Weekly Digest 1/28/14 – Tonari no Seki-kun, Witch Craft Works

Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -8 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -14 Witch Craft Works - 04 -6 Witch Craft Works - 04 -15

Sometimes I wonder if studios plan these things in advance.

Tonari no Seki-kun – 04

Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -1 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -2 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -3
Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -4 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -5 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -6
Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -7 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -9 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -10
Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -11 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -12 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -13
Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -15 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -16 Tonari no Seki-kun - 04 -17

Having mastered the vagaries of Shogi, our intrepid time-waster turns his hand to Go with similarly off-kilter results.  I was hoping perhaps for a direct reference or two to a certain Shounen Jump series, but what we got was still pretty solid.

I see a lot of complaints about how “Seki always gets Yokoi in trouble”.  Respectfully, I think that’s completely missing the point – and the joke.  Yokoi gets herself in trouble, time after time.  Seki is happily engaged in his own little world, but Yokoi can’t resist getting wrapped up in it – and in fact, the worst trouble for her always comes when she tries to get Seki-kun caught.

I think what really stands out for me is that Yokoi desperately wants to be a part of Seki’s little world, because it’s a lot more interesting than the teacher who’s droning on about whatever the subject at hand is.  But because she’s a middle-school girl she feels as if she has to be more mature than Seki-kun and tries to fight it – a fight she always loses.  And that’s certainly the case when Seki’s game of Go turns into a battle royale between a bunny and a bear (and there’s a funny thing about that, which I’ll get to in a minute) complete with gattai moves and evil doppelgängers. It’s all pure gold but my favorite part, though, comes when Yokoi – who doesn’t know the rules of Go – imagines that Seki’s version might actually be the proper way to play the game.

Witch Craft Works – 04

Witch Craft Works - 04 -1 Witch Craft Works - 04 -2 Witch Craft Works - 04 -3
Witch Craft Works - 04 -4 Witch Craft Works - 04 -5 Witch Craft Works - 04 -7
Witch Craft Works - 04 -8 Witch Craft Works - 04 -9 Witch Craft Works - 04 -10
Witch Craft Works - 04 -11 Witch Craft Works - 04 -12 Witch Craft Works - 04 -13
Witch Craft Works - 04 -14 Witch Craft Works - 04 -16 Witch Craft Works - 04 -17
Witch Craft Works - 04 -18 Witch Craft Works - 04 -19 Witch Craft Works - 04 -20

There’s no denying it – this series is fun.  It has a lot of elements that annoy me and I still don’t really care about any of the characters or the plot all that much, but when it comes to delivering genuine randomness and insanity, Witch Craft Works is for real.  I suppose taking plot and character out of the equation starts a series out in a pretty deep hole, but this one might have just enough entertainment value to climb out of it.

It’s an interesting coincidence that both the shows in this post ended up giving us a bizarre battle between usagi and kuma.  The badly CGI-animated but cleverly choreographed showdown between Kasumi’s Godzilla-sized bear and Tanpopo’s rabbits was certainly… different.  I suppose there must be some sort of witchy trick whereby you can take out half the skyline and manage not to injure a single bystander in the process (I guess doing so would violate the rule about using witchcraft against muggles, but how the heck does one manage it in this case?).

Thank goodness Kayano Ai is playing Kasumi, because there’s enormous potential for annoying in this character (and Izawa Shiori, who plays Tanpopo, is starting to catch my attention too of late – she’s good).  Kasumi, as it turns out, has been protecting Honoka all along when Kagari wasn’t around – further proof he’s really important (and probably connected to Medusa, who’s escaped her underground prison and is apparently in charge of Team Rocket).  She’s pushy and violent and yet another brocon imouto, but at least Kasumi’s personality makes a nice contrast with Kagari’s.

The best thing about the episode (and any WCW episode so far) for me, though, is the completely random moments that often make no sense.  Like the quick-cut to a llama, who happens to be the pet of the “Star Set“, yet more Tower Witches whose power is to “hush crying children”.  Or the llama making its own escape when the buildings start coming down.  Or Honoka’s house having a teddy bear (at the time, seemingly innocuous) brushing its teeth and no one batting an eye, or Honoka’s (and indeed, Japan’s) strange obsession with penguins.  I like the fact that this series will pretty much do whatever, whenever – it’s that manic comedic energy that’s really carrying it at this point.  We’ll see if that can sustain it for a full cour, but so far it’s working pretty well.  And of course, the ED is great.

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4 comments

  1. S

    When the Star Set woman says "泣く子も黙る," as in "hushing crying children" that's actually a Japanese idiom– they're basically just trying to hype themselves up, trying to be intimidating.

    http://kotobank.jp/word/%E6%B3%A3%E3%81%8F%E5%AD%90%E3%82%82%E9%BB%99%E3%82%8B

    For me, the most bizarre part of the episode may have been the hair dryer that somehow also has flamethrower capabilities built into it? That was certainly something (although I suppose it could have been the imouto's magic).

    Agreed on WCW– it has just enough bizarre elements to make me want to keep watching, even if the plot is honestly boring. Team Rocket's post-episode karaoke party was hilarious too.

  2. f

    so you've given up on Golden Time haven't you Enzo? disappointing though

  3. J

    I think Chronoire found out that nobody is really in charge of Team Rocket. It's more like pointing them in a certain direction and hoping that something good might actually happen. The manga is unhurried when it comes to explanations, and the anime is proceeding at the same pace. The offhand bits are also in the manga, but the director is doing a nice job using them to good effect.

  4. R

    Until you pointed it out, I hadn't noticed the teddy bear brushing its teeth.

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