You knew this kind of series was coming: it’s a magical girl show, set in a school, with guys trying to figure it all out and witches who seem to have an upper hand in things. CUTE witches (none of that old crone with a warty nose junk). But “Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches” (“Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo”) at least tries to put a new spin on old things.
Ryu Yamada (Mr. Shrieky in the upper left) is known as a delinquent in his high school; he has become bored of classes after one year of attending school. Wow, life can’t all be “Die Hard” or “The Expendables”, right? One day, he accidentally falls from a flight of stairs onto Urara Shiraishi (blondie in front) the ace student of the school. Yamada wakes up to find that he has swapped bodies with her. The two try to reverse the change and discover that kissing triggers the body swap.
On the suggestion of student council vice-president Toranosuke Miyamura, they revive the Supernatural Studies Club. The supernatural phenomenon-obsessed Miyabi Itō soon joins the club. The club encounters other “witches” with different powers that are activated with a kiss. A transfer student, Kentarō Tsubaki, becomes a part of the club after nearly causing a fire to the old schoolhouse. The show is an attempt to understand the seven witches that populate it, what their powers are and what their actual purpose is.
One drawback is that it is kind of like Dragonball Z, but not the endless fighting aspect of it. The witches have acquired special powers that are reflective of their desires. This power is applied when they kiss someone, with exceptions of other witches, the boys with special powers and people who are already under the influence of another witch. Some powers such as body swapping and charming are cancelled out with another kiss. The seventh witch’s powers operate differently from the others. Witch powers can be stolen by certain male witches or allocated to a new witch if s/he takes a second witch’s power while holding the first. When the seven witches for a group are gathered in a ceremony, they can fulfill someone’s wish, activated by a kiss by the seventh witch. At least I don’t have Vegeta chasing after me.
But there are problems afoot (like this would be smooth sailing? Really?) The first trick is to identify the witches. Sure, if they all dressed like that above, it would be a snap, but they don’t. The club has to watch behaviors and actions to slowly puzzle it all out. Adding to the consternation is the president of the Student Council Haruma Yamazaki, who knows a lot more as to what is going on with the witches, but is playing it close to the vest. Mikoto Asuka, his assistant, is a very tough number and will do whatever it takes to protect the president, so there is a level of danger as well.
Also, it starts out as rather light and frothy, but as they learn the identities, things take a decidedly dark turn to the extent that I am now not certain how to deal with the show, especially with the highly dangerous Seventh Witch and the powers she commands.
It becomes hard to determine if this is a romantic harem comedy or a serious look as to why witches can’t, ultimately, be trusted (sorry, Hermione Granger). Now, the shift in tone is not noticed until we get to witch five, but it does occur and those ramifications are far scarier than initially surmised. I am equally uncertain about the need for the witches. What is it that they do that requires seven of them and, perhaps, this has been going on for many a year, with no one really the wiser on matters.
This is one of those shows that you initially accept the premise, but then plot holes and other disconnects occur, so you question how well this universe is constructed to withstand scrutiny. But is it a good series? I did enjoy it, even though the seventh witch was a bit of a stuck-up prissy pants. And if you take notes during the credits, they reveal to you the seven witches, so it is not that big of an event when you encounter one. All in all, a good idea but harnessed with a faulty execution. Yet, if you like this kind of gender-bender, body-shifting, magical mayhem, I think this might fill the bill for you. Certainly less destructive than other shows like this that I have seen.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Cute, cute girlies)
Plot 8 (Initially, a good concept)
Pacing 7 (Runs uneven with the ‘darkness’ side)
Effectiveness 7 (A bit took ‘hide and seek’)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Overall 7 (The old college try)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I have to kiss you?!!?