「新たなるはじまり」 (Arata na Hajimari)
“A New Beginning”

I always get the impression that I’m not quite as big a fan of the Harry Potter series as some of my peers. It’s not like I dislike Rowling’s works (and I don’t think I’m allowed to dislike them, anyway), it’s just that… I’m not as enamored? My theory is that the Harry Potter shtick—the urban fantasy, the magic school—was not quite as novel for me as some younger readers who had their imaginations captured. That’s not intended to be a patronising statement, and I fully encourage everyone embrace anything that fires up your imagination. It’s just that, I had been watching anime long before the first Harry Potter book, and ye olde cartoons had already been doing superpowered shounen and magical girls for ages. Thus, my conception of witches and wizards is more from—to throw out the ur-example—Kiki’s Delivery Service. In Harry Potter, magic is secret, exclusive, and forms its own dysfunctional society. In Kiki’s Delivery Service, magic is open, natural, and part of the everyday. More Shinto, I suppose, and the style I’ve come to prefer. Less, ‘there is magic in the world!’ and more, ‘the world is magical!’, one can say.

I’m hoping that Little Witch Academia, being something of the Japanese Harry Potter, can bridge this divide. For those of you who haven’t read our informative previews or watched the original OVA, Little Witch Academia started as something of a humble animation project before eventually ballooned into the TV anime we have today. And the strength of the original (and it’s Kickstarter sequel, to a similar extent) is that it has some of the Harry Potter magic—the wizard school, magic society, escapism—and some of the Ghibli magic—simple childlike wonder. It was all great fun, fueled largely by surprisingly high production quality. This TV series, thankfully, maintains that standard. Everything and everyone is highly animated—perhaps even over-animated. It’s not just that there’s action (and there’s plenty of action), it’s that every scene is packed with energy. That’s good, because it’s the spirit in every movement that really shouts out that we’re here to have fun. ‘Vibrant’, I think is the word.

The story side is probably not quite as strong as the animation. It seems that Little Witch Academia (TV) intends to retell its entire story from the very beginning, even beginning with a similar scene involving Shiny Chariot as we had in the first OVA. Which means it’s probably going one step at a time, with development on the slow side, making our protagonist Kagari Atusko (Han Megumi) trot through an ‘Only Muggle (But With Secret Potential)’ plotline that many of you may be far too familiar with. That’s sort of okay, though, as the ‘plot’, per se, has never been the main focus of what we’ve seen of Little Witch Academia. It’s always been, first and foremost, an excuse for the our characters to go on some sort of adventure, and to grow those characters in the process. There’s certainly plenty of room for that here. I mean, there’s no great plot reason to fight a giant fire-breathing chicken, but if it’s fun, then why not?

Of course, who’s to say what direction Little Witch Academia will go with a full TV series to work with? Considering this strong start, I think it can do all sorts of things well. Personally, though, I hope that it builds on its core strengths. More adventure, hold the angst, and just a great time all around. Not everything needs to be complicated. Let’s go back to childhood, and embrace the magic.


OP Sequence

OP: 「Shiny Ray」 by YURiKA


  1. The thing that gets me about LWA is the same thing I saw with Pacific Rim. The story may not be the most original, and yeah there are going to be issues here and there, but you can feel by watching it that the people working on it are having fun. This is their passion. They WANTED to make this, rather than being told by someone else to make it. And that is what can make 10% into 100%.

  2. I’m so glad, like Death Parade, this universe can be expanded upon due to popular demand! I love passion works, and Trigger does not disappoint when it comes to the animation.

  3. So do they still have broom-flying lessons at the school? … if not, that would explain how so many of the students are able to fly through the portal, since they must know how before getting accepted! Otherwise, students like Akko cannot even get in the school because if she can’t figure out how to fly, she’s expelled! That’s the one thing I didn’t get with this episode. … if the school accepts non-witches or humans, why don’t they make it easy for everyone who isn’t a witch to get in!? I thought being a witch is what you LEARN at the school in the first place!! Hell, apparently, not even the map makes it clear that the leyline isn’t a bus stop!

    A great start to the show otherwise! I hope this isn’t just a retread of the OVAs with more developed scenes. It has this very welcoming, old fashioned feel and I want to follow the characters further.

    1. Considering our Akko is a little bit on the adorkable airhead side, it’s highly probable that on the magic practice kit that she got before there’s manual on riding the broom etc and she just doesn’t get it lol.

    2. @starss: Fair point on requiring broom riding to get to the school. Had the same thought myself. In terms of broom riding in general, my thought is that for witches, broom riding is like learning to ride a bike. Something any witch from a magic family would learn to some degree of competency at an early age. In the OVA, Lotte mentions how she hasn’t flown a broom in a while when they hold a class on broom flying. Since Akko’s not from a magic/witch family, it’s not surprising she hasn’t flown a broom before.

      To me this is simply a plot convenient oversight by the school which is not used to non-witch family students. Akko does mention that she ordered a “magic learning kit online”, but I took that as simply her being interested in magic in general (if it was school related, I would think she’d mention that detail). She’s expecting a bus ride, not fly to school on your broom. Akko can be a bit of an airhead/baka at times, but I don’t think she’s that stupid as to completely miss “need broom to attend school”.

      Not sure if the TV anime will go into this, but I do wonder how Akko was admitted in the first place. Yeah, school needs money & whatnot, but there’s got to be some “witch aptitude” test, or am I wrong in assuming magic isn’t something any person can do with enough training (or believing enough in yourself/magic/whatever)? Perhaps not important, but I am a bit curious as the background for Akko admittance. Surely she’s not the only “normal” little girl who dreamed of becoming a witch and wanted to attend.

  4. Enjoyed the original OVA (the sequel OVA was good, but not quite as good IMO). The opening is essentially the same for both (some minor, non material changes). I really liked the opening when I watched the OVA because I thought it did a great job of not only establishing the story’s tone/atmosphere, but also projecting a sense of child-like wonderment through Akko. Two minutes in and I’m sucked into the story. Nice work Trigger. So glad to see they (essentially) kept the same opening. In fact, they could have used the exact same OVA opening and I wouldn’t have minded one bit.

    I have zero qualms about starting over from scratch since the original OVA was so short. Lot of areas to fill in from the original story while having some fun along the way. Definitely fun. Good word to describe LWA IMO. If I have one quibble, it’s what starss mentioned above. If you’re admitting a non-witch (or “muggle” I guess) into your school and the entrance to said school requires magic, then you should account for that. Maybe have an older student/class rep or a teacher there. Of course wouldn’t work for the plot, but still…

    One quibble aside, I’m quite pleased with episode 1. I’m definitely in, and looking forward to next episode.

    As for Harry Potter similarities, I’d add both are schools for fairly young students and at the same time practically death traps with monsters, forbidden forests, etc. Obviously necessary for the adventure element, but wow do those kids end up in some life threatening situations.

  5. One magic girl anime after another. I’m loving it.

    That being said, I remember how I felt watching the OVA when it first came out. The child like fantasy and escapism enthralled me. Harry Potter: Anime still had that feeling as well.

    It’s actually nice to see them expanding on the universe, from how the boarded the train from Platform 9 3/4 to escaping from T. red.

    Though introductions to Harry, Ron and Hermonie aside, I must say, I like Izetta more than the main trio. I do want to see Izetta getting more screentime.

    Come on.. Isn’t Izetta such a cutie here?!


    So it seems that after serving Elydstadt and recuperating, she landed a job at ,strike>Hogwarts School of Witchcraft

    Velvet Scarlantina
    1. As opposed to the OVA, this episode makes it clear early on that Izetta is Shiny Chariot. They’ll most likely incorporate that into the plot, like having Akko discovering her identity.

  6. I was away from anime for a bit, but when I saw the screen caps and I thought, Is this by the Gurren Lagann guys? And suddenly my interested went from 20% -> 200%.

    Even when they are doing a totally different type of anime, they never loose their stylz. All hail Trigger. 🙂

    1. Is this by the Gurren Lagann guys?

      Yep. And if you’re a fan of Gurren Lagann’s style, you may also check out Kill la Kill from the same team. Don’t be deceived by the title. The show is not about killing, but more about stripping off the (evil) clothes from the opponents (it’s a Japanese-English wordplay). If that sounds crazy, that’s because it is, and tons of fun too, if you don’t mind some (comedic) nudity.

      1. Already saw that. 🙂 I watched a bunch of stuff from the Gurren Lagann guys / Trigger. Also really enjoy Space Patrol Luluco and Panty and Stocking.

        THAT SAID, nothing EVER beat Gurren Lagann. I love that show to bits and is still my favorite.

  7. Hopefully this won’t delve into yuri territory and the girls fall for boys this time around. Seriously I’m getting tired of this yuri crap nowadays when it comes to mahou shoujo. Why can’t there be boy rivals again? Why do studios care so much about “fans” want anyway? They don’t owe us anything has japan not heard of variety and that it’s the slice of life. Why do we the viewers automatically assume that just because two members of the same sex are close that means they want to wank each other? I just don’t understand it.

    1. You’ve never watched the OVA’s have you? While it’s probably not going to go into yuri territory (Which idc either way) there are no actual named male characters. It seems only females wield magic, though I did see an older guy dressed like a butler in the series opening. I would guess it won’t go into romance at all really, it was always the sort of the fun with magic type series to me.


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