Full Review: Little Witch Academia

After writing about my first impressions on the first episode of Little Witch Academia it’s now time to cover the series with a full review about the 25 Episodes. 

Here I am going to write about the anime series adaptation of Little Witch Academia, seperate from the movie and manga.

Like mentioned before the Anime consists of 25 Episodes each about 24 minutes long.

While on many Anime streaming websites Little Witch Academia is displayed as a one season adaptation on Netflix you may find it split into two seasons, not confusing that there is actually a sequel but simply cutting 25 Episodes into two seasons. 

Next to the Anime there are two movies which were released much earlier than the series, one is the start of the story of Akko’s departure to Luna Nova and the second is a longer sequel movie. The manga is on-going but still not as far translated as the actual anime and movie.

@yuumei deviantart

Genre

The tagged Genre for this series were Action, Magic, Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure and School, which are all accurately depicted in the anime. We have a lot of Magic and Fantasy intervened early in the lore and also adventure and action were clearly visible from Episode 1 continuing through the whole series starting with the arrival at arctus forest and finding the shiny rod. 

There were some really funny moments especially since Akko is a good-for-nothing-and-she-knows-it main character who still tries her best to do the things with her stubborn attitude while dragging all kinds of characters into situations that make the whole scenes really funny. 

Personally I would add romance and a bit of drama to the genres because with the appearance of Andrew and Frank there were obvious hints of love interests developing in the series even though it wasn’t the main focus of the story and rather kept as a slight trivial side story or background story. 

Drama was seen especially towards the end where the bright and cute story got heavily twisted by the reality that came upon the witches and several other characters each of them bearing a weight that either worsened or lightened at last in Episode 25, some of them being Andrew Hanbridge and Chariot du Nord.

Setting

Despite the rustical and kind of old-fashioned settings where magic and witches exist, it is clearly seen that modern devices and big industrialized cities exist in the world of Little Witch Academia. The charming thing about the series is that it had a large variety of changes in both ambience and vibes. You have the rather calm and nature side that makes you feel at peace seeing the scenery switching to a more village-life vibe and a mini-town where there is a bell-tower that throws you into a daydreaming state just like Ghibli movies do, to scary and dark forests and ruins, laboratories with the cyber steampunk vibes including Croix’s amazing depiction of the ever-changing world due to the development of science and research, and last but not least the school itself with its magical creatures who do the tasks like laundry, preparing hot water etc up to the classes and practical exams outside.

An always comforting yet varying change of pace in each episode which makes you never feel bored by a firm and unchanging setting.

Plot

The nice thing about the plot that you cannot find in every anime is that there are small and big arcs, at the same time, smaller ones for some characters and bigger ones that stretch over several episodes despite the smaller arcs already being accomplished. 

One example would be the Croix’s introduction into the series until her actual reveal as an Antagonist while several smaller character arcs and problems were solved in-between. 

On cue the word problems, the interesting aspect is that Little Witch academia depicts several real-life problems in the series hidden or unhidden, like the demonstration of the Faeries wanting a fair share of magic usage while they constantly work for the school and have almost none left for themselves representing the worker-class of the real-world and workers who are being exploited. 

On the other hand, several signs of cyber-bullying in the Annabel causing the author of a renowned series to stop writing and wanting to pass on her legacy to the harsh critic shared online by anonymous people, as well as the big topic like in Andrew’s case where children are forced to give up their dreams due to their parents walking a path chosen for them instead of learning to trust their one opinion-making.

Now to the main-plotline that started very light-hearted and made me almost think it was an anime to watch for  a change of pace, it was very surprising how fast things changed especially towards the middle of the anime. 

It’s a common story that there is a main-character wanting to achieve a dream bigger than his/her own capacities and slowly developing to come much closer to that dream, yet Akko remained almost unchanged compared from the beginning and towards the end of the anime. 

She had acquired some skills here and there, but the actual dream she tried to achieve, even that didn’t last until the very end and became almost an obstacle for her own growth. 

She started off with coming to Luna Nova despite being someone who lacks magical skills and powers, striving to become like her role-model Chariot which she has to tell everyone passing by making sure nobody forgets why she is trying so hard. Not only that but the first encounters she makes are not the best ones almost forcing Lotte and Sucy to go along with her behaviour and also leaving a bad aftertaste for Diana and her friends due to her selfish behaviour that surfaces more than once in a while. 

In the beginning that what was perceived by others as a coping mechanism towards Akko’s behaviour soon turned into fascination how idiotic yet simple and beautiful her aspirations were, not seeing magic as a mere tool for a job or obligation, but for a way more humane purpose to make people smile, enjoy and forget their worries.

That could have been the point where a lot turned around, Akko being perceived as a simpleton while she has much bigger dreams that she can bear to a hard-working and never giving-in heroic kind of witch, yet never losing that idiotic side of her of Sucy mentions over the course of the anime. As well as the image of being a troublesome child who gets teased by her peers vanishes towards the middle of the anime as she stops being seen as an eyesore by especially many teachers and students unlike in the beginning.

Up to the middle it was much more about Akko and her surrounding characters, focussing the emotional world and stories around her and her group, from time to time supporting characters as well. But the plot heavily shifts when Professor Croix enters the stage and brings in the new Era of magic. 

From that point on not only do we get to see a new antagonist with a complex yet twisted personality somehow connected to Chariot, but also Ursula aka Chariot herself is seen in many flashbacks and scenarios. On top of that, Diana who was always shown in a rather arrogant and role-model-student light got her prime time as well, revealing the heavy burden and responsibility that was foreshadowed in some episodes before.

Not only do we see many new aspects of the sad backstories of some characters (like Andrew’s and Diana’s burden, as well as Croix’s jealousy of Chariot), but the story turns darker and darker when even on the political side things were going wrong, including Croix’s cubes that are fueled by negative emotions to replicate a shiny rod for her own plans. 

Croix is not the only person who is seen in a bad light but also Ursula aka Chariot revealing that she stole people’s magic during her shows that Akko admired so much was a real plot-twist opening an interesting turn in Akko’s path, the irony of her dream to become Chariot while Chariot herself stole that dream of hers.

The best and probably most interesting part is that all the relationships Akko had built-up until this point started to show their true petals as nobody wants to leave Akko behind nor see her in a devastated state, especially Diana who is her archrival from the beginning like Croix used to be with Chariot, the development of their relation was really interesting as they not turned out like Croix and Chariot did, supporting each other while being rivals at the same time.

The message behind the cubes suddenly going haywire to to Croix’s miscalculation as she said that negative emotions are much stronger than she expected makes one thing about the real-life issue of feelings not being measurable, and especially strong feelings can affect a person heavily despite someone else’s opinion on them objectively. Leading to sending a missile and almost starting a war between two countries since the emotions took an uncontrollable form.

Before the anime ends the main-leads and Akko’s group take action, making the end exciting and probably the most adventurous course of events, seeing the words that Akko held onto the very end “ a believing heart is your magic”, which some could perceive as a bit of a cliché ending, but even in real-life the more support we acquire from people the stronger is our resolve and result towards our dreams. 

With that not only did people start to approve of the old-fashioned witches but also Akko’s ideals were finally approved and supported. 

Akko as well developed greatly not ability-wise like seen when she was barely able to hover on her broom a bit towards the end, but as a person when she realized that she never can be Chariot but that she doesn’t want to be like Chariot anymore rather she sees herself as her own person, with her own abilities and dreams. “I am myself!”, the most wonderful coming-of-age development one can dream of finding oneself and approaching the people surrounding you.

Despite many arcs closing and even Croix leaving to research for an antidote against a curse that Chariot was affected by, the end was rather open and even showed room for a lot more to come since it seemed much more like a starting line.

Characters and Voices

I personally hoped for a sequel of the TV series, but due to the death of the screenwriter a continuation is not in sight, at least not soon which is understandable and sad.

In the world of Little witch academia, despite the distinctive art style there are still various different character designs and patterns. A refreshing turn of many colours and styles, boys and girls alike. As well as seen by the names that those many students come from various different backgrounds. 

Eyes and hairstyle vary for each character almost making no character resemble one another a bit. Every single character has their own cute side story, quirk and strength which makes the school setting not work towards magic ability only, but for example having Contanze who is specialized in tinkering along with magic powers shows her true abilities throughout the whole anime rather than depicting her as a nerdy mechanic.  

Amanda as the tomboy, Diana the top-student, Lotte as the bookworm, Sucy being the crazy and distant kind of character and so on.

Even the voices were chosen perfectly, as Akko has in the japanese version the same voice actor as Gon from Hunter x Hunter, making one think how perfectly chosen the voice was depicting her rather adventurous personality and not giving in. 

Another interesting fact is that in the english version the voice actor of Andrew and Akko’s voice actress are a real-life couple which makes the whole thing even cuter when they interact in the anime.

Relations

Another surprisingly amazing  aspect in little witch academia were the character relations.

First we have the trio Akko, Sucy and Lotte who are already together since Episode one afterwards sharing a room in the dorms. While in other animes the main-characters easily find new friends from the get-go in this case Lotte and Sucy are not really befriending Akko until many Episodes later as seen in their behaviour towards Akko and rather being forced to join her actions than willingly interact with her. 

They seem to not care much about Akko’s aspiration at the beginning and just go along with what she has in plans, Sucy only to overcome her boredom and Lotte getting dragged along. Soon you can see that Lotte and Sucy are the ones deliberately going after Akko and looking out for each other in the process, as in one episode it’s seen where Sucy falls into a deep sleep both Akko and Lotte immediately take action to save her, even Sucy who usually doesn’t want to get involved in Akko’s actions is seen to even propose ideas for Akko’s path and starts to change her selfish use for Akko’s foolishness to a considerate hidden affection wanting to help her friend as much as she can. 

Just like Lotte who doesn’t like trouble but at the end willingly goes all ways to join Akko and Sucy.

Same goes for most other students like Constanze, Amanda, Barbara and Hannah who at the beginning teased, ignored or even bullied Akko for her character’s nature and lacking magic abilities. 

Later on especially Constanze, Amanda and Jasminka become a close part of Akko’s regular squad who are already used to her demeanor and even approve of it, Amanda for example tells Akko that it’s never boring around her and that she won’t leave Luna Nova for that fact. Babara and Hannah who are a part of Diana’s close circle are rather mean from the beginning, but even they grow soft and grateful after Akko gets Diana back to Luna Nova earning their trust and support as they grow into one large group including Diana.

There are some implied love interests as one of them clearly is Frank developing affection towards Lotte after the Cupid Bee Episode, making him realize despite Lotte’s looks he was much more interested in her mellow and kind personality which he thinks is very rare to find, even asking her out for a date which Lotte rejects wanting to start as friends first.

Another one being Andrew and Akko who share a much deeper relation than simple love interests. 

Andrew meets Akko when he visits Luna Nova for the first time when he steps away from the main events happening to observe Akko who caught his interest, bringing him in a dangerous situation which he doesn’t seem to mind in the end leaving a big impression on him. 

The Cupid Bee incident is another important event not due to the impression aspect since Andrew already developed curiosity for Akko before but for the exchange of words when Akko encourages him to follow his own dreams and ambitions not sticking to any path that someone else had formed for him. 

Despite Andrew telling her she won’t understand her words still stick to his mind and heart deeply, showing him often recalling them and even defending her in later episodes and other events even though his image of witches is not completely positive yet. 

He always tags along when Akko is running off to some place or seems to have something on her mind that she wants to do, even when he asks her it’s seen that his curiosity and surprise due to her actions lead him to want to know more than to simply scold her. 

Towards the end they even naturally meet and interact with each other, much closer and Andrew is shown to hold Akko’s hat dearly, not being ashamed to speak his mind about supporting witches publicly, yet his teasing for Akko seems to never cease.

An interesting rival-friend relation between Akko and Diana is not left out either. Diana was introduced as the obvious top-student kind of character who seems to be loved by everyone and is the natural opposite of Akko’s fierce and troublemaker kind of personality. 

While Diana herself stated that she couldn’t stand Akko’s behaviour in the beginning it is seen that both characters see each other as an opponent that they have to keep an eye on. 

Diana mentioned that Akko has the traits she lacked, one being her recklessness which makes her not hesitate in crucial situations, also her stubbornness and persistence in things that make her meddle into affairs even though she is not power-wise capable of, yet caused many times a positive outcome like the Pappiliodya Episode saving the rare creatures. 

Akko as well refuses that Diana leaves Luna Nova since she sees that Diana doesn’t want to leave but forces her own burden on herself, leaving friends behind and the academy she loves. 

Despite rivalry Akko still goes all the way to Diana’s mansion and tries to get her back along with Andrew, but in the end she is the only one who could make Diana realize the path that she could take, even revealing that Diana had a period of time where she couldn’t use magic just like Akko. 

An important connection since Diana is the one who gets Akko back later on when she finds out Chariot was the one who stole her magic, Diana and the others go look for her and she is the one who ultimately finds Akko. It is then revealed that Diana is just like Akko, a big fan of Chariot who gave her hope and a big dream to use her magic for good things despite her sad family situation, yet just like Akko she lost her powers after watching a show of Chariot.

She is the only one who could encourage Akko since they both share the same faith of their lost powers and undeniable admiration for Chariot who made both grasp their dreams to become witches. 

Since Diana was able to regain her powers which Akko is impressed by she is the only one who could tell her despite her losing her powers once Chariot was the one giving her enough hope to push forward and despite her admiration she had to lay that dream away and almost forget about it if it wasn’t for Akko who came and reminded her again.

The importance and parallel of their relation is that they have chosen a healthy rival-but-still-friends relationship unlike Croix and Chariot being the example of things going wrong and that could have been avoided.

Croix and Chariot were close friends attending Luna Nova as well and despite Chariot’s clumsy and shaky start at the beginning Croix was the one who always helped and encouraged her, just like Diana did for Akko in the end. 

The main problem in their relationship started when Chariot was the one the shiny rod chose to find the seven words and relive the magic of reconstruction, leaving Croix with a bitter envy and inferior feelings.

The difference is that Diana didn’t care that Akko was chosen but still strived for her own means to help magic sustain in the world not being the slightest bit concerned why it should have been Akko because she saw the potential Akko beared, in the end she even helped Akko using the shiny rod to acquire some words especially the last one were both of them used the shiny arc together. 

On the other hand Croix tried to humiliate and use Chariot, even tricking her into stealing other people’s magic powers with her shows, showing that Croix could step over other people’s feelings and dreams easily to reach her goals even if it meant sacrificing Chariot.

In the end Croix couldn’t see Chariot suffer any longer even losing her powers due to the Wagandea curse and is seen to depart Luna Nova to research an antidote, repenting and feeling bad for her actions, especially her wrong view that she had on magic and Chariot giving her credit of magic really should be.

With that last but not least we have Professor Ursula who is in reality Chariot du nord, Akko’s role model who has been by her side since episode one and helping her find the seven words she couldn’t. 

Establishing a mutual trust relationship with Akko and doing the best she can to help her develop and improve her magic, she makes it her task to protect Akko at all costs. Even after finding out that she is Chariot, Akko still sees her as the beloved and important teacher, telling her despite that she doesn’t want to become the next Chariot but focussing on her own person thats he wants to be, she still wants her by her side to teach her, sharing a warm and familiar relation at the end. 

The Chariot who was Akko’s dream yet took her dream and became the teacher who will guide her on her own path from that point on.

Conclusion

Little witch academia is one amazing anime I have ever seen, very unique in plot, characters, animation and the overall depth that was in both setting and atmosphere. A comforting anime that gives you the nostalgic feelings that you crave once in a while and tells a coming-of-age story in a whole new light which reflects some of human’s nature even in the fantasy-magic setting that keeps you a bit away from reality.

If you want to dive into a world of fantasy with a light-hearted vibe yet still interesting and deep story and characters, then surely Little witch academia should be on your watchlist!

Did you already watch it?

What was your favourite part and character in the whole series?

Leave a comment, the more detailed the better!

What was the magic spell for tea again…

-mumbling Makii

2 Comments on “Full Review: Little Witch Academia

    • Thanks a lot ! Sadly due to copyright issues we tend to take artist pictures with their permission instead to ensure everything is okay with that

      Liked by 1 person

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