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Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vols. 1 + 2

Welcome to another midweek manga review, here at Sequential Ink! This week I’ll be taking a look at the Kodansha Comics of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, but before we get to that, some news from the past week.

And now, onto the featured review of Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vols. 1 + 2!

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vol. 1Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vols. 1 + 2
by Miki Yoshikawa
Kodansha Comics
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

By sheer accident, high school bad boy, Ryu Yamada discovers he has the ability to swap bodies with Urara Shiraishi, the class genius! What ensues is two volumes of hijinks, self discovery, bonding and more! Who knew body swapping could be so much fun? Well, apparently Miki Yoshikawa did and the proof is in Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vols. 1 + 2!

I had no idea what to expect from this series when I started it. The covers did absolutely nothing for me, and the title said very little about what to expect beyond a guy called Yamada and Seven Witches, who don’t actually appear in either of these volumes. So it was a pleasant surprise to discover that Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches is a really fun, goofy, light hearted comedy! While there are moments of pervy humor present, such as the typical pervy guy trying to grope girls any time he can, and even moments of Yamada looking at Shiraishi’s body while he’s in it, most of the humor comes less from that and more from the personality shifts and the upended expectations that Yamada has about Shiraishi’s life. Expecting her to be popular with lots of friends, he’s shocked when he discovers that she’s the subject of almost non-stop bullying from classmates. Likewise, his idea of how teen girls act is almost always met with bafflement and confusion from everyone he encounters while he’s in her body. As the story progresses the uses for the body swapping also become a little more bizarre, but not enough that it ruins the fun of the series or the premise. The first few swaps are accidental before Yamada and Shiraishi make a pact to help each other in different situations. For Yamada, this sometimes entails helping Shirashi’s social life develop, while Shiraishi spends most of her time in Yamada’s body gleefully taking test and studying to improve his grades.

The cast slowly builds up over the course of the two volumes, thanks in part to Yamada and Shiraishi finding themselves blackmailed into joint a school club, lest their body swapping antics be made public knowledge. Don’t worry, the black mailing is as goofy as everything else in this book and more characters just means that there’s more opportunities for body swapping wackiness, misunderstandings and accidents. In the second volume the humor is really the result of the club testing the bounds of Yamada’s ability, resulting in multiple body swaps, colds being spread like the plague and more. Sadly, by the end of the second volume it seems like the random goofiness might be coming to end as a larger plot involving the school president and who will succeed him in the role seems to be brewing. Hopefully this won’t detract from it’s lighter, fun tone, but only time will tell.

Page from Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vol. 2

Yamada-kun swaps with a new girl and she decides to make use of his manly form.

All the humor in these two volumes is helped immensely by Miki Yoshikawa’s expressive art. The cartoonish style of her artwork means that comedic overreactions blend in seamlessly with the look and feel of Yamda-kun and the Seven Witches and, thankfully, while there are goofy overreactions they never descend into the dreaded chibified forms that tend to bug me. Her skill with facial expressions and body language is used wonderfully, making it instantly recognizable at a glance who is who’s body just by the way they sit, stand, or the expressions they make. Yamada’s overly masculine bow-legged walk when he’s in Shiraishi’s body and Shiraishi’s body posture when she’s inside Yamda’s body are hilarious and not something that’s dragged only once in a while for a cheap pun and then dropped. Indeed, despite all the body swapping there are still some wonderful scenes in the second volume of Yamada slouching in a chair with his legs spread while he’s occupying Shiraishi’s body while other girls around sit in a more proper manner. Instead of drawing attention to it or making everyone point it out, something that does happen once in a while, it’s unacknowledged and all the more amusing for it, since she leaves it up the readers to catch it instead.

After reading Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vols. 1 + 2, I’m not sure I want an overarching plot to develop! Just watching the goofy misadventures of Yamada and company is enjoyable enough, that I’m almost afraid of what giving it long term plot line line will do to the chemistry and sense of fun that permeates these two books. Hopefully it won’t do anything though, because these first two volumes were a lovely and fun surprise!

Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, Vols. 1 + 2 are available now from Kodansha Comics. Review copies provided by the publisher.

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  1. June 19, 2015 at 4:57 pm

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