I think I can say with certainty that a lot of female (and even male) anime fans grew up watching loads of magical girl shows. I, for one, started watching anime because of Akazukin Chacha, which extended to Princess Tutu, Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon, and a whole lot more! So I guess it’s no wonder that, ever since watching the short films, Little Witch Academiahas appealed to me so much!!
Japanese Original Episode Title：新たなるはじまり
Atsuko Kagari, a girl of non-magical descent, watched Shiny Chariot’s show when she was little. Having been inspired by the amazing witch’s fantastic performance, Atsuko or ‘Akko’, she immediately became a fan, and was even inspired to become a witch herself. Thus she enrolled and was accepted into Luna Nova, a prestigious magical school that Shiny Chariot also entered. But just as she was heading to the school’s entrance ceremony, she finds out that being a witch isn’t so easy, especially for a commoner.
While the first short film in 2013 and the sequel in 2015 directly showcased some events in Akko’s school life in Luna Nova, the TV series starts off from how she came to be a student in the school. That’s why this is such a huge treat for the old fans, and can be enjoyed by the new ones! We finally discover how Akko, Lotte, and Sucy became friends, as well as what life, culture, and laws the witches have in the world of Little Witch Academia! It’s just super exciting!
Shiny Chariot’s Show – This laid down the foundation for Akko’s belief in magic and her motivation to become a witch. It also first showed the Shiny Rod, Shiny Chariot’s weapon in the show, and her magic words ‘Noctu Orfei! Aude Fraetor! Shiny Arc!’ (Which old fans will recognize that the words different from the short film’s ‘Makumiru! Mikumiru! Mekutoraru! Shiny Arc!’).
Sucy and Lotte – Usually when a protagonist meets their new best friends, they often hit it off pretty quickly. But to think these three girls didn’t actually get along from the start! I guess it figures since they’re quite different from each other: Akko’s enthusiastically hard-headed, Sucy’s a gloomy trickster, and Lotte’s disciplined and timid. Then again, you can always count on a common problem to unite a group! Plus, they’re all labeled problem children now, because of their little spectacle in the entrance ceremony, and are now roommates! What a great way to become friends! (No, I’m not being sarcastic. It’s really unique and funny!)
The Leylines and Arcturus Forest – The idea on the separation between the magical and the normal worlds is amazing! The Leylines definitely makes sure that no commoner will ever get to the realm of magic since you can only get there through riding a broom! Also, as expected from a different dimension, really weird creatures exist! Whoever thought of a cross between a chicken and a dragon is a genius!
The Shiny Rod – Could it be a really important relic? And just why did the Shiny Rod appear when Akko expressed her determination? Whatever the answers are, our heroine just found herself a neat and unique wand, one that also belonged to her idol! She could also use it well, partly thanks to the blue-haired professor. It’s any fan’s dream!
Themes & Trivia
Adaptation of successful films– The first short film of Little Witch Academia was part of the 2012 Young Animator Training Project. It became such a huge success that they developed a sequel Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade. It was partially funded through Kickstarter, which ended up surpassing its funding goal. So it’s no wonder it also became a success, and that we now have this TV animation!
Magical Girl – There are so many magical girl shows out there, each with their own themes and worlds. I bet there’s at least one in every season. The most common mahou shoujos are ordinary girls that are given magical powers. Others live in actual magical worlds with magical powers. And then we have a few like Akko, who are normal but go to the magical world to find magical powers.
Believe – You won’t be able to use magic if you don’t believe in it after all! So Shiny Chariot’s words ‘A believing heart is your magic’ became extremely important to Akko. They made her super determined to become a witch, believing she’s able to be one. This in turn made the Shiny Rod appear before her! Believing is definitely magic!
Usually, the problem with shows set in fantasy worlds is that they spoon-feed facts about the world they built with boring narration and dialogues. But Little Witch Academia’s first episode made it a point to not do this. Instead, they showed off their world through various events. They also managed to do this without wasting time in getting to the main point of the episode. It’s amazing, as well, how much info they gave us on the characters through only their designs, actions, and statements. Now that’s great storytelling! I have high hopes on how the story will develop from here on out!
Then we have the overall look of the show, which fits the feel of the story so well! It’s so bubbly and light-hearted! The character designs are very stylistic and appealing which matched the fluid and expressive animation, as expected from Studio Trigger! The backgrounds were also marvelously conceptualized and painted; they helped a lot in setting the atmosphere in each scene and setting. Overall, the show is just eye-candy to me! So, as with all the anime I watch, I sincerely hope that this quality will be consistent until the end!
Noctu Orfei! Aude Fraetor! Shiny Arc!
I’m just super filled with happiness to have finally seen the first episode of this long-awaited series! Not only does the story excite the magical girl fan in me, the lovely art and animation also inspired me a whole lot (as I am an artist myself)! I also got to pick up valuable lessons along the way, about the power of determination despite facing impossible things. I wonder what lessons, adventures, and things about Luna Nova we’ll get to discover next?