Yamada & the Seven Witches (Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a comedy manga series, the first episode of which features a conspicuous lack of witches. Hm.
Apparently it also got a short-lived live-action TV adaptation back in 2013.

Characters

Yamada, our protagonist, is nearly the platonic ideal of the “delinquant” high-schooler : a barely-contained ball of anger who’s rude, violent, and terrible in his studies. Fortunately, before he can get onto my nerves, he suddenly swaps bodies with…

Shiraishi, the best student in his class. Who doesn’t have much of a clue how this happened either, but wants him to wait until after school for them to sort this out, as she can’t afford to miss any more classes. So Yamada spends the rest of the day as her… and learns that she has more depth than the “boring honor student” he’s always dismissed her as : he now sees the creepy harassment from some of the boys, the intense bullying by some of her female classmates, and the fact she has no friends whatsoever. And you can clearly see his own personal growth that comes with this nascent understanding. Also, he has to deal with the fact that Shiraishi refuses him to resort to his go-to answer to everything (i.e. violence), especially as he’s still in her body.

Miyamura, the student council vice-president, who quickly guesses what’s going on and seizes this opportunity to revive the Supernatural Studies Club (of which he was the only member left). Yamada & Shiraishi had already figured out they switched bodies whenever they kissed ; Miyamura is the one leading the experiments that led to the discovery that Yamada could apparently do it with anyone. (One guess how. Shiraishi was surprisingly enthusiastic at the prospect.) Anyway, this lets everyone have a room where they can discreetly swap bodies, provided they occasionally help the student council out.

As I wrote earlier, no witches in sight. The OP sequence goes out of its way to try and frame Shiraishi, the head bully, a tentative applicant to the club who shows up at the end, and four other girls as the titular seven witches, but that feels more symbolic than implying any actual witchcraft at play here. (And if they do turn out to be real witches, that’d be a really surprising twist.)

Production Values

Quite good. It’s a show that relies on comedic timing and a good understanding of body language to sell its central concept, and it handles that well. The exaggerated way Yamada walks may be a bit too much, though.

Overall Impression

This is way better than I expected it to be. The core reason is that it spends very little time dwelling on the obvious jokes, and instead focuses on building everyone into stronger characters and finding fun ways for them to abuse the strange premise. That’s quite refreshing, really.

It’s also an impressive performence showcase. Admittedly, not really from Ryota Osaka ; his Shiraishi-as-Yamada is just kinda flat. But Saori Hayami really gets to stretch herself here ; her Yamada-as-Shiraishi is hilarious, either as a hoarse default-mode or as a parody of feminimity ; and even her normally flat Yamada can turn out to be surprisingly playful and fun. Between this and the 2:15-minute rant, I’m getting more and more appreciately of her range.

This show had me laughing non-stop nearly throughout its first episode. It must be doing something right. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll keep watching it to the end. (And probably catch on that OVA episode that got released a few months ago.)

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 5.

Published by

Jhiday

I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as RPG.net's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *