Witch Craft Works makes a strong, refreshing first impression by inverting the typical “guy saves girl” scenario. Here, the guy, Takamiya Honoka, is a pint-sized, defenseless weenie, while Kagari Ayaka the girl is the well-bred dashing hero who sweeps him off his feet. We like how Takamiya is derided by his peers simply for breathing the same air as their princess, and their daggers only sharpen when she suddenly takes him under her wing.
All the sudden attention from this lovely lass, and all the hate from the rest of the school, has Takamiya feeling self-conscious: why is Kagari associating herself with him, saving him from robotic bunny armies, and getting bloodied and burnt protecting him? All Kagari will say is that it’s her duty to protect her princess. She values him, so he should value himself, is the lesson learned. Not to mention Kagari is like the badass big sister of Kiki (of Delivery Service fame), dutiful, determined, and kind.
In our opinion there aren’t enough anime where the guys are the ones who are weak and get rescued, so the fact that this is one of those anime is a large part (but only part) of its appeal for us. But Kagari is no coarse, “butch” caricature; she kicks ass and saves Takamiya while maintaining her grace and femininity. Her tone and posture are often stiff, but there’s an undeniable warmth and affection in her actions and words (the latter coming courtesy of seiyu Seto Asami, who’s a good fit for Kagari).
There’s also a great sense of inner peace about her; she’s worshiped as a goddess among her fellow students, but she neither condones nor discourages their obsessive behavior; she’s merely the calm island dispassionately dwelling within their storm. We also appreciate Takamiya’s ultimate decision to set what ego he has aside and trust Kagari’s strength. It’s a wise man who knows when he’s the one who needs to be saved.
Rating: 8 (Great)