On Filiel's 15th birthday, she received her mother's necklace as a memento from her obstinate astronomer father. Her common and tedious life was turned into a life of conspiracies. With her new life, many adventures await.
Manga/Anime/Novel: Nishi no Yoki Majo's original incarnation was an eight-volume, three side-story novel series done by Noriko Ogiwara. The manga incarnation, which keeps Ogiwara on the story and puts Haruhiko Momokawa on the art, is currently running in Japan, began being serialized in Comic Blade on July 9th, 2006, and currently has five volumes released. Tokyopop has picked it up, and will release it under the title Good Witch of the West ' Nishi no Yoki Majo's literal translation ' this October (2006). The anime itself ran from April 7th to June 30th of this year
(2006), and is thirteen episodes long.
Story: Nishi no Yoki Majo follows Firiel Dee, a young, fifteen year-old girl living with foster parents, even though her real father (who's just a little neglectful) lives not a few feet away from her front door, out in rural Sellafield.
The whole story gets thrust into motion when, on the holiday of the Queen's Birthday, Firiel's father, through a proxy (Roux), gives her a necklace that used to be her mother's. What Firiel doesn't know is that her mother was a queen's daughter, and that the necklace is a royal heirloom, which shows whether or not a girl has royal blood and, consequently, is eligible as a candidate for the Queen's throne. Needless to say, this causes some issues when she goes to a ball at the local Count's castle.
From here on, Firiel gets dragged into various conspiracies, political intrigue, and the occasional bit of action, by virtue of her bloodline.
Nishi no Yoki Majo's story rawqs my socks. It's very heavy on and driven by characters and story, which are the two things I look for and value most in an anime. It has a good balance between action, political intrigue, drama, romance, and the occasional, well-placed bit of humor.
The only place where the story suffers is in its pacing. But more on that a bit later.
And, in one arc, it starts to look like a blatant Utena rip-off, but it quickly puts that behind it, luckily.
Art Style: Beautiful. The character designs are changed up constantly, in terms of hair and outfit, which shows a lot of effort on the part of the studio (Hal Film Maker). The overly large eyes can get annoying, though. Backgrounds are CG for the most part, but are done in such a way that the characters and other 2D elements don't seem out of place at all. This seamless integration of your traditional 2D animation and CG makes for great interaction between characters and their environments.
Music: I love the OP for this anime; unfortunately, I can't seem to find it anywhere. <_< So if anyone happens to come upon a MP3 for 'Starry Waltz' by kukui, please let me know. The ED makes me want to fall asleep, and, as I've been lacking sleep as of late, I really wouldn't mind listening to this before going to bed; once again, I'm having a hard time finding this, so if you come upon 'Kanata' or 'Ochikata' by Mariana, let me know.
As for the rest of the music in this series... it's nice background music, but nothing that particularly stands out in my mind, like Gankutsuou's OST did. If I could find it anywhere, though, I'd probably end up burning a CD of it.
Voice Seiyuus: Nothing I really can or want to natter on about; for the most part, I'm happy with the seiyu choices. A few odd ones, but nothing particularly grating. And OMG, Joji Nakata's in it, only for a few episodes, but still, PHWEE!
Voice Actors: N/A
Length: This is where most of Nishi no Yoki Majo's flaws lie: whoever thought that trying to cram an eight-volume, three-side-story novel series into thirteen episodes was a good idea was dead wrong.
The pacing of this show is incredibly fast, as they have to cram eight volumes and three side stories' worth of story into thirteen episodes; if you so much as blink, odds are that you'll miss something. Now, I don't mind this, but other viewers might. However, this pacing catches up with the show in the last episode or so; in the aforementioned episode, things crash and burn spectacularly, souring what is otherwise a good series. Most major issues, which have been piling up until this point, are resolved by an all-too-convenient deux ex machina, and the rest are dealt with rather sloppily. And a few points that have been hammered on in earlier episodes are left unresolved, leaving a rather bitter aftertaste.
This could've been easily avoided by adding just two or three more episodes; it would've given the show some time to breathe.
Overall: Excellent story and art, but the experience is soured by break-neck pacing, cramming and sloppiness towards the end of the series.
Good Witch was a show I picked up on recommendation from a friend of mine, and while I was initially disappointed, it proved itself down the stretch.
The main sticking point here was the story. Don't get me wrong, the plot itself was well-written with lots of twists and turns. However, this show was poorly paced, which is what happens when you put either some or all of 9 light novels into a 13 episode series. The first half of the show was a whirlwind, and while this is understandable considering how the main character is swept up into a world she doesn't
understand, there were a lot of questions at least in the back of my mind regarding the underlying political and social situation that was mentioned over and over but never explained, at least early on.
As I said, however, things really came together down the stretch, redeeming this anime plot-wise. The situation is clarified (even though more mysteries start arising) and while some things aren't explained by the end, it's still okay. It has an ending that makes sense and brings some closure even though it makes you yearn for more, as if this has to be the animated version of only a part of the entire original story.
The world itself, while not holding anything new, was still very intriguing. It focuses not on fantasy or action, but on the politics and society of the world, which is like a breath of fresh air for a tired genre. This is like the Crest/Banner of the Stars of the fantasy genre. (I'll have to make a suggestion about that...)
The art and sound were solid, not too much to say here. The only complaint I had was that some of the girls really, REALLY looked like guys.
The characters in this were excellent. Everyone was appropriate for their situation and they all related to each other very realistically.
All-in-all, I enjoyed this series. Action, comedy, drama, romance - Good Witch has it all, and it also carries it all very nicely without being contrived.
The story itself would have been better if it hadn't been so condenced. Oddly enough I didn't think that the story was all that rushed and things were going to fast. I would have liked a breather every once in awhile though. The whole series was full of moments that you had to catch or be lost forever. As it is I'm going to have to watch the series again to catch things that I've missed.
The art was pretty good. The series was nice to look at although it wasn't anything shocking in my opionion. You could tell that they put some work into
The sound really isn't all that important to me so I'm not going to act like it is now that I'm writing a review. Everything was clear. That's good enough for me.
The characters were average. The supporting characters could have been a bigger part of the series though. Some of them became important later and you really didn't know them all that well. My thoughts of that might change if I go through it a second time though. I watched all of this at once so I'm on overload a little.
I relly enjoyed the series, but there were some major flaws. There was so much going on in the story that I was never bored which was a good thing, but it was also one of the series downfalls to. They did a good job of making the story decent, but you also miss some of the smaller stuff to because everything is shoved into 13 episodes. The humor in this story is easily missed if your not looking for it. Or at least it was to me.
Overall I don't think I'll ever forget this story because there really was a good plot and I really did fall in love with the characters. But you also have to keep in mind that in the end your going to feel like everything hit you at once. The fact is that there was just waaayyy to much happening at once.
Actually, in truth, this anime is one of the best short animes I have watched!! It made me want to know more and what is going to happen next~ It's very gripping and this anime is an anime that someone would really want to finish in one day because it is just that good. There may be some parts in which they drop the anime's tension by a bit, but that's all what's bad about it. But also because it is shorter, it keeps viewers interested all the way until the end and love it. I know because that happened to me. I was bored
and couldn't find something to watch, then I came across this anime and totally LOVED IT. I was sooo happy that I found something interesting again!! Good Witch of the West is definitely an anime I would recommend to other anime lovers. ^-^~
Oh and the characters are so loveable!! >w< Especially Roux and the baby unicorn *huggles*