• Titles: Little Witch Academia
  • Genre: Fantasy, adventure
  • Episodes: 25
  • Studio: Trigger

Atsuko has a dream. She’s going to be just like her idol, Shiny Chariot and make everyone smile with her magic. She’s even taking her first steps towards that dream by attending the once prestigious Luna Nova Academy. Unfortunately, the one thing that Atsuko does not have is talent. Despite her best efforts, Atsuko’s magic just isn’t quite up to par, but she’s not going to let a little thing like that discourage her. After all, Atsuko’s real magic is believing in herself. But is something bigger going on at that school? As magic is slowly disappearing from the world, old legends are coming to the surface. And it seems Atsuko keeps stumbling over them.

Like a lot of people my age, Harry Potter was formative for me. I have also made no secret of my love for Trigger studio. And they even chose a title reminiscent f one of the biggest animes of the last decade which is a nice meta touch. Finally, I tend to enjoy Netflix animes and definitely enjoy watching anime on the Netflix player. Put it all together and obviously, I was going to like Little Witch Academia, right?

rrrriiiiiiigggghhhttttt?

Production

As I just said, my feelings about Triggers production are no secret. I particularly enjoy their exaggerated physics style of animation and stylized designs. I finished SSSS.Dynazenon recently and took way too man screencaps for my own good. They make the type of animes I usually enjoy looking at. And listening to. I shouldn’t overlook that. They’ve been killing it in sound design lately.

I would say Little Witch Academia is on the lower end of Trigger production. Not that anything was bad, but for that particular studio, it did look fairly standard. No big flair or risks. Which is too bad. However, as far as standard productions go, this was a good one. And one with an obvious budget.

There is a whole lot of animation and movement going on and for the most part, it is exceptionally fluid and the models are wonderfully consistent. But you know, I wouldn’t think that a crime thriller like Great Pretender would end up more visually striking than the show abut magic…

just saying…

Story & Characters

Like I said, Harry Potter was formative for me and I really like it. I have this weird sort of argument with myself where I know it’s overrated and there are a lot of aspects of it that aren’t really that great. As in kinda boring or a little dumb. It’s also hardly the first book about a kid attending magic school or even the best. But at the same time, a lot of things do work and I read it at a time in my life where I got swept up in the magic and it’s stuck with me since then.

Why am I saying all this? Basically, because I’m trying to bring across that I read Harry Potter as a kid. I can never have the experience of reading for the first time as a grown-up. I don’t know how I would feel about it if I did, but I suspect I would be a bit less charmed.

Little Witch Academia does have a lot of similarities. A bit of a mix of the classic magic school formula and a cute girls show. And the big beats are there. Special magic rules and sports. Tension between those who can use magic and those who can’t. Ancient artifacts of untold power that must never fall into the wrong hands. The two are not the same but you can see the inspiration. There’s even a mean blonde girl that comes from an elite and rich family. Then again, there’s always a mean blonde girl.

she’s just misunderstood

Yet, despite everything, my experience with Little Witch Academia is sort of the opposite of my experience with Harry Potter. I just finished the series, decades after first getting swept up in magic school, and I will never know what it could have been if I had discovered it younger.

Because in my opinion, Little Witch Academia is a children’s show. Like for little kids. Everything is oversimplified and sort of streamlined. Motivations and reactions only make sense on a completely superficial level. The humour favours cuteness over wit. And to be blunt, I thought it was kinda boring. And I love all anime!

But despite that, I’m not saying it was a bad show because I don’t think it was a bad show. I just think it was written for people who are much younger than I am. And that’s fine. If I knew children, I bet I would have loved watching Little Witch Academia with them. But by myself, it just didn’t quite work.

I’m starting to dread racing sequences

Now the fact is, I don’t know all that much about children’s programming. I’m not very good at appreciating it. I never really got the appeal of My Little Pony for instance, although I know a lot of brilliant people who loved that show. So there might be something I’m missing. But if so, I couldn’t tell you.

Personally, I didn’t see any of that witty writing that can make a series for all ages and like I said, the production was great but too traditional to be all that interesting to me. So at the end of the day, it was just missing something. It didn’t capture that magic for me…

it might for you

You might like this anime if:

You unironically enjoy children’s programming. You want something to watch with your kids

My favourite character:

It’s kind of a toss-up between Sucy and Lotte but I think Lotte just edges out the competition. She’s so sweet. Except when they put Amanda in a tux. Then Amanda is my favourite and one of my personal fave leading ladies in general.

Suggested drink:

Chocolate milk

  • Every time Ako practices magic – take a sip
  • Every time anyone mentions Shiny Chariot – clap
  • Every time Diana is being Hermione – take a sip
  • Every time Ako is being the worst witch – awwwww
  • Every time the school has cashflow issues – take a sip
  • Every time Ursual gets in trouble with the rest of the faculty – take a sip
  • Every time the headmistress shows up – take a sip
  • Every time Sucy loves mushrooms – get a snack
  • Every time Frank hits on a witch – give him a chance
  • Every time anyone mentions “the words” – take a sip
  • Every time Amanda is being a rebel – raise your glass
  • Every time someone mentions the Triskelion – take a sip
  • Every time someone uses a French word  – take a sip
  • Every time anyone has a card  – wonder what’s with all the cards, is there card merch?

I save all my screencaps on my Pinterest and you can find more there if you are interested. But I still like to show you a few in the post. If you’re like me, screencaps are something that really helps you decide to watch an anime or not.

13 thoughts

  1. I too grew up knowing Harry Potter only, but ended up liking Little Witch Academia more. Something about the characters (I can’t get enough of Sucy’s dank magic), the whole tradition .vs. modernity shtick, and the more visually appealing magic sequences pretty much sold it for me. Plus the fact that LWA is more clear-cut in terms of drawing a fine line of who’s good and bad compared to Harry Potter. I’d agree as well that this is one of those flicks that I’d recommend as appropriate for children.

    What boggles my mind, however, is that the same studio that wrote this awesome show also did Darling in the FranXX and Kill La Kill…

        1. Yup. It involves a lot on Trigger characters and I thought the witch girls fit in perfectly in tone and in style. Very trigger.

  2. Trivia: Little Witch Academia came out first (the one-shot OVA, not the series) in 2013. Wiki told me Boku no Hero Academia‘s Manga started in 2014. So this name came first. It’s probably a coincidence.

    I enjoyed the show well enough, though I didn’t love it quite as much as others seemed to. However, over the years since, I’ve grown fonder of it, despite never re-watching it. It’s odd how that works.

    I’d agree that Great Pretender looks better, but then it was one of the better looking shows of its year. I adored the background art.

    1. GP is great looking. Promare also looked more magical then Little Witch. I think Trigger was channeling a more Disneyesque kand eccessible look on purpose.

  3. I really enjoyed this series when it came out, so much so that I went out to buy some of the manga, which I also enjoyed. It does feel like it was written with a younger audience in mind, but that’s never really been an issue for me some of my favourite series of all time are aimed primarily at kids. Each to their own I guess.

    Also, I know everyone always compares this series to Harry Potter, and I get it, but for me this series always reminds of a British kids show called ‘The Worst Witch’.

    1. I used Worst Witch in one of my drinmking queus. I see thje resemblance. I thought Worst Witch was very charming.

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