「リトル・ウィッチ・アカデミア」 (Ritoru Wicchi Akademia)
“Little Witch Academia”

Created out of concern for the ever increasing amount of outsourcing in the creation of Japanese animation, the “Young Animator Training Project” was started in 2010 by the Japanese government. This project provides 38 million yen ($480,000 USD) each to four selected studios annually, in order to fund the creation of four 30-minute original shorts. These shorts must in turn be produced entirely in Japan and made in part by young animators who are being trained on the job. This year, Studio Trigger was chosen as one of the four studios, their project would ultimately culminating in the superb OVA you see here.

I mean, gosh darn—I was stunned at the quality of this production. There isn’t a single noticeable drop in quality from start to finish, there’s something moving in every single scene, and it was absolutely amazing. Indeed, I found myself just sitting there in awe after watching, as I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that it was made in part by young animators in training. Really, you could’ve fooled me—because it definitely looked like professional, high quality studio work rather than something done (in part) by inexperienced animators learning things on the job. Keeping in mind that Trigger’s also relatively new and hasn’t had any large self-productions under its belt yet, and well, it makes this achievement even more notable. Animation-wise, it just seems like Trigger has a great future ahead, and this (and Inferno Cop from this past season), have me hoping for more from the studio. Who knows? We just might have the beginnings of the next great animation studio here.

Shifting to the series itself though, the story revolves around a girl named Kagari Akko (Han Megumi), who joins Little Witch Academia in hopes of becoming as cool as her magician idol, Shiny Chariot. In many ways, it’s ends up pretty straight forward plot—it is after all, only a 30 minute short to showcase animation—but it admittedly ends up quite enjoyable regardless, as they manage to fit in quite a lot despite the short nature of the OVA. There’s just nothing like wand-blasting, dragon-busting, and flying on brooms to make you feel like a kid again after all, and that’s what this OVA does. It creates a nice stand alone experience, giving just enough time to present the relevant characters and the world to ensure that you’ll understand what’s going on, while making sure they don’t spend so much time on it so there ends up being no real conclusion. Indeed, there’s actually a proper conclusion here waiting at the end—akin to a arc ending in a normal series’ arc—that provides you enough closure to wrap up the basic story, leaves you yearning for more, and keeps the door open for more from this same universe as well.

Ultimately, it’s like that old quote “All Roads Lead to Rome,” as virtually everything about this production ends up pointing to the same conclusion—which is that what Trigger’s managed to do here was superb. In turn, this ends up being a statement regarding the Young Animator’s Training Project itself—which is that it seems to be fulfilling its purpose quite admirably. Having watched the another OVA from this series in Arve Rezzle: Kikaijikake no Yoseitachi and enjoyed that as well—although not to the same degree as Little Witch Academia—it’s just quite obvious that the project’s likely having an exceptionally positive effect in terms of giving young animators with great potential a chance to really get somewhere, and it’s just nice to see how big of a part the government itself is playing in supporting this.

Regardless, the fact of the matter is this: If you have some time, you should be giving the series of the Young Animator Training Project a try. Aside from providing a rather interesting experience in and of itself, I feel like you can really get a sense of perspective regarding anime in general from the concepts involved behind the project, and it’s something that’s well worth the investment of time you put into this. For your reference, the other three shows and their studios are: Arve Rezzle: Kikaijikake no Yoseitachi (Zexcs), Death Billiards (Madhouse), and Ryo (Gonzo). Seems like only Arve Rezzle’s available to watch out of these three at the moment though.

Full-length images: 25, 31, 42.


ED Sequence


  1. It’s a really well made OVA, short but compact.
    Nice to see it covered here in RC, was surprised to see this entry too. Thanks Zephyr for your input. We may be looking at a potential future production studio here.

  2. I felt like I was watching a Disney or Pixar movie for the first time. This tapped into my inner child.

    Also it’s so refreshing how this OVA features little girls like many anime but wasn’t made solely for your K-On, Love Live or Girls und Panzer otaku audience.

  3. Well, i think i would watch an Anime, if they Plan to bring it out. If they hold the Fun, and Colors. Harry Potter with Girls and Comedy. I think here is a unpolished Gem.

  4. I had been hoping for an anime just like this one ever since the disappointing Zero no Tsukaima. I remember playing Grimgrimoire (by vanillaware) and thinking “now that would be better”. It delivered everything in the trailer so for that I’m extremely thankful.

    There was a clear focus on the magic and less so on pandering. 9/10

  5. Thank you for bringing this OVA to my attention. Best way I could have asked to spend 26 minutes this evening. The style of the characters was fresh and the quality of the animation was outstanding. It proceeded at a rather frantic pace but the story never suffered for it. Perhaps it was the bright colors used or the crazy physical comedy but this show reminded me of FLCL in a lot of ways and that is one of my favorite shows of all time (makes sense if the guys from Gainax were involved).

    These guys should really start a Kickstarter campaign to fund their work. I know I would pony up for it.

  6. I keep thinking people like Misaki Kamiigusa from Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo are working away at making these shows.

    Reality is probably NOT that far off either, from my own experiences with competition against raw talent in my own field. I’d imagine it’s the same when it comes to animation too 😉

  7. Watched this last night and began immediately spreading the gospel into the wee hours of the night. Now I come on RC and see it reviewed by Zephyr, I cannot be happier this production short is getting the attention it deserves.

    24:37 run-time, yet it felt MUCH longer than that (in a good way). They were able to pack so much story in to this without making it feel rushed at all. The animation itself makes the entire experience a joy to watch.

    Glad other people enjoyed it.

    so very odd
  8. OMG, that was great. They animators had me from the opening scenes. They had just the right mix of comedy, cuteness and adventure. Sucy’s deadpan was hilarious. They managed to pack a ton of enjoyment into 24 minutes. That’s what a magical girl comedy should be!

    1. There’s a scene at the end, after Diana catches akko where it pans to the teacher and her hair is changing from a red back to blue. That’s the biggest hint there is.

  9. It’s entertaining and safe to watch with the little nephews and nieces. I kind of hoped they will expand this to a 13 episode series or at least an OVA trilogy. But even if they don’t, this one OVA is good enough.

    1. I’d show it to my future nieces and/or nephews when they’re really young, so by the time they grow up, they can think “hey! Remember that one OVA from that one time?? That was awesomely animated! Why can’t we see more animation like that??”

  10. So much told and shown in one episode length they really did an outstanding job creating this, aren’t they over budget with this?

    “Little Witch Academia is one of the four anime works that each received 38 million yen (about US$480,000) from the “2012 Young Animator Training Project.” Just like in 2010 and 2011, the animation labor group received 214.5 million yen (US$2.65 million) from the Japanese government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, and it distributed most of those funds to studios who train young animators on-the-job.


  11. Just finally watched this. Worth the wait, and worth every minute of my time. Commenting so maybe another person will notice this post and check it out – it’s really great!

  12. Hear ye, Hear ye, my fellow Friends of Little Witch Academia. Through Kickstarter, we get the change to see a sequel. The Signs for Litte Witch Academia 2 looks Good. We will get a 20min or more, Sequel.

    Since i found this little Jewel here, in the Past. I thought, i should give here the “News”

    First the News link i found: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2013-07-09/trigger-little-witch-academia-2-meets-kickstarter-goal

    and now the Homepage: http://www.acttil.com/littlewitchacademia/

    I am very Exiting to see this Animated. Domo Arigato to all that made this happen


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