Saturday, 12 September 2015


So I finally got around to reviewing this. Let the good times roll!

There are a lot of things about this anime that are rare. First off, it got me to watch subs...well this one at least. Those of you who know me, know that while I don’t care about the Sub vs Dub war, I do however have a preference for dubs. This series changed that temporarily. I decided I was going to watch it subbed long before I found out it wasn’t going to get a dub. Secondly, this series is a dark horse and very underrated. Thirdly, it does what few 12-episode anime do…finish the goddamn story! 
It’s true. You go take a survey of all the 12-episode anime out there and you measure how many of them actually finish they story instead of ‘ending’ with nothing really resolved and leaving the fans hoping for a second season that never comes? There are a lot of them and Yamada-Kun and the Seven Witches is one of those rare tales that establishes characters, sets up plots, develops characters and resolves tension by giving us a sufficient enough climax to make all of us feel like we parted ways with the show on good terms.

"No matter how many times I see this picture, I always laugh. It's funny. Deal with it."

While the story isn’t over since the manga goes on past the Chapter 90/12-episode series, the anime does end on a note where a casual viewer who has not read the manga can say: “I loved that ending. That was a good show.” You might even surprise them by telling them that that story actually goes on in the manga. That’s how fantastically well the series manages to conclude things.

First off, I’d like to speak about the characters as I feel this series wouldn’t have been nearly as inciting if not for the vast array of different archetypes we were presented with. That coupled with the fact that nearly every character – with the exception of perhaps Ushio and Mikoto – receives their fair share of character development. In some cases, such as Yamada, Urara and Nene, the development is huge. Nene in particular gets the a huge amount in episode 11 combined with the slowly Defrosting Ice Queen character stereotype she was introduced as. 

However, this series makes or breaks it for you depending on how well you connect with Yamada and Urara. It is a lovely story of understanding, emotion and romance. I love the idea of switching bodies across a series of episodes as it really allows the characters, not just these two, but them in particular to really understand each other. It’s alright if you fall in love, but how ‘well’ do you know the other person. I mean really that person. With this series, at the end of it, you have two people who know what it’s like walking a mile in each other’s shoe. You have two people who understand each other on a level which few other couples can match.

"Don't they all look cute in their pointy hats?"

When we talk about the other characters, my favorite would have to be Ito, the lovable supernatural fan. Even though she I mostly comic relief, her standout story sees her receiving so much great character development that it kind of makes up for it. The same with Miyamura who’s importance to the plot fluctuates, but he is still treated throughout. I adore his sister’s arc in the last three episodes. 
Even the other witches! This series good character development. While they don’t all get the same amount of screen time, the witches always have a presence and each one of them has their own personal tragedy that we get to explore and overcome. This is just what storytelling is about. They use the supernatural powers as a gimmick to help us understand the crutches these characters live with. I mean take Noa’s power to only see other people’s past traumas. On the one hand you can make the case that this is the worst superpower ever, but on the other hand, just think for a moment how emphatic this character would have to be, whether they want to be or not. Noa herself has a particularly horrific tragedy that is still very minor, but absolutely brutal personally. People have committed suicide for less and the way she is treated by the story is magical.

"Dude, she's like...a dude?"

As I mentioned, the witch with the most screen time is Nene who as I mentioned, gets a lot of good development and near the end makes a personal sacrifice that speaks volumes about what kind of person she truly is. It is something I don’t think I’d be able to convince myself to do and NO – it isn’t a heroic sacrifice of her life. It’s not that kind of story.  

This series is tricky in that there is no truly evil character in the roster – save maybe one. Everything has their own – justifiable – reasons for doing what they do and you do sympathize with them which is something that other stories don’t normally go for.

"She's gonna run out of shirts at this rate." 

Let’s talk about the different powers for a moment. The most utilized witch power is Urara’s body switching ability and it is used well in my opinion. It is used for comedy, drama and even horror in one notable episode. The author really treated the male and female characters as equals in this series. I applaud her for not putting in so many ecchi or fanservicey scenes with Yamada in Urara’s body and I love how she made the female characters almost as perverted (when the time came) as the male one – if not more so. Having a female character in a male body just open up their pants and commenting on the different tools down there is a subtle, but funny. Likewise, the men-in-women do go for the boobs but it doesn’t take over the show. It doesn’t dominate the scene. The author of this is a woman which I like and I enjoyed seeing her put these characters in a lot of different and varying situations when they were switched and milking the comedy using a different formula. It only enriches the story.

And the body switching power isn’t the only power that gets ‘abused’. You have Nene’s love inducement power and Meiko’s telepathy. Miki Yoshikawa utilizes these powers in an assortment of different ways to make the viewer look at these base powers in a new light. She succeeds in putting a new spin on an old idea.

"I don't care who is who, this is still sexy. Nuff said!"
This series isn’t perfect though. It has a gaping problem that most fans have noted, but if you haven’t yet, it’s the length of this series. Twelve episodes at times felt like too few to tell a story of this magnitude. This is particularly evident in episodes 6 and 7. Some have noted that the series feels rushed compared to the amount of stuff in the manga which I will yield to. I read the manga up till episode 7 and decided to stop so as not to spoil the whole series. People note that the last couple of episodes also feel rushed, but as someone who didn’t read that bit of the manga, it felt completely natural to me. I didn’t pick up on any Rushed Episode Syndrome so I will agree that if you’ve read the manga beforehand, the series can feel rushed at times. However, that isn’t so prevalent if you don’t read the manga.

Another issue with the series and this one I agree with is the character of Tsubaki and Tamaki. I don’t like them much which is a good thing as Tsubaki is practically non-existent after his introductory episode. He is literally only there because of the plot which I love because I love episode 7, but I don’t see the point of him past that. In Tamaki’s case, it comes down to him not being as developed as the rest of the cast which can probably be attributed to him being introduced so late in the series. He doesn’t really fit the role the plot wants him to undertake.

Rating this series: 8/10. A perfect Sunday afternoon series for the whole family.

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