I haven’t exactly given it much attention on the blog, but I’ve been loving that Witchcraft Works anime that’s been airing this Winter. You probably remember that I didn’t give it much of a chance early on because it was one of those JC Staff magical girl shows premise-wise and…well…ew. And whilst I like him, Tsutomu Mizushima hasn’t been on his A-game for me as of late. I’m one of the few people who doesn’t really care much for Girls und Panzer. It was alright and had some cute moments, but it didn’t really do anything I could sink my teeth into. And then there are the sequels to Azazel-san and Genshiken. Fun, but major steps down from their original incarnations.
But I paid attention. I looked at the praise and saw that the show was pronouncing stuff I was interested in. So I gave it another shot and after a few rough episodes with decent entertainment sprinkled throughout (the llama gags are hilarious) but no real big picture to latch onto – oh hi there Panzer - I finally managed to gain actual interest in the story and what was going on regarding all these witches fighting each other and Honoka basically being a girl in a man’s body.
Which is why the ending to the whole thing comes off as kind of disappointing to me. And yes, I know there is more of the manga out there dealing with some ice creature, but it’s only around four chapters (at least that’s the number scanlated), so I don’t see a second season short of some OVA series happening anytime soon.
The finale is three episodes long and is basically when “shit goes down” so to speak – it was around 8-10 chapters in the manga. The whole city gets destroyed, although any civilian death is never really mentioned because Witchcraft treats practically everything as a joke for better or worse, the various wizarding factions keep supporting and betraying each other, and Kagari is faced with a credible threat whilst Honoka has to accept that despite being a damsel, he shouldn’t be useless. The whole thing is done at breakneck pace and with great production, which is always a plus.
And what’s the result? Well don’t read if you haven’t watched the finale, but basically the status quo doesn’t really change. Okay, one of the villains gets defeated and I don’t know what happens to anybody that’s not the main duo or the Tower Witches because the show never gave them attention in the aftermath, but that’s sort of the problem. We never really get a resolution regarding the big picture, even in some throwaway scene, because Witchcraft Works’ lax attitude regarding what happens in it ended up working against it in this case. I appreciate your icing a lot Witchcraft, but cake is good when there’s an actual cake under it.
The show ended on what’s probably the least interesting part (combined with the most interesting part, which were Tanpopo and her friends’ hijinks) and that part didn’t have any real shift. Honoka uses his powers to revive everybody and they give some bullcrap reason regarding why the sacrifices that usually come with that sort of thing didn’t happen. Now they play it off comedically like One Piece did to justify its many Deus Ex Machinas, but they don’t really go far enough with the laughs to make me forget that he just basically revived a bunch of people that the show never really gave focus on.
Then there’s that cop-out kiss. Again, played for laughs, but the joke wasn’t funny enough to make me overlook the whole mess. Especially when the next day, the two just hang out as usual and get into an argument with the Tower Witches. Lame.
Don’t get me wrong. The ending wasn’t a deal breaker or anything. I at least appreciated the fact that if it was going to go this route, it at least didn’t take itself so seriously like Clannad or Madoka did when they basically wished all the bad stuff to go away. It was just disappointing and now I’m not sure how much I actually like this show. For a while, I had it pegged for joining Dandy, Kill la Kill, and Samurai Flamenco as being a top anime candidate, even if it was in the bottom 50. I’ll certainly watch more if it does come. I’d definitely watch the series again if someone wanted me to, if only to pick up all the weird background stuff that I missed earlier. It’s a thousand times more enjoyable than anything else Mizushima has done for a while, let alone anything JC Staff has ever made in the past (to all those who are still watching Golden Time, I am so sorry).
I just expected better.