"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 PhantomKurata 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.
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 themself despite of their own contradiction-riddled writing, 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 most of the show's first 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 itself 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 rare ocasions 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, who is a stand-in for most of her show's ideas).
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 in order to read or translate the damn contract, but then Diana comes with her teenage wisdom to save 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 to both her character and the outcome of her actions), 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 later as an emotional cushion for her. 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". But that's probably sadism on my part. The true villain of the series is Woodward and the garbage tier guidance they offered to the girls (Chariot and Croix) which is never genuinely addressed even if it's where Croix's character and misguided actions come from.
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 plotting because magic is wonderful. 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, it 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 at least looked and sounded good. I begin to wonder if this could've been tighter if it was 13 episodes long.
Little Witch Academy is way too overrated. OVA and movies were good but this series is just weak compared to those.. plot is slow and filled with plotholes., most characters have only 1 aspect that describes them and episode endings and reveals are all very pretictable and cliche.
Also, episodes lack proper build up for their reveals (for example in 5th episode attack of dragons came out of nowhere, main dragon being harmless buisnessman came out of nowhere, school being in debt and owning money to dragon came out of nowhere, debt being scam came out of nowhere, Diana knowing ancient dragonese came out of
nowhere.. pretty much whole episode came out of blue). Lack of build up means that viewer can't really guess where story is heading and thus can't fully experience story of this series. After seeing 1 or 2 episodes of random surprises, this gimmick can't really carry story forward.
Secondly, because it is episodic series then that means that stories are usually self contained and thus solving plotholes should be done before the episode or during the episode. Otherwise we already have moved to different storyarc and plothole solving of previous arc after it has already resolved feels out of place. Currently there is almost no overarching storyline where time of solving plotholes doesn't matter. Unlike Mob Psycho 100 there doesn't seem to be bigger arc toward what episodic series is building it's story and thus story of this series seems to be quite weak.
If we didn't had legendary OVA then this series would be considered avarage at best. 6th episode was more logical storyline than in previous episodes and because of that this series might get better in later episodes.. although start of this series is still way too weak.
Watching Little Witch Academia is like looking back into a portal to my youth. A time when Cartoon Network ruled the 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 lovable, 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 episodes 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 felt boring and repetitive. From a race on broomsticks 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 heartwarming 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 was 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 shapeshifting 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 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 the 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 maniacally 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.
Undoubtedly, 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 backbone 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 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 Laggan, 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 further 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!
A small preamble - in my opinion "Little Witch Academia" already deserves praise for being an anime deviating from the norm, a piece of art that indicates hope for the revitalization of the whole anime industry. And even more so, if we keep in mind that the original story (short film) was released 2013 as part of the 'Young Animator Training Project's Anime Mirai' project, its second movie was entirely realized due to crowd funding, both attempting to showcase an exceptional, magical fairy tale of a young girl, striving to become a great witch.
Right from the start, the viewer is instantly drawn into a
world of traditional fantasy and folklore, where magic is not just a simple word, but an essential part of life and the entire world (building).
Story - "Little Witch Academia" follows a trio of girls, Akko and her friends, Lotte and Sucy, as they experience many magical adventures together. Akko has a big dream, therefore she decided to enroll in the 'Luna Nova Magical Academy' to become a great witch like her idol Shiny Chariot, whom most people in Luna Nova Academy consider a fraud. The story follows the daily struggle of the trio, whereas Akko has to deal with even more difficulties due to her non-magical background as a first generation witch from Japan. Still, that never stops her from being energetic and cheerful, while overcoming the hardships of a witch (pupil) with her two besties.
The art is by no means bad, I'd rather say the monster and character design is eye-catching in a good way, especially with respect to the portrayal of the environment and beautiful background scenery. And even if one minds the slight 'simplicity' of the art every now and then, you should come to acknowledge that it perfectly fits the fantasy style of the anime in its entirety, expressing its own charm.
Another positive fact is that the anime completely manages without the heavy use and usual inclusion of romance, or other common themes - to gloss over a lack of creativeness and imagination - which we have already seen hundreds of times, over and over again. So if you're one of those people who are already tired of always seeing the same story-telling and generic stereotypes, you'll really come to love and appreciate "Little Witch Academia"'s unique way of telling an interesting adventure, including lively and versatile characters that are more than just simple decorations, which are often entirely overshadowed by the protagonist in other anime.
Little Witch Academia unveils that every journey begins with a single step in the right direction, to realize one's own dreams and hopes, in one of the most heartwarming, funniest and enjoyable ways that you have ever seen - a truly rare gem. Furthermore, the anime delivers exactly what it promises, a light-hearted adventure in a fantasy world.
To cut a long story short, naturally, I'll refrain from giving a serious rating at this point of time, but if I have to express a vague direction I'd score the anime with a decent -8- at the moment, that scoring is also in regard to the prior movies as a justified basis, it will be changed appropriately in the end.
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.
Before I being, let me say this. I am very grateful to Tattun the producer, for visiting 4chan during the time LWA aired. Many fans, myself included, had the opportunity to ask him a bunch of questions, and learn a few interesting things about the story and characters. So in the unlikely chance you’re reading this, Thank you buddy!
Little Witch Academia’ (depending on viewers’ opinion) can be summed up as either “a charming, adventurous title; full of unique characters, interesting storylines, and filled with fun & entertainment.” On the other hand, it can be summed up as a disappointing, overly self-referential, lackluster title;
full of too many western references, terrible pacing, filler, shoehorned, and plain one-dimensional characters.
Inside the magical, heartwarming tale of Little Witch Academia, we follow our annoying (but loveable… admit it!) protagonist Atsuko “Akko” Kagari. Akko is human with the burning passion of becoming a great witch like her idol Shiny Chariot! Watching the story unfold is one that viewers will certainly enjoy watching. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about little witch academia’s story is that it provides multiple re-occurring themes that fit well with the story.
The best one that is shown over and over throughout the series is ambition. Many of the women enrolled at Luna Nova academy show determination, and work hard to achieve their personal goals. Akko of course has to work the hardest because she has no talent. It feels like such an accomplishment to witness Akko and the others achieving their goals! I felt like that was the biggest payoff the story had to offer.
I was skeptical during the first 6 episodes; the content provided had failed to meet my expectations. In comparison to the OVA and movie, the quality of the TV anime appeared a bit more childish. The plot for each episode was overly simplified, coupled with terrible pacing. It was so bad that I felt like I was watching a children’s show.
Compared to studio triggers other titles, the content provided in LWAs’ story is tame. You won’t find over the top violence, blood and gore, overly sexualized characters, and other mature themes that you would usually see in a Trigger anime.
The transition from mature content to child-friendly was a little disappointing, and hard for me to get used to. But, after giving it some time, I got used to it. I must admit that Little Witch Academia’s story is fine as it is, childish and all. Some of the best episodes provide viewers with interesting narratives, humorous content, a wee bit of romance, and finally thrilling action. The lackluster episodes are almost filler like, with unnecessary and unwanted subplots, which do not add anything further to the story. In short, the subplots ruin the pacing of the story.
The middle of the series, the rising action, and the events leading to the climax of little witch academia was very disappointing. The pacing and action leading up to it was awful! It kills the hype that the show had previously had. It felt as if writers and director just wanted to rush into something bigger, as seen in episode 24. The writers ended whatever evil plot the antagonist had earlier, just to create another conflict which would have the Akko and friends defeat it.
Supporting characters in the story?
The supporting characters that are not Ursula-sensei, lose their value towards the rising action. During the last four or five episodes; Sucy, Lotte, and Amanda‘s crew, are demoted to background characters, and get at least 10 minutes (if even that) of screen time. It isn’t until last three episodes that we see the supporting characters comeback however; they’re basically around just to cheer Akko as well as give her help when needed.
The 25 episodes of little witch academia were generally good, and at times decent. While I was not impressed with the pacing and filler; I did enjoy the sweet and tender parts the show had to offer. I gave the story and 7 and a half out of 10 because I felt that even though the show was good, it still had a bunch of glaring problems and wasted potential.
I feel bad that there isn’t much that I truly enjoyed about the supporting characters other than Ursula.
I felt that Ursula was the only support that mattered because she helped the story progress. Diana would be a close second however; even she gets pushed to the side. Other than that, I felt that the characters were great. They were full of personality and fun to see on screen.
In the beginning I hated Akko. She’s so one-dimensional. Not to mention she’s annoyingly loud & dumb to the point where I just want to fast forward through every scene she is in. Despite this, Akko does have redeeming qualities to her; especially when her character starts to develop. In a weird way, she sort of reminds me of Naruto Uzumaki from the Naruto franchise. She’s loud, annoying, and stupid. However, when she’s determined to do something, she’s willing to work hard, train, and never give up! It makes her fun to watch.
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, supporting characters lose all value (and to an extent) purpose. They’re subjugated to being nothing more than background characters with little to no lines. I felt that, in exchange for an episode based upon a supporting character, they would have to lose their screen time in order for the story to focus more on Akko.
Art and Visual direction/Sound
Could have been better! I liked the designs; some of the settings were unique. The animation was okay. I wasn’t impressed with it, I felt like some of the special effects were poor in quality. As far as the character designs go, I felt that they were great. I’m honestly looking forward to the art book! WE WILL SUPPORT IT TATTUN!
The opening and ending songs were great; some of the background music was okay. I felt that some of the songs composed for this anime didn’t quite fit well with the atmosphere & settings they took place in. Also, the music didn’t do that good of a job bringing exciting moments to life. The voice acting was great however, the audio quality sounds like they were using budget microphones in the studio. I listened to Little witch academia using “Bose quiet comfort 35” headphones. I must admit, if you have a good pair of headphones or speakers, listen closely and you’ll hear how bad the sound quality is. Especially during scenes where there are monologues.
Enjoyment and overall feelings.
Is Little Witch Academia Academia a project Trigger should be proud of? I would say yes! It’s different. It’s something unique, I feel that it’s one of those shows that could catch on, and sell well if marketed correctly. I strongly believe that LWA needs a push. It needs to branch out more to be successful. I’m not saying that the series isn’t, it’s just that Trigger needs to make it stand out more.
I felt that little witch academia was well worthy of an 8/10 and I would strongly recommend it!
That may seem like a cutesy little Gene Shalit-esque pun to start off the review, but I mean it with all sincerity: the magic and charm of the original OVAs has, for the most part, vanished from its television adaptation. And as someone who adored the hell out of those OVAs, that's a goddamned shame.
This show has a clear two-half structure: the first was primarily character based, featuring episodic adventures to establish and flesh out the cast, while the second introduces the plot in full force. Now, some were unsatisfied with that first half, but I was willing to go along for
the ride. While there were some particularly weak episodes (gotta love Twilight pastiches in 2017, because that's relevant), some were quite enjoyable overall (episode 13 really comes matches some of the wonderment that characterized the first OVA), and that sense of fun carried me through.
It's when the plot kicks in that we run into trouble, because the plot... is stupid. Little Witch Academia is propelled entirely by an idiot plot, where things only happen because characters refuse to divulge critical information (Tell Akko not to trust Croix! She literally kidnapped Akko and tried to have you killed! Come on, at least give her a warning!) or characters are incapable of making the most simple of conclusions (Gee, I wonder if that evil magic robot that pushed Akko out of the tower and almost MURDERED her has anything to do with the ONE professor for tech magic who only showed up EXACTLY when this strike started and has tech that looks EXACTLY like that robot! Doesn’t anyone else notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!). Ursula has no excuse not to reveal her identity to Akko; whereas in the shorts, you could infer some personal history and perhaps shame, embarrassment, or regret colored her decision to lay low, the entire fate of the world apparently hangs in the balance now, but I guess it's better to keep everyone arbitrarily in the dark about details of paramount importance and hope everything works out for the best.
Stupid, and what moments aren't stupid are punctuated by an uninspired "Hunt for the McGuffin" plot that just seems entirely half-assed.
Characterization has also taken a noticeable hit. You see, I was hoping from Croix's juxtaposition against Diana in the second OP that while she might play an antagonistic role, she wouldn't be outright malicious, just somebody coming at this problem with a fundamentally different perspective, or maybe she'd have a personal schism with Chariot, and that the resolution of the plot would come after our characters could find some way to bridge these two sides...
Oh, wait, she's just moustache-twirlingly evil? Like a sidecutted knockoff of Snidely Whiplash? Gee wiz, for a second I was worried we might have an arc or something.
That's an even bigger disappointment considering what a good character Diana is. Part of what made LWA great was that, while Diana very easily could have been the stock-snotty bully, the shorts went to great lengths to show that she's ultimately well-intentioned, she just has a different perspective and attitude from Akko.
And it's not like Trigger has completely forgotten what made LWA great; episode 13 is a standout moment, and captures the heart of the original two shorts. Unfortunately, that peak makes the contrast against its current lows all the more stark.
This is a lot to type up for a show about little girls training to become witches, and maybe I just hoped for too much, but I'm really let down. You can see the potential, but it's buried under an utterly bungled execution. My appreciation for the original shorts will likely keep me watching to the end on the off chance that something will fundamentally, radically change between then and now. However, if someone were to ask me if I think the show is worth their time, I would have to honestly tell them no. That hurts.
And this, kids, is why you never wish on a monkey's paw.
This is my first review, I hope it's helpful! This review was written after 6 episodes have aired, on 2/18/2017. I will update this review as my thoughts on the series develop more thoroughly.
TL;DR: The show so far has been pretty good so far, and I think people should give the show a chance. It's been episodic so far, so if you are a fan of episodic anime, you will probably enjoy this. If you aren't a fan of episodic anime, I definitely recommend you give the format a chance. I don't think Trigger will let you down come the end of the series, for
more details read my full review.
I think it is a little early to be giving this show any sort of long-term judgements. I think those with negative reviews should wait and see if the series gets better, and I think those with overly positive views should not be blind to the problems apparent so far with LWA. The viewer is given little to know where the plot is going, and depending on how the series deals with this and changes in the future, my opinion of this aspect could change. Right now, I think it detracts from the story, but maybe it won't when viewed as a whole. The animation isn't anything crazy, but in my opinion, it has a great art style, appealing aesthetic, and character design. The sound so far has not been exceptionally memorable, but the soundtrack definitely fits the feel of the series. I just feel like it's not very memorable because it's the exact kind of music you would expect from this kind of series. Besides the plot kind of going in not apparent direction, I'm overall really enjoying this series, and I think anyone can really enjoy this series if they can get used to the largely episodic format the series has taken on so far. I'm personally a fan of episodic anime (The Tatami Galaxy, Cowboy Bebop, Gintama, etc.), and I think if you are someone that is okay with the episodic format, you have the ability to really enjoy LWA. So far all of the episodes have given us fun adventures into the world of Luna Nova, and I think most of the episode plots have gone in really interesting and entertaining directions. Personally, I was hoping for something not as episodic from Trigger, like how they did with Kill la Kill, but I still have hopes that Little Witch Academia will get better and better as the season goes on.
Warning: There may be some spoilers here, I tried to clear all of them out of the way so there shouldn't be any. However, I don't know what one would or would not consider as a spoiler in corner cases.
Little Witch Academia is a show that wanted to have its cake and eat it too. It tried to do so much from Western Animation tropes and fluffy episodic episodes to a serious plot with the ramifications of the magic world up in the air. However that attempt to do so much is it's downfall as it ends up failing at each thing it tried. While
the art and animation were great as to be expected from Trigger, the actual writing under it was subpar and had a lot of problems. The biggest of which is: What is Little Witch Academia trying to do?
It starts off as an episodic show which very little that carries over from episode to episode. While there are hints of something important in the first episode they are mostly brushed aside to go with these episodic plots. And while one's mileage may vary on that, it leads to the first half of the show having a more Western Animation feel. Not only are there tropes ripped straight out of Western Animation, but the lack of solid progression of the characters and the story points towards this. However, in the middle of this Little Witch Academia brings up numerous subplots, including one big plot to drive the story. None of these are able to make a good impression, and even worse the plots don't fit together at all.
There is a grand words plot, which to me doesn't feel compelling. While I understand the reason for using those words I don't understand how one would be able to find out those words especially with the draconic language being so dead. How would one be able to find out the words? Furthermore is just knowing them enough or does it rely on strength of character? This is where the words plot falls apart for me. If knowing them is enough, it doesn't really matter what the character does and they would be better off just doing research. It makes for a lackluster story and could be done by anyone. That probably isn't the answer but if it is it points to an uncompelling narrative. If it's based on strength of character that means the rod can read that, and if the rod can read that, why does it need the words in the first place? The finding of the words feels useless when ultimately the rod should be able to tell the pure heart of its user.
But that's not the only problem. The other problem is Akko. Akko doesn't grow. At all. They even lampshade this late in the series. And while I like a good lampshade it fails to work when the thing being lampshaded is one of the key aspects of the plot. It's hard to take it seriously when the main character who is fixing everything is just as flat and flawed as she was in Episode 1. If the rod works off of strength of character, then what is it in Akko, a character will little character development, that resonated with the rod? In either case, the word plot doesn't work as a compelling narrative.
Nor does it really add much. While Chariot is one of the most developed characters the plot revolving around her isn't very interesting. Not to mention the plot doesn't do anything special. Despite teasing complex relations it never goes through on that. Whilethere was the chance to make the characters developed and interesting, they ended up falling back into flat cliche characters that fit exactly with what one would expect from their roles.
While they had room to make the plot complex and show many different sides of an issue they elected not to do so. There were opportunities to flesh out Criox's character and give good reasons behind her motivations, and there was time to pay more attention to their dynamic, however rather than do that they made Criox completely and utterly evil. Everything she does is for her own gain, and whenever there is something wrong in the latter half it's always the fault of Criox. No matter what bad things happen in LWA somehow the root of that negative cause will be traced back to Croix. She is a cartoon villain except instead of LWA being a comedy, it's a more serious and magical story. The two don't fit together very well, as it's hard to take such an evil character seriously as a villain.
To make it worse Little Witch Academia can't commit. While the plot wasn't the best idea in the first place, they did have the time to be able to make it strong and shine. However instead of doing that they decided to split it up between all sorts of different subplots and episodic episodes, reducing the time that they had for the plot down to a point where it felt forced in and didn't resonate.
The episodic episodes weren't bad but they did lack a point. They were usually overstuffed with Western animation cliches to the point where there were moments that could have existed without them but instead had them shoved in for no good reason. In one particular episode, the start of it has Akko and friends getting caught doing something bad and as punishment, they have to study with a teacher on a weekend on the same day that Lotte has this convention that she really wants to go to. They sneak out and go to the convention, and then the fact that they snuck out was never brought up again until the very end of the episode. The trope of being forced to do something on an important day is very common in Western Animation, and its inclusion here isn't necessary as it's ignored for most of the episode. But because it's there it only murks up the episode with another cliche, that adds unnecessary and unrealised tension that distracts from the main focus of the episode.
The bigger problem with these episodes is that they don't develop the characters. Most of them focus on what the Character is already like or on comedy. That means while each episode can be entertaining they don't help the narrative as a whole. If Little Witch Academia was solely a collection of fun episodic episodes that wouldn't be that big of a problem. Even though they didn't hit anything big in them, it would be fine if isn't it wasn't designed to. And at the start, it felt like that's how it was. It was supposed to just be fun events that had happened. However it strives to do big things, and for those big things to work there needs to be developed. It's hard to take the plot seriously when the development of that plot is weak and cliche. It's hard to care about the characters in that plot when they aren't developed and are just flat archtypes. As these episodes rarely developed any other part of the show, and so even though Little Witch Academia had the space to fit together, it never actually worked because they never did so. Not only did the episodic episodes do a poor job of setting up the later plot heavy episodes but it also meant that switching the tone between the two would leave a stark difference between the two sides, possibly alienating the distinct styles of each side from each other.
That was not the only distraction. There were other uneventful plots such as Andrew's plot that ended up not going much of anywhere. His inclusion does not add much to the story, nor does it stand well on its own. Rather all it does is introduce another cliche subplot to take up space from the main plot which could have used the additional focus. Little Witch Academia did not need a love interest, nor did it need the another character's struggles to be present in the story, especially when that character's struggles are not focused on magic or the main themes of the work. His role also is played in the most cliche way possible played completely straight. He adds nothing new, and the show wouldn't be different at all without him. And yet he takes valuable episode space on his ultimately unimportant plot.
The problem is while the ideas aren't the worst they really don't work when put together. The plot-based elements aren't able to be explored nor do they have the intensity that they could have if they were focused on alone. Rather they feel more like afterthoughts that are shoved into the episodes. Often enough they don't even have enough time in those episodes and suffer from rushed pacing as well. They feel unnatural and with the exception of a couple of well-placed moments, they don't fit into the general tone of the show. Its the same with the episodic moments. They're fine on their own but the tone between the two parts don't fit together well. The episodic episodes are light and comedic, while the plot is more serious and important.
I touched on the characters a bit and for good reason. The characters were a big problem in Little Witch Academia. Even though the characters did have moments of focus very few of them grew as characters. The characters were mostly the personalities that they established in their first appearances. They never seem to grow and they rarely get any depth. This is most critical is the case of Akko who is just as reckless and impatient as she was at the very start. Most of the characters follow this same pattern though. The best character they have is Diana who actually developed and showed more interesting sides to her outside of her know it all role. She is able to express the conflicting feelings between her interest in magic, as well as her interest in tradition and her family history. However, even her strong points are countered by the fact of just how talented she is. Even though she has the most interesting struggles of the show, she happens to be incredibly talented and respected to a degree that stretches believability. Outside of Chariot the rest of the characters aren't very developed and Chariot has the same problems with being too talented although not on the same scale as Diana. Overall the characters don't add much, as most are flat, and the more developed ones are overpowered.
And it's not like the character interactions save it either. While some characters like Akko and Diana have natural chemistry this isn't the case with most of them. Even though there are other friendship groups besides Akko's most of the attention focuses on Akko with whomever else the episode decides on. And while there are moments that bring Lotte and Sucy closer to Akko, they also barely even appear together after the second half. Their friendship also feels a bit forced as even though the show does say that Sucy cares about Akko it's hard to believe that considering how they generally treat each other. The combination of the weak characters and awful mess of a plot makes a crap filled wreck.
Luckily for Little Witch Academia, it is very pretty. The art is very nice, and the animation is fluid and works really well. It's a nice feast for the eyes. It also does well at building and animating hype moments. But that's about it. It also has a good deal of references and sequences designed to draw the attention of the fans. While these are not bad in nature, when they are inserted into the more serious moments of the show, it does hurt the moment.
While Little Witch Academia works for the eyes, it doesn't work on any other merit, and overall is a large undeveloped mess. If it wasn't for the nice Trigger style I'd call this one of the worst shows of the season. Actually, it still is. Unless you just want to tune out and watch nice visuals I suggest giving this a hard pass.
A believing heart is your magic – with Little Witch Academia, Trigger furnishes something so enchantingly brilliant in its simplicity and heartfelt resonance, executes every detail with the utmost bliss, and ultimatley drowns the viewer in a recurring feeling of wonder; unto the conclusion that a believing heart can amount to nothing more and nothing less than that certain thing we all hope for but can't quite materialize.
I realized I was in for a treat as the first episode ended and I was already wholeheartedly immersed in the characters and lore, which is a fleetingly rare way to feel one episode into such an admittedly
accessible and light-hearted series. I realized this anime was something special during the final scene of the third episode, as Akko looked on as a Shooting Star took flight, or so to speak. In the briefest of moments, Little Witch Academia gracefully painted the most beautiful picture of the essence of everything magic is, all the hopes and dreams it embodies, and all the unduly weight, whether ethical or relating to personal growth, it can hold in such a fantastical world. It achieved this without even a hint of dialogue, but that’s not to say Little Witch is something pretentiously rooted in an aversion to exposition, it just knows when a visual narrative is better suited than a verbal one, and vice versa. I realized this anime was most assuredly going to be my favorite series to air in years during the twelveth episode, when Akko was shown a vision of Chariot's youth; full of relatable blunders and missteps, but also joy in the purest form. Akko saw herself resonating in the the tumults of her idol, and through this she understood the cost of her dream, but more than that, she began to question her dream. Was it even her dream at all, or just the willfull embrace of another's dream that she sought to grasp onto with all her might? I realized Little Witch Academia was something bordering on truly great during the sixteenth episode, as Akko trudged through a snowy night on her lonesome in a desperate bid to save her friends, but never without her relentlessly believing heart beckoning her on and on. Reckless, unabashedly silly and floundering as she is, Akko never abandons her heart. She questions herself, becomes enveloped by doubt in her own innate ability on a regular basis, and struggles with her self-identify alongside the overcast shadow of Shiny Chariot and her opulent brilliance. But what is adversity to the human spirit? (Cue the plethora of Gurren Lagann parallels).
The cast is full but never overly packed; Akko’s compatriots all undergo their own trials and tribulations in a magical youth. Lotte blossoms into a confident aspiring witch from a timid and insecure young girl, whilst dealing with her own passions and dreams. Amanda grows from a delinquent to a warmer and more joyful person as Akko helps her battle against the price of perception. Andrew sheds the predeterminations of his upbringing to the tune of his own destiny. Diana, in particular, experiences a journey of personal growth rivaling Akko, literally and figuratively, as she grapples with the desire to fulfill everyone else’s immaculate expectations for her future, against her own aspirations. But behind her façade of flawlessness, Diana also struggles with pettiness and jealousy, which cleverly mirrors the main antagonist’s own conflicted youth, yet she seeks to avoids a similar folly through the kindness of others and her own stoically altruistic tendencies.
Little Witch Academia, simply put, has it all. Action, adventure, humour, tragedy. A captivating soundtrack befitting of the series's dynamic tone. Fantastical world building transpiring in the midst of a surprisingly relatable coming of age story. Hopes, the shadows they cast. Sorrow, and the malice it begets. Friendship, family, a penultimate story that delves into the potentially questionable integration of technology into our lives, and even a dash of romance. These various elements and directions all synthesize into a breathtaking typhoon of a final episode in which Trigger accomplishes everything that should have been acheived in the Kill La Kill finale, but wasn't, and unequivocally more, because while less ambitious in scope, Little Witch wondrously surpasses Kill La Kill in depth, and it does so on a much more profound level.
Little Witch attains a tremendous dichotomy between innocence and sin, and it does so without ever compromising its cheerful composition. This is something not seen often in the medium, or any television medium for that matter, as so many series tend to spiral down a path of ever-directionless developments in an attempt to double down on the seriousness they wish to hone in on. Fun characters and happy endings are so typically cast aside in favor of gratuitous darkness; and fun series are so typically averse to achieving realism in spite of their fantasy, almost too intimated at the daunting prospect of creating something timelessly relatable and enjoyable to even make an effort. Trigger shoot for the stars with Little Witch Academia, as they always do (to mixed results), and at last they reach their luminous destination after the wildest of rides.
Every motif and achievement in Little Witch can be translated to the real world upon equating what magic represents, to what the human spirit is and can be. Romanticized as it may be, the human spirit is infinite and life is geniunely whatever you make it. Little Witch articulates this through the hopes and dreams of its characters and how they relate to the convictions within their hearts. A person's actions can bely their hopes and dreams, but that is not to say hopes and dreams are so sedentary that they won't spring up when you least expect them to.
Yet, when all is said and done, Little Witch Academia doesn’t achieve artistic excellence via all of the above. It does so much more ephemerally, it does so simply and with solace, it does so with marvel and intrigue, it does so with everything it is and everything it does and everything it can be. Little Witch Academia is mesmerizing because it transforms magic into a believing heart.
"Believing is your Magic" ~ Little Witch Academia (2017)
TL;DR: at the very end
Has Trigger saved Anime one more time? what does mean to save Anime?
meanwhile other anime studios makes their generic money maker without taking any risk, there goes Trigger risking it all and making Jewels and Masterpieces that goes beyond your imagination, see? there is no need to use generic settings and overused troupes just to get gold from a goldmine. there is another big gold mine called "imagination" and this is how Little Witch Academia from Trigger, saves the anime one more time! want to know more? then bring up some popcorn and
relax, because Little Witch Academia is one hell of a ride with lot to offer to its watchers.
Warning: if you are an OVA/Movie Fanboy that didn't like this series because they aren't like the OVA/Movie, then fuck off, because neither the OVA or the movie matters here, this is a 100% original anime from the hands of TRIGGER. also bewary of spoilers
ohh were to Start? Little witch academia goes around Atsuko Kagari (AKA Akko) a girl that always cherished Magic from the bottom of her heart. her dream to become a Witch and spread happiness to the world started when she saw a Live magic show from "Shiny Chariot". with that on her mind, she decided to go to "Luna Nova" the magic school where Shiny Chariot assisted in order to become a powerful and incredible witch just as Shiny Chariot was, and maybe she could meet her Idol. sadly, there is one big problem Akko has, she isn't very good with magic, and for some reason is very difficult for her to use magic or even to fly on a broom. this way, she gets to meet Sucy and Lotte, 2 witches that helps her to reach Luna Nova, but on the attempt something happens and they fall over a pretty dangerous forest, and right here, starts the adventure of our favorite Witch: Akko
After finding the Shiny Rod, and dealing with the dangers inside the dangerous forest, Ursula-sensei appears and tells Akko some magical words that Akko must cast in order to use the Shiny Rod and save their asses, teleporting everyone into Luna Nova (also falling in the middle of the ceremony) and that summarizes the introduction of this show
it might become boring and frustrating after this point, because the very first episodes are mostly dedicated to slice of life, character development and character introductions (might be the reason why so many people gave up on this show, they basically didn't want Trigger to save Anime) but after a while, they get us into the main plot of the show, which is to restore magic with the power of the "words" that Akko must find and cast, Akko, and only Akko, because she was the one chosen to do the task. each single "word" has a major meaning to magic and the show itself, since most of them comes from the bottom of the heart, from that heart that stills believe in magic, that heart that won't give up no matter what, but Akko must find first the meaning of each single word in order to cast them, once that happens, the Shiny rod will shine and cast the most beautiful magic you're going to see, I'm pretty sure you don't want to lose such an marvelous watch like that
as for how much this show has to offer, there are a lot of secrets that most of magic holds, and the witches itself. secrets that might make you happy, sad, hyped, Yay +100000000000 or Yay -100000000000, even references to other anime (Specially from Trigger itself)
from this point I think that people is retarded, I've seen a lot of people complaining because the animation sucks... are they blind? what anime did they watch? because the animation of this show is TRULY a WORK OF ART, there is almost no usage of CG animation, which makes it even better when it comes to animate huge things and action scenes with a lot of movement, or even scenes that are tranquil but the animation quality makes up for it to deliver a gorgeous experience and keeps you hooked into it while you have your mouth open wide as how beautiful it looks. completely refreshing and gorgeous, even the animation of the OP and ED are really well done and makes a good resonance with the Sound department.
if what people criticizes here is by any means some derpy looking faces, then they should just jump off from a bridge, because how the hell will you expect to have good looking faces most of the time, while spending a lot of budget into great and beautiful scenes? or would they like to see no derpy faces while having bad choreography at action scenes or gorgeous scenes?
I didn't got attracted to the first OP and ED, yet they were quite good overall, but nothing compares to the second OP and ED that are simply beautiful with 2 excellent songs that hyped me even more (specially the Ending that is really beautiful, or in the Opening where Chariot and Croix appears as Akko and Diana faces against each other)
the whole cast of seiyuus on this anime did a great job (heartbreaking me of course) but I didn't find myself hating any character by their voice or anything like that, in fact, having one character just making some noises (Constanze) makes it really cute. and lets not forget about the soundtrack of the anime itself, it just not only makes a good resonance with the Art department, it delivers the feels it has to deliver to your ears, call it eargasm if you want. but the whole OST is lovely
oh boy, one of the biggest appeals of this show is their characters cast, it can have some generic characters, Like Amanda or Diana (the bully and the "perfect" in this case) but their development is really like REALLY great, and guess what? all that development greatness happens because of Akko's greatness and invincible will to believe in magic. just like Simon Believed in the Simon that believes in himself on TTGL, that kind of power, the power that made Simon a Man. its the same power that made Akko a great character that influences those that are around her, making them great characters in the progress. even more as we get to know about their past and reasons (for example Diana, Ursula and Akko) with a really heartbreaking connection that explains everything, that and how each single one of them supports Akko, its like they got "Akkoided" hahaha understand? "Akkoided", I know, I'm really bad at jokes
lets not forget about Chumlee or that dude that looks a lot like that History channel show of "Pawn Stars" (mostly known in spanish memes as "No lo sé Rick Parece falso")
after losing my faith into anime with your typical seasonal generic garbage, and seeing how some great jewels gets underrated because they don't have anything like boobs bouncing or something like that. Little Witch Academia and Triggers delivers and my faith has been restored. Trigger has saved anime one more time with a gorgeous fantasy world of magic that is really appealing with a heart touching story that will make you believe in magic
I'm not implying that you will mostly likely love this show, that depends on you yourself, and no one else, not even my review. that belongs on your sole experience while watching this anime. if you like it, then welcome to the club, if you don't then just pass away.
TL;DR: Trigger saves anime, Witches earns the love of their watchers while showing off gorgeous animation, great characters, great soundtrack, original ideas, and the power of believing in magic
I would like a second season now... please Trigger ;~;
Those who watched the movie shorts of Little Witch Academia and expect to get the TV series to expand upon them would be sadly disappointed. The series does not seem to have a canonical connection to the previous movie shorts but rather starts fresh so you're not missing out on anything.
In the series we follow the main character Atsuko Kagari's (Akko) daily mischief with her friends and roommates Sucy and Lotte. Akko is a normal girl, not born a witch thus isn't naturally able to use magic without properly taught. Akko dreams of becoming a great witch like her idol Shiny Chariot. This is a
typical underdog character setup. A character you root for to overcome all odds and difficulties and ultimately achieving their dream. Sadly from the first few episodes you progressively feel less and less inclined to root for her because of how little she is willing to learn or develop.
The episodes follow a simple pattern of introducing a problem to be solved at the end of the episode. The problem usually caused by either Akko or Sucy or both dragging Lotte along with them.
Sucy is a questionable friend and would risk breaking any school rules to get what she wants.
Lotte is the third wheel of the group. Her contribution usually consist of ignored warnings to Akko or Sucy to stop or not do something stupid and against the rules.
Akko is the protagonist and she fails miserably at being likable. She is rash and impatient and doesn't think things through which drags her friends or the people around her intro trouble (which she never bothers apologizing for) she caused which most of the time is of serious nature (like raising the dead) but this show, being aimed at young teens nobody would actually die or get seriously hurt. You'd expect a harsh punishment for such misuse of magic and defying the authorities and the school rules but Akko and her friends are laid off with a less sever punishment because expelling them would mean the end of the show. This is where show falls flat as it uses that as an excuse for Akko or Sucy to do any kind of mischief as they desire without any real consequences.
Overall the show is enjoyable for its art and quirky tone and simple plot of longing for the golden age of magic but the main characters fall flat as merely actors for the current episode rather than contentiously developing even if little episode by episode. There is never fear for anything to seriously dampen the mode not even as little as a fight or disagreement between friends.
Little Witch Academia is a story about a girl, Akko, who dreams to be the greatest witch, inspired by her idol, Shiny Chariot. In order to accomplish her dreams, she enrols in Luna Nova, an wizard academy to where her idol went and one of the most prestigios.
Story: Trigger follows its Kill la Kill formula with a first part that's mostly episodic, rarely moving the plot forwards, and with a basic objective the MC has to follow. KlK, nonetheless, executed it better. LWA tried to build around its characters with some very successful episodes and other somewhat boring, "fillerish". However, when the second part kicks
in, it does with full force and it payoffs greatly.
Art and sound: Trigger does what it does best, with some breathtaking backgrounds and a great soundtrack. The way it plays homage to other animations styles is beautiful.
Characters: Much like the plot, characters at first may seem annoying, specially Akko, since she often tries to do things her way. Nonetheless it is easy to get attached to her, specially near the end of the anime. The rest of the cast is enjoyable, with girls like Sucy and Amanda that introduce a lot of fun.
Overall a very fun anime full of awe and magic. Little Witch Academia keeps the "Trigger saved anime" meme on and I hope this isn't the end of the story of Luna Nova.
1966: Mitseteru Yokoyama, inspired by the Japanese popularity of the US sitcom ‘Bewitched’, created a little Anime called ‘Sally the Witch’ about a young girl from a magical kingdom who came to earth and used her magic to help with the troubles of the world. This now sadly obscure title would go on to be highly influential in leading to the creation of the ‘Cute Witch’ genre, which would go on to be a subgenre for a much larger genre, the ‘Magical Girl’ genre.
1969: ‘Secrets of Akko-chan’ would expand upon the Magical Girl genre by introducing elements such as shapeshifting, and instead of involving a
girl born with magic, involving an ordinary, relatable human character who attains such abilities.
1970: Osamu Tezuka’s ‘Marvellous Melmo’ further expanded the realms of the genre, intending it for an older generation of young girls than previous titles in the genre had been by implementing the mature themes of other Tezuka works.
1973: The most revolutionary title of its time, ‘Cutey Honey’ introduced concepts such as the Magical Warrior Girl, an influence of American Superhero comics. It also introduced the transformation sequence which has since been a staple of the genre. Additonally, its provocative and unapologetic fanservice made it one of the few magical girl titles that appealed to men and women, as well as one of the first aimed specifically towards an adult audience which would mould into the growing Otaku fan culture.
1975: ‘Meg the Witch Girl’ introduced the dark magical girl genre with a series involving domestic violence, substance abuse, extramarital relationships, and a politically charged mythos which introduced the Queen/Conquest element to the genre.
1980s: A decade in which Studio Pierrot effectively dominated the genre saw an increased focus on commercialisation to the now established Otaku subculture, as well as an increased focus on Magical Girl team dynamics.
1992: Naoko Takeuchi’s Genre defining ‘Sailor Moon’ became the first Magical Girl series to really break through into the West, becoming by far the most popular entry in the genre, and making the Magical Warrior the definitive face of Magical Girls. A series which embraced each trope of the genre (messages of love and hope, cute animal sidekicks, aimed towards a primarily female audience, elements which could be considered more Sci-Fi than Fantasy) to influence the likes of ‘Precure’ and ‘Wedding Peach’, but also had a compelling mythos and likeable cast of characters which causes it to still resonate with many to this day in a way that previous entries in the genre had not.
1998: ‘Cardcaptor Sakura’, the most minimalist and subversive entry in the genre up to that point bridged the gap between ‘Cute Witches’ and ‘Magical Warriors’ by including aspects of both genres, as well as mixing in Slice of Life elements.
2003: A 3 episode OVA remake of ‘Cutey Honey’ co-produced between Toei and Gainax saw a more self-aware, stylized interpretation of the genre, which was particularly notable due to its outlandish, fast-paced animation style which in part can be attributed to the Key Animation of Hiroyuki Imaishi who would go on to direct ‘Gurren Lagann’, and of course found Studio Trigger with fellow Gainax key-animator You Yoshinari who held much of the same kinetic animation style.
2011: Following a decade of increased evaluation on the genre in titles such as 2002’s ‘Princess Tutu’ and ‘Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha’ which branched out beyond the trappings of the genre, perhaps the most well-known subversion to the genre came with Gen Urobuchi’s ‘Puella Magi Madoka Magica’, an extremely dark, psychological Magical Girl series which looked at the traumatic side of being a Magical Warrior. This anime would prove to have an enduring popularity which resulted in an increased market of Dark Magical Girl series such as the ‘Wixoss’ franchise and ‘Magical Girl Raising Project’
2013: In the midst of this backdrop of dark series came Studio Trigger’s crowdfunded debut feature, a 25 minute OVA titled ‘Little Witch Academia’, a ‘Cute Witch’ piece which endeared to a large audience with its likeable cast of characters, establishment of story threads which set up for potential continuations, and the Imaishi inspired high-energy and inventive animation style that would go on to define Trigger’s other works. It’s popularity of course then launched a sequel OVA, and a television series. The LWA project has resultantly become Trigger’s primary selling franchise, similar to Type Moon adaptations for Ufotable, or ‘One Piece’ for Toei.
Fall 2016: A new subversion to the genre came in ‘Flip Flappers’ where rather than darkness, abstract surrealism which from a superficial perspective provide entertaining eye candy, and from an analytical perspective provides an intellectually stimulating observation on art and philosophy. Neither interpretation is wrong, but for the purposes of this review I will say it’s enjoyability is more relevant, as the series presented an alternative to series like ‘Magical Girl Raising Project’ the same season through its upbeat happiness.
2017: Coming immediately off the heels of ‘Flip Flappers’, the ‘Little Witch Academia’ tv series can be seen a confirmative shift away from the seemingly overpowering influx of darker Magical Girl series as of late with the series’ positive and upbeat attitude. Whereas ‘Flip Flappers’ had an abstract nature which caused it to go outside the Magical Girl genre however, ‘LWA’ is a Magical Girl series through and through, and is proud of that fact.
Ok, I apologise for that extremely long intro, but I decided to make that to service the point that I wish to make in this review. The simple version of it is that ‘LWA’s appeal stems from it being fun. The greater version of it is that there is more to it than simply “fun”, or that the “fun” of it holds an even higher emotional resonance for its audience. That it expertly creates a work of escapist fantasy which is exactly what the average anime fan is looking for, a goal which is reflected in its trademark Trigger style and expansion of what was established in the two OVAs.
To gain a proper understanding of the series, one should certainly watch the two OVAs before giving the tv series a shot, as although it does begin at a point chronologically before them, there are multiple references and call-backs to them which require prior knowledge. As a magical girl series, ‘LWA’ feels very much like a reconstruction of the genre, with a premise which takes it back to its roots in the concept of ‘Cute Witches doing Cute things’, and while the witches in question certainly are cute, it also reverses that age-old concept in having Akko be an ordinary human who discovers the wonders of the witch world, as opposed to Sally who was a witch discovering humanity. This restoration, in addition to giving the series a unique place in a modern market dominated by the warrior subgenre, also allows for us, the audience, to experience this world through Akko’s eyes.
Akko Karagi very much makes this series what it is, with her upbeat and excitable attitude matching the overall tone of the show fluently. Her desire to be achieve greatness in spite of her shortcomings and her stubborn nature and her relentless misdemeanour makes her a compelling and greatly relatable character who in equal parts is able to provide moments of comedic relief and incredible sympathy. Of course, this is all stuff we’ve before in the OVA, but what is unique to this series is the way in which her character grows and develops, as the timespan of 25 episodes allows for a large length of time for her development of her powers to feel authentic and realistic, while also slow enough that one can’t help but cheer when she finally succeeds in using them in episode 13. Akko is essentially us, the audience, the Otaku. The way that she looks up to Chariot reflects how many of us look up to our favourite Anime characters and how she sees value in what is essentially intended as merely a piece of escapist entertainment in Chariot's performances.
The other characters previously seen are great also, Lotte is still the wise and humble voice of reason in Akko’s trio, Sucy, despite not going through any real development, does display her delightful eccentricities and hints that she cares more greatly for her friends than she is willing to openly admit. The greatest achievement of the cast however would have to Diana Cavendish, or Best Girl Diana, who goes through a significant development throughout the series. Many of us remember her from the OVAs as a snobbish and selfish antagonist to Akko, but the series highlights why she acts the way she does, as we learn more about her life and her personal situation. Although she seems stubborn towards Akko, she truly does care the wellbeing of the other students and like Akko hopes to prove herself. It is through her interactions with Akko that the quality of the writing shines brightest, as the success of Akko’s brash actions initially alienate her, but eventually helps her, causing the two to grow a closer bond with one another and eventually developing something resembling a friendship when they learn that they have more in common than they initially believed, note the festival scene at the beginning where you may notice a certain someone.
When I described the series as ‘escapist’ earlier, I was referring to how it is able to embellish such a feeling of positivity in the viewer. This is reflected in many ways throughout the series, one such way is in how its world is presented. The series is split into two halves, with the first being an episodic, largely character and comedy driven series focusing more on character development than story progression, while the second half is more plot driven. While story elements such as Akko’s quest for the seven words to restore magic to the world and find her hero, Shiny Chariot, permeates through the whole series, the amount of time we have allows the writers to present a fully fleshed out world. This is particularly noticeable when we see the ordinary world where technology has largely replaced magic, and the conflict this presents to Luna Nova Academy. The concept of Magic becoming obsolete by way of technology is one that I can’t think of having been done in any other work of fiction before, so it is an interesting direction to take, bringing to the forefront the theme of traditionalism vs modernity, which we are able to view the multiple facets of, whether they be the stern and traditionalist attitudes of the Luna Nova elite, or the prejudiced attitudes of the modern world. The series never tries to take a side, as our main character opts for a middle ground in this conflict, though the series even confronts itself on that front when the main villain, Croix, takes such a position (seemingly, at least).
This applies to one of the key themes of ‘LWA’, the idea that nothing exists in absolute terms. Sticking to the ways of old are clearly not working out entirely well for the Academy, but the negatives of life in the outside world are also emphasised, with many obvious references to real world political events such as football riots, racism, and the epidemic of internet trolling towards Yetis (and you thought this series was just “fun”). Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to see stuff like that from this franchise. In case you’re worried the series gets too political, you needn’t worry as, in keeping with that theme, the story never allows one side of itself to completely take over, thus this aspect is left primarily as an interesting backdrop. It is also reflected in the tone of the series, and some of the criticisms that I have seen. The first half of the series received some criticism for lacking story progression in favour of humour, while to a lesser extent some have also criticised the second half for being overly serious. I respectfully disagree with these viewpoints, as I feel that while the second half did indeed give us dramatic moments (well executed ones at that), they never reached too overboard with it or tried to become too melodramatic. The first half meanwhile did still see some story progression, particularly in the excellent episode 6.
This theme is once again examined in the characters, many of whom at first may appear to be unlikeable, but we grow to like them more as the series progresses and they are shown to have more dimensions to them. Dianna is the most obvious example of this, but in one scene we even see this change in her two sidekicks when they thank Akko for jmgjb cvvnjkhf (spoilers). The new character of Andrew Hanbridge, a male non-magical equivalent of Dianna who holds society prejudices towards witchcraft, believing it to be an outdated tradition, but eventually grows to respect them through his experience with Akko, whom he initially takes a disliking to, but comes to hold a certain admiration for. Or in the sterner leadership of Luna Nova’s professor Finnelann, who ends up helping towards the climax. Even our main villain is shown to have a tragic and sympathetic backstory and is given a chance for redemption towards the end.
If I must dispel with some negatives towards the series, I would say that while I wasn’t as bothered by the series pacing as most people were, the episodic nature of the series did hurt it in some places, such as when we get an episode which is mostly filler gets in the way between some significant story progression. One example of this for me would be episode 5, which I found to be a rather dull episode, lacking the series’ usual kinetic activity. Though I say mostly because even episodes such as this have something in them which does add to the series such as this episode being the one which introduced the technology conflict. Another thing is that being stretched across 25 episodes, the animation quality takes a significant downgrade from the OVAs, and can often feel a bit lacking in some areas. Finally, I would add that despite the length of the series, there are still some story elements which are left underdeveloped towards the end, such as the secret society of witch hunters from episode 18, or the fact that Lotte and Sucy, despite being Akko’s closest friends and getting their own individual episodes, do end up taking a backseat in numerous incidents. Yoshinari has expressed interest in creating a second season, and it feels like some elements were left in the dark to serve as potential sequel bait, though considering the question of whether a second season will come to fruition it does feel like a bit of a shame that the series doesn’t end on a conclusive note.
That said though, the series we got was great. It was magical. Despite the animation taking a downgrade, it does still imbue Trigger’s trademark energy throughout, displaying a brilliant mix of speed and visual cohesion in the displays of magic in the series, with the highlight being a fast-paced broom race in episode 3. It additionally features visual influences of Disney cartoons and 70s Shoujo series, as well as multiple references of other works such as ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Evangelion’ (this is a Trigger work after all). I am also a fan of the decision to have the second ED be computer animated to reflect the shift in focus towards technology.
Speaking of which, the magic also shines through in Michiru Oshima’s soundtrack. The Main theme and its variants are always a delight to listen to, whether it is the triumphant, loud rendition which plays during some of the series more visually spectacular moments, the lowkey version played during some of the more laid back, comedic moments, or the slow and quiet rendition played in the series’ more sombre and intimate moments. Being an Oshima soundtrack, it also incorporates elements of world influences, such as a Celtic track serving as the accompaniment of the series’ deeper mythos (it has a legitimately interesting mythos btw) or a soft, winterlike piano melody which we alongside the ‘search for Akko’ scene late in the series, those who’ve seen it know what I’m referring to.
One word that I don’t think a lot of people will really bring to mind when thinking about this series is “balance”, as people wouldn’t normally associate high-octane Trigger-ism with that word. But I for one think that it does accurately describe ‘LWA’ as it’s episodic nature, despite being a negative in some areas, is a strength for the majority of the time, as it expertly expands upon the world established in the two OVAs. I’ve barely even mentioned the story of Ursula in this review, though I will say that it provides one of the great student-teacher duos in a year full of such duos. It all feels exactly like Yoshinari had planned this from the very beginning, and to see this long running, crowd-funded project come to fruition is truly a sight to behold. The fact that it does so while also providing a great escapist experience for our troubled times, reflecting those troubled times in the backdrop, and displays a multi-faceted and nuanced mythos and cast of characters makes the series a definite success, as well as an effective reconstruction of the fun side of Magical Girl series, and definitely one of my favourite Anime of the year.
TL;DR: ‘Little Witch Academia’ is utterly magical! The character are magical! The setting is magical! The style is Magical! The series represents all of Trigger’s best qualities as a studio, and stands as possibly their strongest work to date, as well as serving as a fun dose of Magical Girl entertainment with a broad appeal. This right here, is why we watch Anime, because at the end of the day, it’s fun!
As a fan of the original OVAs I really, really wanted to like this series. Unfortunately, every week brings another disappointment. I greatly enjoyed the first episode, the broom race episode and the episode centered around Sucy, but beyond those I struggled not to feel massively let down.
Every episode seems like a run-on sentence, with no finesse to speak of. In one episode, dragons steal the sorcerer's stone, they try to get it back, the dragons are robots being controlled by an actual dragon who's an investor that the academy owes money to, Diana shows up and is conveniently the only person who can
read dragon ruins and the contract is voided. what??
There are also a lot of completely irrelevant Chekhov's guns that go absolutely nowhere. For example, the episode Night Fall. The episode opens with a focus on Lotte talking to someone named BigBen on her crystal ball/computer, planning to meet up at the Night Fall event. She mentions BigBen a few other times in the episode, building our expectations for their encounter. However, once they meet, BigBen has absolutely zero relevance to the plot, and simply disappears. There are many other poorly planned and irrelevant inclusions like this throughout the series. Also, things that should have been included but weren't. Example: episode 14, the faeries who maintain the school go on strike. What faeries?? if they're so integral to the school's ability to function, maybe they should have been shown or mentioned at least once!
The art and animation is also very disappointing. I understand that a 25 episode series can't maintain the same level of quality as the OVAs, but the shots are just plain awful at every turn. Most scenes consist of the characters standing around talking with a bare-bones background. In an anime about a magic academy, world building is crucial. The environment should be magical in and of itself, or at least not completely barren and bland. There are also plenty of careless mistakes. In episode 14, Lotte and Akko are standing in a field. Two teachers show up. Suddenly, Sucy is there, as if she'd been there all along. It's a far cry from what I've come to expect from Studio Trigger.
-Way too Akko-centric
-why are the teachers so incompetent
-why has Sucy been reduced to a background piece who spouts bad one-liners
-why is Diana so good at everything, where did her secret dorky side go
-if they spent the first 13 episodes on world-building and character development episodes, why aren't any of the characters developed and why isn't the world built
-a disappointing lack of cute character moments, like when Sucy turned Akko's hair into a plant
-why doesn't Sucy use her arms???
All in all, I had hoped this show would be cute, fun, and have a careful amount of detail put into developing these beloved characters. Instead, it's a completely disjointed slapped-together mess. It seems as if the writers are misunderstanding what makes a magic school such an enchanting premise. I wanted to like it so badly, but I can't pretend that I'm not incredibly disappointed.
The series is quite different than the original short film, the plot settings and animation team might be still the same but character and character development is absolutely piss poor.
You think this ambitious young girl Akko who aims to be a witch will struggle through hardships and become a wise powerful girl but after 3 episodes I can tell you she is absolutely detestable.
She's like your typical bias fangirl that just wants to be exactly like her idol, dress and do what her idol did, absolutely no respect towards people and even to her close friends and those who are nice to her.
She's merely been
blessed by the plot to accidentally stumble on every legendary magic item that makes her "great". She takes every shortcut she can to achieve her goals and puts poor efforts into her studies.
She gets butthurt over an honest opinion that will help her putting her narcissistic, egoistic, stubborn and overall just self-centered behavior every second on display and it causes me great displeasure to watch this.
Akko's type of character is one of those I hate the most after the Queen-B tsundere type with a violent streak to hit people with full force out of the blue for no apparent reason.
A totally fresh experience in terms of characters more complex than typical archetypes and a story with emotional payoff and strong theming, animated in a unique style that took me a little time to get used to.
What really cheeses my onions with a lot of stories is the immature good versus evil paradigm, which is completely absent in Little Witch Academia. There are no villains, only character conflicts based on ideals and traits.
I am very glad to see magic in a TV show be used for something other than killing. Rather than the show focusing on magic as a means to fight people, it is
only really there to place characters in situations where they may experience significant growth and learn from their experiences.
Now, given I am giving it a rather high score, numerical scores have little meaning, especially in the area of critiquing art. So you shouldn't really look at the score, but the subjective comments of the reviews, unless of course you're looking for some sort of miraculous master piece.
Anyways, to actually review the show. It isn't mind-boggling, out of this world, amazingly unique, or any of the like. Although, it does one thing and one thing right. It knows it's a rather tropey, cliche show about an underdog in a magical world full of great things. And it doesn't shy away from that, rather it
builds itself on being that. It doesn't try to add a twist that doesn't make sense, to simply put it, it's a well made show that does its job, which is being an innocent show about a young girl trying to become her idol, obliviously becoming the best damn witch in the world. The plot isn't anything it shouldn't be and is treated well, and set-up neatly. The world building is great, the show manages to give you a peer into the world without it being too forced or too shy. The music is amazing as expected. Characters are all unique, and follow their cliche archetypes well and greatly. Art is definitely something else compared to normal anime with it being somewhat westernized.
So in conclusion, this isn't gonna solve world hunger or anything, it simply delivers on being a really well-rounded show. The hype is definitely gonna be a misleading factor to viewers who aren't fans. But if you are thinking of watching this, this is the kind of show older fans in anime would most probably like, if you're sick of all the random nonsensical stories where everything feels drawn-out or weird. It does its job well of being the magical world of a young girl trying to do her best. Overall great show to enjoy
If any fans of the original Little Witch Academia film or fans of its sequel The Enchanted Parade are reading this review and are worried about this TV adaptation holding up to the standard of its progenitors, allow me to lay your fears to rest. Little Witch Academia TV is GREAT. It is a worthy successor in every way to the movies that generated so much interest, but at the same time no knowledge of the two films is necessary to enjoy this new TV anime. The show is fun, light, and heartwarming, and I will confidently recommend it to anyone who is even slightly
Art: Exemplary of what anime can be. Every frame is beautifully rendered in a way that looks both meticulous and full of love of the craft.
Sound: Good but unremarkable, although the OP is cute and the ED is gorgeously drawn.
Story: Harry Potter in an all-girls school. Some unlikely misfit friends come together in a school for witches, and learn who they are and what they can do along the way. The tone is light, the challenges they face are believable within the world, and the story is driven by real-seeming characters with genuine interactions. As the series progresses a more serious plot begins to develop, which casts the light-hearted adventures taking place in a more serious light.
Characters: Unequivocally the high point of the show, even more so than the stellar art. The side characters are all great in their own right, but the main three are really the best that Little Witch Academia has to offer. Main character Akko is a perfect blend of annoying and endearing, and she sucks at magic just enough to act as an audience surrogate without being irritating about it. She is also a curious mix of plucky idiot and self-centered asshole in a way that really shouldn't work but somehow does anyway. Lotte, the most reserved member of the main cast, is the perfect balance of chill to Akko's complete lack thereof. Her presence really grounds the cast as a whole, as she is the most "normal" character of the bunch. Sucy, the third of the main characters and hands down my favorite, is a joy to watch. She is cynical, sarcastic, borderline evil, and a perfect wild card to pull the group into and out of danger with her dangerous potions and even more dangerous lack of safety standards. Episode 8, which is mostly about Sucy, is one of the best episodes of an anime I have seen in years. All in all, a great group of characters on which to focus our story.
This show is great. Watching it makes me feel good, which is really all I want in a lighthearted anime like this. It is funny, serious, and heartwarming by turns, and is always presented in a way that makes me want to be a part of the world it depicts. Fans of Harry Potter, fans of the preceding two films, and anime fans in general should not miss this show, and I would not be surprised if it turns out to be overall one of the best shows of 2017.