Thursday, April 10, 2014

Animeciated: Witch Craft Works Review

  I've spent many years estranged from the world of wide-eyes, insane hair colour spectrums and robots galore for a while now.  I've grown hungry for anime and now my appetite is being sated.  Welcome to Animeciated.  Where I make up for lost time in the years I've ignored the medium.

Original Manga written by Ryu Mizunagi
Anime by Studio J.C Staff

Genre: Comedy/Romance

  Now I'm just gonna out and say it.  I watched this show right after finishing Attack on Titan.  A show very much built on pathos, fear and tension.  I was looking for something more bright, colorful and entertaining.  I did get this from Witch Craft Works.  What I didn't get was a story I had any reason to care for.  This is a show with style over substance but I'm going to break it down why the best way I possibly can.

Our wish fulfillment, I mean "Couple" for the series.

  The best thing that can be said about Witch Craft Works is that it gets how to make a show that's pure pandering work without being overly explicit or dependent on fanservice.  It's a show where "Generic Everyman #1416" or Honoka Takimiya is taken under the wing of a fire sorceress named Ayaka Kagari after they meet in high school.

  What follows is a string of bizzare events that are entertaining to watch, but as the show continues it becomes increasingly ludicrous until it's lost so much footing that your questions begin to dampen any kind of emotional connection you had with the plot.

  Both Kagari and Tamimiya get caught up a civil war between the Workship Witches (His new beau's clan) and the destructive Tower Witches.  Here in lies one of my problems with the series.  When you are going for the whole "Everyman" who enters a world of magic and wonder unlike his own, to make it work you need to establish a sense of logic that can keep the audience connected to what is going on or else the lack of rules breaks the immersion.

  There's two witch clans fighting each other over everything with Takimiya completely oblivious to the whole thing despite everyone in the town seems to know that witches are a thing.  How is this hidden to our protagonist?  It jumps from 0 to 100 way to quickly and it quickly destroys it's foundation before it really gets going.

Want believability in your "Boy finds magic world" story?  Read Harry Potter.
  The most difficult part of giving a brief synopsis of what I just watched is that I'm not quite even sure what it is I watched.  There are several side characters in both witch houses but besides their neat aesthetic and one-note personalities there's nothing to really to say about them besides "They are entertaining."

  This was a very "turn your brain off" show and when I relaxed, enjoyed the pretty visuals and laughed at it rather than with it was a ton of fun.

  I've heard people give this show praise for being a role reversal of the traditional "hero protects naive young girl" situation.  While I don't deny this I feel that isn't as great an achievement as people let on.  If this was better written and was a traditional fantasy story about protecting the innocent and wasn't a comedy I feel this could have really meant something.

  When I really stop and think about it Witch Craft Works is a show that's meant to give the often social awkward and introverted anime fan (including me) a form of escapist fantasy.  If you were to tell an introverted nerd "Hey.  Imagine a busty woman with magic powers would take you away and allow you to live forever in a world of magic.  Just you and her." what do you think would be the reaction?

"It's almost like he thinks this show is silly."

  Now for my praise of this series.  It is really nice to look at.  Very lively, very vibrant.  No shortage of color and attention to detail.  This is a well-produced show.  From Kagari's fantastic fire spells to the surreal nightmare dimensions they often find themselves.  It's obvious that they wanted this to be very entertaining, visually appealing candy.

  That's the word to describe this show.  Candy.  The characters are flat (Definately not in THAT way) and I have nothing really of interest to say about them but their designs are cool and you can tell it wasn't just something they through out with absolutely no thought at all.

I came for a world of magic and wonder and I got witches dinking around with karaoke.

  Despite all my criticism.  The dull characters, the nonsensical plot, the complete lack of any tension I was entertained enough to watch all 12 episodes which says a lot about me as I usually give a show one episode to wow me.  This kept me coming back even when I know this was a dumb show.

  Will I ever watch it again?  No.  Will I look back on it?  Maybe as one of the few shows I enjoyed following my return to anime.

  Do I recommend it to anyone?  Well this show will cater to a very specific type of otaku.  If you want some silly shlock with a bit of fantasy romance it's..  Okay.  I'm sure there's better things out there.  It's harmless and surprisingly inoffensive for a show that could just boil down to shameless sexual fanservice.  They actual had standards in that regard and thus I'd recommend it over a lot of shows out there.

Final Score?


3/5 - Passable

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