So far, there are really only two things that make Witch Craft Works stand out from other magical harem animes. For one, it has pretty solid production values, which at least makes it entertaining as a piece of fluff. Secondly, and more notably, is how it switches around the gender roles that are typically depicted in fiction. With Witch Craft Works, it’s the heroine who is the badass magic user who fights off the villians, while the male lead is relegated to being a “damsel in distress.”
With how rigorously society has historically gendered women as unintelligent weaklings who need to be protected by men, and with how fiction reflects this with the whole “damsel in distress” archetype, it’s not common that you see a story where it’s the women who has to protect the man. And the way that Witch Craft Works plays with the gender swapping goes a bit deeper than that too; notice how Kagari is much taller than Takamiya, at one point she ties Takamiya’s tie so that it looks like the ribbon of a girl’s uniform, and she even refers to him as “princess.”
This doesn’t make this a good show or anything, but it is worth pointing out; and like I said, it makes the show stand out. It’s also important to note though that, apparently, during the pre-production stages of the source material this was originally designed as a sort of yuri comic. Or in other words, Takamiya was originally written as a girl. This doesn’t really lessen the fact that the show is playing with gender roles, but it does explain why Takamiya is treated like such a girl, with his masculinity constantly being undermined.
Taking that into account it’s a little peculiar that some are calling this a wish fulfillment show. Sure, the male lead has a hot girl protecting him, and there’s a group of other girls who want to get the “white stuff” in his body. But it’s not actually a harem, and it’s all at the cost of Takamiya’s masculinity being downplayed. I suppose if anything, it’s wish fulfillment but without any sort of power fantasies that men tend to like.
And so that’s really the one thing about Witch Craft Works that makes it stand out. Aside from that, there really isn’t anything special going on for it. As a piece of fluff it’s decent enough; it’s got some nice action and with a few nicely done comedic moments, but that’s about it. In fact, the actual plot is a bit annoying with how it goes out of its way to conceal why everything is happening in the first place.
We have a powerful fire witch protecting a boy from a group of other girls who want to get the “white stuff” within him, but why is this all happening? It’s not clear what about Takamiya is so special, and the “white stuff” obviously isn’t referring to his semen either. What I wonder is why no one is actually informing Takamiya. If he’s being targeted and he continually asks for answers about why that is, why wouldn’t Kagari let him know? What exactly are they hiding?
I get that this is deliberate, but it’s annoying. The show is dragging out this mystery and keeping us confused about what exactly is going on, but there’s not much of a logical explanation for this within the story—it just seems like they’re dragging out the story for sake of some big reveal.
According to manga readers, there is quite a huge shift in tone for the series after chapter 10 or something, which I’m guessing means we’re in store for something big in either episode 3 or 4. I’m not going to ignore any problems I have with the show at the moment, but I am willing to trust the manga readers and give Witch Craft Works the benefit of the doubt and patiently wait to see where it goes. I’m probably going to be watching it anyways whether it’s good or bad (I’m just that kind of anime critic,) so I don’t really have anything to lose by giving it a chance.