divine intervention by fhána
The one I profoundly love
Since the day I came across
Is none other than you
Who was it that was crying
At the back of my faint memories?
Since I’ve made up my mind, I won’t hesitate anymore
I won’t hurt that which is precious to me
Even if the day comes that the whole world
Becomes our enemy and bares its fangs, I…
I’ll protect what I can, because
I realized before I was born
That I will fight for you
The one I profoundly love
Ever since that day, yes,
If I can’t reach you yet,
I’ll shout your name even louder
Towards the sky
It’s time for Under Your Radar! This time, we’ll be discussing Witch Craft Works, an ongoing seinen manga by Ryū Mizunagi that runs in the bi-monthly Kodansha magazine good! Afternoon. Vertical has licensed the manga, while Crunchyroll ran the 12-episode anime adaptation, but not the bonus episode (which covers the cleanup after the finale, as seen in the manga).
The story takes place in a modern setting with fantasy elements. A high school dude by the name of Honoka (yes, a guy with a girl’s name – he was initially supposed to be female) thinks himself normal, but finds himself under attack by the series’ equivalent of the team rocket trio. I make the comparison because he’s saved by a girl named Ayaka, who’s so overpowered in comparison that the attackers get obliterated.
What follows is a magic mystery love story type thing. Ayaka and Honoka end up moving together, with Ayaka being extremely protective and also being a rarity in (non-hentai) anime, as she’s the dominant partner in the relationship despite being a woman (calling Honoka her “princess”). Honoka’s sister is none too pleased about this, but more importantly there are a lot of gaps in the information known to the protagonists.
Why are they under attack? The two have met before, but under what context? (They’ve both forgotten.) It was also made known that Honoka was travelling with Ayaka’s mother at one point, but what happened during these events? As you can tell by the questions, the answers inevitably blend into each other, but even the current point in the manga has not fully revealed all the secrets.
Something I appreciate is that Ayaka is far more subtle of a yandere than most ones in anime. She’s quite clearly prepared to kill anyone after Honoka, be it to harm him or romantic interest. But she’s never as overt about this, and the times she does attack others, it’s played for laughs. She also doesn’t mind stopping when Honoka asks.
Also nice is that, while the subject of some ordinary (as far as others know) dude going out with the most popular girl in school is brought up early and often, it’s never an obstacle of note. Ayaka repeatedly outright demolishes the issues with her influence or sets things up for Honoka to, making it an unimportant note while most romance series I’ve seen would have the less popular of the two partners dwell on whether or not they’re worthy for quite some time. On the flip side, there’s very little threat to the protagonists at all for the whole story, so that may be a negative.
To be fair, Honoka does see this as an issue, but only sees it as a major obstacle for part of episode 1 and when other people dwell on it for later episodes. He actively makes sure that people acknowledge him as worthy when given a reason to, but otherwise he doesn’t seem to care after that.
The anime picked a good place to stop, too. Right before the manga would start giving disappointing, phoned-in resolution to some secrets, and right at the end of the most climactic arc seen thus far.
Well, I enjoyed it, though it’s admittedly stupid at times. The art was pretty nice, the story never pissed me off, and the small mysteries intrigued me. It’s just too bad that, as noted, the manga gives some disappointing resolutions.
I want to see a season 2, but that obviously needs to wait for the manga to get to another climactic arc, or it would be pretty meaningless. As a side-note, the ending theme animation is hilarious.