Well move aside Worst Witch xD we have a new candidate for the clumsy, gender locked, witch archetype. This is actually a two for one deal on reviews as I was recently able to watch both the short film Little Witch Academia and the second longer film Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade. As you can probably tell already, Little Witch Academia is centered around a school of witches, and like all magic schools we have 3 main characters to follow. In the opening first few minutes you can already tell it’s going to be cute and charming as hell with its animation style and set up. It’s like the love child of Worst Witch, Harry Potter with a dash of Kiki’s Delivery Service.
So the first film Little Witch Academia is actually an animated short, being a little under half an hour-long, so bear that in mind because the length does make it feel a little like the first episode of an anime. It begins with our main heroine Akko Kagari as a little girl at a magic show of a witch named Shiny Chariot. This lady is like the patron saint of fireworks and blows up a damn dragon at the show, it would be hard not to be inspired by such a display xD So Akko, despite being
a muggle born to non-magic parents, sets her heart on becoming a witch just like her idol at the Luna Nova Magical Academy. However she is a bad student and I don’t just mean like she tries really hard but just doesn’t get spells, I mean she falls asleep in class because she finds it boring. Way to commit Akko…
It seems that only she actually looks up to Shiny Chariot, with the rest of the witch community viewing her as more of an illusionist and promoting a goofy image of magic and witches. Akko is desperate to prove herself and her hero right, which puts her in direct conflict with the top witch of the school Diana Cavendish. You know the type, she’s blonde haired, blue-eyed, comes from a long line of magic users and knows every spell to perfection. Basically the complete contrast to Akko.
Lucky for Akko she has two reliable friends, Lotte and Sucy. Lotte is the shyest and has large glasses so I’m assuming the most book smart though it’s not actually shown, she worries a lot for Akko and tries to keep her safe and help her out. Sucy specialises in potions, particularly poisons and uses Akko as a guinea pig to humorous effect. She is quite sarcastic and can be tactless. She also is hilariously animated, walking a lot like a vampire in old cartoons when they are wrapped in their capes.
So after some spectacular fails at broom riding, the next assignment is to go into a monster filled dungeon and bring back a piece of treasure. Akko is fired up to get the best treasure and beat Diana, despite her friend’s protests. Diana as well-being the best in school wants to find something spectacular. Akko and her team manage to locate and find the Shiny Rod which once belonged to Shiny Chariot, Diana found and unleashed a dragon that devours magic… To give Diana credit she worked out quickly how dangerous the dragon was (it starts off weak and tiny) and immediately tries to warn the teacher and take the blame. The dragon then aims for the Sorcerer’s stone, the source of magic power for all the school leaving it up to Akko and her friends to use the Shiny Rod and save the day.
Despite its short length it was a very charming story, the animation was smooth and sweet and although they didn’t have much time to set up lore they managed to get you up to speed quite quickly. I really enjoyed the characters, particularly Diana, they took time to make the antagonism between her and Akko more about contrasting views and methods than Diana just being an asshat which is more common in these stories. Lotte and Suzy were also endearing, despite Akko’s rather major flaws (dragging them to their near deaths for one) they always pull through for her. So my only major issue was with Akko herself >_< Her character design is adorable, and her energetic manner is also sweet. However her character just grated on me, normally the underdog characters have something special that makes you want to cheer for them e.g. they work really hard, they’re always kind to others etc. Akko didn’t have enough of a counter point to her selfish desires. It didn’t ruin the film for me, and this might just be personal preference but she did annoy me after a while.
The second film, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade, has a lot more meat to it being double the length of the first. I won’t go into huge plot detail as you can probably guess yourself what happens. This time our girls are trying to make a fusion potion in class; here we see Suzy attempt to put a deadly poisonous mushroom into it and Akko trying to put a creature in it without really knowing what it is and both arguing their ingredient should be in. This leaves poor Lotte trying to calm the situation ineffectively. Naturally this backfires immediately and they get sent to the principal’s after being saved from a giant mushroom monster by Diana and their teacher. Here we see that they regularly get into trouble for various hi jinks and are told that their last chance before expulsion is to take part in the witch hunt parade where they will be assaulted by tomatoes and dunked in water like the good ol’ witch hunt days… Seriously what the hell is the principal thinking allowing this tradition to continue xD
They are grouped with three other trouble makers to make the parade a success. Akko decides to show the world how great witches are and to put on and entirely different style parade. This of course leads to falling out and failure before eventual redemption and acceptance. The three new characters are well actually pretty good, however two of them aren’t considered important enough to be given anything to do but Amanda is the tough, sly girl who genuinely wants to succeed.
Like the first film the animation is cute and the story is, although one you’ll have heard before, still charming in its own way. It’s basically about coming together as friends to succeed and put aside selfish behaviour. Which again brings me to my only major negative point, Akko is just terrible xD She is the only one who causes friction in the group, and she bosses people around without listening to anything they have to say even while helping her. She treats both Lotte and Suzy pretty harshly and they’re the ones who have stuck by her the most. My main gripe is that Akko doesn’t really learn that much from it, it’s Lotte and Suzy who come to her rescue and forgive her, Akko didn’t do anything to try to make amends with them. She just took over the work for her parade, which is still mainly for herself. Again this is just my personal grudge with characters like this, so maybe for other people they will be like Lotte and accept that her selfishness is what makes her able to do certain things well.
Overall these movies are definitely worth a watch as I was able to enjoy them despite my fierce character hatred xD The quality is consistent throughout and an anime series has even been announced so this is the perfect intro to the series and characters. Anyone who is a fan of magic and witch stories will enjoy this and the first movie isn’t even that long so you can get a good idea of how much you’ll like the rest of the series from that.