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