First Impressions: Winter 2014 – Witch Craft Works and Nobunagun
Witch Craft Works
I was all ready to rant about how this was just another lazy JC Staff magical girlfriend show, but Witch Craft Works has these odd little moments peppered throughout the first episode that caught my attention and made me think watching another few episodes may be a worthwhile exercise. I’m trying to squash that compulsion because I seriously need to limit how many shows I pick up this season, but the little niggling feeling of interest is definitely there. Mainly I think I just enjoyed the mecha bunnies and the amusing ED with the SD versions of classic witch trials….so moe.
That being said the male lead is also fairly intriguing. Not his personality, because he’s just the same old Mr Bland, but the role he’s been cast into. The extremely competent and popular lead female sees him as this weak wilting princess in need of protection – and that is what he is. But at the same time he’s attempting to be the usual bland male lead and ends up suffering because of it – be that at the hands of his protector’s fanclub or at the wrong end of an enemy witch’s giant hammer. The traditional gender roles are played with in this series, and that sparked my interest too. Don’t think that will be a big thing though, because most of the show is bog standard magical girlfriend faire.
Being JC Staff the production values are pretty decent, the direction is also pretty good – there is probably mileage to be had from Witch Craft Works, but it isn’t something I’m properly interested in continuing with.
If I’m honest I thought the majority of this episode was pretty subpar – right up until the last few minutes, where our boring weapons otaku lead suddenly got possessed by the cackling blood-thirsty spirit of Oda Nobunaga and powered up with a giant machine gun, with metal music in the background. That was pretty damn awesome. Still that doesn’t quite make up for the fact the rest of the episode put me strongly in mind of Blood-C. That mix of boring high school mundaneness (even if it was a school trip to Taiwan) and the extreme violence once the giant monster landed, was just jarring and didn’t really cause much of a reaction in me (aside from giggling when a few people went splat). Still if the rest of the series has more focus on mental Nobunagun action I’ll be on board!
The artstyle is also something I’m a bit iffy about – there is lots of experimentation with patterns and colours, and it doesn’t always work. I liked how they differentiated how isolated our lead is from her classmates by painting her scenes with camouflage patterns, in contrast to the classmates flower-patterned hues. However the tonal shift to clashing colours and lots of greens and reds during the fight scenes wasn’t all that pleasing to the eye. I get what they were going for, but it still looks rather ugly. Saying that, I do like that Nobunagun is strikingly different looking to other shows. The execution is messy, but I appreciate the effort.
I’m interested enough to keep Nobunagun on for another few episodes – hoping for much more action and Oda Nobunaga laughing like a maniac in hellfire!