「ありとあらゆるありふれた灰の魔女の物語」 (Aritoarayuru Arifureta Hai no Majo no Monogatari)
“The Everyday Tale of Every Ashen Witch”

Personas and True Nature

Elaina enters the rift between conscious and unconscious, meeting her many selves, hailing from the boundless expanse of unrealised timelines. The current life that she leads is but one of countless possibilities. Most notably for me, the plant zombie – which suggests Elaina became a plant zombie herself in one of the timelines. And was the green jelly version of her a reference to Steins Gate banana jelly when time travel goes wrong? Nevertheless, the petty squabbling between the Elainas was amusing. Kaede Hondo put on quite a performance to voice all 16-17 iterations of Elaina. And I totally expected Protagonist Elaina to be a sociopathic bwitch and order around her various selves. However, her Violent Self comes to crash the party – intent on killing all the iterations of Elaina. And violence ensues.

Being the same people with the same skill level, they are unable to defeat each other and end up drawing – splayed out in exhaustion on the roof. Through dialogue, they are able to come to an understanding. And it was pleasant to see Elaina find closure within her own heart. That she acknowledges there was frustration and the desire to give up on getting her hair back, and fully giving in to her violent inclinations. She comes to peace with herself, and forges ahead to a new tomorrow – continuing on her journey as a Wandering Witch.

Concluding Thoughts

Majo no Tabitabi was a fun series. Nothing more, nothing less. Not going to lie, I kind of regret blogging this. Because at least with a really terrible series, there are many talking points where I can tear into it. Or with shows like Danmachi III or Taiso Samurai, there’s so much good stuff to talk about every single week. On the other hand, Majo no Tabitabi was really pedestrian after the really intriguing earlier episodes which covered complex ground and moral dilemmas – which suckered me into covering the rest of the show, which never returned to that same level ever again.

Case in point, the episode where she travelled back in time to save the girl from becoming a serial killer was poorly executed from my perspective. At least in comparison with the field of parasitic flowers, her lack of action to help the slave girl, or when Mirarose’s spiralled into insanity within her kingdom of ashes. These episodes were so much better, and gave me a much higher expectation in terms of what to expect from this series. Even though it never really dipped into awful territory, I was still left disappointed when Majo no Tabitabi barely revisited many interesting concepts or ideas. And ultimately, I never really came to care for Elaina as a character. Or appreciate her development and progression as a person. She started off as a narcissistic, sociopathic witch. And remains a narcissistic, sociopathic witch even till the very end. The personas finale was a crutch to say ‘Look how many weird and wonderful traits Elaina has! What a character this makes her!’. But I really didn’t feel it. Characterisation is about showing, not telling. And for me, characterisation is my most important judgement metric whenever I delve into these kind of things – a quality which Majo no Tabitabi unfortunately lacks in.

Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading these posts and see you all next time round, probably Best of Anime 2020. Take care!

8 Comments

  1. @Zaiden :: I agree with your concluding thoughts.

    I think this series opens a new genre ::

        cute girls trying to do serious drama
        but wind up doing mostly cute things.

    It seems like when the story was stuck or had to take a serious moment,
    the yuri broke out. It’d be okay if it added to the story — it may have a little,
    but for the most part it was an unwelcome distraction.

    So it wasn’t a terrible series, but I think it could’ve been a lot better.

    Now, Maou-jou de Oyasumi is a series that should’ve been blogged…

    Really excited about winter 2021 season’s offerings! You guys gonna have
    the preview up soon…?

    mac65
      1. 3-episode rule cuts both ways unfortunately. I saw enough promise that I decided to watch the whole thing, and at least didn’t have to include blogging it as well which might have been enough to convince me to drop it. I’m enough of a completionist that I will stick through most things (though the Odin series and Day I Became a God have several unwatched episodes I may well just archive), but this is another example where waiting to watch a series until it’s complete might have some benefit. Maybe RC needs a “Watch This” similar to the one on r/anime…

        NaweG
  2. My main comment is that they really gutted this last episode, in both narrative and spectacle. While it’s understandable that they ran out of budget for such a bombastic stream of fight scenes, they removed a LOT of the build up and cryptic hints leading up to this.

    As in I would remove both episodes of the City of Freedom and replace them other chapters. It would take maybe half an episode for setting up the country of wishes, and maybe another half to spend with Elaina scamming people with parlor tricks. Turn the last episode into a two parter so they can actually explain everything, and the product would be at least as decent as the looks.

    I’m a bit disappointed, but it is what it is.

    cryum
  3. LOL, 20+ minutes of Elaina–or rather, Kaede Hondo–talking to herself. And here I thought nothing could top KanColle‘s “One Nao (Touyama) Show.” Also felt like one big meta joke, TBH.

    Meganekko Elaina: “This is the me that turned into a ghoul.”
    Me: “So basically, Sakura Minamoto? Should someone play death metal with Rushia screaming ‘NEEEEEEEEEEEE!’ in order to give Ghoul!Elaina sentience and the ability to talk?”

    Final thoughts:
    Well, I picked up Majo no Tabitabi for the rich, vivid visuals, and it delivered on that front. Voice performances also delivered, with some famous ones in the mix (Episode 10 especially, and Minami Takahashi as Saya’s sister Mina).

    But sadly, those two good points were undermined by a somewhat lacking narrative, even for a series that’s supposedly episodic in nature. Don’t get me wrong, there were some story arcs in Majo no Tabitabi that I enjoyed watching, even if some of them turned into downer endings. And the arcs involving Nike, Sheila and Fran were pretty good. But if the anime is subtitled “The Journey of Elaina”, shouldn’t the narrative be more focused on her?

    From what I heard from the light novel readers, some subplots in the light novel were cut out in the anime. And some of those subplots were crucial to showing why Elaina acts the way she does–and in this season finale episode, explain how she was able to meet with her alternate universe selves.

    Not helped by the sequel hook at the end. Hell, will it even get a season 2 at this rate? Otherwise, it’s gonna be a “light novel-only” thing (again). Damn shame, really.

    Thanks for blogging it anyway.

    (P.S.: Also, since it was a YouTube trailer that introduced me to this series, this could qualify as a case of the YouTube Algorithm’s(TM) recommendation turning out to be s**t.)

    Incognito
  4. I actually really liked Elaina as a character even though I wouldn’t necessarily want to be surrounded by people like her in real life. I found she was a refreshing break from the eternally humble paragons of morality that most protagonists are. I appreciated the fact that she was willing to nope out of situations unless they benefitted her or were related to people she personally knew, that seems more realistic to me. I liked her comment in the last episode about how by naming her Protagonist Me they placed her on a pedestal. While it’s true that the earlier episodes were better I still looked forward to this show every week.

    Valkastroj
  5. TBH the front loaded beginning kind of screwed the pacing of the show, made us expect more than what we got, and after reading the novels, they left out too much i guess is the easiest way to put it.

    Elaina never really takes off as a character, and kind of feels bland in the anime. They gave us snippets of get us interested but didn’t follow through. I doubt there will be a second season, so waiting for the novels it is.

    Tegual

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