Yamada and the Seven Witches (山田君と7人の魔女)
by Miki Yoshikawa
As I don’t read Japanese it is extremely hard for me to be any sort of taste maker when in comes to manga. By the time I usually know about a series it is fairly in the thick of things in its run. The rare exception comes when I know to check out a series because I have enjoyed something by the author in the past so I know to keep an eye on their current work. In a previous Manga of the Month I talked about Miki Yoshikawa’s Yankee-kun to Megane-chan. It is a great comedy series but it can be hard to recommend because you are asking for someone to commit to reading 23 books. But with a new series you can read a handful of chapters and be up to date. Since Yamada and the Seven Witches started in February it is a great time to start a Miki Yoshikawa manga.
Ryu Yamada and Urara Shiraishi are as different as night and day. Ryu is a rough a tumble delinquent while Urara is the class brainiac. One day the accidentally kiss as they fall down the stairs and discover they can exchange bodies by kissing. When the student council vice president get involved with their little secret they learn that they can exchange bodies with other people as well. So the three of them restart the school’s supernatural club to figure out why this is happening. But how long can the three of them keep this under wraps?
Miki Yoshikawa has done a good job of playing to her strengths while making enough changes to make Yamada and the Seven Witches feel like a retread of what has come before this. While it is still a school based romantic comedy the supernatural element changes everything. Ryu is very similar to Daichi where as Urara and Hana are both very strong and unflappable women but their strengths and weakness are very different. Buy the key to her success still seems to be good comic timing with loud but loveable characters. Ryu and Urara have a fun dynamic and bounce off the rest of the cast well. I will note while the series still feels female friendly the manga-ka has upped the fan service levels a little. Since Ryu can jump into female bodies he is not adverse to taking a peak at who he switches into before he has to get down to business. That usually means an underwear shot every few chapters.
Hopefully the series will remember on of the main reasons Yankee-kun to Megane-chan was great. Miki Yoshikawa was always smart enough to change the formula of how things word every few books keeping the humor and drama fresh. It is a little to early to tell if this will be the same case but we have not even met the eponymous Seven Witches yet. If nothing else you have to admire a school romance series that has the characters kiss in the first book.