Yamada is too rough around the edges to make friends at his new high school. When he falls down stairs and on top of the class brainiac, he switches bodies with her; throwing him into the world of witches. Witches who, in true anime fashion, use their powers by kissing.
Ryu Yamada is not a tactful human being. He is the fastest person to go in for the kiss and activate his powers, unless it’s Shiraishi he is kissing. He seems to have superhuman strength and flexibility that makes him feared by his classmates, but also known as a powerful ally. We, as well as Yamada, quickly learn that he has the power to switch bodies after his ordeal with Shiraishi on the stairs. An ordeal that has him panicking and Shiraishi oddly calm. As the show progresses it becomes clear that Ryu, like most trouble makers, was just bored. He says as much himself. The school is not interesting until the witches are revealed. Once some intrigue enters his life, Ryu quickly becomes an attractive force of positivity, curiosity, respect, and just enough stupidity to make it all funny.
Urara Shiraishi has her head in a book for at least sixty percent of the show. When she doesn’t have her head in a book, she is making out with Ryu. You get the impression that she might actually like being used as a means to use Ryu’s power but whether she is just socially awkward or actually likes him only becomes apparent later in the show. Shiraishi is not a character that exerts what little presence she has on the show, but instead adds her knowledge whenever the group goes astray, like a hippie mother gently guiding her kids through life. Ironic, because her short speech and bookish personality usually lends itself to characters far more hands on and annoying than Shiraishi ever becomes.
Toranosuke Miyamura is the first person to find out that Ryu and Shiraishi are switching bodies and uses that information to hold them hostage. For what? I can’t even remember. That pretty much explains his impact on the show as well. Not only is he similar looking to another character in the show, but I feel as if he could have been eliminated for all purposes and hardly anything would have changed. He is liked by pretty much every character, a candidate for student council president, and *always* willing to let Ryu use his powers on him. Sometimes more eagerly than Ryu is comfortable with.
Miyabi Ito is another character added so that Ryu and Shiraishi had someone to talk to. Ito is obsessed with anything occult and overhears the formerly mentioned characters talking about the witches’ powers. She then has to be part of their friend group so that she can’t tell anyone else…as if spending time with her stops that in some way. The word agreeable comes to mind, but the fact that such an uninspiring word seems to fit her character should tell you pretty much all you need to know about her.
This show was originally a recommendation by the Lotad Gang. Randy says that Preston suggested the show but I only remember that Sarah said I would like it if I was enjoying Quintessential Quintuplets. Not a spoiler, but this show isn’t like Quintessential Quintuplets at all. Quintessential Quintuplets gave me a reason to be invested in what happens. I had a stake in the show and had a particular ending that I wanted. Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches didn’t have as clear of a problem that QQ did. The issue changed a couple times and lulled me into a mindset that was more along for the ride than rooting for a particular outcome. When things looked dire, I didn’t really mind. Even the romances that were put in question affected me less than I thought. But I never wanted to leave the ride. It was like going to the amusement park only to ride one of those slow rides that your mom enjoys. It’s not uninteresting but there are other rides that look a lot more exciting. You will still tell your friends that you rode it with your mom and remember it when you recall the day, but it certainly won’t be a core memory.
A long time ago I complained that magic is usually one dimensional in how people use it. It’s always wands or incantations. Rarely do you get something like Irregular at Magic High School who use guns to produce magic. Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches brings a whole new method to the magic. Yes, like I said in the intro, they kiss. Not only do we rarely get kissing in anime but there is no shame whatsoever in their magic use. My favorite line was something along the lines of Yamada asking himself why one of the witches had to French kiss him for a solid minute to use her powers. So as jarring as constant lovemaking was in the show, rejoice for we have a new way to use magic! Childish? Maybe. Unique? Certainly. Funny? Hilarious.
Perhaps a tiny spoiler, so if my first two sections have completely persuaded you to watch this show you should skip this, but the witches’ powers are passed down to new students. So you only get the powers for the amount of time you are at that particular high school in some sort of educational inheritance. While I think that this idea is just placed in the lap of the viewer, I had a lot of fun thinking about it. How would these people feel after they graduated and didn’t have powers? Would they be more likely to date and marry the people they went through that experience with? Would this create a “peaked in highschool” moment for them? There just seems to be so many after effects that might warrant a season two that takes place ten years later. Not that one will ever happen seven years after the last episode aired.
Sometimes there is just nothing right or wrong with what a show does. Did I fall in love with Yamada-kun? No, not even close. But was it bad? No, not even close. The show does well to transition from a simple introduction of the characters and an initial problem and turn that into an exploration of the issue. Who are the other witches? What powers do they have? Then, on top of that, they further validate our effort in connecting the witches with a final plot twist. Because who doesn’t love drama? It is the stock standard pacing map that is taught in any basic writing class where doe eyed writing students hope to learn how to write their dreams. But it worked, so how much can I really complain?
I feel like these high-school-age, B class, mid 2010’s romance anime, all have the same kind of animation budget. The kind of budget that never really finds a way to impress me but always makes me feel really petty and spoiled by the episode of Demon Slayer that I watched on Sunday. The style is fun. It’s bright and the animation is made to have a good time, turn the brain off, and just press “Next Episode” until the show is over. Are my expectations high? Maybe. I don’t expect all of the shows that I watch to be like Violet Evergarden but I really feel like a lot of these are close enough in style that while they aren’t carbon copies, maybe we can call them Boron Copies, just a single element off of being unique enough to stand on their own.
There is effectively no world outside our core characters. We see one total parent. We interact with no teachers. We rarely ever go outside the walls of the school. Our world was whatever Yamada saw during his school day and that certainly limited the scope of the show. We never deeply explore the origins of the witches. We never see if the teachers know about these powers or how the passing of the powers affects allumi. Overall, the world is small and the backstories aren’t any bigger. It’s clear that this wasn’t a super ambitious anime, but overall, lacking in something special.
I’ll keep this one short and sweet because of how hard it is to find the OST for this show, the music is nothing impressive. I saw lots of people comment on the opening song, that it was their favorite ever or other praises, but I skipped the intro half way through the first time because it never really did anything for me. It felt like a song I would hear on a commercial but never had a reason to listen to. All of the music felt like that. Taking that into account, I talked myself into giving the music a one.
|Category||Points Given||Points Possible|
|I am interested in the characters in the story||3||6|
|I liked the emotion the story made me feel||3||6|
|The story brings up interesting ideas||2||6|
|I felt the pacing of the show was appropriate||3||4|
|The animation in the show is beautiful||2||4|
|I am interested in the world that the story takes place in||1||3|
|I felt that the music added to the story in a meaningful way||1||3|
Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is not a show you need to rush to the top of your watch list. If you have watched any school romance anime, this one will be a comfort pick that doesn’t really innovate that hard. If you are having a down period and don’t know what to watch? Maybe check it out if school shows are your jam. For me, the conversation about Yamada-kun ends here.