Takamiya is an ordinary guy but for some reason the most popular girl in school, Kagari, is always by his side. Then he gets attacked by witches and learns that Kagari, also a witch, is going to protect him. His quiet school days just came to an end.
Part of me realises it is really unfair of me to review this series given it is a comedy set in a high school so I’m automatically inclined to either be bored by it or to just find it utterly stupid. And yet, while I will say it really is completely stupid, I wasn’t bored while watching this. A little bewildered at times and wondering if any kind of explanation would ever come to make sense of anything (and they do attempt some explanations but I don’t think this series ever gets to a point where the audience actually knows the story – we just get to a point where we know enough to stop asking questions), but it was never boring. Of course, it would be very hard to watch a school building get blown up, a tower dropped on an unsuspecting kid who is rescued by a witch wreathed in fire, before they are surrounded by a robot bunny army which then also gets blown up and still be able to say you were bored. Annoyed by the lack of sense in that scenario, possibly, but not bored. And that’s kind of the introduction into the series where Takamiya first learns he’s being targeted by witches.
However, this story kind of goes for ‘random’ as its hook. The main characters regularly have random encounters with people who randomly turn out to know all about what is going on and they seem to have random powers that don’t really have a rhyme or reason. About the only consistency is that the Workshop Witches (the ones Kagari technically is a part of even though they also attack the main two at one point) can’t use magic without a contract and they work to protect civilians from magic, whereas the Tower Witches seem to just do whatever they want (though fortunately most of the Tower Witches we meet are underlings and fairly incompetent given even without magic Kagari takes them down on more than one occasion). Anything else seems to be fair game in terms of what the characters can or can’t do on any given occasion. It doesn’t make for a very satisfying viewing experience when characters just kind of do stuff and you have no way of knowing whether a character is actually in danger or not given sometimes very simple things seem to trip them up and other times building levelling spells seem to have zero impact.
Yet the main point, the contract that protects the city, is actually the worst part of the plot. Until the second last episode you have absolutely no reason to care about any of the school/building destroying encounters because the barrier just fixes everything and the witches erase the civilians memories and life goes on as good as new without any comment by anyone. While they do manage a twist on this during the last arc which does mean you have a few moments of worry for the non-combatants, ultimately you don’t really know enough about the magic itself so you kind of just suspect they’ll find a way around the issue and they do.
The five tower witches we meet first are the most useless. They are supposed to serve under Medusa (who actually is kind of powerful but seems mostly a peripheral point in the narrative) but after their initial attack on Takamiya they become comic relief. Essentially the plot’s punching bags when things slow down. Their schemes becoming increasingly useless and during the final arc they actually spend what little screen time they get helping the Workshop Witches before Medusa carts four of the five off. It makes it hard to know who the antagonist of the story actually is when there’s just a general sense that Tower Witches want Takamiya and they want him because… He has some super secret power that is sealed only the seals are being broken after he ate a candy he was warned not to eat in order to save Kagari from Medusa, but how he got that power or why and how it was sealed and what happens when all the seals break are all questions this show is not interested in answering.
Also, after about the first half of the show, even though Kagari continues to insist on the whole school thing, their normal school life essentially ends and the interludes of classes and the like disappear as we just go from one violent encounter to the next with barely any space to breathe. Early on there’s also some attempt at humour with the whole gender reversal thing as Kagari refers to Takamiya as her Princess and insists on carrying him around as such after saving him, but they kind of give up on that line fairly early on in favour of other equally silly gags that get run into the ground pretty fast. There’s basically no chemistry between Kagari and Takamiya either despite Kagari being fixated on Takamiya and Takamiya clearly being infatuated with Kagari. They’ve also had their memories tampered with so who knows what their relationship could have been like but essentially they are both strangers who for some reason insist on risking their lives for one another on a daily basis. It is kind of odd to watch.
So, the narrative is pretty ordinary to dreadful depending on how judgemental you want to be, the main characters aren’t particularly compelling though they aren’t horrible, the villains are nondescript or enter at the last minute to add som needed tension, and the setting, while it could have been interesting, is insufficiently explained for it to feel like a believable world. All and all, it isn’t exactly something you’d pull out and tell someone they just have to watch.
It also isn’t dreadful.
The bits of the story you actually get given pain a fairly interesting picture with some rich lore and ideas, its just that the show doesn’t take the time to flesh these out. There’s a really wide range of characters and they all have history and connections and again, these just needed to actually be fleshed out properly. The action and the magic are visually interesting and there’s some fairly entertaining music along the way that suits the show.
Pretty much, this could have been quite a good story, if they’d focussed on the story and given it the time it deserved (about 12 more episodes would have helped). Either that, or they could have pulled out all the distractions and clutter and just told the main story but I think that would be detrimental because a lot of the fun of this show comes from all those interconnected ideas and characters and thinning it out would just make the world feel a bit shallow and unlived in.
Overall, I’m probably not going for a third watch. I’d watched this before (I don’t remember when) and I recently finished a rewatch so I could review it, but now I’m pretty sure I’m done with this one.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the show if you’ve watched it.
Thanks for reading.
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