Little Witch Academia – 03
「Don’t stop me now」
One thing I’ve never really understood about the stereotypical witch: why brooms? Brooms, and pointy hats. Perhaps big hats are just fashion statements, and I can dig that because big hats are stylish (and useful!), but brooms? To fly on? Even when witches, as in Little Witch Academia, have shed the ‘old crone’ image they somehow still insist on brooms. Can nothing else suffice? Is there an ancient pact between witches and cleaning tools that give them flight? But if they’re allowed to steampunk their rides, why not go the whole hog and replace the brooms with something more practical? Like, something with a seat. Or at least a saddle. Brooms just aren’t designed to be sat on, let alone rode. But somehow, the entire witch community has decided splinters up the bum is something they insist on. It just seems to me, if all your magic is powered by a shiny rock, the peripherals should be negotiable. Look, I’m not asking for them to fly around on anti-tank rifles or anything. I’m just saying, considering the rest of the world has modernised the witches can at least afford to upgrade to flying vacuum cleaners.
Actually, wasn’t there a Zelda game like that? Anyways.
The episode? The episode was great, as usual, so nothing much to note here. Little Witch Academia is tapping into its strengths here with the broom relay, really making use of it snappy animation to express a sense of speed. As old Sonic games (and wrecked sports cars on the side the the road) still show, there’s just something exhilarating about going fast. And so the episode was great fun. Silly, but fun.
The silliness is something we should address though, as part of our evaluation of the series three episodes in. Now, the silliness is great. I’m all for it. It’s a cartoon, after all, so there’s really no need to be confined to reality too strictly. One of the great advantages of LWA over, say, the Harry Potter movies is that it is a cartoon, and can basically run wild with the imagination. Could another medium, outside of the most surreal comedies, have their protagonist die multiple times in quick succession? Animated cartoons invite us to suspend our disbelief all the more, and we let them get away with all sorts of things.
I also don’t want LWA to be entirely silly though. I also want plot and character development, which LWA does seem to intend to provide. If the show does get more serious, then it may undercut the silliness. We may have to actually think about things a bit harder and confront some hard questions about LWA like, for example, how most of the cast are in fact horrible sociopaths. Even our protagonist, Atsuko, underneath the childlike wonder and positive attitude (which is great) is at best a simple idiot who doesn’t really earn any of her relative successes except through sheer stubbornness. In fact, the most sympathetic character is arguably Diana, who may be over-privileged, aloof, and has terrible communication skills but is for for the most part a decent human being. And she’s like the only person in this entire broom race who just honest-to-goodness rides on her damn broom. And wins. So there ya go.
When the mood is silly, this all is fine. Cheat however much you want in the broom race, it adds character. The comedic sociopath is funny. But when the needle moves towards serious, then perhaps we have to wonder why all the teachers are so bad at their jobs. And I rather I didn’t have to. Mind you, this is not something I’m that worried about, but something to consider if we want to do a proper preliminary evaluation of the show. That’s only the kind of thing bloggers want to talk about, though. The rest of you may rightly not care, and go off to enjoy the show. It’s good! You don’t need me to tell you that.