Have the world’s most ridiculous parfait!
Ahh, episode 2. The one that far too often dashes the hopes that you had coming out of episode 1. Sometimes it’s good, many times it’s not what you really wanted. Sometimes it’s good enough to not make you lose hope, but still isn’t inspiring, so you’re waiting for the more episodes. And then there are the times…
Second Episode Triumph
Oh hey, just getting a little witch burning in before school
Where the second episode takes everything you liked about the first, builds on them, and adds more stuff you like. For me, Witch Craft Works just did this. I loved every minute of this episode, laughed out loud multiple times (and let’s be honest, you really don’t do that that often when you’re watching TV by yourself), and just felt a wonderful sense of anticipation. And while I’m not necessarily one to give a ton of credit to series directors, I do find it interesting that the last show I watched by director Tsutomu Mizushima, Girls und Panzer, had the same effect: I loved the second episode. To me, Witch Craft Works had the same earnestness, the same excitement and fun, that the second episode of GaruPan did. So in case you couldn’t tell, I’m feeling really excited about this series now.
This is a much better pursuit for them
The story did move along a little bit, as Honoka finds out why the Tower Witches are all after him. And he does find out the reason: They want his body, and the white stuff that he has inside it. To me, that was just brilliant, especially when Kanna completely lampshades it with “Tanpopo-chan, Tanpopo-chan, won’t he get the wrong idea from that?” We also learned that the 5 witches we met last episode are the Ivory Quintet, but really are, as skylion posited, Team Rocket. Essentially, they’re no match, at all, for Ayaka. Captured easily, defeated in seconds, and completely outmaneuvered at every turn. But I start to wonder how much of that power differential is because of Ayaka’s feelings.
Kazane and Chronoire, Workshop Witch and Tower Witch
We also learned about the Workshop Witches and Tower Witches, although I have no idea why they’re called Tower Witches yet. A fundamental difference in worldview, the Workshop Witches are trying to integrate within human society, while the Tower Witches don’t care, they just want what they want. It doesn’t set up as much ‘good vs evil’ as you might have expected, and I think that’s good for the series. There are still ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’, but that’s really just a matter of perspective. Well, and who bats little kids out of the way, like Ai does, after starting to help the little girl in the mall (is it a rule that you have to have Ai, Mai, and Mii together?).
Don’t You Dare Threaten Him
Honoka even has a stalker imouto
For me, the scene with Ayaka’s mother, Kazane, did throw some light on the subject of Ayaka’s feelings. After she’s described the Workshop mindset, Ayaka gets chewed out by her mother for blowing holes in the school, the shopping mall, pretty much everywhere that Honoka got attacked. Apparently this is antithetical to the way the Workshop Witches are supposed to operate. And to me, that starts to point towards an indication of Ayaka’s feelings for Honoka. She’s not doing just what she needs to protect him. She’s punishing everyone who goes after her guy, with extreme prejudice. For the stoic Ayaka, who doesn’t really show emotions, that seemed pretty significant to me. In addition, her speech where she turns the subject from Honoka being her apprentice to his grammar test, that he should be worrying about studying for that, not about witches (he definitely shouldn’t be worrying about danball (cardboard box) stalkers following them all around the city) really felt, again, like it was more than “you’re the guy I have to protect because that’s my job.”
This is a badass
But Ayaka is pretty great at protecting him, and now we get to see Honoka become an apprentice witch. I do hope this doesn’t cut down on Ayaka’s badass moments tho. There were some really great ones that were just awesome television. That pose when she came after Mei after defeating the rest of Team Rocket, I mean, the Ivory Quintet, and then after absorbing all of Ai’s bullets and responding with that deadpan “Bang”. Straight up chills for me. Sheer badassery. I don’t know if I’ll ever get tired of seeing Ayaka standing there, statuesque, wreathed in flame. It really is a good, iconic look.
As I said, Episode 2 was better than Episode 1 for me. And that’s a great sign. Now hopefully episode 3 will keep the same trend. I’m not too worried about the Ivory Quintet turning in to Team Rocket, since there definitely appear to be more worthy challengers coming, even the presence of the strongest Tower Witch, Chronoire (we’ll see how much Rie Kugimiya hams it up in that role, it seems to be just begging for it). But maybe Honoka will learn enough to be useful, or at least not be dead weight. The story’s forming around Honoka and Ayaka pretty well, so we’ll see where it can go.
It’ll be cosplay time for Honoka!