by her and throws a pipe at him, which he frantically dodges, before brushing off his claim that it could have hit someone by stating that if he could dodge it, even an elderly man could. Emboldened by her challenge of never being able to best her, Balgo tells her to not underestimate him, only to be swiftly incapacitated by a strike to the jaw. Noel enters a nearby phonebooth and deposits a coin emblazoned with the emblem of the Western Branch before saying that she is clocking into work to the receiver, causing the phonebooth to drop into the ground below, much to Balgo's bewilderment.
In Reverse London, standing beneath the partially destroyed gate of the Western Branch, Spangcole Ninny berates the repairmen for not fixing the gate in the week since it was damaged while her latest advertisement plays on a large monitor in the background. When she is told that the installation of the monitor was prioritized, Spangcole claims this is just an excuse and, upon being interrupted by the arrival of Noel behind her, demands to know why Noel is late again, leading Noel to state she had to fight off Balgo at the entrance as usual, to Spangcole's chagrin. It is revealed that the dragons of ancient fables are not fictitious, but not quite real either: centuries ago, 72% of all deaths in London were caused by dragons, which is why London's coat of arms features dragons on it. The residents of London cannot see dragons, but needed to be protected from them nonetheless; therefore, the residents of Reverse London, hidden under "Front London", took it upon themselves to protect and control the dragons.
As she and Spangcole enter the Wing Bind headquarters, Noel points out that Spangcole is the one who told the repairmen to prioritize the installation of the monitor, prompting Spangcole to defend her actions by claiming everyone wants to see her advertisements. When Spangcole reminds her that she asked not to be called "Ninii-chan" because she is Noel's senpai, Noel tells her to call her by her first name, leading Spangcole to say "Niiha-chan" is cuter and that Noel is a boy's name, which Noel counters by stating that it is a girl's name in Japan. Billy Banx Jr. walks up and notes that they seem to be having fun as usual before brushing off Spangcole's ensuing insult of him being bald. After having them stamp their attendance sheets, Billy walks Noel and Spangcole to their Broombuggy mounts before revealing they will be going to Ninebrook Pastures and claiming that it is a fun place. As Spangcole grows increasingly frustrated with her boss's remarks, Noel states that they should get going, and the two of them take off on their mounts.
Elsewhere, in London, Balgo sits with his friend Selvie and tearfully states that he wanted to see Noel's panties, prompting Selvie to berate him for being sad about such a thing. When Balgo reminds him that he rejected the story of Noel disappearing into thin air, Selvie confirms this because he considers the idea of people going to Reverse London preposterous, as it is a "fairy tale" like Santa Claus. Foisting Osushi onto Selvie, who is overwhelmed by his cuteness, Balgo convinces his friend to listen to his woes. Meanwhile, in Ninebrook Pastures, Noel feeds her mount while Spangcole complains about not being able to join the Sabre Squad and protect the streets of London, leading Noel to note that she is content where she is in the Conservation Rangers. Upon being approached by a farmhand, Noel introduces herself and Spangcole, prompting the farmhand to request that they help him harvest a crop today. It is revealed that the people of Reverse London rely upon various types of domesticated dragons for their utilities, such as textiles, electricity, and even meat.
Noel and Spangcole climb up the neck of an extremely large, camel-like Dragon as Spangcole notes that she actually prefers this domestication of the Dragons to Japan's policy of simply killing them all, but she does not know why they need to be harvesting grapes from this Dragon. It is revealed that the only absolute rule regarding Dragons is that ordinary residents of London are forbidden from coming into direct contact with them - the only ones who have the authority to do so are the witches and wizards who have passed the exam to join the Wing Bind agency. This rule is meant to protect both citizens and Dragons, and violating it is punishable by 100 years imprisonment or something else. Back in London, Balgo brings Selvie to the phonebooth Noel disappeared in and wonders what the WB that appeared on the booth meant. As Selvie begins to leave, Osushi suddenly distorts and transforms into an enormous Dark Dragon.
In Ninebrook Pastures, Noel receives a call from Billy, who asks her to finish up her harvest and perform an extermination for him. Though Noel decides to hang up on him, Spangcole overhears and convinces Noel to go through with it. As they speed through the air on their mounts, Noel and Spangcole learn that they were chosen because the Sabre Squad is currently doing field training in the north all day and the dragon in question is located in the south of Blackstone, where Noel is from. Noting that they do not have time to go back to the phone gate, Spangcole tells Noel to use her coin so they can open the Coin Gate. As she notes that Spangcole seems very happy about this, which Spangcole admits to being true because they might get promoted to the Saber Squad for defending London on their own, Noel tosses her the coin as Spangcole opens the Coin Gate, which they go through.
Meanwhile, as they hide from the rampaging Dark Dragon, Balgo and Selvie note that something is definitely in front of them even though they cannot see it. Suddenly, Noel and Spangcole burst out of the Coin Gate behind the Dragon. As it is revealed that Dragons become Dark by coming into contact with people and absorbing their negative emotions, which also gives them the power of human speech, the Dark Dragon demands to see Noel's panties, causing her to immediately realize Balgo is nearby and promise to kill him. Upon noticing the limp Osushi, Spangcole deduces that he is dead and the Dark Dragon is a Disguiser, which takes over corpses. When Selvie tries to flee the scene, Spangcole pursues him despite Noel's warning that there are two Dragons present, only for Selvie to suddenly unfurl his body and attack Spangcole.
With her left arm broken by the attack, Spangcole rolls to safety as Selvie reveals himself to be a Disguiser Dragon as well. Noting that he does not want to kill Balgo, Selvie declares that he will devour the witches and become immortal as he attacks Spangcole once more, only for Noel to swoop in and rescue her. As Noel reveals that Selvie died when he was 7 while protecting Balgo from the impact of a train, Spangcole remarks on the strangeness of a Dark Dragon living among humans for 10 years before Selvie suddenly appears next to them and attacks, sending Spangcole crashing into the city below. When the dust clears to reveal Spangcole landed next to Balgo, Selvie tells him to leave so he can devour Spangcole and attempts to do so, but Balgo blocks his mouth with his arms and reveals that he is doing so because he still believes Selvie is his friend. Selvie prepares to devour them both, but is kicked away by Noel, who admits that Balgo was cool for a moment there before destroying Selvie with Absolute Dragon Shutter, to Balgo's shock.
Later, Noel and Spangcole learn that Billy has been promoted to the Sabre Squad due to his decision to send them in to handle the Dark Dragon, while they have been given Balgo to take care of after he became a Dragon-Possessed One due to being bitten by a Dark Dragon after living with one for 10 years. While Spangcole hounds Billy, Osushi, now a dog again, asks to see Noel's panties, causing her to chase after him and Balgo, destroying the now-rebuilt Western Branch gate once again in the process.
- The last panel of this one-shot is emblazoned with the name BURN THE WITCH, but has select portions of the words (all of the letters B, E, C, and H, as well as the upper-right portion of the letter T and the middle of the letter W) shaded in, spelling out "BLEACH".
- ↑ Anime News Network posted on 2020-03-20
- ↑ Bleach JET; interview with Tite Kubo
- ↑ BURN THE WITCH one-shot, page 61
|Witches & Wizards||Billy Banx Jr. • Noel Niihashi • Spangcole Ninny|
|Dragons||Osushi • Selvie • Balgo|
|Locations||Reverse London • Soul Society West Branch|
|Other Pages||Absolute Dragon Shutter • Coin Gate • Dragons • Wing Bind • Witches/Wizards|