In a time when magic is on the decline amid society, Atsuko Kagari is a cheerful girl who enters Luna Nova Academy in order to accomplish her dream of becoming a witch like her idol, Shiny Chariot. Shiny Chariot is a famous witch who disappeared from public view many years ago. On her way to school, Kagari meets the kind Lotte Yanson and the mischevious Sucy Manbavaran and the three become friends as they share a bedroom in campus. At the academy, Atsuko soon discovers she is in serious disadvantage compared to the other girls since she doesn`t come from a magical family and is required to learn the magical curriculum from scratch. Having found an item that once belonged to Chariot, Atsuko must discover how to activate and properly use the mysterious Shiny Rod as she hopes it might lead to finding out what has truly happened to her vanished idol.
"Just you watch! I'm gonna become an amazing witch one day and make the whole world gasp in surprise!"
Akko Kagari Little Witch Academia (TV) 2017 (Episode 5)
Out of all anime that came out in winter 2017, Little Witch Academia (TV) caught my interest and it's the only show from that season that had to potential to great not counting squeals.
I have previously seen the short movies for Little Witch Academia and I really liked a lot. However, I won't be mentioning or comparing the TVs with the short movies because I want to review the TV series by its own identity.
Now after all that is
show worth watching or it's just an another lame seasonal anime.
Hellow everyone this is Shawn aka KuraraTrigger and I will be reviewing Little Witch Academia (TV) and with that out the way let's begin.
The story of Little Witch Academia follows Akko Kagari who aspires to be a great witch like her idol Shiny Chariot even tough she has no witch blood in her. Akko sets off to go to Luna Nova Magical Academia where she can to achieve her dream. Along the way her during to Luna Nova Magical Academy she befriends two other witches Sucy and Lotte. Now they magical adventures in Luna Nova Magical Academy begins as Akko tries to achieve her dream by being a witch like Shiny Chariot.
I found the story of Little Witch Academia to be pretty great.
It's very similar to Harry Potter in terms of concept and setting but unlike Harry Potter where it centers around Harry growth as so one day, Harry can defeat his antagonist. Little Witch Academia is mostly episodic as most episodes are very different from one another.
If you're looking for a magical academy drama like Harry Potter then you won't enjoy this anime.
While mostly being episodic Little Witch Academia deals with great themes of achieving your dream, appreciating others, determination, change, and friendship.
The worldbuilding for Little Witch Academia is great as it gives relevant names for every location in the show. We get certification of how some witches can only use magic in certain places than others, We get information about the history of magic, how the students in Luna Nova Academy must obey the rules such as not leaving campus without permission to no allowing them to go to locations that Luna Nova that is off limits for students.
I could go on about how great the worldbuilding is but it will end up spoiling the show and I don't want anyone to get spoiled.
I also really like how it references a lot of other Gainax/Trigger anime as well as humor and jokes in this anime.
The last thing that I want to mention is the second half has a more serious tone and it's more plot driven and to be honest I really liked the second half more than the mostly episodic first half.
Little Witch Academia (TV) is a very engaging/well-written series that will never bore you and it will keep you smiling from start to finish.
Overall the story for Little Witch Academia (TV) to be pretty awesome and it's very refreshing when compared to most anime that are coming out nowadays.
The characters in Little Witch Academia is honestly amazing and very likable in they own ways. Not to mention they have great character chemistry to one and another.
Akko is a great female lead.
She's a very energetic and determined girl who wants to achieve her dream despite her shortcomings by being an ordinary girl with no witch blood.
Some people may find her annoying in the beginning but in my opinion, she's the perfect type of annoying you can relate to from start to finish.
Not mention he she has great and believable character development especially in the second half. Plus she's very relatable.
She's one of my favorite female protagonist in recent memory.
Sucy is the aloof, sarcastic and sadistic character of the show who likes to use Akko as a text subject for her experiments. I can't say anything more about this but all I say is she a fun and likable character overall but I wish she had more screen time in the second half of the show as well as having a bit of character development in my opinion.
Lotte is a rather patient and studious character of the group. She also a supportive character who likes help her friends mainly Akko.
Like Sucy she's a fun and likable character. Also like Sucy I wish she had more screen time in the second half as well a bit character development because I found her to very interesting and likable.
Diana is a serious esteemed witch from a long line of witches who is the top student in knowledge and magic.
She's honestly my favorite character in this show.
I personally like her personality as well her development as the series progresses on. Not to mention like Akko she very relatable.
Overall Diana is an awesome that I adored from start to finish
The rest of the characters are also great.
They are very likable, enjoyable to watch from start to finish and they brought more life to the show
Overall besides the lack of screen time for Sucy and Lottte in the second half, this character cast was great from start to finish.
Visually Little Witch Academia looks good for the most part
The background scenery is defined by thin lines and washed out colors. They are very well detailed and well drawn but they are mostly static.
The characters designs minus Sucy have very similar size and body types. However, the characters faces and movement are very different for each character and it gives them a personality of they own. Immediately by watching the show, you will see that Akko is an energic, Sucy is an old sarcastic girl or Diana is a hotty top student.
In terms of actual animation, the character movement is easy to follow. Things like the motions of clothing hair, ribbon caps, magical effects or broomsticks are what gives the visuals a lot of their flare. Plus it's very well animated.
Overall the visuals are great but can be a bit repetitive at times in terms of size and body types
The soundtrack is almost entirely orchestral pieces and consists of a handful of themes with lots of variations and rearrangements of each.
These orchestral pieces are amazing, very enjoyable to listen and have a purpose for each scene.
Michiru Oshima did an amazing job with this soundtrack as it makes each scene more impactful.
The sound effects used in this show is great.
The opening and endings themes are really good.
From the happy adventurous of the first opening Shiny Ray to the more slightly serious opening that some foreshadowing towards the end of the opening,
Both ending themes are really
The voice acting is simply top notch.
All of the seiyuu's did a great job for voicing each character.
I cannot about the dub because it hasn't been released yet but the dub of the TV series will be available on Netflix soon.
Overall the soundtrack was amazing the openings and ending themes were great and the voice acting was wonderful and well acted.
Little Witch Academia (TV) is a breath of fresh air when compared to most anime that are coming out nowadays. Cough *Eromanga Sensei*
The story was great and very enjoyable, has great worldbuilding, great theme exploration, a strong likable cast from start to finish, great visuals and animation.
The soundtrack is amazing as well as the opening and endings and voice acting is wonderful.
It has some minor hiccups such as lack of screen time for certain characters in the second half as well mostly repeating the size and body types for the character designs but these minor hiccups are easily ignored due how great the story and characters were.
This is easily one of the best anime to ever come out in the last two years.
Unlike Eromanga Sensei that represents everything that is wrong about modern anime and it's also one of the worst anime I have ever seen in my life. Little Witch Academia (TV) represent everything that is great about modern anime and for that reason, I give the show as well as the director You Yoshinari full respect.
It may not be the perfect anime but compared to most anime that I have seen over the years this show almost represents everything that I love about this entire anime medium.
This show will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will make you smile with joy and determination.
Thank you to all the creators for making this wonderful anime and I hope this gets a Blu-Ray/DVD release in the future.
I give Little Witch Academia (TV) a 9.5/10.
Anyway this was Shawn aka KurataTrigger and I will see you guys next time.
Watching Little Witch Academia is like looking back into a portal to my youth. A time when Cartoon Network ruled the fucking world! While I was born at the tail end of the nineties, and thus didn't experience what many people consider to be the golden age for the network, I did grow up watching re-runs of many of the shows that established the network and what made it so infamous during the early 2000s. Shows like Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls, Dexter's Laboratory and a plethora of others quickly became my favourite cartoons, and I still love them to this day, looking back on
each with found feelings of nostalgia. Little Witch Academia evokes these similar feelings in me of nostalgia, and it's a sort of feeling that I honestly find hard to properly articulate since it is so raw and personal. The anime genuinely feels that it could have aired on Cartoon Network considering how fun, charismatic, and full of energy the entire show actually is, and with each passing episode, Little Witch Academia becomes even more charming and loveable, so much so, that this anime has become a personal favourite of mine! Through its wonderfully creative world, diverse and interesting cast, and bouncy animation, Little Witch Academia is easily the most fun I've had with a piece of media in a very long time, and despite some flaws in terms in its narrative, the entire show, in my eyes, is a wonderful representation of what can be accomplished in animation. With that all said and done, let's dive into why I believe this show to be as great as I proclaim it is!
Little Witch Academia is set in a world in which the use of magic is being used less as a viable means in everyday life, but, despite that, there are still a plethora of witches who wish to learn and study magic for themselves, keeping the world of magic alive. One such girl happens to be our main protagonist, Atsuko Kagari, or simply Akko, who, after seeing a live magic show by a witch named Shiny Chariot, inspires her to take up magic herself, with the ultimate goal of meeting her idol one day, and learning how to use magic in order to put smiles on people's faces and help them forget about their troubles and grief. However, there is only one problem. Akko is totally inept when it comes to magic, having come from a family with no lineage of witches, and performing terribly in her classes at school when it comes to magic participation. She can't ride a broom while everyone else can, finds basic spells difficult while messing up everything she attempts to do, while dragging everyone else into her mishaps and incidents. While we do learn the reason why Akko is so incompetent when it comes to magic in the twenty seconded episode, resulting in a great emotional plot twist, Akko's lack of ability and lack of knowledge for the magical world in general helps make her more relatable for an audience watching. She assumes the underdog role for this tale, and there is a general sense of cathartic pay off seeing her succeed in her magic studies and spells when others doubt her or assume she will never succeed, yet still proves them wrong. Much like how the audience doesn't know anything about this world, nor does Akko, and this allows the audience to experience the world through her eyes. As Akko learns and grows in this world, the audience does too, which helps the audience grow more attached to Akko as a person. It's the same emotions evoked in watching someone try their hardest and then eventually succeeding after hard work that makes the series incredibly addictive to watch, at least for me anyway.
Anyway, back to the plot, as Akko attempts to get to Luna Nova for her first day of school, she finds it impossible to get there since a broom is needed to go through a magical road, but she meets a girl called Lotte, who becomes a good friend of Akko, who then gives her a ride to the school. However, whilst travelling in this magical road, they are thrown off course and are transported into another area, where they meet up with Sucy, whom will become another friend of Akko's. They're attacked by strange creatures, Akko finds Chariot's Shiny Rod, saves the day by enchanting a magic word, and makes it to the school just in time. The next few episode sees Akko and her friends attending school will many different magical problems ensue, but the series begins to introduce a more central and focused narrative with Akko attempting to find seven magic words that she believes will bring her closer to Shiny Chariot, which will also activate the Grand Triskelion. A powerful magic that has the power of reconstruction, but, for the most part, the series is fairly episodic, which can be used as a critique against the show. However, each episode has enough energy and charisma, as well as variety to keep things fun and never feeling boring and repetitive. From a race on broom sticks, to reviving a skeleton, to building a giant ship that turns into a giant robot reminiscent of Gurren Laggen, the entire series uses its magical world in neat and creative ways, making the show an absolute blast to watch. Since anything is possible in a world full of magic, the show remains incredibly addicting to watch since we never know what the show may bring to the table next and each scenario the characters find themselves in is fun as all hell, and the character interactions never fail to put a smile on my face. The world of Little Witch Academia feels alive and vibrant, with so many things to discover and find intrigue in. One thing in particular that I always found interesting was Akko's journey to find the words needed to meet Shiny Chariot. As she searched for each one, she always ran into interesting witches of the past, and discovered several past secrets about the world of magic. There is a lot of care put into its world building elements and each one feels extremely memorable. Each event and scenario is tangential to this main idea of Akko growing, not only as a witch in regards to her improving her magical abilities, but also as a person too, and each one of the words, and their meanings, parallels this growth as well.
As the show moves into a more central narrative, and introduces a villain for the show, the story is filled with much more emotional depth and is genuinely heart warming in a lot of places too. One of the most interesting themes the show presents is the idea of old customs, such as magic, slowly being less needed in the world as it becomes more developed and technologically advanced. This theme of technology versus magic is integrated well, as if it were an issue in our very own world, and is explored in interesting ways to aid character development, especially in regards to Diana's characters, in which one of her arcs as a character is focused on her wanting to continue the proud lineage of her family, which is becoming increasingly difficult to do in this ever changing world. Another example where this element is done especially well is the relationship that builds between Andrew and Akko, after Akko sneaks into his party, where many upper-class witches and people gathered. Andrew, being incredibly sceptical of the world and potentials of magic, and Akko, being the loud person that she is when projecting her love for magic, initially clash upon their first meeting, but as the show goes along, Andrew warms up to Akko, and, in turn, the world of magic as well, and begins to slowly appreciate its potential use in society. This also results in some of my favourite movements in the show, seeing Akko and Andrew working together and their chemistry is genuinely great as well. Each episode is devoted to fleshing out a character or giving some them some time to shine, through the use of magic in creative ways. The comedy, and character interactions, feel organic and the show has such a wonderful charm about it that I found myself smiling a plethora of times, especially seeing Akko grow as a person. As the show goes along, Akko learns shape shifting magic, allowing her to change into various different animals, all of which are fun and are used in smart ways, while also looking absolutely adorable, especially the mouse transformation. This is perhaps best integrated in the twenty-first episode when Akko is rapidly changing between different animals whilst fighting against a large python.
While I have praised the story of Little Witch Academia a lot, it's still without its problems. For starters, the plot can feel a little too convenient at times, such as in the very first episode where Akko just so happens to come across Shiny Chariot's rod while in a forest and some of the moments can feel too silly or contrived for my liking, such as when Akko comes across a super fast broom that is legendary in the world of magic, in a simple magic shop rather than in a museum, or, better yet, in Nuva Lova itself. However, while there are a few of these issues, I never found it ever to be too intrusive on my immersion or enjoyment of the series nor is it necessarily a game breaker either. The episodic plot lines may be annoying to some people wanting an overarching story all the way through, but, as I said, I believe each episode to be fun and creative enough to stand by itself, so I had no problem in regards to this area. One plot line can feel a little too predictable if you ask me, but, again, is something that doesn't really take all too much away from the overall experience or narrative.
The characters are also pretty great too, with each one having a very distinct personality that bounces off each other very well, especially in regards to the main trio, Akko, Sucy and Lotte. Akko is a character I've already talked about in detail, but her development, and her character arc presented in episode twenty-two after learning something that changes her perception of her world are easily the best parts of the show, and seeing her grow into a more rounded person proves to be highly satisfying. She is a good lead for a show of this nature, taking into account her inquisitive nature, and she is often used for comedic, slapstick effect as well. While she can sometimes be a little too annoying in the early parts of the series, and some of her lines and dialogue and lines about dreams and passion can come across a little too corny as well, Akko's character is one that I wanted to see succeed; I became invested enough in her character to do so. Not only that, but she has a clearly defined goal in the series, which helps with plot progression as well as direction.
Lotte and Sucy are two of Akko's personal close friends who share one room together, and, as the series progresses, begin to bond closer to one another too. Lotte is much more simpler than the other characters, both in design and personality, as she is perhaps the most down to Earth and calmest of the bunch. She plays the typical nerdy sort of character, and while she does receive some development, she is kind of pushed out from the forefront in favour of Akko. She has her moments, but is far from being one of my favourite characters. Sucy, on the other hand, is best girl of all times. Her appearance alone can convey everything about her character, and her voice actress does an amazing job at enhancing it too. She is essentially a pessimistic mushroom magic user, who finds enjoyment in using Akko as an experimental guinea pig while laughing manically about it. However, in the eighth episode of the series, and one of the best in my eyes, Akko has to dive into Sucy's subconscious, and there she meets hundreds of different versions of Sucy, all of which have different personalities to that of the original, representing Sucy's repressed emotions. While in this world, Akko watches a bunch of movies, that are Sucy's memories, and we learn that one of Sucy's best moments comes from her first meeting with Akko, and the various adventures they had up to that point. It's a sweet moment, and gives us more indication that Sucy does care about her deep down, than what we were lead to believe from the start.
Diana's character also goes through a lot of development, as she begins to respect and grow fond of Akko more and more in response to Akko's improved magical abilities such as in episode thirteen, when Akko proves her magical capabilities in front of a massive audience while taking on, and even helping, a large, cursed creature. While Diana, in the early parts of the series is stuck-up and pretty bitchy, she becomes more bearable and likeable as the episodes come along, especially over the course of her own respective story arc in the nineteenth and twentieth episodes, which I touched on briefly before, but also in episode twenty-three when she is talking to Akko in a cafe and opens up her own childhood love of Shiny Chariot as well. It explains why her character acts and behaves the way she does and also adds deeper insight and depth to her as a person too. Andrew's character too, as I've touched upon too, also develops in the scene that he comes to understand and appreciate the world of magic a bit more, but his character is also a gateway to understanding the rest of the world's stance of how magic is used in the modern era, and, I've said, I really liked the relationship formed him and Akko. While it is nothing romantic, there are slight hints of it here and there, but it never comes to any surface level, or feels too intrusive on the more interesting aspects of the show.
Undoubtly, the crux of the show and its narrative weight is the relationship between Akko and Ursula-sensei, and while I won't get too much into the specifics why and what this entails, since I want to avoid spoilers as much as possible in this review, just note that this is the one that forms the back-bone for the series to rest upon. The other members of the cast are also very fun to watch as well, whether that be the various teachers with their odd eccentricities, such as professor Lukic, a mad potions teacher who's lines never failed to make me laugh. One of my favourites of the side characters was Constanze, who doesn't even utter a single word yet we can understand what she is thinking just from her body language and facial expressions alone. We don't really learn or understand why she doesn't speak in the series, but she allows us to understand that the world of magic is not all about wands, but also machinery, as she seems to merge both technology and magic together, adding onto the theme I was talking about earlier. She also has my favourite episode in the show in which she builds a giant ship that transforms into a robot, which is an obvious homage to Gurren Laggen, typical of Studio Trigger. Also, that little smile that Constanze delivers the end of the episode after being thanked by Akko is wonderfully adorable.
In terms of animation, this is probably the best (and most consistent) show that Trigger has made thus far. The animation is very bouncy, with lots of energy and pull and stretch for that cartoon-y esque feel. It genuinely feels that, while not as polished, it could be a show that someone like Disney would create, in regards to how colourful, creative and fun everything is. It's character designs are great and can tell you everything about the character's personality just from a glance and it can sometimes showcase some absolutely fantastic animation. However, there are some art issues here and there, but, for the most part, the animation is so bouncy that it doesn't really affect the show all too much. The music is also pretty damn good with two amazing opening tracks, "Shiny Ray" and "MIND CONDUCTOR". I especially love the opening animation to MIND CONDUCTOR too, and the music used in the show itself is also great, especially the main theme. It is catchy, memorable and damn well composed, adding onto the more heartfelt and emotional moments the anime attempts to convey.
If you can't yet tell from my relentless praise, I love this show. It is a wonderful reminder of why I love animation as a whole and the entire show has such an innocent, child-like wonder about it as well. From its wonderful characters, great narrative and creative world, this show ticks all the boxes for me personally in terms of what a show should have, and I do highly recommend this anime, as well as the two movies that came before it as well. Little Witch Academia has the luxury of being an original show, and thus also has one of the most satisfying conclusions I've seen in a long time, which only thuther cemented this anime as one of my favourites of all time. Everything about this show has a genuine sense of, well, genuineness about it, and it feels like the team behind it put their all into making it, and had a blast while doing so, which is all I can really ask for at the end of the day. With that, I thank you for reading my review, and I wish you all a great day!
Little Witch Academia is Yoh Yoshinari's precious child, who is one of the most important and iconic animators this industry has. It's at the same time, a love letter to it, with clear intent, wanting to be a message of hope to everyone looking to be part of it eventually. Unfortunately, he is an animator, not a writer (though he most likely wasn't alone in this), and said intentions are not backed up by the execution of the piece once examined under the cold eye of the
monocle-wearing critic who thinks too highly of him/her-self, yet far from a complete dreck. This "love letter" has fundamental problems with its setting, plot, pace, characters, and a strangely ambiguous thematic simplicity that I can only attribute to the core idea Yoshinari tried to bring forward getting in the way of the show's story, and that's without touching details like the amounts of redundancy in the dialogue or some poorly paced scenes that end with no momentum. Little Witch Academia is an anime that always finds a way to squander its potential, and I'll proceed to explain myself.
First, lets talk about anime and animators. How is this related to our little witches? The show acts like a metaphor to the journey of the young animator in the industry, an ideal represented by Kagari Atsuko (Akko), where the magic world symbolizes anime and its institutions. Many animators are inspired from a very young age by one piece of animation that resonates with them, which leads them to choose said profession. The world of animation (and anime) is alive as long as there is new people that wants to work in it, and it's also necessary that veterans are able to train them for that.
Besides the obvious Nine Old Men (google it) reference within the show's lore through the Nine Old Witches, there are more nods to this metaphor. The show alludes to3DCG animation with Croix and her technology entering the scene, and the end of the series calls back to the cycle that perpetuates the existance of magic/anime in this world. During the spectacle that the outcome of the final showdown against Croix's mad missile generates, we see people being enchanted again by magic, and then we cut to a close shot of a little girl being amazed by it, symbolizing that Akko has inspired a generation younger than her to pursue the road of magic, same as how Chariot inspired her, in the same way this series and its climatic ending may inspire those who see it. This is why the show is a love letter to anime.
At the same time, Little Witch Academia is without a doubt the most consistently high quality production Trigger has made (Kiznaiver exists, but this is also two cours), with a similar artstyle to western cartoons, mixed with limited animation techniques here and there like heavy use of smearing, and intense focused "sakuga" moments that manage to impress on a technical level. All of this coupled with a brilliant OST composed by Michiru Oshima, that adds in a fantastic way to the tone the series has both in its heavier and lighter moments.
Poetic, isn't it? But the praise stops here.
About pacing, Little Witch Academia starts with Akko finding the broken underexplained McGuffin known as Shiny Rod in her road to Luna Nova, which is followed by a series of western inspired episodic adventures of little importance that will either reveal some detail about the world or a quirk about the characters. We don't get exposition regarding the words plot up until episode 11, and the main antagonist is only introduced by episode 14. What follows during the second half is a weird alternance of proper plot related episodes and episodic content similar to the second half, making for some jarring contrast between episode and episode. Even then, the show finds its focus again around episode 21, and rushes to the conclusion. It's uneven, and tries to tie things up way too fast, with too little to keep interesting in the first half, and too much to cram in the end without forcing it.
There is no inherent problem with an episodic structure, many magical girl anime like Princess Tutu, Full Moon wo Sagashite and Shoujo Kakumei Utena got it right. The problem with Little Witch Academia is that most of these episodes are bland, employ cliché plots, are cheap excuses to force screentime for irrelevant characters, and overall give way too little substance (or have little value) besides spectacle, which again wouldn't be a problem if the series wasn't trying to get you invested in anything else than that. At the same time, the series has a strong tendency to forcefully validate Akko's disruptive and intrusive behaviours, usually through the implementation of some plot device that achieves this (often the Rod) and often resolves the conflict. Then, one other time the show rewrote a character from the opposing side to reach a resolution, during Diana's arc, where after showing her aunt as this one dimensional snake lady, it's revealed that she actually cares about the family's legacy, and will try to keep it up while she follows her dream in Luna Nova. This makes the resolutions idealized and convenient. Little times a conflict is solved by the agency of our characters or an instance of personal growth, and while the series often returns to the status quo, these end up being the best episodes because there's real catharsis to be found in them. These exceptions are episodes 11, 13, 14, and from episode 21 onwards where the show focus on what matters, exploring Akko's relationship with Chariot, the past of the latter, and finally resolving who Akko wants to be. Even then, it takes 21 episodes of justifying everything with passion and simple motivations until something more interesting happens with her character. Finally, this ends up making Akko a character favoured by the plot, result given by the rather low stakes situations the show puts her in, which are resolved with no real growth from her part (see the exceptions). The series hides in Akko, whose story is about maturing and personal growth, someone with a Mary Sue treatment. Akko is rewarded for who she is and what she represents, not for the person she grows to be during her journey, in the same fashion as Hajime from Gatchaman Crowds (but Crowds doesn't pretend that there is a journey for Hajime).
Other of the problems Little Witch Academia has is its handling of the setting. We see some places and factions, but they are vaguely explored or barely important, like witches from other places who appear on one episode and are never brought back again, meaning that there is little to no expansive worldbuilding outside what's relevant inmediately to the story. We learn that the witches had a 1500+ years old debt with a dragon because no one took responsibility to learn/recover dragon language to read or translate the damn contract, but then Diana comes with her teenage wisdom to say the day and put the drake on his place, since she DID study/learn dragon language apparently. The "adults are useless" trope is implemented to push this idea of the incomeptence veterans have for training the new generations, drawing a parallel with the anime industry metaphor. In doing so, said execution generates a tonal clash regarding a situation about the world that should be taken more seriously, compared to how the series treats other similar moments, and it's one of the elements that leads the series to validate otherwise questionable developments, for how it makes impossible to take the old witches in charge seriously (and end up being fairly irrelevant to the plot (as expected anime, you can't have people that make sense solving your plots, can you?). For example, there's no ambiguety when Ursula defends Akko from being expelled/suspended from Luna Nova after clearly breaking the rules (Akko avoiding being expelled for Ursula's intervention and instead being suspended would make for a nice moment of self-reflection, that still rewards her efforts in some way, adding complexity), or that never in the second half the authorities of Luna Nova question or check what Croix is doing in her suspicious omious tower (which is in reality a minor contrivance).
Then there's the faction of british gentlemen, which includes Andrew. It's implied that they finance Croix, but it's never explored why, and out of them "hating witches" (which is also not explored) they don't have an interesting dynamic with the world. Andrew himself is sidelined, and his role in the climax is very small (Gentlemen: -Shut down the cameras! Andrew:-No! I believe in these witches! Gentlemen: -Ok.) but he is more important as an ear to Akko, as well as someone who she inspires the capacity of trusting witches, eventually. He also gives Akko the idea of being herself, by herself, rather than by Chariot.
The rest of the side cast (Diana, Chariot, and Croix are mains) have personalities defined by only one trait or superficial quirk. Jasminka eats a lot, Constanze does tech stuff and doesn't talk, Sucy is sadistic and experiments with mushrooms, Lotte is shy, likes Nightfall and has fairy magic, Diana's minions are just that, and Amanda is a tomboy archetype with nothing else. All of these are characters you can define in half a sentence, that exist to represent how Akko through her forceful behaivour managed to have friends who act as emotional support. It's incredibly basic and boring seeing how Akko instead of building most of these relationships through mutual understanding, she's forced into being accepted by external plot elements. The exception to this is her relationship with Diana, which has its problems, but nontheless it has conflicts, a dynamic, and only when Akko helps her to face her family and understand her problems is when they really become friends, and it make sense that it's Diana the one that puts Akko back on her feet in episode 23 after the twist of episode 22. Which leads us to the next point.
The story between Chariot and Croix, once revealed, destroys Akko emotionally, who eventually gets back on her feet once Diana conforts her. The problem is that besides using a lot of contrived friendships as a reinforcement (note also how little Lotte and Sucy appear during the second half of the show), this makes Diana's character being limited as an emotional support to Akko, and the show in its intent to portray its metaphor, ends up giving more value to her passion above Diana's ethic towards hard work, which she upheld all her childhood (or even more important than Akko's own resolve to work hard and not take shortcuts, since it's never brought up in their exchange!). This leaves a mixed message, almost on some wish-fulfilling tone, extremely simplified and idealistic. Luckily the series doesn't intend to depreciate hard work (scenes like Akko meeting Woodward and Diana's arc suggest this), yet ends up doing it because of its execution.
The revelations themselves during episode 22 (extended to 23) give new meaning to the series in many layers, and make it interesting again in a moment where it was feeling empty. Even then, the series limits its potential again by making Chariot ultimately a victim of Croix's deception, which goes back to a simplistic characterization that doesn't innovate nor is particularly interesting, if not for her burden and regret regarding her negligency (and projection of her wishes on Akko) towards her student. Meanwhile, the show makes its best to paint Croix as a mustache twirling villain (who does unquestionably bad things) to redeem her at the last second when everything goes wrong, without implying that her actions in the end have been punished since she had "good intentions". Good old Harry Potter. 120 points for Gryffindor.
The conflict during the last act is based on the antagonist accentuating negative emotions in the population with a fishy football game acting as a cathalyst, to then gather said emotions as magic energy and destroy the seal of Grand Triskellion. Finally, the climax goes from a final boss battle where she finds out that the power she sought wasn't what she thought it was, to said boss (Croix) losing control of her technology, (in the same way Chariot lost control of her magic collection technique) unintentionally releasing a mass destruction missile built by the uncontrolled rage of the mob. With the conflict now not being focused on Croix, everyone is now a good person, and all that's left is convincing the world that magic is cool, which happens. The thing is that this outcome is forced, since Chariot and Croix are suddenly able to livestream and comment the event from thin air (an event that occurs in the stratosphere(!)) which enables people to see it and do the 180° turn from almost starting a war to cheer and give them energy (don't ask how, Grand Triskellion does the trick) so that Diana and Akko can defeat the missile. This is, again, as it's an habit of the series, idealistic and forced. Friendship is magic, and passion is what's most important. The major credit I can give to the finale is that it's extremely climatic, features the best bits of animation in the whole show, it's somewhat possible to just take what it presents at face value for that, and closes the meta-text the series has been building with its analogy regarding the anime industry in a clever, subtle way, even if the communicated message is ambiguous without this interpretation.
In summary, Little Witch Academia had good intentions, but not the chops to carry them forward. In its ambition leaves blurry many details of its execution, which falls apart analyzing it bit by bit or as a whole, with an extra of mixed, unclear morals. Its intent enters in conflict with what it did, but it looked and sounded good. Nice try Trigger, I hope that you can do better next time. I don't know how much this was affected by executive meddling, but as I final thought, I begin to wonder that this could've been tighter if it was 13 episodes long.
A magical world in Little Witch Academia is one I can describe as imaginatively beautiful. Beauty is expressed there not just by world fiction but by the context of its creativity. I don’t mean just the world either but the show itself is filled with characters, themes, and storytelling that make you want to go back and watch it all over again.
Little Witch Academia is perhaps unique with the fact that it’s an adaptation of a successful film. The first film originated in 2012 as part of the Young Animator Training Project and spawned a sequel titled Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade. Now,
we have a full TV series based on the franchise that all began from the creativity of those animators. Watching Little Witch Academia is pretty simple with an open mind especially if you’re a fan of magical girl theme series. It has the characters that makes the storytelling feel special, a world with seemingly endless possibilities, and moments that will be unforgettable.
From the first few episodes, we are introduced to the world that shows its content by events and story rather than a dull dialogues. School life at Luna Nova is also shown in details as we see how Akko, the main female protagonist lives her daily life. Of course, Luna Nova is no ordinary school and in fact contains lots of secrets that defies the law of nature. From here, you’ll find witches, magical creatures, spellbooks, and iconic flying broomsticks. The storytelling connects to the history of the school with its characters as well so from in it, viewers will learn the origins of the world. What I find impressive is how this series continuously build on its world setting with every episode that makes you want to find out more and more.
At the centerpiece of the story is Akko. She’s a young girl who has grew up to admire Shiny Chariot, a famous witch performer. This inspired Akko to actually attend Luna Nova and in essence, she hope to meet Shiny Chariot one day in person. While she’s there, Akko also makes friends and rivals. Along her side, she is good friends with Lotte, a friendly girl with a talent of summoning spells. Then, there’s Sucy the mischievous girl with a talent of potion making and causing bizarre incidents. These three characters all have different personalities but manages to get along as they learn more about each other. The character chemistry between the three evolves throughout the show although it doesn’t exceed expectations. For instance, Lotte and Sucy gets less screen time later on as the plot evolves into much more complex twists and turns. Akko’s growth as a character is what this show focuses on the most. From the start, she’s a talentless witch and known for causing trouble. These often result in unintentional hazards but nonetheless, Akko is viewed as a fool by many of her professors and classmates in the beginning. Most interestingly though, Akko is able to wield the Shiny Rod, a staff that previously belonged to Chariot herself. In the meantime, there’s also Diana, a character that stands as a foil to Akko. Unlike her, Diana is talented, comes from a prestigious family, and is respected by many of her classmates and professors. Her philosophy of magic also contrasts with Akko and in turn, she serves more or less as a rival; although this seemingly comes from Akko’s point of view. As the series progresses, we can see that Diana is both impressed and surprised by Akko’s feats in certain magic from certain episodes. In retrospect, character relationship in this show between friends and rivals evolves for fans to enjoy.
While the series itself contains a lot of goofy moments, it does have a serious side. The first half of the show involves mainly of how Akko and her friends gets used to academy life while the second half concentrates more on plot with the series getting more in-depth with its characters. One of the more noticeable character in the series is Ursula, a friendly professor that takes Akko under her wing. The two has a close relationship and Ursula realizes Akko’s strong desire to become a witch. Furthermore, Akko and Ursula holds a similar belief in magic and it’s from their philosophy that we can see how close they become. Now you may be questioning yourself: what about antagonists? Are there real threats that comes to surface against the main characters? To answer that, it’s more about how the characters deals with them rather than just resolving certain conflicts. I can say honestly that the show is much more appealing when you invest into the character motivations and realize why characters do certain things. As such, Little Witch Academia isn’t a magical girl show that’s about saving the world from evil but rather much more focused on character building and realization.
As much as creative as Little Witch Academia seems to be, you may not be too impressed if you’ve seen a lot of magical girl theme shows before. Magical schools is hardly a hot new theme as many series have done it before. Furthermore, our main character Akko can be frustrating to watch at times. Sure, she is fun to watch and brings a lot of comedy into the show. However, she is still considered one of the most talentless witches at the school and it’s frustrating at times to see her fail in certain subjects. I can confess that sometimes, I wish she would just get it right the first time. Other characters in the show such as Amanda excels in certain areas that makes her look like an idiot at times too. This show does teach a valuable lesson though and is that hard work can have its own rewards and consequences.
As a fan of studio Trigger, my expectations were definitely met with the production quality. It’s goofy, cartoony, yet visually appealing that captures the magic of this series together. Characters’ personalities matches with their appearances and everything seems to be in place according to its world fiction. Nova Luna is also designed in the way that I’d picture it would be and like in the movies, it expands much more than just what it appears. Character expressions are also crafted in ways that look humorous especially for cases such as Akko and Sucy. I mean, who can forget when Akko transforms into an adorable mouse and running around at school? On the action side, the show does a neat job with formulating magic and showing how spells work beyond than words.
I have to give some praise to the voice actors. Akko’s voice sounds exactly how I would imagine with her impulsiveness and eager to succeed. On the other hand, I’m also impressed by Diana’s voice of confidence that makes her character status believable. Sucy is also noticeable for her meek yet mischievous voice tone that fits her personality perfectly. The OP and ED theme songs are also done with colorful choreography. While I can’t say the OST is anything to take home, it’s still serviceable to get the job done.
Little Witch Academia is a beautifully crafted show that brings magic to a level that’s larger than life. With a graceful cast of characters, memorable moments, creative storytelling, and imaginative world, it’s definitely worth getting invested into. Even if you’ve never seen the films or a magical girl show in your life, it’s still a show that I can recommend for some wild and vivid fun. It hits the right numbers in many areas for what a magical girl show should be.