Back in 2010 the Young Animator Training Project (now known as Anime Mirai Tamago) started and a lot of anime of different degrees of quality were featured there. Some of them were average (Ryo, Arve Rezzle) while some others were good (Wasurenagumo, Chronus). Among those good shows were two of them that not only were great but also became so popular that they got a sequel made. Little Witch Academia was one of them (the other was Death Billiards) but, does this show deserve the popularity it has? Keep reading to find the answer.
Little Witch Academia is about a young girl who was a big fan of Shiny Chariot, a witch that used her powers to entertain people, and decided to enroll in a magic school to follow her steps. There she learns that learning magic is not precisely fun and, on top of that, Shiny Chariot is looked down by the rest of the witches because magic is serious business.
At first glance this looks like what would somebody expect from a Pixar movie, even the characters are based on the typical stereotypes you usually find in their movies. Aside of some minor characters there's the main heroine, her friends, the alpha b*tch and her girl posse. Luckily the execution was good so this ended up being more of a minor complain than an actual issue. Of course you can't do much in 30 minutes so there were some stuff that was left undeveloped.
Of course things were done better in the animation and sound department. It was very fluid and the characters were well designed and, like the scenery and the backgrounds, everything was done with vibrant colours. Regarding the sounds, the background music not only is good but also fits the tone of the series really well and the sound effects were well done. Also the voice acting was top-notch.
So, what's my final veredict? This show is definitely worth the praise. While it has some flaws and it's not perfect it's quite enjoyable for both kids and adults. If you're wondering whether to watch it or not, go ahead and do it. It's worth it.
OK, it's family friendly fun. The premise has been beaten to death in all forms of art. And yet, Little Witch Academia is so earnest and fun that it is absolutely fantastic. From the clever and distinct character designs (like a cartoon of Hogwarts), the brilliant backgrounds, the uplifiting cinematic music, multiple character arcs, and a bunch of jokes ranging from slapstick to situational via nerd and literary references, this is some top notch stuff.
Have no doubt, Little Witch Academia is cheesy, and invades Pixar territory with the plot style. It sets itself up to compete with the entire world of animation, and not only that, in the particularly fierce and high budget section of child friendly movies. You know what? Call me impressed.
The story is perhaps the weakest point of Little Witch Academia. It isn't anything special. The plot is very basic, naively sticking to the most general formula out there. It borrows plenty from Harry Potter; a muggle born witch not knowing the culture and sucking at flying on brooms, a trio led by super-snob as the school rivals, two best friends so they can match up, history of magic being a snoozefest, the "evil" good guy using potions... I could keep going on for ages. It also borrows from various other works. I'd actually really hate it if it wasn't so damn enjoyable.
The animation is top notch with a unique style that is on the border of anime and the cartoon network from a style point. The movement is glorious in its flow, not sticking to realism but rather revelling in the format to emote with body language so much more than adding more details to the character design. The care for the facial expressions is magnificent, giving us a range of personality in every interaction. As I mentioned, the backgrounds are downright glorious. And through it all, there is a vision of how it should be done, and they stick with it from start to end.
The sound is perhaps the weakest point, since I am comparing it to the best of Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks and not only anime. While the voice acting is superb, the soundtrack is a bit on the obvious side. It is overall a great fit for such a short piece, giving us tension when needed, and is uplifting and grand as well. Overall, it is a strong showing.
From a character perspective, the fact that they managed two complete character arcs while this being a world-creation/plot driven piece is one amazing accomplishment. Little Witch Academia manages to have a few memorable characters, and even manage to make them have some depth. There are the stereotypical characters, but luckily, the focus is more on their interactions when they're flat and depth is added when they're important to the plot.
I cannot recommend Little Witch Academia to just anyone. I will recommend it to everyone. This is half an hour your life will be better for spending.
Little Witch Academia es un corto animado, el cual fue mostrado en el Anime Mirai 2013. Dicho corto fue dirigido y creado por Yoh Yoshinari quien tiene en su curriculum proyectos de altísima calidad tanto argumental como visual, por citar algunos: Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, FLCL, etc…
La trama va de una niña no bruja que en un show de magia se ve encantada con la bruja que realiza dicho espectáculo, al crecer y con la edad suficiente para atender un colegio, esta termina estudiando en un colegio exclusivamente para brujas, con la misión de aprender aquello que tanto le impresiono y poder convertirse en aquella bruja que admira. El corto claramente se ve que ha recibido mucha influencia del mundo creado por J.K. Rowling, pues nos encontraremos en una academia únicamente de magia, esta vez solo dedicada a las mujeres, sus uniformes son parecidos a los de las novelas del joven mago, el moverse en grupos de tres personas era algo muy propio de Harry Potter tambien, inclusive tendremos una villana/colega que recuerda por momentos a Draco Malfoy. ¿Es esto malo? Para nada, Yoh ha tomado simplemente inspiración del mago y de ahí a creado su propio mundo. EL arte es fenomenal, si les gusto series tales como Gurre Lagan, Kill la Kill o Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, este corto no los va a defraudar, tanto la creación de su mundo, como las características de sus personajes están muy bien cuidadas y logradas.
Su animación es buena, al menos para cubrir los 26 minutos de duración que tiene este corto, manejando una buena paleta de colores pastel, como destaqué anteriormente el diseño artístico es impecable tanto su mundo como sus personajes. Su música es decente, no carece de tonadas o sonidos fuera de tono, sin embargo su aparición no es de mucho peso y no ejerce fuerza en la trama.
Por su arte, el tema a tratar (En especial si son fans de Harry Potter), por sus hermosos colores, y trama sencilla pero entretenida, el corto grita ser visto. Como si fuera poco el corto llamo tanto la atención que obtuvo apoyo vía Kickstarter para la creación de una película del mismo, la cual ya estreno.
Little Witch Academia centers around a young girl who is in training to be a witch. It's from studio Trigger, an assortment of ex-Gainax members who would go on to create Kill La Kill.
The anime is a 25-minute web OVA, which was a project for young animators to stretch their wings. It centers around a young witch in training with something to prove as she goes through a school life full of fantastical magic.
The story, in my humble opinion, isn't the greatest story ever cooked up. However, due to the fact that it is a mere 25 minutes, some elements tend to suffer. The premise is strong, but the execution is weak. This is not the animation studio's fault by any means, but their miniscule time constraint.
SPOILER WARNING BEGIN
There is one plot hole that really gapes to me, maybe it doesn't bother other people quite as much, but I noticed it. The witches are sent into a dungeon to collect treasure and defeat monsters, and in the process a dragon is freed from his seal. But when the dragon reaches the surface to wreak havoc, the teacher reacts as if it was highly unexpected that the dragon be released. If you send children to plunder treasure, wouldn't it be obvious that one of them find and accidentally release a dragon? Sheesh.
Another problem is the moral. The protagonist is shown not to be very good at magic, not even being able to fly a broom, and her personality is a little on the irritating side, but in the end she is rewarded for... Believing? She obtains the staff and power of a powerful witch, but she didn't do much to earn it, when her actions are considered.
SPOILER WARNING END
The animation in this show made me think quite a bit of Kill La Kill. The style is very similar in the ways characters move, expressions, and colors. For a beginning studio, the animation is near flawless, with very fluid characters and wonderful magic animations. Not much to say other than wonderful, particularly from a new studio.
THE MUSIC, DEAR GOD. The music was perfect. What can I even say? How the music was so fucking astounding was beyond me, fully orchestrated tracks made me feel like I was in a Ghibli film, or in Harry Potter. Hot diggity fuck, the music was good. Moving on.
The characters weren't really anything new or special. All of them were essentially archetypes that were predictibally filled. Again, this is due to the fact that it's only 25 minutes, and you can't really flesh out characters in that time, can you?
The main character is "hothead with something to prove"
Her friends are "quiet eccentric" and "geek"
The antagonist girl is "queen bee of the school" and her two "queen bee echoes"
Not much to say, really.
All in all, the experience was wonderful. Despite my gripes about story and character, this is because it was ONLY 25 MINUTES. Everything that counts is there, and it still definitely is a worthwwhile experience.
Find it on YouTube or Crunchyroll
The basic idea is about a young witch-in-training, Akko, who wants to be like her hero: the flashy magical girl esque Shiny Chariot. Though Chariot is looked down upon for giving the public weird ideas about magic, she's still a hero to Akko. This particular short deals with a student competition that takes the form of a scavenger hunt that rapidly gets out of hand.
Unfortunately, the short runtime doesn't give the plot enough elbow room. The premise is fairly stock and the whole thing plays more like a pilot episode of a TV series than it does a short animation. When you only have thirty minutes to work with, I think it's better to not keep your fingers crossed for a sequel (though there's going to be one).
Pacing is fine, but it squeezes too much into the short time. The scavenger hunt could have been its own thirty minutes, Akko learning to fly could have been its own thirty minutes, the ideas with Chariot could have been their own thirty minutes, and having a lot of different characters try and share the screen ends up making it so that everything in the plot sort of crams together to fit the running time.
The setting is a pretty basic school of magic one, though I'd give it some points for originality in that magic is known to the general populace. Normally magic is under a masquerade, so it's sort of refreshing to have it be known throughout the world.
The themes are basic but there's nothing wrong with them. Sort of tried and true themes. There's not really any complexity in the plot, no crazy twists or subtle plots going on. Again, thirty minutes (I'm going to be saying that a lot in this review)
Let's admit it: everyone who watched this watched it for the art. It's really good, and easily the best part of the short. It really shows the reason Trigger is popular, highlighting the stylistic choices that people loved in Gurren Lagann. While I think the character designs are just a bit lackluster, the rest of the art is spot on.
Backgrounds are beautifully detailed, it's really colorful and the animation is energetic and smooth from start to finish. The art style matches the tone really well, and the fact that it was mostly done by hand is really impressive. My personal favorite parts are the magic effects, which are absolutely enchanting. There's not really any reason to go too deep into the art other than by just saying "It's good."
General Presence: 2/2
Visual Design: 1/2
Attention to Detail: 1/1
Visual Effects: 1/1
The sound is a bit tough to judge, since it's sort of middle of the road. Everything fits just fine, I guess. The voice actresses to okay jobs, but not really anything that blew me away. Though, as a side note, I do think it was cute that Hidaka Noriko came to play Chariot, since she's mostly known for her role in Gainax's best work (Gunbuster) and everyone knows Trigger is trying to be "Gainax II."
Music was okay, I guess. It never stuck out but that's sort of a good thing. It at least sounded nice, just that there weren't any tracks you'd want to go out and listen to on your MP3 player or anything.
Sound effects were pretty awesome. Lots of booms and the Foley guys probably had their hands full trying to come up with noises to match all the crazy stuff that goes on in the animation. Works great.
Voice Acting: 2/4
Sound Effects: 2/2
As I mentioned before, this short plays out more like a pilot episode than it does a self-contained story. The characters, unfortunately, had to take a hit. It's not that you can't characterize well in thirty minutes, it's just that there are too many characters for the writing to do so, and that the short itself isn't trying to be a character study, it's just trying to be pretty.
So pretty much every character with a name can be summed up in one or two sentences. There's the incompetent but determined witch-in-training, her shy best friend with glasses, their third friend who is comedially creepy, the smug jerk who is the idol of the school, etc. Basically every character has been done to death, but there's not really anything wrong with it. Just don't expect to be winning any awards.
I'd think that if they had more room to work with, these characters could easily become more fleshed out and three-dimensional, just that thirty minutes rears its ugly head in once more. For what it's worth, the characters keep your interest during the running time.
FINAL JUDGMENT : 7/10
Let's not kid ourselves: the only real reason to watch Little Witch Academia is for the visuals. It's a good reason, but it's hardly a short that makes a real lasting artistic impact or anything. If you ever have a half hour to kill, it's definitely worth your time, but if you expect anything more than eye candy then you might be walking out of the thirty minutes a bit underwhelmed.