After shoving it off for a while and having some full shounen blast, I wanted to finally start watching Little Witch Academia that I heard so much about.
Being a little head in the clouds kind of person I really enjoy fantasy and magic based worlds that give you a little atmosphere, the feeling of getting carried into a new world just for a short amount of time.
For me in the first episode it started off like that.
Just like a child being fascinated by the magic occuring in front of you, even though I as the watcher am fully aware the kind of magic does not exist in our world it still makes me feel all those innocent feelings of curiosity and as a creative person boosted my inspiration a bit on a on-going series I was writing.
It has been a long time since I watched some related to witches and magic in such a raw concept, so I was looking forward to watching the full-course: girl gets accepted at a witch academy and there the trouble begins.
Episode 1 began with a little show where Shiny Chariot let out her creativity and we see that the main character as a child is truly fascinated by it, even holding into a little magic spark leftover that she put close to her chest.
It’s a common trope to start an anime with this kind of a scenario so I wasn’t much fazed by the emotional attachment our main character Atsuko Kagari had for Shiny Chariot, yet I respected her since it shows this simple start of a much bigger dream that anyone could relate to in a way or two.
Yet the more surprising fact was that I thought Shiny Chariot was a big deal, especially when Atsuko (or how she calls herself: Akko), is very close to reaching the academy.
As she mentioned no one really cared about Shiny Chariot anymore and that she was not a big deal or old-fashioned, some people even ignored her when she asked about her while Akko is probably one of the only one caring as much as to even have a card of her.
The setting in which the first half of the episode plays is nostalgic, rustical and very cute too, to be honest here it gave me almost ghibli vibes and that’s really hard to achieve in some anime nowadays.
Even the OSTS are much calmer in the beginning and easy-going, at some points even very low to give off a natural and mysterious vibe.
Until she meets the first relevant character in the story who doesn’t even care a slightest bit about Akko and just wants to avoid her, if possible but Akko is a clingy and energetic girl, so no.
A trait I kind of like, she is not the typical girly and scared female lead but has quirky and strong personality traits which make her a bit annoying but lovable at the same time.
Not much happens until Akko reaches the Leyline terminal which I thought was an interesting concept, while there are similar works where ley lines are mentioned I never saw it in an anime before, so it kind of made me think of all the books I had read where they were mentioned and the concept of a leyline being a bus stop with a terminal was very fascinating.
A refreshing aspect was that witches seemed to be held much more traditionally in the anime, brooms and witch hats, who doesn’t like traditional witch stories?
Up to that point everything seems still serene despite a gossip girl gang doing their usual look-down-on people talk, mentioning Akko being the one who is not of witch blood and trying to get into the academy since they lack funds.
Making fun of the fact she only could get in because of the dire financial situation of the academy.
Here again, Akko shows a nice character trait while it seems she was self-aware of these facts she still goes after her dreams and tries to follow the other witches into the terminal but has no broom nor the ability to ride one to do so, even trying to climb up the tendrils just to fail.
Now the second half of the episode starts with the action part where, after some clingy and persistent persuasion on Akko’s side, the witch Lotte gives her ride on the Leyline.
Sadly she got one of the unlucky students on her back that made them have a turbulence and crash into the rude witch she had met before, making them drop out and land in a forest.
In a team of three the three soon-to-be students seek to find their way back, with Lotte’s broom broken and Akko not even having one their destiny is bet on Sucy.
The funny thing is usually this is where the bonding and friendship part starts but not at all, Sucy goes off to do her own thing, scaring both of them with rumors about the forest and searching for rare ingredients while Lotte is focussing on her broken broom and lost presents.
Akko is a whole other case as she happily finds her stuff just to get almost attacked by a Mandrake, which shows her very little knowledge on the witch world when Sucy and Lotte comment that she didn’t know about it.
Onwards Sucy leads Lotte and Akko into a trap, using them to get a rare feather from a chimera like creature that almost killed them all, but she got her feather in the end and if it wasn’t for Akko saving firstly Lotte from falling and secondly her will to help both of them even after being treated the way she was, they would have been expelled from the academy and moreover their lives.
It was seen that Akko had slowly summoned a wand which another witch that came for their rescue identified as the Shiny rod, looking awfully like Shiny Chariot’s wand.
The episode ends with the three students not being expelled due to the principal’s generous and caring personality, as well as, who would have guessed. Akko becoming roommates with Sucy and Lotte.
The first episode may have some cliche attributes, but was overall very nostalgic and built up an atmosphere where book-lovers and fantasy admirers would gladly dip into.
There were several surprising events unlike other anime’s first episode.
One being the way the characters interact even during an ordeal where usually they either bond or clash, and here it was completely different.
Also Akko’s introduction as a main lead and the immediate throw into the world of witches, dangerously experiencing it from the get-go.