Monday, January 18, 2016

Little Witch Academia Review


Little Witch Academia was an anime that came out of nowhere for me.  I was randomly reading Kotaku one day and saw an article about a little anime short called Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade.  It looked cute but I find it difficult to watch subs so I skipped over it.  Then one day in December, I saw both of the shorts had been dubbed and were now on Netflix.  Of course I had to watch it.

The premise of Little Witch Academia is that it takes place in a school for witchcraft, populated by only female students (as far as we've seen).  The main characters are Akko, Lotte, and Sucy.  Akko is our quintessential fiery, happy go lucky magical girl, who's actually kinda shitty at magic, but makes up for it with an astoundingly happy attitude.  Lotte is shy and a bit of a bookworm.  Sucy is a very deadpan character who likes making deadly poisons- er, I mean, potions.  Diana is Akko's overachieving and haughty rival, with Hannah and Barbara being her little sidekicks that follow her around.

Akko is not an ancestral witch like almost everyone at Luna Nova.  She became inspired to become a witch by watching a witch named Shiny Chariot perform flashy magic shows, which almost all the other witches look down upon as exploiting magic.  Shiny Chariot eventually faded into obscurity, but she inspired Akko to love magic and want to use it to make people happy.

Shiny Chariot, the witch that started it all... kind of.

In the first episode, one of their teacher sends their class down into a magical labyrinth populated by monstrous creatures and traps, to come out with a rare artifact within an hour.  This, as you might guess, leads to some life-or-death shenanigans with our dear heroes.  In the second episode, Akko and her friends get into some major trouble thanks to Sucy's penchant for toxic substances, and their punishment is to manage a parade that the school holds every year.  The witches go into town and are ridiculed and have tomatoes thrown at them.  Akko is disgusted by this tradition and tries to change it to celebrate magic and witches instead of ridicule them.

Little Witch Academia is an adorable little anime.  The animation itself reminds me a lot of Tweeny Witches, another very good series.  I love the effects like the fireworks in the beginning that are really cool and give the anime a definite magical feel.  It's like your right there with Akko watching Shiny Chariot for the first time.  I know after seeing something like that I'd wanna be a witch too.

How much trouble could this cute little guy cause?  A LOT.

I like the characters, but they can be a little annoying.  While watching, there were a few times I wanted to tell Akko to get her head out of her butt and get real.  It's not really like she's WRONG or anything.  She's just really bad at articulating what she thinks and feels.  Lotte needs to develop a backbone.  Sucy's just kinda weird.  But their friendship is really cute to see and even mean girl Diana gets some character development.

While the music wasn't exactly bad, there wasn't really anything very special about.  It was dramatic when it needed to be, and whimsical when it needed to be, but not anything worth mentioning.  As this is a short anime, it had no traditional anime opening or closing sequences.  If the show gets picked up as a full-length series or film I'd love to see opening and closing sequences, and some great music.

I feel like dub voice acting is a lot better than it used to be, and Little Witch Academia mostly came out unscathed.  Most of the voices seem to fit the character and situation, and aren't too annoying.  Amanda, one of the new supporting characters in the Enchanted Parade, got the short end of the stick with her VA.  The voice actress doesn't seem to fit her and the acting is very flat.  She could have been cast better, but the rest of the acting is almost perfect.

Squad goals.

I really enjoyed the first two episodes of Little Witch Academia.  I hope that the studio is able to create a full-length series of a film sequel the the shorts because it is such a cute anime with so much potential.  I come out of watching them with so many questions that I want answers to and I'd love to explore the world of the anime.  I hope they do well on Netflix and then the studio will have to make more.