What a long week. It was nice having something to look forward to every day after work, but it was hard to find time to watch the show and review it, since I only had time for a couple of episodes a day and I typically don’t start writing the actual reviews until I’m done. Which means this probably won’t be this best of my reviews. Seriously who knew that adult life would be so time-consuming?
It was so much easier to watch the original Little Witch Academia OVAs. They were short. But, I did it. I made it through thirteen episodes of a show in a week while working full time and living on my own and wrote a review.
Not bad. So here it is…my thoughts on Little Witch Academia, Season 1.*
I’m not sure what I was expecting from it and I’m not quite sure how I feel. It clearly follows a different timeline which I actually prefer. You don’t have to figure out where it fits in, or why it’s not following the same continuity, it’s its own thing.
But if we’re going to be honest, I liked the OVAs better, not just because I saw them first, but they have a different feel to them. The relationship between Akko and her friends is so much more defined in the OVAs, while in the show it feels more like they’re roommates but not much more.
They do have a little more personality to them. Sucy has a lot of inner issues about how she appears to the world, but is still VERY obsessed with mushrooms and Lotte is a wallflower bookworm with a particular affinity for Night Fall, a series that mostly like Twilight with a bit of Outlander thrown in and has been going on for more than a century. But there isn’t much beyond that.
I’m also sad that Diana doesn’t get the same level of interaction with Akko as in the series, though she is considerable nicer than she was in the OVAs. She less of a Draco Malfoy kind of pureblood, and is just very good at what she does, and kind of disapproving of Akko’s love for Shiny Chariot. So that also means, when Diana is nice to her it’s not as surprising.
And the Shiny Chariot mystery isn’t played up as much. At least for the audience. Akko is still pretty clueless, but letting the audience know Chariot’s true identity, allows for the story to explore the relationship between Akko and Ursula.
Ursula is desperate to teach Akko to be a proper witch and is even excited that Akko found the Shiny Rod, and can use it. In this continuity, the Shiny Rod is a very powerful object, that requires seven words to unlock its true potential.
She spends much of the season helping Akko unlock the first few spells, without being totally obvious to the pretty oblivious Akko, that she is helping.
From there on, the first few episodes of the series kind of rehash points from the OVAs which is kind of boring. And there’s not a lot of world building outside of Luna Nova. The biggest issue within the series is that magic is dying out. Fewer witches seem to being born, magic itself is becoming weaker and because of this, Luna Nova is losing money.
Which could very well be a bit of a bump in the road in Akko becoming like Shiny Chariot. If her complete and utter lack of magical ability doesn’t get her kicked out.
Akko’s complete and utter lack of magical ability is the focus of most of the episodes, which isn’t surprising.
The other large focus is actually on Andrew, the son of a magic-hating politician and Akko’s love interest. While I don’t think she needed one, the dynamic between the two is interesting and could lead to some interesting situations in the future, and Andrew’s father has the potential to be a good antagonist, or villain since the series hasn’t introduced a proper one yet.
And I think that’s part that’s bothering me. The show is obviously leading to something bigger, but it’s been 13 episodes, and we don’t have an antagonist, we don’t know much about the world outside Luna Nova, and nothing has really happened that has really challenged the status quo.
I understand the original OVAs were slice-of-life and that this is mainly a slice-of-life show and that’s fine, but like Steven Universe, this series hasn’t quite figured out how to balance action oriented episodes, with more filler ones and keep up the character dynamics. It’s not bad… Just not excellent.
The animation is amazing, especially the opening. So that’s a few points in the show in the show’s favor. It is absolutely beautiful, and it really shows, especially when Akko visits the Fountain of Polaris or uses the Shiny Rod to it’s full potential.
And not all my favorite episodes are the ones relevant to the overall plot: I really liked Episode 4 where the girls sneak out of school to meet Lotte’s favorite author, Episode 6 where Akko and Andrew meet for the first time, Episode 7 where Akko is in danger of failing out of school and accidentally flushes a professor down the toilet and Episode 10 where Sucy releases a bee whose sting makes people fall in love with the first people they see was absolutely hilarious, and didn’t fall trap to the creepy tropes that normally happen in episodes involving love potions.
If I hadn’t watched the OVAs first, I may have enjoyed this season more and less critically. I do hope to see more character development with Lotte, Sucy, and Diana in the next season and more of the students working together. I also hope that the next season kind of gets to a point. Like actually getting down to the source of the disappearing magic, why Akko is such a weak witch, whether those two are related, and if she’s such a poor witch how is she able to control the Shiny Rod? And hopefully, introduce a good villain.
As you probably know, I’m a sucker for a good villain.
And for now, that’s the scoop.
If you liked this review check out my review of: The Dragon Prince is a Victim of High Expectations
*I am aware that Netflix separated the full first season into two seasons. I felt it was easier to keep track this way, rather than referring to it as Season 1 Part 1 and Season 1 Part 2.
Length: 13 episodes, 25 minutes each
Available: Netflix Exclusive
Director: Yoh Yoshinari
Producer: Studio Trigger
Voice Actors: Megumi Han, Fumiko Orikasa, Michiyo Murase, Yoko Hikasa, Arisa Shida, Rie Murakawa, Reina Ueda, Ryosuke Kanemoto, Junko Takeuchi, Noriko Hidaka