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WITCH CRAFT WORKS - Review - It's Paint-by-Numbers Anime?

Episode #1 -- Special Review. But it... kind-of works?

This... seriously felt like a show designed to fit anime search-engine optimization. The premise didn’t grab me when Sam first brought it up a few weeks back; but it’s proven to be popular, so I’d be remiss not to address it here. Seeing it now, I can more-or-less understand why people have been watching, because it pretty much hits all the points of your standard anime issue opener…

Certainly, it’s a real possibility that I’ve simply watched too much of this stuff (or gotten too old? Not yet!), but there’s only so many times I can watch a high school pushover get turned upside down when a hot, otherworldly chick literally crash-lands into his life and professes her totally-unbelievable infatuation with him… and so on… and act like I’m not just watching an animation studio fill in the slots on a check list.

That said, the show actually gives a few minor tweaks to the formula to make this feel like more than a rote recitation. The gag about the Queen Bee at school having a fan club who will actually go ahead and viciously beat the shit out of any unworthy suitor is a funny, unusual way to earn sympathy points through those reliable means of campus bullying. I’ve never been that conscious of set-design making a story more appealing before, but the studio put the right person in charge of picking digital textures, filters and other effects here. The props… just… look nice?

And that goes for the CG bunny monsters, too. As if to directly answer another question recently posited on the Vice Pit, these critters are a fun counterpoint to all the 3D characters who haven't integrated well with 2D scenery. They look quite appealing in their own, cel-shaded right.

Does it say something about the quality of the story when I’m focusing on all these aesthetics, though? Well, I’ll leave that up to you...

Watch, Takamiya-Kun and the Fire Witch” and decide for yourself.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
DocHauson March 3, 2014 at 7:34 a.m.

Personally, I thought it was funny how the series starts off with a shoujo-ish premise, except the gender roles are reversed: Takamiya being the shoujo hero(ine), even being called "princess," by the pretty bishou(jo) who acts as his knight and defends him from the others.

Also, good to see a lot of the art portrayed well in the show, with plenty of easter eggs to look for in various scenes. J.C. Staff can do some amazing work when they feel like it.

Marshal Victoryon March 3, 2014 at 7:40 a.m.

Eh dont think its age here Tom. Im older than you ( would guess by a decade at least ) an I like this anime alot. An no to show admiration for the animation + illustartion style over the story is not a bad thing. Animation is a visual medium so that seems not a bad thing to me. Tho ya already had a preset notion of what the series was when Sam was trying valiantly to sales pitch it to ya. There is video of this.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpbcm5K-WG8 Problem could start there.

Sure there is not alot of new here. But it does have enuff twists an quirks that make it great fun for me at least. The comedy hits the right beats. Dry an subtle at times to bugs bunny levels of looney tunes. Its reverse of the hero an princess trope. The quality of animation never drops by much an actualy at times even gets bettter than the pilot levels.

Could have been ya was just not in the right mood for this. Could have been the visiuals did actualy over power the the story for ya. Honestly you dont see animation of this quality for small screens. Its saved for movie level stuff.Combine that with the subtle parts you can easly miss some of the better gags.

Would highly recomend ya come back some time when the minds pallet is clear an try again. At least the a 3 episode/strikes go on this. Its gona be a 12 episode deal to an moves along at a break neck pace. If nothing else one can not be bored with those visual. An no I'm not talking about bodyguards chest! Show really does not do fan service like most people define it. Tho I'm sure some one will see it some where. Fan service the new Where's Waldo of anime!

Kino88on March 3, 2014 at 8:28 a.m.
That's more or less how I felt going in, but I have to say the show is pretty funny And also just plain "pretty", However I agree enough with "the average high school student!" Dose life in Japan just end post high school? Atleast do college for once!,
Marshal Victoryon March 3, 2014 at 11:11 a.m.

@Kino88: Golden Time is set in collage. Genshiken was as well. They are out there just not the target audiance.

zaldaron March 3, 2014 at 10:08 p.m.

@Marshal Victory: Yea Golden Time may be set in college but boy does it feel like high school though...I mean my undergrad was very different than high school not so much here it seems. And anime is a visual storytelling medium if the story is not good than the art better be INCREDIBLY impressive. YMMV of course but the screencap here isn't nearly good enough for me to say the art is good enough to overcome a generic story. @Tom (yo fix your profile) not wanting to watch something that has been overdone has nothing to do with age - its simply good taste. Creativity is what makes anime great. Now if it is a truly well done version of the formula then maybe...but otherwise na I'd rather watch something creative even if it doesn't really work as opposed to something that simply paints by numbers.

Marshal Victoryon March 4, 2014 at 8:57 a.m.

@zaldar: Well consider to what feels like high school or collage is subjective to ones real world experiance. Im just pointing out thats the back drop. I didnt go to collage but the friends I had to pick up from there every so often said parts of it was similar an maturity wise it would vary.

So you had freshman who acted mature beyond their years an senoris who were at the maturity level of high school freshman.Also None of Golden Time to me felt like any thing from my high school days or even vocational days.

Now on art style an animation vs story thats fairly easy enuff. Think of your favorite anime. Then just imagine it all with stick men anaimation. To say you would be drawn to watching it with stick men animation is less than likely. Also take out the sound to. Sound sets the stage as much as visual . Good example is..

zaldaron March 6, 2014 at 3:45 p.m.

I read novels so quite a few of my favorite anime I would either read as a novel or watch with stick men...but imagine yours with the best animation now put every character line as DAH DAH DAH expect interest would wane after awhile no matter how pretty it is.

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