As my free time is getting briefer and briefer and it’s only scheduled to become worse in the future, expect less posts and slower read speeds as time passes. Well just a mention in case I decide to vanish for some months. Now moving on…
What a waste. Truly, what a waste.
By no means is it a “terrible” story but this is one of those stories where you can never shake off the feeling that it “could have been much more”. There’s just that large unexplored potential but instead the story decides to focus on somewhere else.
The story starts off talking about witches, the abuse they receive by the society, the not-so-friendly organization in charge of catching them and the secret “criminal” organization that tries to make the world become ever so slightly friendlier to witches.
It was pretty shocking to see the treatment witches received so I was honestly expecting lots of entertainment to be had as the story moved along. Unfortunately that wasn’t exactly what was waiting for me.
To be fair this might as well simply be a case of wrong expectations from the story, and I can agree with that. Still, the common route built up towards making you think that some of these organizations would play big relevance in the story but… in reality they don’t. They’re shoved off to the side with occasional mentions here and there, appearances here and there but they never receive full focus.
In other words, they’re ultimately just the “setting” and never the “focus” of the story. It would have been a hundred times more interesting if it was the focus but nope, the focus is in reality… characters. In other words, for most of the story if not the entirety of the story, it’s practically a charage.
If that’s not a disappointment then I don’t know what is.
Look, let me raise the most comprehensible example. The setting is all about a world with witches being randomly born for mysterious reasons. Some sort of ESP powers being awakened that is largely shrouded in mystery. They’re ticking time bombs as they can awaken to abilities of mass destruction and cause harm to their surroundings. That’s fine and all.
Next our protagonist is a member of the organization in charge of managing, catching rogue witches and the likes. They aren’t exactly the most friendly organization as, revealed later on, their team is composed of people who had their family and friends harmed by witches in one way or another. It goes without saying that they would be chasing witches to the end of the earth out of burning hot passion if nothing else.
But no, the story doesn’t follow that direction. What I should of said wasn’t is but was.
As the story starts he’s quickly shuffled off to being a teacher in an all girls facility designed to help these witches control their powers and properly integrate into the society. The person in charge is also an avid supporter of witches so they’re treated as well as possible.
So to simply put… it’s a perfectly normal all-girls school where all of them have special powers and the protagonist is placed as a teacher for some troublemakers within it.
But wait, there’s a twist. What happens to those who fail to integrate into the society after a certain amount of time in the facilities? Most comprehensibly you can probably just say that they “flunked” from the school. Here I present to you a traumatic image:
The answer to that is… HUMAN EXPERIIIIIIMEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNTS. Sorry, I mean Witch experiments!
So like, there’s a dark shady witch experiment facility practically right around the corner paired with a perfectly happy and energetic researcher. Totally not some mad scientist or anything, really, just a good natured scientist.
You would think from this that this means the story would be pretty interesting right? Right?
The times the protagonist actually entered those facilities can be counted on your fingers, in other words it was hardly relevant to the story again.
The organizations outside you ask? Seeing as the “school” has strict rules in leaving the place, it goes without saying that most of the events happen in the form of “news” and is yet again, hardly relevant to the characters until perhaps, the latter half of their individual routes. Then it may be somewhat relevant but still not the focus of the story.
The focus of course, is on solving the heroine problems, overcoming their traumas and putting their powers under their control. While at it also making love. If this part was actually well done I wouldn’t have much complaints either but… honestly speaking I don’t like it that much either. The developments were very formulaic as the order of events for every heroine route was decided from the start.
It was like someone took a template and copy pasted them for every heroine then filled in the details. This made things painfully predictable at times.
Now with all of the heroines done and over with, I thought the charage part of things were over and we would get into some fun storytelling now. Half right, the formulaic part of things stayed regardless but the story did get a lot more interesting as some actually surprising twists were revealed.
Shirayuki’s route gave a picture of what sort of witches belong to that “criminal” organization which is mostly being framed for most of the story as well as giving us an idea on who the true antagonist of the story is.
To the surprise of absolutely no one: it’s that energetic mad scientist living on the other side of the facility!
You know, I honestly feel that it’s somewhat funny we get told that the antagonist is someone who is practically a neighbor living across the street when it’s not the slightest bit surprising. Should’ve dealt with him much earlier but to their credit, he isn’t in a position where he can be caught without someone sacrificing their social position and becoming a criminal. Though they did in the end anyway.
So while Shirayuki’s route is half-half, now let’s look at the true route. Surely we’ll be looking at a lot of great storytelling that makes use of the setting now right?
It’s honestly much better and the story really should’ve been like that from the start. But seeing as it’s the true route it was beyond saving really. How should I say this… this true route should have been the first route with the following routes delving further into the story. That’s how it should have been but in reality as you can see, it felt a bit like things ended right as it started.
Let’s get this clear, it’s not as if they failed to cover any plot points. We found out about the protagonist’s past and we get to hear some interesting plot twists such as that he doesn’t have one imouto, he has two of them!
And all of those problems were more or less solved, while at it we also get to see the protagonist awaken to witch powers which is something that I suspected would happen for a long time. The problem, however is that…
The entire witch discrimination society? “Things are changing for the better!” – in the epilogue.
The misunderstood underground witch organization? Their leader receives heavy damage early on and the entire organization served only the purpose of retelling information we learned in Shirayuki’s route to the protagonist. After that they vanished to nothingness and we never hear from them again for the most part. Great use of characters after introducing those colorful character designs god dammit.
The little sister who is in a coma? “We will surely find a way to help her! (in the future, one day)”.
That’s not how you manage a setting dammit, that’s just not how you manage a setting. If they were going to give them such rudimentary treatment then I would rather have them not introduce them at all. Then I might have been able to adjust my expectations for the story to simply be a slightly quirky charage and not a story which failed to meet up to its expectations.
Eh well, I suppose if someone actually expected it to be a charage then they would have no problems reading this. My main problems were with the fact that I wasn’t expecting this story to be a charage. I expected more action, politics and general fighting. It’s not that it didn’t exist but it was mostly only used as a part of the character drama. Like in the case of Sakurako’s route you get to see some mafia leader try to take over her dojo, leading to some fighting.
Or in the case of Chitose’s route where you get to see one of the bombing incidents on the news gravely injuring her good friend (which I’ll add, is a much better character than Chitose herself).
They’re all used as a tool to generate drama though and not really something the protagonist is focused on solving.
Better luck next time I guess. Now it’s time to read an actual charage and see how that plays out.