“I have so many things to do today! Go home early, eat snacks, and finish the rest of my game.”
-Usagi Tsukino, Sailor Moon
Such is the busy, active life of a reincarnated Moon Princess whose after school time is also dedicated to fighting monsters that are trying to take over Earth.
Sailor Moon was a formative anime experience for me, and one that provided an easy escapist fantasy. Usagi Tsukino was a average junior-high girl, just as I was an average junior-high girl. Her problems of having to study for exams while wanting to relax with her friends or search for that perfect romance were also my ordinary teenage girl problems. After watching the first two series, I searched online and discovered the rest of the Sailor Moon universe. I begged my parents to drive me to the closest bookstore chain to pick up the manga, which I would devour on the car ride home. I wished for something magical and tragic to happen to me, in order to selfishly prove how wonderful I was. I wanted to be Hotaru Tomoe.
However, when I think back to the things I actually valued in high school – warming up before cross country practice, passing notes in English class, pigging out on pizza and taking turns playing The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for my 16th birthday – they were all very ordinary moments with friends. If I had somehow acquired Hotaru’s power to destroy the world, I unwittingly would have used it to protect those whom I cared for: my family, my friends, and my much-maligned ordinary life.
“With this magic I have, I can show you what’s possible.”
-“Sweet Witches,” f(x)
The basic premise of Witch Craft Works is similar to that of a shounen harem comedy, where the generic male lead, Honoka Takamiya, is surrounded by females all wanting him for reasons we cannot possibly fathom because he is so bland in character. Naturally, his fan club includes the most popular, beautiful, and intelligent girl in school – Ayaka Kagari, called “Princess” by her classmates – along with a group of new female transfer students. All of the females in question are witches, making them even more special than self-described “ordinary high school student” Takamiya.
That being said, it’s hardly a harem, and my own experience with Witch Craft Works has been more similar to watching a shoujo romance with the genders of the lead characters reversed than a shounen comedy. It is through this lens that the true magic of the series blossoms.