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.