Akko Kagari as a child watched the witch Shiny Chariot perform a show, and from then on dreamed of becoming a witch. She enters the Luna Nova Academy, a school for witches that Shiny Chariot attended. In this new town she meets new friends and starts a new school life. At the school she has lessons on riding brooms and the wonder of magic, but Akko and her friends Lotte and Sucy keep getting wrapped up in tumultuous events.
I remember watching the orginal Little Witch Academia animated film and thinking 'yeah, this is a good start, but this is a franchise that would be better served as a full twenty-something part series'. Alas, having watched Little Witch Academia TV, it seems this was a false impression. Make no mistake, I like Little Witch Academia TV. In typical Studio Trigger fashion, it's got a lot of style, fab visuals and a decent voice cast, plus some really original character designs and a penchant for set-pieces and arc pay-offs (by which I mean things get VERY OTT and there are copious explosions and renumerations of catch phrases). However, like Kill la Kill and Gurren Lagann before it (the latter isn't technically an ST work but was directed by Hiroyuki Imaishi, one of ST's founders), it ends up being rather a case of style over substance. TV is somewhat of a soft reboot for the franchise, but covers much of the same ground: Akko, a young girl from a non-magical family, is accepted into the once-prestigious Luna Nova Academy for witches. Akko has long idolised the magical entertainer 'Shiny' Chariot du Nord, and wants to be a witch in her mold, no matter what anyone might say about her own prowess, or the ethics of Chariot's very low-art form of sorcery. TV follows Akko as she blunders her way through encounters with staff members, new friends and strange situations, all the while developing her magical knowledge and chasing the dream of meeting Chariot in person. One thing that cannot be said is that TV isn't colourful. It is, and it's lovely to have a (mostly) fun, cheerful and (to my great relief) not-sexist anime series to feast eyes and ears on. Despite featuring a school full of pubescent girls, Studio Trigger (*GASP*) decides not to cram scenes with gross-oversexualisation, as many other productions certainly would have done, and there's nary a panty shot in sight. Female characters are varied in design and motivation, and with 9/10s of the cast (assumedly) identifying as girls and women, it certainly passes the Bechdel test. Sometimes, with its endless messages of self-belief and perseverence (it sometimes feels like half of the dialogue consists of these two themes), TV can feel a little bit twee and pretty darn repetitive (I'll get onto that), but it's still a nice break from 'All Of Our Girls Are Wearing Pink Panties Here I'll Show You: The Animated Series'. On the other hand, there's a big problem here in terms of character magnetism, and I'll try to explain as best I can; put simply, the first half of the series consists of getting very annoyed at most of the cast for being overly-mouthy, or snide, or prejudiced, and then the second half goes in nearly the entire opposite direction and makes most of them very boring. Lottie, Sucy, Diana and a few of the professors are most affected, as I constantly found myself battling with the idea that the thing I liked most about them was (unfortunately) their visual designs. Akko as an MC is in a paradoxical position of being simultaneously the most and the least annoying character here: she's impulsive, brash and selfish for much of the time, but she's also the only one who consistently gets the plot moving, as characters consistently seem to throw up obstacles to progression that rival Akko's persistent failures in the arts of magic to create a slog-like feel to procedings. It's a good job that Megumi Han does a good job of lending her a certain charisma, because otherwise I think I might have dropped out halfway through; it doesn't help that half of the episodes consist of random stuff happening (love wasps and undead moustachios, anyone?) and the main trio desperately trying to correct wrongs. The latter half of TV deals with Akko's attempts to collect seven powerful 'words' and it feels so different to earlier episodes that it can be jarring. At other times, it feels like the concept of being a Little Witch in Academia is being eroded by themes of destiny, and a Gurren-Lagann-style escalation of stakes. Vitally, though, the moment of contact between Akko and Chariot does meet expectations, is strangely impactful and kept me going through all of the series' boring moments, even if I saw the identity of Chariot coming from... well, since 2013, to be honest. Little Witch Academia TV is far from the best series I've ever seen and it's not even the best Studio Trigger series either; Kiznaiver had better characters and more interesting themes, so if you're interested, go check it out. TL;DR though, TV is recommended for people who have really enjoyed Imaishi's past work, and those who like the idea of a cute franchise about cute witches doing magic and which isn't marred by unecessary cleavage or blood splatters up the wazoo.
As a child Kagari Atsuko attended a magic show starring a witch by the name of Shiny Chariot and became entranced. She immediately made it her dream to be like Chariot and become a witch who could do the same things and entrance her audience... Fast forward a few years and Akko, an ordinary girl, is accepted into the prestigious Luna Nova Magic Academy. It's the first link in the chain to reach her dreams! However, once there, she finds that the path to her future is a rocky one, but she holds Chariot's motto: "Never forget, a believing heart is your magic", as her own and it helps her persist despite her failures as she continues to follow the path to her dreams. Now, as a fan of the original OVA, and then the movie that followed, I was very eager for a full anime adaptation. I had expectations... which were not met. Normally that would be a very bad thing, but, honestly, it's really not in the case of this series adaptation. The series starts as if the OVA and Movie didn't exist. They're in the same universe, but not the same story... understand? Those of you who are wondering if it's necessary to watch the OVA and movie to understand the series, then the answer is no. And I would actually suggest you watch those after the series, as it has a spoiler or two... such as the true identity of Shiny Chariot. The plot for the series is actually fabulously entertaining and I always look forward to what's going to happen next! The animation style is, much like the OVA and movie, rather different then you're used to when watching anime and is, perhaps more similar to western cartoons that have an anime style twist (if that makes sense... -_-"). I enjoy the OST, so no real complaints there... As for the characters... Akko can be slightly annoying in the beginning, but she grows on you. Lotte and Sucy are fabulous secondary characters and really help to balance out the overly enthusiastic Akko. Diana, who was Draco-ish in the OVA, is actually a likable character in the series and has actual character growth (though her two bitchy side-kicks are still annoying as hell! -_-')! And, we get introduced to (what I deem) as a potential love interest for Akko! (I totally ship her with Andrew and I don't care what anyone says! ;D). There are more characters than these, but why ruin the fun of the show? Overall, a very enjoyable anime! Watch for yourself, and discover the magic of Little Witch Academia!
As a series, Little Witch Academia, or LWA, has a surprising amount of depth for what started as a tech demo. As a continuation of the two short films, LWA is a faithful expansion. Taking the heady energy, smooth animation and little touches of the two films, LWA avoids many of the pitfalls of a TV adaptation. My first impressions of the new series were of pleasent surprise. I had enjoyed the two films, seeing them as giddy fun and demonstrations of Studio TRIGGER's animation abilities. I did not expect much beyond the two films. A TV adaptation seemed promising. As expected from this series, the animation is fluid, imaginative and playful. It takes center stage in many sequences, often with enjoyable tension and pacing. Most of the normal animation was well made, except for certain scenes with bizarre background faces. The music for the series was competent, fitting the excited and curious tone of the show. I prefered the second series themes more than the first season, but both sets of music work well. The aspect I dreaded most about this series was the characterization. I expected little to no relevant characterization and a shallow cast of characters. My fears were unfounded as the cast is both fun and fascinating to learn about. My favorite characters were Sucy and Andrew as they both were an unusual addition to this series. The main cast was well developed, with Akko learning the pain of meeting her idol who affected her so thoroughly, for good and evil. While only certain characters were explored, the cast was never burdensome and their stereotypes worked well within the story and setting. After viewing the whole series, I found the setting to be the highligh of many episodes. The world of LWA is strange, with both witches and technology competing for relevance. The idea of witches growing weaker to the point of needing a giant crystal to use magic was well thought out and never felt like a plot point even when it was convenient. I would describe the setting as a less paranoid, lighthearted version of Harry Potter. Harry Potter influences this series so much that on reflection, the creators must have loved Harry Potter. What prevents this series from feeling like a complete clone is the difference in scope. Many episodes are focused on learning little and little about the characters and setting rather than a foreboding story building up over time. The filler in this series is short and sweet, with a excited pace that leaves me wanting more. I was afraid that the new emerging plot would disrupt the series, as I've seen happen with the Big O. The new plot is worth watching and thankfully enchances the show. The sincerity of the series is a boon, as this series is full of themes like determination, friendship and overcoming obstacles. A well told series with these themes can be inspirational, especially for children. Please watch this show. It's a sweet, solid series that has widespread appeal for fans of Harry Potter, little girl shows, magic shows, light drama and comedy, slice of life and those who can look beyond the adorable presentation.
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