I was really looking forward to watching this anime; however, after now seeing it I can only feel it was a waste of time.
The animation and sound are alright, nothing exceptional here and the story had some real potential, but the characters are where the series really fell flat. There was hardly any time taken to create situations to allow for character development and the development that DID occur seemed to come out of nowhere, especially with the leading-red-haired-damsel. It seemed that the story was missing some vital pieces to really allow for a full understanding of what was going on and I felt, at the end of some episodes, like I really had no idea what just happened or why and I think that's more of a fault of the anime adaptation and less of the fault of the story in general.
Overall I think the anime could have definitely used some 'beefing up' in certain areas and I would have been much more excited about it...oh and not having characters animated with goofy-looking stars in their eyes, that could have helped too.
First some items I need to adress. I'm Dutch to expect some spelling errors, if they are to annoying just message me and I'll fix it.
My opinion may vary from others and this is fine. People are different so there is a good chance that I will not like what you love. Deal with it. I'm not telling you that you should hate it too, I'm telling you why I didn't like it.
I'll try to keep swearing to a minimum but fail utterly on occasion. In general it is the more the anime pisses me off the more I swear so watch out for the low scored ones.
Art: It's fine, not good but certainly not bad. Action was easy to follow and characters were easily identifyable. What more could you want? I must add that I was shocked to learn that this anime was made around 2006 as it does not look its age. if you had asked me to guess I would have said that it was made in the nineties.
Sound: I very rarely pay any attention to the music. It should be there but not overshadow what is on screen and in that regard it succeeded. Voice acting is fine.
Characters: The main character is Firiel. She is 15 and lives with her father and caretakers up in the mountains where he watches the stars. She cares deeply for her father and his assistant Roux, who she grew up with.
Roux is a young boy who works for her father and has a strong passion for science. This includes forbidden sciences and this puts them in danger. Although it is clear that he has feelings for Firiel he refuses to act upon them. He also has a strong dislike for nobels.
Story. Firiel lives with her father and caretakers up in the mountains where he can study the stars in peace and silence. Things go horribly wrong on her 15th birthday. Her house gets attacked by masked strangers who take Roux prisoner and one of her caretakers is killed. Her father escapes because he had already left and Firiel is left alone to wander through the night. Fortunately she is found by the local nobles who want to know more about her jewelry as it is a special piece that is only handed out to members of the royal family. Firiel is an actual princess and is swiftly pulled into the court where she must navigate the dangers that lurk there. Meanwhile the surrounding nations are stirring up trouble and there is also something about pesky dragons eating people...
Rant. This anime in a mess. There is so much crammed in here that it took me forever to figure out what was going on. The part where Firiel is attacked, learns about her heritage, the kidnapping and rescue of Roux is all in the first 2 episodes!
The next 3 episodes are Firiel going to an all girls school to learn about court. She actually goes to a special academy where the anime turns into a school drama.
Then she just leaves the school and goes to court and more drama happens. Here the plot with the other nations start to pick up pace. Then there are the mysteries surrounding secret sects trying to overthrow the queen and lastly the dragons that start to rampage across the land.
This anime is the equivalent of animeted schizofrenia. It wants to be everything and do it all and ends up somehwere in the middle with the viewer wondering what the hell is going on now. At some point it does become clear what the anime is and that is a romance story. All of this is just window dressing for the budding romance between Firiel and Roux.
I really don't know which character I hate more. Roux is trying his best to be the biggest ashole in the galaxy and succeeding. Firiel is....being stupid really. I hated her with a passion when the anime ended. Not because she is such a bad character or evil but because she had a serious problem with priorities.
It started when she came to court and while attending a party there she was drawn aside by a noble. We, as the viewer, knew that this noble was the one who had turtured Roux so we knew that he was evil but Firiel didn't. While ha had her alone he was kind enough to tell her this little fact. He also told her how he was going to make her his wife and rape her until she concieved a child. You know, the romantic stuff.
Firiel is understandibly a little put out by this all. The guy practicly prepared to rape her on the spot to force the issue but was called away at the last second. She is then picked up by a noble friend who handed her a way out by marrying him instead as this would put her out of the evil guys reach.
With these 2 events back to back she rushes from the party in search of Roux. She then proceeds to ask about how he feels about her. Roux (the asshole) then kind of snubs her and she confesses to the friends marriage proposal. Meanwhile I'm wondering what the actual fuck they are talking about. The guy confessed to attacking you, killing one of the people caring for you, kidnapping and torturing Roux and told you his future plans involving forced marriage and rape. WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT ANYTHING BUT THAT!
But it gets worse....oh, yes. It can get even worse. The stupid bitch sets out after Roux runs off in a hissy fit and finds herself in dragon infested territory. Meanwhile in another part of the country war is brewing with a forreign army camping on their border. Investigating this she gets transported from dragon country to the border that houses the hostile army because of magic...shut up.
There she learns that the army there is a distraction to pull their forces there, leaving the back door open for the other invading army. She gets transported back to dragon invested country and goes to meet her noble friend who are there with another army fighting the dragons and TELLS THEM NOTHING!
At first I thought that her memory was scrambled by the teleport and she couldn't remember what the deal was. Nope. She remembered but didn't think it important enough to mention it. So, instead of "Hey guys? There is like an invading force right there ready to invade and kill everyone." we get this instead, "Roux? Do you like me?"
You unholy selfish fucking bitch! I hope you trip over you fucking dragon baby cub and break your neck. I hope everone dies and that you are forced to marry McRapy you fucking cunt. Learn to fucking prioritise! You have the knowledge to help your friends, save literally everyone and you are standing there yapping about your feelings for Roux, the asshole.
I apologize for my language at the end there but it is very rare for a character to piss me off to such a degree. You know you have problems when I start to cheer the bad guys. More than once I was staring at the screen wondering what was going on. The sad part is that the anime actually had some episodes that I liked and some moments that were actually funny. To bad it is saddles with these 2 as the leads.
Title: Nishi no Yoki Majo ' Astraea Testament
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.
Art Style: 8/10
Voice Seiyuu: 9/10
Overall: 37/50; 74% (C)