First Look: Witch Craft Works

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Manga Adaptation by J.C. Staff
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise

A high school boy discovers that a group of witches has targeted him for some nefarious purpose, and that the most popular girl in school is on a mission to protect him. He is her “princess” as she states it.

Lifesong’s Verdict: Surprisingly Enjoyable

J.C. Staff doesn’t have the magical animation of Bones and KyoAni or the indulgent passions of Imaishi and Shinbo, but one thing they are usually fairly good at is picking fun source material and directing it well. Witch Craft Works doesn’t excel on a technical or even an artistic level, but it combines enough mundane elements from otaku fiction into something that I personally find potentially interesting and at the very least find amusing.

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I particularly like the way the characters are introduced. Kagari is a stoic, almost manly heroine. To emphasis this fact she is followed by a dozen or more schoolgirls at all times praising her elegance whom she flatly ignores almost entirely. I am reminded of an old school prince type character minus the prince charming act. She even calls the protagonist her “princess” and when he talks too much at lunch she stuffs the most elegantly carved wiener I’ve ever seen into his mouth. There is no doubt who wears the pants. Meanwhile the protagonist takes on the role of helpless heroine. The contrast between them makes for an amusing dynamic and also serves to raise my expectations for things to come.

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What really sold me on this first episode was the timing of the Harry Potter-like music and silly, but deadly battle scenes. On the one hand I could complain about the way this anime looks, and I think I would be justified to do that, but considering the fact that it is cheap CG, it was all fairly well directed and the final scene of the fight left a strong first impression. Some of my enjoyment was dependent on being able to appreciate an “emotionless” heroine, but I think Kagari had a bit more than that going for her with the gender role reversal thing. I could see this show going downhill fast and I’m certainly not expecting a literary masterpiece either way, but if the action keeps up we could be in for a fun ride.

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Jel’s Verdict: Burn At the Stake

Aside from the fact the cannon fodder bad guys were mechanical bunnies, I can’t think of a single memorable detail in this episode. You could argue the fact that the main dude is referred to as a “princess” is kind of interesting, but in practice he’s just another powerless protagonist who has to depend on his magical girlfriend  to protect him. Everything else, from the bland art over the personality-free characters to the paint-by-numbers anime plot — the bad witches coming in as transfer students got the hardest eye roll — felt completely uninspired. I really don’t see any reason to keep watching this.

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Iro’s Verdict: No Magic Here

Witch Craft Works is incredibly uninspired. The protagonist is an ordinary high school student whose boring and dull life is thrown into chaos as he ends up in a life-threatening situation with his mysterious classmate, who also happens to be a cute girl that does all the work while he stands around and acts scared/confused. Of course the villains are all cute girls too, and all five of them transfer into the protagonist’s class at the end of the episode. I’d put money down on it eventually being a harem set up. In brief, Witch Craft Works gave me absolutely zero reason to keep watching.

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