Ninny doesn’t understand why girls want to be princesses. What’s the point? You go through all the trouble of being prim and proper, you get a beautiful gown and maybe a mouse butler or something. As if by magic the prince immediately falls for you but just as you think you’ll get your happily ever after, boum, the spell breaks. Sooner or later, the spall always breaks. That’s why it,s way better to be the one casting the spells and that’s just what Ninny intends to do. But becoming a renowned witch in Reverse London isn’t as easy as it sounds. You got to prove your worth. What better way to do that than go out and slay some dragons. And would you look at that, it seems a ridiculously powerful great dragon of legend is about to make an appearance!

Let me preface this best I can. First I have not seen Bleach. I don’t even know what it’s about. For some reason, Bleach is one of those shows that flew way above my radar and I have zero conception of it. I didn’t know that Burn the Witch was associated with Bleach in any way either. I only found out after watching the show and going on AniList to find out if there was anything else to the franchise. So I went in completely blind and I can’t compare these ONA to Bleach in any way.

Second, I follow a few of you guys on AniList and I know you were not that impressed with the series. But I have no clue why. I really liked Burn the Witch. Except that the title is rather ominous and misleading. Everything else was great!

oooohhhh – pwetty

Production

Burn the Witch is in fact 3 short ONAs that all together come up to roughly one hour. So it’s a very short series. Moreover, it’s by a couple of studios that aren’t very well known. Team Yamahitsuji has only done this show. So you, and I, would be forgiven for not expecting that much out of Burn the Witch’s production.

And you would be pleasantly surprised! The visuals were great, granted I particularly like the art style and designs but I think they have general appeal and they played a bit with styles for interest. There are some really stunning city backgrounds and the colours are fantastic. I loved how different but aligned the night and day palettes were.

Finally, the voice acting is dynamic. What I mean is that there was a lot of chemistry in this cast. A surprising and striking amount for how short the show is. I don’t know if these are characters that exist in Bleach and the actors are in fact reprising roles. That would explain a bit. If these are veterans used to their characters and t working together then the chemistry makes sense. And they came back just for a fun little project, that’s why they sound so relaxed and like they’re having fun. I’m saying it was a really good cast!

small but great!

Story & Characters

So Burn the Witch is a short story. And short stories have very different narrative structures that may not appeal to everyone. I love them and tend to gravitate towards collections of short stories more often than to novels but I can understand why someone would not be as inclined towards them.

For one, as in Burn the Witch, the stories often start in medias res and in fact tend to ends in medias res up to a certain point, as well. This isn’t great for people that like a sense of closure to their fiction. We meet Ninny and Noel well into an established relationship, each with their own goals and motivations that we never really get specifically told because why would they talk about that at this point.

Likewise, Burn the Witch takes place in this elaborate urban fantasy world and we just have to pick up whatever we can about the rules and details of this universe as the story goes along. You can tell there’s more but that’s your problem. Burn the Witch is telling the tale of this specific adventure and isn’t too concerned about anything else.

don’t worry, you won’t get lost!

Of course, this is going to affect the characters. It has to. So no one in Burn the Witch has much chance to develop or get an arc. I would say Marcy is the one that shows the most growth. However, they are all very well fleshed-out characters. Everyone has very distinctive and consistent personalities that make sense with their backgrounds and context. So the characters feel like real and complete people, we just don’t have time to get to know them that well.

As for what we do get to know, like I said, Burn the Witch is one adventure. In many ways, it feels like a classic Fairy Tail with some bells and whistles. We get to see Noel and Ninny help a few friends and battle one dragon. That’s more or less it. And I admit, the end feels a little deus ex machina as the final obstacle gets resolved unexpectedly quickly by an outside force. It’s fair enough if some people don’t like that.

I did! I did a lot. In fact, it was a strength for me. It was a way better way to wrap things up than having the girls pull off some completely unbelievable superhero stuff. And this is an ONA with a lot of humour in it so that ending fed into the comedic timing and slapstick of the series.

this guy looked like Toothless to me, and it traumatized me…

In many respects, it felt like a mini arch or filler episodes of a great fantasy epic or maybe one story of a fantasy slice of life series. I went into it expecting something kind of o.k. at the best and really only decided to watch it because it wasn’t very long. My fellow bloggers and AniList friends didn’t have very positive things to say about the show so I was thinking, meh I guess I’ll kill an hour.

I quickly got roped in by the visuals and the pretty urban setting. I got charmed by the comedy and started enjoying the characters a lot by the end of the first ONA. Into the second I was fully in and just having a grand ol time to the very last minute. I plan to buy the one-volume manga as soon as it comes out. I had a blast with this show.

You might like this anime if:

You want a fun little fantasy romp. You’re not trying to relive the nostalgia of Bleach? (I don’t know if that’s true but I can guarantee I wasn’t and I liked it a lot more than most people)

My favourite character:

Blago. He was so sweet so making him the damsel in distress worked well on me.

Suggested drink:

Burn the Witch (ooohhh maybe it was named after a cocktail, now that name makes more sense)

  • Every time Ninny and Noel bicker – take a sip
  • Every time there’s a dragon – gasp!
  • Every time a witch usu her gun – raise your hands
  • Every time Ninny gets annoyed – take a sip
  • Every time Noel lows her horn – take a sip
  • Every time Balgo blushes – awwww
  • Every time anyone mentions Reverse London – take a sip
  • Every time we see Banx Jr. – cheers!
  • Every time we see Ninny and Marcy’s group – take a sip
  • Every time there’s an explosion – duck
  • Every time anyone says “Dragonclad” – take a sip

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.

11 thoughts

  1. I ran through this one day because it WAS so short and well, witch always draws me in. I was kind of glad the title was so misleading LOL but I do remember it was a great fun romp that reminded me how much I love anime and fantasy. And it’s nice, once in a while, to be able to watch something in a day!

  2. I really enjoyed this show; I think the animation was very good and the characters were all great. Ninny’s probably my favorite- how tough she is and her inner monologue in the series.
    Noelle was also fun to watch. And Marcy had a really funny moment. And I really liked the lore with the Marchens. I think if this series continues; we’ll learn a lot more about this world and its characters. Like you said; they seem full grown. So we can explore more of their personalities in the future.
    “Bleach” was……..FINE. Not really my cup-of-tea at first, but it grew on me- for what it is. Conceptually; both series are the same. But I think the shortness of the series is what lends itself to being better than “Bleach” was.
    Kubo is working on a “Bleach” continuation right now. But he says that “Burn The Witch” may return in the future at some point. I hope so!
    If you’re looking for a positive review of the series; you should read mine. It’s a bit old, but I think it’s still around. Give it a read!

  3. I remember my main gripe about this (which I got some agreement on from others) was the horny guy Balgo, but you (Irina) seem to have liked him. Also the predatory lesbian Marcy. My AniList notes say it gave me a headache.

    On the plus side, Bruno and his graffiti magic were pretty cool.

    1. Blago was horny? He did think one of the girls was cute… Maybe I’ve watched so much anime that I can no longer recognize it. I don’t remeber anything registering as disrespectful to me. I did notice that Marcy was predatory while she was portrayed as an antagonist though. At least I noticed that one.

  4. OMG, this sounds awesome! I’ve been thinking about watching this, now I totally have to watch it! I’m a little bit familiar with Bleach, I only watched the first 50 episodes and then got bored, so maybe I’ll get the connection maybe I won’t.

  5. Decent setting, cool cast. Amusing banter between the two leads. Very stylish art & presentation. Kind of messy or unfocused narrative, but I tried to see it as part of the charm — constant energy akin to a roller coaster. The horny guy & juvenile jokes just really rubbed me the wrong way.

    I’d say the main link with Bleach relates to the two girls, they’re basically gender-bent versions of popular characters from Bleach. As an aside, even though I found much of Bleach a massive waste of space, I have very fond memories of its second arc. Wonder whether it still stands the test of time.

  6. Glad to see you liked this! I hate to use the word “underrated,” because it’s overused. But I seriously enjoyed this one. I’d love to see a full series. Cool dragons, too.

    1. It’s certainly not overrated, that’s for sure. IM glad I’m not the only one who liked this one. I had a great time with it. Even ordered the manga not long ago

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