Anime Review: Witch Craft Works

Witch Craft Works
Directed by Tsutomo Mizushima
Produced by J.C. Staff, Lantis, Kodansha
Voice cast: Yusuke Kobayashi, Asami Seto, Ai Kayano, Shiori Izawa, Ai Matayoshi, Yuka Kuroda, Kana Asumi, You Taichi, Sayaka Oohara, Natsumi Hioka, Momo Asakura, Shiori Izawa, Yuuko Iida, Rie Kugimiya, Shiina Natsukawa
Air Dates: Wednesdays at 1:15 CST
Currently simulcasting on Crunchyroll

Put yourself in this situation: Let’s say you’re a below-average male high school student. You’re scorned by your classmates, and to make things worse, you have to sit next to the most popular girl in the entire school every day, an arrangement that singles you out for all sorts of physical and mental abuse from her fans – both male and female – on an equally daily basis.

Now imagine that the only thing keeping you safe from an entire army of large mechanical rabbits that just invaded your school, hell-bent on your destruction, and the cadre of witches leading them, was a single fire witch who referred to you as her “princess,” and said fire witch is none other than the most popular girl in school.

Welcome to the wonderful world of Witch Craft Works, a new title that began streaming on Crunchyroll as part of their new Winter line-up. Directed by Tsutomo Mizushima, whose previous work includes Blood-C and Girls Und Panzer, the series is based on the original manga by writer and illustrator Ryu Mizunagi.

The story revolves around high school loner Honoka Takamiya, an average student who’s not particularly gifted or talented. His daily adolescent angst is complicated by the presence of high school “princess” Ayaka Kagari, who is a daughter of a school chairwoman and is slavishly followed by legions of fellow students who have appointed themselves as her fan club. Any interaction between Honoka and Ayaka is met with fierce physical beating at the hands of her fan club, who regard Honoka as a total loser and unworthy of Ayaka’s notice. It’s no help that Honoka frequently finds himself on the same bus as Ayaka and that they are always scheduled for classroom cleanup together, or that they haven’t so much as shared a word this whole time.

That changes one day when the Tower Witches, a group of witches who use magic for selfish purposes, and who are bent on capturing Honoka for some as yet unknown reason, stage a raid on the school. Tanpopo, one of the tower witches, sends her army of familiars, a horde of large, vicious-looking mechanized rabbits, against Honoka. It’s at this point that Ayaka – who, as it turns out, is a member of the Workshop, or Studio Witches – steps in and saves Honoka’s life. Ayaka is a fire witch, the most powerful of workshop witches, and it’s her singular duty to protect the life of Honoka, who she refers to as her “princess.” As a result of the attack, Ayaka, who until now has protected Honoka in secret, comes out into the open as his protector, even striking back at her fan club when they attempt to bully Honoka.

The series promises much fun in the future, and simulcasts every Wednesday at 1:15 CST on Crunchyroll. I highly recommend this fun and visually inventive animated comedy.

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