Gogo Rapid Stream Fail!
I love it when I get to review a show like Witch Craft Works. For me, the best shows are the ones that give that mixture of action, humor, drama, and even romance and put it all together for an entertaining result. And so far, this show is really fitting that bill.
Arguing about the important stuff
I don’t know if episode 3 quite lived up to episode 2 as far as sheer fun, but it took a significant step forward in two separate plot lines. One of those plot lines is NOT the squabbling among Team Rocket and Team Llama (gotta call them something), however. Perhaps there will be a point in the show where the Ivory Quintet and Ai, Mai, and Mi will not be complete losers vs Ayaka, but that day will not come soon (my guess is that sometime they’ll form some temporary alliance of convenience, which will fall apart after some initially promising success). Nevertheless, they’re doing very well at filling the role of comic relief, even in their short appearances. I especially like Kanna’s aborted attempts at being the voice of reason, only to repeatedly be squashed by Tanpopo’s overconfidence. A little more personality and interaction from the rest of the group would be welcome, too.
Chronoire definitely has a distinctive style
We knew that Chronoire Schwartz VI would be a major player, but I’m somewhat intrigued that she got involved now but didn’t push it farther right away. She certainly seems to be one of those characters where the main motivation is to be involved in interesting things, and smashing Ayaka and Honoka right away would be cutting off the fun she could have later, which helped keep this chance for exposition from seeming like just lame monologuing and time wasting. So we learned that Honoka is a source of magical energy for Ayaka, but that there’s much more inside him, possibly to be released. Although that could cause quite a bit of trouble for the world… not that Chronoire really cares about that.
Badass upgrade, this time she’s a dragon?
Of course, it was pretty lame of our heroes to just blunder into her trap, but presumably that’s why Chronoire is the powerful witch in charge, not a lackey (i.e., her plans actually work). She completely got the drop on Ayaka, even while acknowledging that Ayaka’s power could challenge her, which does set up some interesting plot points in the future: what is the device or spell that Chronoire used to immobilize Ayaka, and is there a counter? Yes, Ayaka busts out when Chronoire tries to take Honoka’s first kiss, motivated by the affection she seems to feel for Honoka, but if she needs to be pushed that far, and unleash what seems to be a dragon form, that’s not something for normal use.
How to Be a Witch
First you study, and she just can’t resist a guy in a big pointy hat
The other direction we got advancement in is Honoka’s witch training. It seems that being a witch starts with wearing the right clothes. I sure don’t mind that they wrote so much handwaving into the witch clothes, it’s the kind of device that works for me. And letting us know about them as Ayaka tries to teach Honoka about them worked really well story-wise, although Honoka is about as insightful as a dump truck (which certainly makes the watcher feel really smart compared to him). But anyway, the clothing does a lot of stuff, like make you lighter and hold a broom and make you less noticeable. It’ll probably do more stuff as we get to it, but “it’s tedious to explain, so we’ll leave it at that.”
Two things I love in this image: The torn-up hem on Ayaka’s robe and Kotetsu just walking past not seeing them
I also like the continuing look we get into the world of witches, without it going overboard. Small facts like they usually fly at night, there are only 5 girls who protect the city from Tower Witches, they don’t meddle in the affairs of petty crime, they’re not superheroes or avenging angels. Of course, Honoka doesn’t quite understand this yet, and gets himself in trouble with the thug girls, only to be saved again by Ayaka, who avers that they were actually witches (somehow I doubt they were, but ‘going to hurt Honoka’ = ‘incurs wrath of Ayaka’, no matter who you are. But at least Honoka learned to fly, even if it seems to have forced JC Staff into some not-so-great CG. That was disappointing, because while the CG for their earlier flying sequence was safely in the ‘perfectly acceptable’ range, Honoka’s flight was more the “circa 2000 FPS game” style. Not very convincing, and felt super cheap with those long walled roads with no textures.
And then a lovely flight. The music in this flight scene was great. Hold on, Kitty!
With another good episode, Witch Craft Works is really separating itself as the class of Winter 2014, as far as I’m concerned. We still have some significant plot points to come up to, including Honoka’s sister becoming more of a major character, more on the relationship between Honoka and Ayaka (Protip: Don’t read Wikipedia if you don’t want spoilers), and the coming Walpurgis Night, where it looks like there will be a showdown. Also, will we get more explanation of the bond between Ayaka and Honoka that allows power and damage transfer? Finally, one other thing I have been thinking is interesting with the show is that it seems to take the approach that every episode is kind of it’s own discrete thing, with Honoka introducing himself every episode and giving a short backstory. I also like the naming convention: Takamiya-kun and X, where X is “Chronoire’s Trap” or “the Witches’ Motive”. It just gives it a nice consistency.