The most notable of these is when Yamada tries to do a convincing impersonation of Shiraishi in Shiraishi’s body, and hams up the girly charm so much that he blows his own cover.
Everything changes when the characters switch bodies, from walk animation to sitting posture to facial expressions to voice acting. They’re all the same, technically, but notably different. It’s easy to buy the idea that one person is being themselves in another’s body.
While the series centers on Yamada, and Shiraishi is the main heroine, the cast of Yamada-kun is likable from top to bottom, from occult-freak Miyabi Itou,
to Toranosuke Miyamura, who probably isn’t gay, but gets way too into the kissing thing,
to Odagiri Nene, a witch who goes from simple tsundere rival character to one of the most likable people in the series.
The usual romantic comedy arc involves two people who obviously like each other denying it for a while, and then falling victim to a bunch of “misunderstandings” that would be cleared up in five seconds with a simple explanation. That’s where the conflict comes from.
Yamada-kun isn’t like that at all. Yamada and Shiraishi develop feelings for each other naturally, and even as things get more complicated, there is never a frustrating moment in which something is blown out of proportion.
In a situation where Yamada has to kiss different people every day, Shiraishi’s patience, understanding, and straightforward nature is downright saintly, even when stuff like this happens.
If there is a gripe to be had with the series, it’s that its short run (only 12 episodes) doesn’t allow enough time for things to unfold naturally. Towards the end, plot elements start getting tossed around faster and faster, to the point where discovering a witch, finding out her power, and solving her problem happens just about every episode.
In Miki Yoshikawa’s original manga, these witches all get a fair amount of characterization and screen time, and they more-or-less join the main cast. The Yamada-kun anime adaptation doesn’t have enough screen time for all the characters, so some of them get discovered and then discarded relatively quickly, with the main cast remaining in the spotlight.
To summarize Yamada-Kun, it handles a pretty unremarkable concept in an extremely enjoyable way. It doesn’t do anything especially new, and its plot, while interesting, isn’t especially compelling and sometimes feels rushed and unclear.
But what it does right, it does very right. The characters are likable, the comedy is spot-on, and the drama is heart-wrenching when it wants to be. Fans of romantic comedy anime will be right at home here, and the series appeals to both a male and female audience.
If you’re looking for a series that’s fun – not groundbreaking or life-changing, just fun and feel-good – you can do a lot worse than Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo.
Bonus: Yamada-kun’s opening theme, “Kuchizuke Diamond” by WEAVER, is a great track, and one of my favorites to listen to now that the series is over. Enjoy.