The Beginner’s Guide to Anime, No. 111 – Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches

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Another anime series which is currently being broadcast at the moment, this series fits into the ever-expanding category of anime series set in schools that would never exist in real-life. These “non-schools” as I’ve decided to call them are still being created, and this one has attracted some attention.

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches started as a manga in 2012 by Miki Yoshikawa, and first aired in April this year. Like last week’s anime, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon? (No. 110), this too arguably fits into the “harem” genre, featuring as it does a male title character being surrounded by an increasing mix of female characters, but it has attracted positive comments not just for the plot or art, but also for music.

The central character, Ryu Yamada, is a troublesome student at Suzaku High School who is always not getting good grades or getting into fights with people. Things change dramatically when he accidentally falls down some stairs, colliding into the school’s star pupil Urara Shiraishi and knocking himself out. When he recovers, Yamada is horrified to discover that he has ended up in Shiraishi’s body.

After a little while, they discover that reason for the body swap was that when they both fell down the stairs they accidentally kissed each other. Kissing each other again returns them to normal. They try to hide this, but are eventually discovered by the vice-president of the school’s student council, Toranosuke Miyamura, who tells them that they should reform the school’s defunct “Supernatural Studies Club” to protect themselves. Eventually the club gains to more members: supernatural obsessive Miyabi Ito, and transfer student Kentaro Tsubaki who is in love with Shiraishi and has the bizarre habit of making tempura when depressed.

The club discovers that it’s previous incarnation had learned that at the school there were seven female students dubbed the “witches”, each of whom has a supernatural power triggered by kissing. Thus Shiraishi is a witch because of her body-swapping powers, but Yamada as a male student does not count. However, he does have his own supernatural power: a “copy kiss” which allows him to directly copy the ability of the last witch he kissed.

The club therefore make it their mission to find the identities of all seven witches in the school, whose powers range from telepathy, seeing into the future, seeing traumatic pasts, and making people fall in love. While this is going on Miyamura is also fighting his own personal battle to become the next president of the student council, which in turn is connected to the power of the witches.

Having covered this series on other websites, the thing that has seemingly impressed people the most has been the soundtrack. If you have been following this column regularly and have thus watched any of the series (and if you have been inspired to do so by this column, thanks very much) you will know that most anime series tend to have separate opening and closing music and title sequences, lasting around 90 seconds. The songs that are used for these sequences: “Kuniduke Diamond” by a male band called “WEAVER”, and “CANDY MAGIC” by female band “mimimemeMIMI” have both attracted a lot of positive feedback.

Other than this, you have the comedy between the relationships of the characters. Much of it comes from the fact that all the powers in the show are triggered by kissing, so not only is there the problem of trying to get the kiss in the first place, but then there is the issue of people not wanting to kiss for various reasons: for example, boy-on-boy kissing.

At times however, it has to be said the plot seems a bit slow, and at times it does not follow the same chronology as the original manga. Also, the manga is 17 volumes long, but this anime is currently only scheduled for 12 episodes so it is seemingly going to end up short. Hopefully another series will be commissioned otherwise many people will feel somewhat disappointed.

However, judging by what has gone out, it is still a fun show to watch.

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is streamed on Crunchyroll.