Very rarely do you come across a show that actually makes you think about gender differences by merely swapping the traditional roles. Witch Craft Works attempts to do such a thing with the male lead Takamiya depicted as weak and helpless compared to Kagari the fire witch who protects him. The success of this series will depend on how the latter is developed as a character, but this was definitely a good start.
This first episode made it a story of two princesses. Kagari is the princess of the school who must be protected from anyone who is not one of her fans. The other is Takamiya, the princess in Kagari’s mind who must be protected by the world of magic and witches he imminently finds himself in. I definitely liked how they made the two separate worlds clash whenever they came together. There’s no smooth transition there.
Seeing Takamiya take a beating repeatedly in this episode was actually important. He’s trapped in a gender role which requires him to act even if he doesn’t have the power to do so. He comes into conflict with one who has the power to do something in Kagari, but since she’s a woman he can’t fully bring himself to trust her. That’s the central conflict at the heart of this show; even more than the magical conflict between witch factions of which he now finds himself in the middle. I think it will be interesting to see how that all works out.
Finally, the ending theme involving the Tower Witch minions is the best ending theme I’ve heard in quite a while. At least it was one that I was willing to watch all the way through without the temptation to skip.