Review: Little Witch Academia, Episode 1: A New Beginning

littlewitchacademiacoverReview

Studio Trigger is at it again, and this time they bring something family-friendly to the table. Little Witch Academia is an anime original, and had a previous OVA run in 2013, as well as a short movie in 2015. This pilot episode seems to be leading off the foundational world plot and cast previously introduced through these OVAs, but with a bigger budget and more episodic berth than before. This is an impressive first episode, written with hopeful promises of turning into something majestic and wonderful.
Shiny Chariot is a witch whose illusory magic captured the imagination of our protagonist, Akko, at a young age. Smitten with the dream of pursuing witch-hood for herself, Akko grows up with every intention of seeking out Luna Nova Magical Academy and educating herself in order to become a witch like Chariot. Shrugging off the fact she has no magical background or related family history at all, Akko goes forth with enthusiasm in her heart, finds a couple strange new witch friends… and, together, they fumble into some danger on their way to the Academy.
Everything about Little Witch Acadmedia is woven with threads of nostalgia and whimsy. Perhaps it is because, despite its unique appeal, it does echo some of the same energy which audiences might find in Harry Potter, several Disney flicks (especially Fantasia), and a number of Studio Ghibli productions. This is not a point against the episode, but rather the entire appeal. The soundtrack slides from mystical orchestras to subtle, fluttering, woodwind songs. The color palette is soft and warm. The animation is lovingly-crafted and smooth as silk. Every single character is distinguished and adorable. These all point to the anime being a deliberate love letter to the imagination of your childhood, and goes the full-measure to resurrect those old feelings inside of you while you watch. It is a series which, I believe, is aiming to be good for the heart.
I have not watched or read any of Little Witch Academia‘s related material, but that’s something I’m feeling convicted to change. As a long-time fan of both Trigger and anything filled with heart magic, I want to immerse myself more into this world and these characters, and I look forward to what the rest of this season might bring.

little-witch-academiaChristian Perspective

1 Kings 19: 12 – “After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.”
Yes, I am going to isolate a single verse in order to make a point. In a world which is so full of obvious, heavy-handed agendas, even benevolent and righteous ones, sometimes it can be exhausting choosing which people to listen to for truth and wholesome messages. We are in a sort of pop culture inferno of people pushing their stories of success, how to find happiness, and how to worship. Now, these are not intrinsically wrong most of the time, but after a while they turn into noise. We work so hard to fill our lives with overtly Christian material that sometimes we miss how God can use unexpected messengers.
It may be too early to say this, as there’s only one episode to date, but Little Witch Academia has the potential to be one of those messengers. It is not Christian, no, nor is it trying to sell you a squeaky clean, new way of looking at the world. But I do believe God can use people and things in a way to draw ourselves toward his knowledge and understanding, even if indirectly. Because of the kind nature of the series, Little Witch Academdia has made itself a vessel for positive impact on your spirit and body, with every possibility of instilling in the viewer a mentality which will help you slow down and appreciate parts of your lives and experiences which might have been forgotten.

maxresdefaultContent Guide

Spiritual Content: By way of the premise, viewers should expect magical content. However, this in no way resembles dark magic, voodoo, witchcraft or anything of that sort. The magic in Little Witch Academia is more in the wheelhouse of Disney’s Fantasia or Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. A toy is made animate by “puppet magic.” Magical creatures exist in this universe. The titular witches fly around on broomsticks.
Violence: Cartoon violence. Main characters must avoid being attacked by a cockatrice (a mythical giant chicken) and a living plant similar to a venus flytrap. One character is poked in the eye by a toy bird, and another character scares the protagonist into falling over a bridge and about ten feet into water. Another character earns a bruised knee after she falls down a hill.
Language/Crude Humor: Entirely absent.
Sexual Content: Some might say the witch garb shows too much of the girls’ legs, especially considering their age. Aside from this, there is nothing of note.
Drug/Alcohol Use: None
Other Negative Themes: None.
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Cooper D Barham

Aspiring author, marriage and family therapist, and active behavioral health technician, Cooper fills his world with God, music, videogames, anime/manga, drawing, reading, writing, and some physical stuff in between. If you ever want to talk about the big or little things of life, fire him a message. Helping others through tough times is both his passion and way of living. 'Got it memorized?'

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