Fumiko OrikasaMinami TakayamaKenji NomuraLittle Witch Academia
Little Witch Academia (2013) + The Enchanted Parade (2015)
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2015: L
Medium: short film
Year: 2013, 2015
Director: Yoh Yoshinari
Writer: Masahiko Otsuka
Actor: Arisa Shida, Ayumi Fujimura, Chinatsu Akasaki, Eri Nakao, Fumiko Orikasa, Hiroshi Ohtake, Hisako Kyouda, Kenji Nomura, Marie Mizuno, Megumi Han, Michiyo Murase, Minami Takayama, Minoru Hirota, Noriko Hidaka, Reina Ueda, Rie Murakawa, Rurika Yamamoto, Touko Aoyama, Yoko Hikasa
Keywords: Little Witch Academia, anime, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: Two episodes: 26 + 53 minutes
Url: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=14940
Website category: Anime 2013
Review date: 8 December 2016
The first instalment was a one-off short film from Studio Trigger (Kill la Kill), made as part of the government's Anime Mirai 2013 project for young animators. The sequel was funded by Kickstarter and now there's now going to be a TV series. It's scheduled to start airing in January 2017.
What I saw was rather good. I'm looking forward to the TV series.
It's set at Witch School in a magicked-up version of London. So far, so Harry Potter. The main character is a loud, inexperienced nuisance called Atsuko "Akko" Kagari. She idolises the unpopular Shiny Chariot (a witch who's since disappeared) and throws her opinions around a lot, but is liable to fail at practical exercises, e.g. riding a broomstick without plummeting from the sky. She's quite entertaining. Her friends are Lotte (shy, glasses) and Sucy (mildly evil, loves making poisons and testing them on Akko), while her school rival is Diana Cavendish (haughty rich bitch who's good at everything).
I prefer the 2013 film, but they're both entertaining. That has lots of school business, culminating in all the girls being sent treasure-hunting down a dungeon with real monsters. This is on teachers' orders. It's a normal school activity. Clearly there are no lawsuits in this fictional universe. Anyway, Diana Cavendish and her grovelling sidekicks find a dragon that gets bigger if you zap it with spells.
Everything in it is entertaining. The cast are a laugh, especially Sucy. (Poison is her answer to everything and she loves toadstools.) The action is enormous fun, but family-friendly. There's very little in this film that you won't have seen elsewhere, but not often with this much flair. Besides, it does have something a little bit special: the animation. It's gloriously 2D and rejecting the modern trend for computer-generated 3D that of course looks mathematically realistic and so won't squash, deform, etc. like all the best cartoons. Studio Trigger like squashing. They want their work to look fun. They've succeeded. It's flamboyant, it's a little rubbery and it's got more energy than pretty much anything else you'll see in modern animation.
After that, the sequel sees Akko being ordered to organise the school parade. Sounds like fun? Unfortunately this has always been a politically correct display of medieval torture and witch-hunts, so Akko decides that this needs changing. The story that follows has a bit of friend-reinforcement as Akko falls out with Lotte and Sucy (but of course they'll reconcile eventually) and instead gets thrown together with Amanda (troublemaker and thief), Constanze (robot-builder) and Jasminka (never stops eating). There's a gang of obnoxious boys and a finale that you can imagine as what would happen if Disney's cute anthropomorphic objects turned bad.
The London mayor in this film is a bell end, incidentally, but he doesn't resemble any actual London mayor. He's a little chap with a beard.
It's great fun. You should be able to recommend it comfortably for almost anyone. It's also a good buy for all ages, which is something you don't always see in anime. If Christmas shopping for your brother-in-law, for instance, there will be a million anime possibilities, depending on taste (or lack of it). However if you're looking for something for his young children, your options will be limited. There's Ghibli, of course, but what after that? Girls und Panzer? (The BBFC rated it 12, but it's a soft 12 that's actually PG on one of the two discs.) This though will keep everyone happy. It looks a lot like Kill la Kill, incidentally, which isn't surprising since that's what Studio Trigger did next. Don't let that put you off, though. (Kill la Kill is great and was a massive hit, but family-friendly it's not unless your family is more relaxed than most about fighting and nudity.)
Give it a whirl. If nothing else, the first episode's self-contained and only 25 minutes long.