Little Witch Academia anime movie review

Another short anime movie from the Young Animator Training Program I mentioned in my last post. For various reasons I’m too lazy to analyze (the Western-cartoonish designs, the Harry Potter-inspired plot, the Disney-like plot), Little Witch Academia was a smash hit with Western fans while making only minor waves at best in Japan. Western anime fans liked it so much that they contributed a boatload of cash towards the making of a sequel, due out whenever it’s ready, though it seems to be coming along quite well. Still, just because it’s popular doesn’t mean I’ll like it. But to get the question out of the way early, yeah it wasn’t half bad.

Honestly, as a non-Potter non-Disney fan I don’t entirely see what all the fuss was about, but it’s a nice little (predictable) but fun show. The stubborn, lazy “I want to be a witch because witches are cool, but I don’t actually want to work at it” main character Akko takes a bit of getting used to, but the rest of the cast is reasonably down-to-earth and everyone can see her for the idiot that she is, so that helps. Besides, the cast spends half the movie running from a hungry dragon. It’s easy to overlook the small stuff when you have bigger fish to fry – or be fried by, as the case may be.

LittlewitchacademiacoverHowever I did have a little problem with the moral of the show, which seems to be that if you keep your head in the clouds and keep idolizing your heroes instead of actually working hard, fate will someday favor you with just the tools you need to shoot to success ahead of your more disciplined peers. It’s the kind of message self-improvement seminars are made of. Oh sure, they dress it up all nicely as “Believe in magic/yourself/whatever”, but in practice Akko whined and slept in class and acted recklessly half the time and basically just got lucky to stumble on a magic staff which worked through her ‘power of belief’ to destroy the dragon. How convenient, but hardly the kind of thing a young witch can bank on, is it?

But, as I said, it wasn’t bad at all. Short, cute, brightly-drawn, action-packed, happy ending, we’re all friends tra-la-la. I don’t think I’d watch it again, but I will watch Little Witch Academia 2 when it comes out to see how Akko grows and develops, if at all. And if the sequel does really well and they make a TV series? Yeah, I’d watch that too. But I’m not holding my breath.

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