In March of 2013, Trigger released Little Witch Academia. A 26 minute OVA made for the 2012 Young Animators Training Project, Anime Mirai. It become a rather notable success in both Japan and in the west, to the point where a kickstarted sequel, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade, was successfully funded a year later. Now it’s the winter season of 2017 and Trigger have brought back the little witches for a TV anime reboot of the franchise with a lot of promise to deliver upon. How does it do? Magically.
In Little Witch Academia we follow Kagari “Akko” Atsuko, a normal human girl who became fascinated with magic after seeing the witch Shiny Chariot perform as a child. Akko was accepted into Lunanova Witchcraft Academy, a school for witches, together with two more girls that make up the main cast. Lotte Yansson, a kind and well-read witch, and Sucy Manbavaran, a Filipino witch who collects dangerous poisons, among other things. The three soon become friends and set off to attend the school year together.
The TV anime starts the same way the original OVA did, setting up the basic backstory for Akko’s love of magic. After that it rolls at its own pace however, as we see Akko struggling with finding her way to Lunanova and running into her future friends along the way. It’s a well paced first episode that manages to both fit in good character introductions for all three girls, especially Akko and Sucy, while also making sure to give a taste of the adventure and action to come.
But the most impressive part of LWA‘s TV anime is how it manages to keep the animation style from the OVA, with every single scene looking alive and vibrant in a way you just don’t get to see with TV anime. If Trigger can keep up this level of quality, or even just stick close to it, I could easily see LWA being the most impressive looking anime of the year. It’s that impressive with its art style blending together so well with the motion that you can’t look away for even a second. I hate the word “cartoony” being used to describe how something look, but the loose unrestricted animation and art style might best be described as such, it’s just a very cartoony-looking series.
Now, I’ve never been a fan of Trigger’s TV anime. I bring this up because I’ve always wanted to like their work, a lot. I’ve been excited numerous times when they announce something that I think sound cool only to be left disappointed where everyone else seemingly see something truly special. As such, it feels good to say that with LWA I feel that not only will I finally enjoy a series made by Trigger, but based on the first episode, I’m set to absolutely adore it. Throughout the entirety of the episode I was smiling and laughing and having the time of my life, it’s just a big trip of joy from start to end. I really like when a studio surprises me like that, so I hope it won’t change throughout the season.
While a lot can change in three months, I’m very much expecting to see Little Witch Academia remain high on my list throughout, though granted that might not be the hardest feat this particular season. It’s a must-watch for certain, so it’s a shame that the localization effort was picked up by Netflix and won’t officially reach the west until after the series is over. A very bad call on their part, if I may say so. Anime simulcasting is a standard for the industry at this point and Netflix dropped the ball.
Little Witch Academia is licensed by Netflix and will be released on their service later this year.
Click here for more Winter Season 2017 impressions!