Of everything I have watched to start this new season, I don’t think any show vacillated more between “OH MY GOD FUCKING DROPPED” and “Wait, do I actually want to keep watching this??” more than Witch Craft Works. I don’t even know how I feel about it right now, and I sure as shit can’t recommend it to anyone else with any certainty, which probably makes this post worthless for many people. But I got such a confused feeling from this first episode that I had to document it somewhere, so here I am.
Right away, I can say the basics of the plot and characters aren’t all that interesting to me. Normal high school kid whose life is suddenly upended? Check. Magical protector? Check. Generic magical fantasy stuff? Check. Bunch of ladies want this normal dude for some nefarious purpose? Yep. It is of course not unusual for anime and/or manga to be loaded with cliches. It’s what you do with this stuff that makes it fun, yeah? (For instance, much of Noragami‘s content in the first episode left me similarly cold and uninterested, but the act of watching it at least made me feel energized since so much effort is put into many individual shots.) Wasn’t feeling it here, though. I’ve danced this dance so much before. Even the mostly nifty fighting didn’t get me all that excited. Hey, it happens, you move on.
But then there would be all these weird little things that would catch my attention for seconds at a time. You’ve got the bullying scene with the out of left field reference to U.S. President Barack Obama. I joked about it upon seeing it, because I am always down for a cheap laugh, but my quick research shows me that this was actually in the manga — the kid actually refers to Obama’s “Yes We Can” slogan from the 2008 presidential campaign, whereas the anime goes with the slightly more contemporary “The best is yet to come!” from Obama’s 2012 presidential victory speech. Why is this here? You got me. But I laughed.
Then there’s other stuff. A trap involving magicking a school building to drop on the MC. That army of robo-bunnies and their incredibly silly execution attempt. That great piece of comic timing where the MC jumps in to make some heroic save and gets whacked with a hammer, complete with the hollow, echoing metallic noise. (I laughed very hard at that sound while also cringing, because it seemed quite painful.) The main character being referred to non-sarcastically as a “princess.” Witchy woman tying MC’s tie into a bowtie. Just little oddities that might not be incredibly consequential to the plot (though I do like these thoughts about some of this stuff), but stuck out enough to make me pay attention.
I dunno, this early in the season, the vague curiosity of “Maybe there will be more weird stuff in the next episode??” makes me want to keep going even though, again, I have no interest in the plot and little interest in the characters at this point. (However, I will admit to guffawing when all the witches were introduced as transfer students at the end of the episode. The show didn’t even wait for them all to debut before bringing them to class!) If there is any better indication that my time right now is worthless, then I’m all ears.