OP Sequence

OP: 「リテラチュア」 (Literature ) by Reina Ueda

「魔法使いの国」 (Mahoutsukai no Kuni)
“The Land of Mages”

Those who were expecting something akin to Kino’s Journey and Mushishi will definitely be pleased. Majo no Tabitabi is indeed about the journeys of a witch across different civilizations and societies, as well as her encounters with all sorts of different people. And it continues to deliver. In this episode, Elaina visits the land of Mages and expects to receive preferential treatment – since Witches belong to the highest social caste and are highly revered. However, she loses her witch’s brooch that Fran bestowed upon her. So she spends her time in the city lodging at a shabby inn, and decides to take a young witch aspirant named Saya who’s struggling to pass the preliminary exams under her wings – who she bumped into earlier upon first arriving in the city.

Seeing the role of teacher and student reversed helped highlight Elaina’s growth as a person. Yeah, she can be pretty full of herself if her monologues are anything to go by. However, she is truly well-intentioned and is sincerely happy to take up the role of mentor – and help her mentee succeed. Not to mention proud of Saya’s successes when she masters concepts she was originally struggling with. Unfortunately, after spending an episode bonding together, we’re hit by the harsh reality. Elaina wasn’t being a masterful teacher. Saya had faked her lack of proficiency this entire time. And she actually stole Elaina’s brooch in the first place. Her motive? She felt lonely and wanted someone to stay with her.

Although the motive seems questionable, in how anything could have worked out in the long run because the ruse was always going to come apart, the pains of loneliness are extremely understandable. Just about anyone can relate to that feeling. But would I steal my friend or girlfriend’s stuff to make them stay at my house? No. As Elaina says, relationships are predicated on trust. And for Saya to dishonestly withhold the brooch is unhealthy – and no proper way to go about business. It was wrong, no matter the justifications. Well, I suppose stealing to save someone’s life is justifiable, but you get what I’m saying and that wasn’t the situation we had at hand. Anyway, it was rather magnanimous of Elaina to instantly forgive Saya for her transgressions. I definitely wouldn’t have the heart to forgive and forget – let alone still hold the perpetrator in high regard to the point of leaving behind a keepsake memorabilia.

But all’s well that ends well. The brooch is returned, Elaina continues her journeys and Saya goes on to pass her exams – stating her dream in a news interview of travelling after qualifying as a witch so that she could meet her beloved Elaina once again. Human relationships sure are complex. Saya might have lied to establish a connection with Elaina. And deeply wronged her in the process. But that doesn’t meant their feelings weren’t beautiful and genuine. It doesn’t mean they can’t be friends.

If every week will consist of a bitesize snapshot of Elaina’s travels to distant lands, the different people she meets as well as the way in which they impact each other’s lives, I’ll certainly be tuning in for the rest of the season. Especially if they keep approaching each story with new interesting scenarios that help explore the characterisations of Elaina as well as folks she encounters. Mind you, the jagged chins still bother me. But seeing how that’s the only nitpick I have with Majo no Tabitabi, this series has gotten off to a fantastic start – and I really look forwards to what the future episodes will hold.

ED Sequence

ED: 「灰色のサーガ」 (Haiiro no Saga) by ChouCho

9 Comments

  1. On episode 2 of Kino no Tabi Majo no Tabitabi we have…

    Okay, couldn’t help it, I’m just waiting for her broom to talk!

    But, not a bad episode. I hate to say it, but it was pretty obvious what happened
    to her brooch early on in the episode, but I could NOT tell the reason. After the
    reason was revealed, I was somewhat less impressed. I mean, she could’ve just
    asked for help… Saya sized Elaina up pretty quick and took a big risk that her plan
    wouldn’t backfire. And why not ask a local witch (maybe explained, but I missed it?)

    In terms of comparing (after only 1 episode) this to Kino’s Journey, big, big
    difference in grittiness. I don’t see Elaina shooting anyone (was that the first episode
    in Kino’s – don’t remember) nor do I see her really having any life-or-death struggles
    ahead. I suspect the series will favor lighthearted SoL stories and probably won’t
    explore the human condition like Kino no Tabi or Mushishi.

    Right now, it’s a good filler show to follow, I think.

    mac65
    1. I understand why you’d feel unimpressed with Saya’s motives. I feel similarly put off. But I can at least empathise with the underlying emotions behind her motive, so it helps justify this storytelling decision for me.

      And of course, it’s early to say it’s on the level of Kino’s Journey/Mushishi. But I don’t think it’s the wrong comparison either.While not being as dark (yet at least), it shares enough similarities to merit a comparison – especially where a traveler journeying across different societies/cultures meeting all sorts of people is concerned. And I expect Elaina will have to make difficult decisions eventually, that will thoroughly test her.

    2. “And why not ask a local witch (maybe explained, but I missed it?)”

      Considering that most witches back in Robetta downright refused to take Elaina as an apprentice in the previous episode (and higher-end hotels in the Land of Mages refused accommodation to Elaina for not having her witch’s brooch), it’s safe to assume that a lot of witches in the Land of Mages are even more picky in choosing apprentices among the ones who passed the exams, let alone training aspiring novice witches pro bono.

      That and Saya was skilled all along, but just lonely. And the local witches already know her too well and want nothing to do with her.

      (All speculation based on observation.)

      Incognito
  2. Majo no Tabitabi was definitely on my to watch list from the season preview. With the production values I’m seeing in just these two episodes, it is now on my to buy list (Just take my money!). I may even pick up the light novel, but given my backlog of light novels to read, I will take it slow especially as the English translations are over 10 volumes behind.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the rest of this series!

    1. No worries. It’s a shame the rest of the visuals look so nice, but I can’t stop myself from feeling bothered. I guess I’ll have to put up with the jagged chins for the rest of the season then 🙂

  3. While I can no longer unsee Majo no Tabitabi‘s pointy chins, I’ll look on the bright side: At least it isn’t as ridiculous as The Fairly OddParents‘ Crimson Chin (despite that exaggerated chin being played for comedy).

    Had a little chuckle when I saw buildings in the Land of Mages having balcony porches and doors on the second, third, or even top floors in order to accommodate magic broom-riding witches. (Ditto the second-floor wall gate that Elaina passes through.) It’s basically the fantasy version of what architecture would be like if there were practical Jetson-like flying cars or jetpacks. Remember when humanity’s optimistic visions of the future involved having those? NGL, I kinda miss that outlook. Sure, there are various working prototypes of flying cars/jetpacks today, but they’re still far from practical (and far from being commonplace).

    Random musings aside, I did enjoy seeing Elaina use her localized time-reversing powers and loved the episode’s step-by-step reveals after Saya bumped into Elaina (deliberately, as it turns out). Same goes for the episode’s pacing…except for the last part where Elaina is suddenly in another country and reads a newspaper’s feature article about Saya finally passing the novice witch exams. T’was a bit jarring after pegging this series as an episodic slow-burner. Anyway, can’t wait to see what Elaina’s doing there, and who she’ll meet in that other country.

    On a somewhat downer note, I read the news via r/seiyuu that Tomoyo Kurosawa (who voiced Saya and has a couple other roles this season) tested positive for COVID-19. Hope she’ll make a thorough recovery.

    Incognito
    1. With the Fairy OddParents, I’m expecting cartoonish proportions that look funky. That aren’t necessarily aesthetically pleasing. My expectations for anime are a lot higher. And nice catch – I didn’t even notice the intricate world building, despite the fact it fleetingly registered in my comprehension.

      That time skip was quite a leap in terms of pacing. However, it was a fair tradeoff for reaching closure about Saya’s situation without having an abrupt cutoff, where we’d be left to wonder how she ended up faring.

  4. Definitely hooked… Chins can be overlooked in comparison to overall animation quality. I definitely can use some soothing, healing anime about good-hearted travelling witch.
    I wonder will she ever stumble into land where magic is outlawed and persecuted, or even worse, where magic simply doesnt work, demoting her to mere mortal?
    So far her adventures are more a case for personal character study of her and those she meets, though…

    ewok40k

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