Overall Rating: 3.5/5 moons
Story – 7/10
This manga surprised me. The story begins with Yamada Ryu, seemingly typical school delinquent, who makes a seemingly predictable encounter with Shiraishi Urara, the school’s top student. (Now, where have I seen that parallel before?) After a little “accident”, the two find that they can switch bodies by kissing. So for the first few chapters, they not only continue to switch bodies but also experiment switching with people other than themselves.
You’d think that this would lead down a slippery slope, where the characters get into more trouble as they try to hide their secret while simultaneously exposing it to more and more people, but this story turned out to be far less typical. In fact, it took me awhile to figure out why that was so, until I came to this conclusion: the story is too “in-between” genres. There are parts that suggest it might be a Harem (i.e. the 3:1 girl to guy ratio), some parts that make it seem purely comedy, and there’s definitely some Shounen elements thrown into the mix.
Of course, it’s not impossible to have a mix of genres, and it definitely works for this series. The whole witches ‘mechanic’ is not only a goldmine for comedy and fanservice, it is also serious enough to add drama into the story. To have it center around kissing also seems to be a highlight among its ‘target audience of young males’ (says the almost 20-year-old female reviewer who read a news article somewhere on the Internet).
But it’s not just that, the story itself is quite well written. Once you get past the setting up stages and get into the thick of things, it’s impossible to put down. (It’s difficult to write this without spoiling parts of the story, so you’ll have to take my word for it.) The story definitely has good pacing and the mechanics of the witches is easy to understand. The plot does get repetitive towards later arcs, but not so much that it becomes tiresome to read. Also, in terms of plot holes, the story is quite tightly woven. However, there are some moments that are “too convenient”, which I can only chalk down as being typically Shounen.
Because it has quite a simple and straight forward story, I would recommend it to people who – first and foremost – like comedy, and those who aren’t so critical towards stories. Like I said, while it doesn’t have a bad story, it just seems to me like it would crumble easily given too much analysis.
Character – 7/10
Like every good comedy series, Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo has an entertaining set of characters. In fact, every single one has turned out more interesting than I’d initially thought, albeit most of them being quite two-dimensional. Most of the witches, for example, have unique and vibrant personalities that contribute a lot to the series’ entertainment value. However, they are also seldom anything but, only appearing to fulfill their roles in the plot and in comedy then disappearing back into the void.
Actually, I could even say that Yamada Ryu is like that. Despite being an entertaining character to read about, he is considered rather undeveloped as a main character. His personality is very much your typical Shounen protagonist, with his recklessness, idiocy and willingness to self-sacrifice. His background story doesn’t particularly give or take anything away from his current person, and he doesn’t “learn new things” as the story progresses either. Instead, he usually takes on the role of teaching and helping others. As a result, his character has remained relatively stagnant and predictable. Well, for as far as the latest chapter, anyway.
One thing I have to say I didn’t like was how fast they relegated their main characters to secondary characters from arc to arc. [Minor spoiler] Shiraishi Urara, for example, was a hugely important character in the first arc, but was practically swept to the side in subsequent arcs. It definitely took me off guard, because she didn’t seem like the ‘disposable’ type (?). [Spoiler end] Maybe it’s just my personal grudge against how that panned out. You’ll have to read and see.
Artwork – 7/10
This series has quite a simple art style; the background scenery is straight forward, and the all the characters have the same face. Yet, the thing I liked the most was still the character design. Even though their faces looked the same, I could see that the mangaka put a lot of effort into making their hair and eyes look different; so much so that I didn’t have any problems differentiating the important characters. I also didn’t notice any flaws in proportions, combined with its overall clean look, gives me very few reasons to knock off any more points.