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Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches at first seems like a body swap story where male lead Yamada and reserved student council member Shiraishi switch bodies with one another until they eventually learn that more female students with unique powers are present among the school populace. The series essentially mixes around serious and comical moments thanks to the antics of the magical powers in action and the awkwardness that comes into play with triggering them as they can only be activated when the witch in question kisses whomever they wish to affect. Much of the series is focused on Yamada trying to identify the other witches and dealing with the machinations of the school's student council, who are privy to knowing about witches. While having its amusing moments, all the characters in the series follow standard school comedy character types and don't seem to have much more dimension to their characters beyond that. The plot has its moments of quality, though I got the sense it seemed rushed through as the cast was fairly large for a one-cour anime series. Perhaps if the anime ran for 20+ episodes, things could have had more time to be fleshed out. But as it is, Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is an okay, but mostly unremarkable, high school comedy milking off its magic gimmick and mostly cliched characters.
Last updated Wednesday, May 16 2018. Created Wednesday, May 16 2018.
Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo
(Seven episodes watched):|
There's nothing like abruptly inserting a crazy, impossible twist into humdrum daily life to shake things up and make it interesting. This show seems like fun, and it seems to be going somewhere. It would be easy to just play this premise for laughs, and leave it at that, with little or no longterm plot. But some genuine storytelling seems to be underway here; this doesn't feel like just the usual disposable nonsense. We get to know the main characters well enough that we can give a damn what becomes of them. For all her high grades and noble demeanor, Shiraishi is being bullied by some bitches and having a tough delinquent take her place is handy. Yamada is uninterested in school but otherwise seems a nice guy. There's no mention of magic as of yet in episode one, but that would explain things well enough to suspend disbelief. I just hope Yamada and Shiraishi get romantic with one another and the show doesn't devolve into a harem. It took me a long time to watch episode one of this series, but I'm glad I didn't miss it altogether, because this show seems like it will be fun.
I like this show because it is both fairly funny and the strange twist is taken seriously. Once they had established a weird premise, most shows would just pile on lame jokes which we have heard a thousand times before, and the characters would be painfully shallow minded, but here there are intelligent people who do some thinking every now and then. Like the guy who guessed what was really going on--that took some brains. This is so unusual in anime nowadays that I don't know what to think, I can only enjoy it. Basically this show takes a two fisted approach: decent humor and an interesting story. It isn't brilliant (I'm already getting tired of the bullying theme), but I'm genuinely curious about what will happen given this body swapping ability. Why in the world a kiss would be the act which causes it remains a mystery; maybe it's a magic spell cast by somebody who has yet to be introduced, or maybe the idea is simply that love is a magical thing. This show could have been a good deal better, but it's good enough to keep me interested.
I wonder why no fansubber was willing to make an MP4 version of this show, when it is probably the funniest (or second funniest) comedy of the season. Still no sign of any 'witches' beyond the first one, Shiraishi; if she is the same as the rest, then apparently these are in fact ordinary girls whose 'magic' only consists of the effect they have on Yamada and Mikagura (or whatever his name is). Yet another person shows up who has no trouble guessing what's going on with this body switching business, which is sort of funny. The whole premise of the show almost becomes a joke as it makes fun of itself.
Scratch what I just said--maybe some of the girls at this school really are witches after all (but harmless witches who won't hurt anyone who doesn't hurt them). And body shifting won't be the only strange ability Yamada and others become capable of--in fact, we may be finished with it. When I ran out of time and had to leave half an episode unwatched until later, I felt distinctly impatient to finish it. That's significant, because with most anime comedies with which I was in a similar situation, I could easily take them or leave them without much annoyance.
One of the things I like about this show is that the plot is going somewhere. It remains interesting and engaging after the initial buzz wears off. Clearly there are still five unidentified witches at this school that the Supernatural Investigations club wants to track down (and apparently one more member for the club that hasn't shown up yet), and since the characters are interesting and likeable and the story is fun, that ought to be entertaining. I could even say that the story is moving at times. Many shows have such shallow and predictable plots that I hardly care where they are going, but here there's clearly talented storytelling underway, and I appreciate that. Many shows can't even manage a few laugh-out-loud jokes, but Yamada 7 can do that as well. Often times the anime I watch are so lackluster that I prefer that they don't go beyond 13 episodes, but here's one where I wish it would.
Episode five clarifies just what extraordinary thing Yamada is able to do, which isn't exactly what it originally seemed, and where the body shifting ability came from. Each of the cute 'witch' girls at the school has a different magical ability, and trying to keep track of exactly what's going on as more than one twist reality at a time can get confusing. Surely there will never be an explanation of why there are modern-day witches, but that's OK, because just tracking them down and making friends with them is fun by itself. Whereas Mikagura started off funny but rapidly ran out of steam, Yamada has remained both funny and intriguing, and I would say is without doubt the best comedy anime of the 2015 Spring season.
Last updated Wednesday, June 17 2015. Created Wednesday, April 22 2015.