You know what? I don’t hate this show. Of course, it has a slew of things that bother me. After all, at its core, Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo is just a harem anime. Plus, fanservice is pretty rampant throughout the story. Having said that, however, the show bucks a lot of crucial trends. For instance, the premise of the show is basically this: there are a bunch of witches at some high school, and they each have unique special powers. And how do they exert said special powers? By kissing people. As a result, you’ll see multiple characters kissing each other throughout any given episode. The show doesn’t really discriminate either. Sure, the main character gets to kiss all of the girls… but he’s also kissed the obligatory harem lead’s best friend. It’s not as though there’s anything particularly amazing about kissing people in and of itself. But that’s the point. In other shows, romantic or otherwise, we put the act of kissing on the pedestal. Oftentimes, our characters are too shy to even hold hands. Well, it’s not exact free lovin’ in Yamada-kun (I’ll just shorten it to this from now on), but it’s a step in a better direction.
What else do I like? Nothing big, of course. Again, at its core, Yamada-kun is a harem anime, so I don’t expect it to move mountains. It still has the same basic story structure. As such, the witches each have issues of their own to deal with, the harem lead eventually discovers that those problems are, so on and so forth. But I appreciate the fact that the story doesn’t try to get too heavy. I realize that a lot of harem anime series want to be taken seriously. As a result, we have these narratives where the harem lead focuses on a haremette at a time, heartstrings are tugged, and there’s some big dramatic finish to that girl’s arc. Like maybe she’s slowly getting retarded or something, so the guy better make that last day with her count! Yeah, I’m not too big a fan of that. Mostly because it’s kind of silly when, after all the heavy shit that the harem lead has just gone through, he casually moves onto the next girl and then she gets to take another heartfelt dump on his chest. By trying to be more dramatic and serious, a lot of these harem anime end up drawing me out of the story.
Plus, it never jived with me how I’m supposed to take a story seriously, but at the same time hand-wave off the fact that the main character is surrounded by the cutest girls around, and they’re all inexplicably drawn to him at the same time. Harem anime are pure fantasy in that respect, so why shouldn’t it stay pure fantasy? Why are we trying to make things all serious? So I appreciate Yamada-kun for staying light-hearted. Yes, the witches each have personal flaws of their own, but so far, Yamada, the main character, never really attempts to solve any of them. He’s not there to create breakthroughs. Well, he helps Urara out, but she’s the main girl. With everyone else, the story tries not to get too heavy. As you can imagine, the more serious moments with Urara actually bores me. I don’t really care for the slowly developing relationship between her and the main character. I suppose it’s not a bad thing if they do end up becoming a couple. We will at least avoid that annoying shit in a lot of like-minded series where the harem lead ends up picking no haremette in particular. Still, I’m not watching this series for the romance.
So everyone kisses each other a lot, and the witches don’t have ridiculously overdramatic stories. We’re not stuck in a time loop. The show doesn’t also try to be what it’s not, i.e. action shoehorned into a harem crapfest. Also, the pacing is decent. The show is more comedy than harem bullshit, so each episode moves briskly and never lingers too long without throwing another joke at the audience. I don’t laugh out loud, but the gags are amusing enough to keep my attention throughout. Of course, I’m mildly perturbed that whenever the main character swaps bodies with a girl, he immediately checks out his new body. But that’s only because we don’t see the girls’ perspective. I can’t imagine the average teenager with raging hormones resisting the temptation. The only problem is that we just don’t get to see the girls’ side of things. And it’s not as though the show is devoid of a story. It still tries to have one, but it’s a minor story at best. I mean, I don’t really give a shit about the witches and their origins, nor do I care what the student council president is up to. The plot is there to tie everything together as a convention, but it’s not really that important.
Point is, I enjoy Yamada-kun perhaps more than I should. Is it a good anime? Who cares? In the weeks to come, I’ll probably blog this show the same way I blog a lot of shows: through a bunch of stream-of-consciousness-like bullet points. Since I’ve already written a few paragraphs here, though, I may as well finish the rest of it out with paragraphs. This week’s episode sends our cast of characters to the beach, so we have all the obligatory swimsuit scenes. And of course, fireworks. You can’t enjoy youth without lighting a bunch of fireworks. It has gotten to the point that making the most out of your youth basically boils down to copying what everyone else has done. Anyway, Yamada is stuck making up for his poor grades, so he’s locked away in a classroom trying not to fail. But thanks to this, he meets another witch, and to make a long story short, she has the power of telepathy. Although she’s shy and meek on the outside, she’s really a drill sergeant when she projects her thoughts into your mind. Eventually, and with Toranosuke’s help, they all successfully cheat through the latest exam. No one really pretends to take the moral high ground.
Afterwards, despite doing poorly in school, Yamada arrives at an epiphany: the witches’ powers are tied to their personal flaws. So far, we’ve only met three witches. Urara’s life isn’t the greatest, so she can swap bodies with people. Still, she refuses to kiss anyone but the main character, so again, she’s the main girl. I wouldn’t be surprised if she and Yamada became an official couple. ANyway, Nene wants to be the next student council president, so her kisses will charm you. And our latest witch is meek, so telepathy helps her communicate with others. So what’s Yamada’s deal, then? Why is it that he has the ability to copy others? If I had to guess, maybe it’s some after school special shit on how he needs to empathize with others. After all, he was pretty cynical about school and friendships up until the events of this series. So to get him to care about high school in general, which seems to be the goal of every anime out there, our hero gets to put himself in other people’s shoes. Or maybe not. We don’t have to get too serious. In any case, we’re moving onto another witch next week. Plus, I get to have something to blog on the slow Tuesdays.