OP Sequence

OP: 「divine intervention」by fhána

「多華宮君と炎の魔女」 (Takamiya-kun to Honou no Majo)
“Takamiya-kun and the Witch of Fire”

Burn the witch! Burn her! Aside from the reference to Monty Python, Witch Craft Works will indeed focus around this singular topic–witches getting burned like no tomorrow. However, aside from that piece of knowledge, we actually don’t know much about the plot at all! From what we’ve gathered, an important “princess” named Takamiya Honoka (Kobayashi Yuusuke) is being heavily contested by two factions of witches. For one of these factions–school goddess Kagari Ayaka (Seto Asami) lays claim as one of its members. As a being who is literally made of fire, it is Kagari’s job to defend Honoka from the wrath of several angry witches, such as the commander of automaton bunnies, Kuraishi Tanpopo (Izawa Shiori). Why do they want Honoka? We don’t know. What’s Ayaka’s reasons for protecting her princess? We don’t know. All we know is that Honoka is going to have a hard time in high school, with the entire school envious of him and a whole squadron of enemy witches transferring into his class. The normal stuff at a normal high school. In anime at least.

My first impressions: cautious and conflicted. As I read the introductory manga chapters, there seemed to be a lot less…lightheartedness in the air than I had imagined. Witch Craft Works came off to me as a story where there’s comedic dislike towards the main character, but nothing too personal. I suppose my expectations were wrong, because man, Honoka’s life sucks. Even without knowing his backstory, the fact that he gets beat up by crazy fans (without any comedic air) for simply interacting with Ayaka just feels terrible. Any attempts at humor this episode were often accompanied with this dark situation that Honoka is in–everyone except for one character is out to get him. If I were to compare this to the last time I remembered J.C. Staff animated a show of action plus folk tale references–such as Ookami-san to Shichinin no NakamatachiWCW feels more like a darker adaptation, sort of how Hans Christian Andersen’s original stories are much darker than their popular Disney counterparts.

Once one switches up the expectation that Witch Craft Works is a different type of show, then things start to get interesting. Perhaps the most important dynamic to observe is Honoka’s position as the damsel in distress, with Ayaka playing the brave knight in shining armor, willing to take any sort of injury for her master. It’ll have to take a lot of catching up to develop their dynamic properly, but this reversal should prove a refreshing mix-up that holds a ton of potential. Ayaka is pretty badass in the sacrifices she’s willing to make for Honoka, while Honoka himself also is showing his concern for Ayaka through his words (though at times this can seem no different than her waves of raging obsessive fans).

Of course we can’t forget about those fight scenes either. I am thoroughly impressed with J.C. Staff’s work on mixing in CG art with traditional drawing–the heated annihilation of all of those bunnies was fun to watch and the well-executed scene of Ayaka being stabbed by numerous weapons was artistically pleasing and befitting of the tone of the drama at that point. I do appreciate how Ayaka’s opponents aren’t necessarily pushovers with one wild card–those bunnies were a pain to keep down and I expect they’ll only get stronger as the story progresses. Next episode though, they’ll sure have to explain why it was acceptable to have five dangerous opponents transfer into Ayaka and Honoka’s classroom. Don’t Ayaka’s parents manage the school anyways? Where are they in times like these?

Aside from the above, the only other thing worth mentioning are the OP and ED. The OP being sung and arranged by the great band fhána is a major plus, but the real jewel comes with the ED, which I swear–to witchcraft–may become the catchiest ED this season. Give it a listen if you have the chance.

Overall, Witch Craft Works wins points on its excellent reversal of roles, good animation of its fight scenes, and tasteful OP and EDs, but sadly loses many points from its poor introduction of character development. I’ll cross my fingers that the story progression and character development will smooth out over the course of the next two episodes–if they can get that problem fixed, Witch Craft Works is straight on course for being a show on fire. Hue.


ED Sequence

ED: 「ウィッチ☆アクティビティ」 (Witch☆Activity) by KMM Dan, Shiori Izawa, Momo Asakura, Shiina Natsukawa, Yuuko Iida, and Natsumi Hioka



    1. Except that Ichika actually has weapons and should theoretically be able to hold his own…which he can’t…it’s more like he’s the weak link of the group and everyone has to step up to make up for it lol…

    2. I have more hope for this power-less ordinary student than for Ichika.
      After all Honoka seems to be important enough (some kind of dormant power?) to be assassination target.
      And Ichika after 2 seasons of training and real fighting is still at tail end of power curve of his school…

      1. The only thing that wonders me about Ichiko is that he is not “state property”.
        Let me explain:
        He’s the only known male pilot. His sister is considered a genius, which suggest hereditary traits for is-piloting. The main-group, beside houki, are representatives of nations, charl even of her own company too.
        So, his decision has weight outside itself.

        At that, i have the headcanon that his density was him being aware of this.

        Random Gyu
  1. I’m loving this so far, everything is understated and the main (male) character is one who doesn’t immediately blush or stutter at the sight of a popular girl. Plot-wise Witch Craft Works appears simple, but just based on how well timed this episode was I’m going to hold out hope that this becomes one of the sleepers of the season, just in character development.

    1. I think what’s being said is that, unlike most of the other guys, he wasn’t desiring her, staring all starstruck and blushing in a more exaggerated way and such at her very presence like typical male leads would tend to do.

    2. Glad someone can make sense of my drunken comments, that’s it pretty much. For the most part what I got from our MC was “why is this girl talking to me?” rather than “OMG OMG OMG OMG hot cute girl I have no hope of eveeeeeeeer getting with is chatting to me. What can I do to screw this up and still succeed?” There was no complete wimpy-ness, only sheer confusion, which for most male leads is a BIG improvement as it means the guy at least has some gravitas (or at least the potential) to him. Future episodes will tell.

      Witch Craft Works is likely to turn into some twisted form of harem show (4 additional witches already, each wanting to capture our dear MC? Cannot really be anything else), but so far it’s doing everything right. After some hesitancy going in personally I’m looking forward to this show now.

      1. I’d have to say that having a common protagonist who is neither ‘overpowered’ nor ‘complete-loser’ is refreshing in harem shows which this obviously is. What really showed he wasn’t a complete lost cause to me was when she handed his eraser back to him and he just took it and so, ‘Domo’. No real emotional change, because they hadn’t really interacted. This show has my definite interest.

  2. I love this already but the thing that’s killing it is the damn fangirls. -_- She picks up a friggin eraser of her own free will, and they hit him for that?

    She hangs around Takamiya of her free will, and they question Kagari? If you’re gonna fangirl then fangirl without questioning someone because all of a sudden their not matching your ideal “god”.

    If I were Takamiya, I probably would have told her that the fangirls are “bothersome” so there for, kill them with fire!

    1. That was an issue for me too but a bigger issue was Kagari’s lack of action about it. How could she NOT know that her creepy stalkers were beating him daily when she was watching him so closely? Alas, I continue to dream of the day a male lead will have the guts to stand up for himself.

  3. Prediction just from looking at this picture. The one on the far left will either come over to the protagonist’s side, or turn out to be a total yandere (and thus can never be won over, because she’s nucking futz). Standard tropes for an enemy who looks like that upon introduction. She may turn out to be an Emotionless Girl™, but that does not preclude her being turned good either.

    I’ll give those possibilities a 50% probability right now, because I’m judging on very limited evidence.

    1. I am trying to guess which one will be the creepy yuri stalker that joins the good guys. She will no doubt fondle Kagari constantly, act jealous and physically beat Takamiya, the usual.

  4. There’s just something about the atmosphere the whole episode that felt very different to me. There were a lot of timing moments, namely the quick cutaways to the school tower and the bell, where I wasn’t sure if it was intended as stylistic or comedic, and that was sort of confusing to me as to what they were trying to convey.

    I can say for sure though, these timings, contributed a lot to an overall snappy feel of the episode – with a lot of other series, especially with adaptations of LNs or manga, the pacing and timing of events happening end up feeling sluggish, like “get on with it already!” feeling, but here it didn’t feel like that at all. It didn’t feel rushed, but snappy, quick, nimble – if those adjectives can describe pacing of an episode.

    Even so, there’s still the problem that basically no exposition was given about why the witches want Takamiya, who he is, and Ayaka’s involvement in all this. I think it’s plenty forgivable if they explain things well next episode, but if they don’t it’s going to be troubling.

    1. Essentially they ALL charged and kept charging. Since she tackled him to the ground, the first ones reached them and stabbed down, the next ones smashed into the first ones stabbing through them, the ones behind them smashed into them stabbing through them, etc. all the way up to the big ones who crushed all the little ones in their way. The momentum from the ones behind pushed the ones in front on over onto the victims, and so on. Really a pretty inefficient way to kill someone, because whether or not the first wave succeeds in killing the target, the following waves are just going to destroy or seriously damage the waves in front of them. I suppose the idea was to have enough numbers that she couldn’t just incinerate the attackers before they reached her, but still.

  5. Call me misogynist, but the idea of a wimpy male that needs to be protected by a hot chick all the time sounds totally WRONG for me. It’s even more frustating to see than Magical Girlfriend shtick that basically fawn over the wimpy lead for no apparent reason. And as such, this show might not worth sitting around for unless the dude grows some serious balls and becomes capable on his own, which i already fear won’t be likely happening in quite some time

    1. Agree. I hope we get over this JBB syndrome soon. On the bright side, at least we’ve been getting more shows with some decent and competent male leads in the past year. Soon, JBBs will be a thing of the past and we’ll look back in fear when talk about ‘The Dark Times.’

  6. Random thought going through my head during this episode:
    Me: “Kagari…seriously, you need to have those students meet the backhand of your princess hand, how can you just sit there and let them talk crap about him?”
    *Kagari then sets all the girl’s lunches on fire*
    Me: “Well then…you’ve won me over Kagari”

    That aside, I loved the first episode. The op makes you feel happy, the ed really is catchy (fav part would be when they actually sing it) and the episode itself showed promise. Though I do agree that hopefully they get through the plot introduction within the next 2 episodes or I see some people dropping this. Because I hope you go and pick this up as one of the shows you’re reviewing zanibas if it does show promise in the next 2 eps.
    …plus a lot of people are saying its a battle/action manga so~I’ll keep my fingers crossed

  7. Did anyone else catch “Obama’s” engrish when that group was beating up Honoka behind the school? “The best is yet to come!”; that was the title of Pres. Obama’s 2012 victory speech. )XD Lol, why Japan?

    1. The only other time I think an anime referenced Obama was in ToAru Majutsu no Index when Kuroko became president and said “Yes…we…can!” though in their defense, you can spell Obama with regular Japanese consonants so it can be an actual name over there, but of course the whole “best is yet to come” was put in there for the heck of it ^_^ cause he just said “Yes!” in the manga.

    2. “The best is yet to come”

      Basically it was a threat to throw him into a secret prison, and have his family assassinated in the night, then bomb his house (and child care center next to it ), and finally receiving an international reward for all these actions. Or is there another context to see this quote in ?

  8. My memory on the subject is hazy but I seem to remember an interview with the author (might have been published with one of the early volumes of the manga) where it was mentioned Takamiya was originally intended to be a girl as well.

    1. Ok I found the interview I read, sounds like it was omake from the first volume.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  9. Interesting first episode in my opinion. I found many similarities of the whole setting with the beginnings of High School DxD to be honest. Takamiya is probably a lot less of a pervert than Issei but their position is quite similar. They are both hunted down because they possess some magical abilities (judging by the opening, Takamiya will become a witch/wizard(?)), they are both saved by the school “goddess” and everyone are jealous of them because of their interaction with said goddess. Plus, both their respective goddesses/saviors have huge racks; although Takamiya seems to be a lot less of a pervert to actually avoid staring or mentioning anything about the latter!

    Looking forward to the rest of the episodes; the show has potential!

  10. I loved the manga and it looks like I’m going to love the anime because the quality is superb.

    This is one of those few anime/manga for me where I love all the relevant characters for who they are. Interesting characters and good character development awaits.

  11. Pretty much agree with what Zani said! At first this felt really off, with the treatment Honoka was receiving at Ayaka’s fans being straight up cruel bullying – and seriously, how could she have not known about it? Even if stopping it might have blown her “cover”, she tossed that aside pretty freely, so she should have just been overt from the beginning. That all felt really bad, and I was really feeling for Honoka.

    Then he got a school building thrown at him and it all changed, mostly for the better. Wicked, wicked combat! Also the bullying became more of comedic sociopathy rather than straight bullying, though it still left a bad taste in the mouth. Could Honoka not have had a friend or two who understood him? (Though those boys did invite him out to karaoke, so not all of his classmates are total dicks.)

    Overall I enjoyed it, especially dat magical combat *swoons*

    1. it’s like they “dropped a bridge on him” (trope!) , only it was school building instead of bridge… and then it went all fabulous with mecha killer rabbits and all-consuming flames!

  12. OH god. the ED is too cute and funny. I know I shouldn’t be laughing at how the various implements of torture we see in the end but damned if the chibi witches weren’t funny.

  13. Strong Female Lead, weak male lead.

    Season of Misandry? I guess male leads are doomed to be looked down upon this season, either they’re fabulous fools, pantsy bromance and this.

    Man, I miss strong male leads and damsels in distress.


    And now that I have your attention, I’d like to say how unconventional this show is. It’s very uncommon, but not unheard of(though I have to admit, I only have seen this situation in a doujinshi myself).

    It’s refreshing. Kinda weird in it’s own way. And yet I have this nagging feeling it’s plot is weak. I guess it felt that way because there’s still no background story and they jumped into the fray like Buddy Complex did. It’s still episode 1 though and I’m willing to give this show the 3 episode rule.

    1. I hope Honoka gets better. We see him flying on a broom in the OP, and the set up reminds me a bit of start of Shana where Yuuji was really weak to begin with, but see how strong he became by the end.

  14. So I’m just going to say this now in hopes that potential reviewers see it, but just saying that I just read through half the manga and they don’t reveal much on plot, they only give partial plot devices each chapter. So you can better expect this anime to be an action anime. I know this’ll turn off some of you but hopefully someone will end up picking up this series but even without much revelations in each chapter there’s still stuff to talk about and its amusing as heck.

  15. wow, this episode was very entertaining. the role reversal, the (MASSIVELY) stacked kuudere, and the rabbit army (how cute and funny was it to see them beat each other up on top of a colossal rabbit who seemed to be sleeping while still doing his job!?)… the ironies just continue to pile on each other and i like it! even the male lead being a tsundere was moe! it’s really hard to express how pleasantly surprised i am, i didn’t think i’d enjoy irony that was so forced.. but it’s awesome.

    from the very awkward lunch date “have my wiener, aaah~” bit to kagari becoming a pincushion for takamiya, so far this show has shown that it is very adept with putting up this balancing act. there’s a duality to all of this irony, while i felt that some of the bits were hilarious as a “this will never fly” kind of deal; kagari shielding takamiya became touching at the same time and i instantly bought into the premise at that very moment. there’s a sense of their relationship being a joke but the writer(s) are able to turn it on its head to instead make it feel very real and i think that’s amazing how they can do that.

    so far i’m loving the characters and i’m loving what this show is all about. it’s strange to say, but it’s actually quite off-putting to acknowledge how natural it all feels.

    honestly i didn’t look forward to watching it because of kagari’s character design. visually she seems to be really out of place as the poster girl and her cradling takamiya didn’t help at all. i also didn’t think a role reversal situation would have been that appealing– but after finishing it, it all clicked, and a lot of it had to do with their sense of humor. they know how strange the role reversal is but how they embrace it instead of avoiding or glossing over it is what i think makes it really shine. i think this is definitely an anime to watch. it has potential to be something really special.

    this season is surprising the hell out of me and witch craft works is definitely a huge factor in this equation.

  16. As series is coming to end. I’m getting more and more curious about the power of the Honoka Takamiya and also will the all the seal be broken or not. I know, i can follow the manga for further storyline but i like anime more compare to manga as anime show more emotions,actions and yes funny moments too.

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