The Dumbest Protagonist Ever: Why Witchcraft Works Makes Shoujo Heroines Look Intelligent

Witch Craft Works (WCW) disappointed me on several levels. I was extremely hesitant to begin watching it in the first place because from what it looked like at least based on the first episode and the cover art, I thought it was going to be an idiotic harem show. However, Josh assured me that he had heard a lot of good things about it and that I should at least give it a try. Reluctantly, I conceded. He was right on one count–this isn’t really a harem show. (Unless you count a weird love interest, little sister love triangle.) Harem show or not, there is something so irreconcilably wrong with this show that no amount of pretty much anything I usually appreciate in anime could possibly fix for me. It has a name. It’s name is Takamiya Honoka. I call him ‘it’ because to give him personhood would be insulting to the human race.

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This is Takamiya. He has the same level of interest and intellectual capacity as a sea cucumber.

Here is a brief synopsis of the show (courtesy of MyAnimeList) for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet:

Takamiya Honoka is a regular student whose only problem seems to be that he sits next to Kagari Ayaka, the school’s #1 beauty. They have never spoken to each other before and any small interaction between them immediately results in her fanclub beating him. Yet when a falling part of the school’s building is about to send him to the afterlife, it’s Kagari that comes to his rescue. Only… she’s dressed as a witch, carrying him in her arms and floating on a broom?! Kagari tells him it is her mission to protect him and that now she can finally protect him openly rather than undercover.

I’ve watched my fair share of shoujo in the day and spent a solid post talking about how it’s an under appreciated  and often harped on genre. I meant it when I said it then, but if I rewrote that post now after having wasted a few hours of my life watching the first half of Witch Craft Works (WCW) I think I would have had a lot more material to go off. I’m not going to pretend that this isn’t going to be ranty so bear with me. WCW plays host to THE single dumbest protagonist I have ever seen in any anime ever. I understand that the intention of the show was to do a weird shoujo gender role inversion, making Takamiya the damsel in distress and Kagari the valiant hero. However, that is no reason to make Takamiya about as useful and effective as a bucket with a hole in it. I do give it credit for the obvious parallel they were trying to draw, but I really don’t think they had to make Takamiya such a moron. Basically it was him getting into stupid situations because of something dumb that he had done and either Kagari or his sister (who was probably the best character in the show) had to swoop in and save his ass.

witch

The show also played with the idea of true love and a romantic interest where usually the heroine can’t understand why some super sexy guy has fallen in love with her. However, usually I think the romance is sweet and that the main couple works and has chemistry. Um not the case here at all. There was nothing special about Takamiya except for the fact that some weird princess lived inside him (WTF?!) and that he was really good at being dumb. His utter lack of intellect combined with Kagari’s lack of personality made it impossible to construct any chemistry in the relationship. It was literally a relationship for the sake of having a relationship. Then there’s the whole weird thing about the  mothers deciding that the two are going to get married before they’re even born so it’s totally cool for them to live together and for Kagari to go all Edward Cullen and creep on Takamiya while he sleeps.

I mean essentially the show set it up so there was no way the relationship could possibly be in doubt on any level and that it could function without any difficulty or hindrance. There was no love triangle (unless you count Takamiya’s sister) and no real stumbling block to their romance at all. This being the case, it was also boring and stupid as hell when they got together. That is probably also due to the fact that Takamiya has the sex drive of a potato–at least from what I saw of the show. And the thing is, even if he did for some odd reason decided to creep on his weird girlfriend/bodyguard she would probably take all her clothes off for him without batting an eyelash.

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Look at all that non-existent chemistry!

Takamiya x Kagari is decidedly one of the worst couplings I have ever seen in my entire experience watching anime. Takamiya looks like the stereotypical bumbling anime schoolboy with zero distinguishing features and Kagari just looks like a man with huge boobs. Am I the only one who thought she was unusually masculine looking? Then there was the super overbearing behavior from Kagari. Takamiya asked her to teach him magic so he wouldn’t be such a useless lump (not sure it would have helped) and she basically taught him how to fly and how to wear a stupid hat. Basically the attitude of an abusive and controlling partner who wanted Takamiya to be completely reliant on her to exist (who the hell knows why?). I also really want to know what the hell he was doing with his life before Kagari came around.

Onto another problem with this series: What the hell was happening!? I know Josh says in his post that it’s an interesting use of fairytale-esque absurdism, but I kind of call BS on that. The witches all had really weird powers that made absolutely no sense. I kind of lost it with the giant OP teddy bear that Takamiya’s sister started riding around on out of the blue. Then there were all the other witches whose power was kind of random and unnecessary and the fact that you could never actually tell who was good and who was evil based on two completely arbitrary factions that sprouted up to divide the magical world. Tower witches and Workshop Witches–what the hell sort of purpose did those two organizations serve? Anyway there were a zillion plot holes and inconsistencies that Josh covers in his post on this show and I’m pretty sure I’ve ranted enough/made my point. Not to mention, I only watched the first six episodes so undoubtedly there are some serious flaws or holes in my ranting.  In summation: this show would probably be awesome if you’re REALLY, REALLY high.

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Because this is normal

For Josh’s thoughts on the show, check out his review here.

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8 responses to “The Dumbest Protagonist Ever: Why Witchcraft Works Makes Shoujo Heroines Look Intelligent

  1. Pingback: The Absurd Nature of Witch Craft Works: The Creation, Destruction, and Inversion of a Modern Fairytale | Chromatic Aberration Everywhere·

  2. Kagari does look rather masculine, which jarred me in the beginning of the show, but she is hardly unattractive. I rather like her stolid facade, which conceals great solicitude for Takamiya. And she says some beautifully sarcastic lines.

    And Takamiya’s hardly the blandest anime high school boy. Have you seen E’s Otherwise? I wanted to strangle the protagonist of that one within two episodes. Takamiya goes mostly with the flow, but he does have a certain agency. Even though his engagement has been decided, we get the impression that he loves Kagari because he wants to, not because of fate. Though he could have Kagari do all the fighting for him, he convinces her to train him how to fight, despite his lack of talent. He also speaks one of the most memorable lines this season. As Kagari is petrified by Medusa’s spell and the white princess demands his eyes as a trade to undo the spell, Takamiya immediately gives the laconic response: “Take them.”

    But, I confess that I like most of the characters in this show immensely.

    • Thanks for the insightful comment, Medieval! I guess I could see how someone would find Kagari attractive, to each his own! I personally think she’s uber manly and disconcerting to look at, but I guess since I’m a girl my opinion has different biases anyway haha.
      I have not seen E’s Otherwise, but if the protagonist is worse than Takamiya I’m not sure I want to. I will give you that Takamiya does have in your words, ‘a certain agency’, but I felt it was only given to him so that he wasn’t literally lying around like a bump on a log waiting to be saved the whole time. His interest in doing things or being active did not seem genuine to me. I didn’t think his brain was big enough for it XD.

  3. Pingback: I Am Incapable Of Taking Anime Reviews Seriously | Fantastic Memes·

  4. Other than the very interesting setup that the masculine and feminine role is being reversed in the romance relationship (that, and the wrestling scene between the titanic rabbit and bear), I can’t say I really like this anime either :\

    • Yea, I’ve found that to be a pretty consistent reaction to the show. There were some elements that would have been pretty cool if the rest of the show didn’t totally suck haha.

  5. This show was a lot of fun. The plot inconsistencies and the stupidity of the characters just made it even more fun. All I remember about Honoka is that he was the typical female in the relationship despite being relatively boyish (which was pretty nice), he likes sculpting and penguins, has a crazy sister and… is pathetic. It’s hilarious seeing him try to stop being pathetic. I distinctly remember a part in the anime where he thinks (something along the lines of) “at this rate I’m going to end up as an entirely useless and Kagari-dependant vegetable. I need to stop being so reliant on Kagari!” He knows his problems.

    I think there is perfect chemistry between Kagari and Honoka. Pathetic and overly dependent boy X overbearing and reliable women. Although, I can see how some people would think this is an unhealthy relationship… I sorta like this strange couple though. It’s pretty comedic at least. Especially watching Honoka go “please let me be useful!” and Kagari immediately replying with “no chance in hell”.

    Well the anime wasn’t that memorable. The most memorable scene was with the WW2 Churchill mk 3 tank in the background while some of the characters where talking about something. Oh, and a leek almost being shoved in Honoka’s ass. I still can’t believe there is some myth in Japan that shoving leeks up your ass cures your cold. Possibly the most absurd Japanese myth I’ve heard of. Hopefully nobody does that… for the purposes of curing a cold :D

  6. Pingback: Humanity is Screwed: Dystopian Visions in Psycho-Pass and Shin Sekai Yori | Chromatic Aberration Everywhere·

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