(12ish episodes ?)
What’s it about ?
Adaptation of a seinen manga series about a witch getting fed up with the Hundred Years’ War.
Anne, a young French girl who goes to visit the Witch with her mother to get medicine for her grandma, a longtime friend of the Witch who’s too sick to come herself this time around. Anne’s also worried about her father, who’s been called to fight in the War ; maybe the Witch can do something about that too ? (Her mother prudently points out she shouldn’t be too public about her trust in the Witch ; the Church has ears everywhere…)
Maria, the Witch, for some reason decided to make herself look like an old crone for this meeting. First impressions are important, you know ? (She actually looks quite young, whatever her actual age is. And, as the title indicates, still a virgin.)
Artemis, her succubus servant, who breaks the illusion, because it’s funnier that way and she enjoys trolling her mistress. Just back from a mission to “incapacitate” the army leaders, if you catch her meaning. (Again, she enjoys teasing Maria over the details.)
Joseph, a messenger from the French crown who’s been regularly trying to get Maria on their side, to not much success. So he tells her he’s been reassigned to fight in the army. Maria tries to make it look like she doesn’t care about him, but it’s obvious (and particularly to Artemis) she’s at best fooling herself.
Towards the end, Maria clearly explains her agenda : she’s furious about the Church’s treatment of Jeanne d’Arc and the horror of the War in general ; so she’s using her powers to make it stop. (If this saves Anne’s father and Joseph, then that’s a complete coincidence, of course.)
A few other witches are sharing popcorn next to the battlefield, with an English one (with no particular loyalty to her country) taking the naive newcomer role.
Quite good indeed. Way less fanservice than you’d expect from the premise, as the show is busier selling the jokes and the characters.
This is an intriguing start, especially for what isn’t in this first episode. That would be the start of Maria’s quest (as it’s already well in progress), as well as more than a token acknowledgement of what she’s actually doing against the war. No, right now the priority is to shed plenty of light over her motivations, whether in that anvilicious rant, by establishing links to people in direct danger, or more subtly in the way the war itself is depicted.
Every effort here is made to have the war look as pointless as possible. There are no stakes whatsoever, as the battles don’t seem to have any purpose beyond keeping the war going. Jingoism is artificially fanned. While the freshly-recruited rank and file die in droves, for the well-equipped professional mercenaries it’s just another day at the job. Nobody high-ranked is shown anywhere near the battlefield. It’s a dreary war that has taken a life of its own and grinds decent people down for no reason. It’s thus no wonder why Maria would want to stop something so horrible.
Now, there’s no clue where this is actually going ; we’re firmly at the world-building stage for now. But it’s been enough to hook me.