Oh, yeah. I was watching this at one point, huh?
For those who need a little refresher (I did, too), my Early Impressions post will be linked to fill in some context as to what made me put this on-hold for so long in the first place. Well, it’s not entirely the reason, but it casts a shadow much larger than what many would expect.
Its so-called “blandness” is a vast generalization of what the series entails. Its chaotic animation and the subsequent style it presents makes it a bouncy title well worth its fantasy premise. This is not, however, something of a Kill la Kill presentation, where characters are literally breaking the laws of physics and common sense. A “controlled chaos” sort of presentation, carefully picking its moments of whimsical rambunctiousness. More than the common series, it’s underwhelming for a Trigger-animated show. Not that I necessarily hold that against it, but it’s a thought.
In all honesty, the “Disney-esque” quality of the series—that never goes away—is the primary fuel for my empty entertainment gauge. It feels standard, predictable, formulaic, and the characters are primarily one-note personalities that are only acknowledged as role-takers, save a few major characters. How everything splendidly fits into every detail, every affordable moment… when the moments only ebb sporadically as the writer remembers a character hasn’t been given an episode arc. Sucy’s a pretty cool character, huh? One episode of development. How about Lotte? One episode of development. How about Andrew, the formal son of the pride-obsessed Colin Firth look-a-like? About two episodes of development. He gets little squirts here and there throughout later episodes that accumulate into about two full episodes. Those with more than a glance of development are Diana, Akko, and Chariot; Akko’s the main character.
There was one time where I watched a video of Trey Parker and Matt Stone (creators of South Park) explaining the specifics of good storytelling. They mocked the idea of linearity in a story—this happens, then this happens, then this happens, and so on. What they felt was more important in an immersive story was how the behavior of one character affects another, and the situation of the narrative as a whole, while another character goes through various circumstances of their own in the same timeframe (essentially how most South Park episodes are structured). Little Witch Academia, as I’m sure many could assume upon me telling this small aside, falls into the former category of their argument of “This happens, then this happens, then this happens…” In this case, it makes the continual production of Akko’s time as a witch and the misadventures along the way feel too isolated from one another, and wholly too inconsequential as her character barely develops along the way. Not until the last three of four episodes did I feel at all caring towards the ever-passionate characters involved, and even that is vanquished by the final episode’s horribly uncreative example of THE POWER OF EMOTIONS!!!
One could make the guess that at this point in the post, I’m leaning towards a negative score for the series’s overall quality. That is incorrect. Despite how ordinary I find the process, it is a process filled with spirit and strangely humorous tidbits. Chum Lee is in this anime. What the fuck is Chum Lee doing in this anime? Why are there so many random references in this anime? What kind of drugs is the production staff on to think up some of the things that take place in this series? I make it sound insane, don’t I? Unfortunately, most of these are very small in weight, and do little towards the serious aspects of its story or characters. They are, in some respect, little bones placed within the meat of the steak.
At the same time, its technical qualities are fairly good, whether it be animation, vocal performances, or the validity of the events that transpire. True, some leniency is involved with fantasy, but nothing within the series felt too much like the carpet effectively being yanked out from one’s skinny jeans. Only extravagantly ordinary in its execution of high-octane emotional fervor. Giving this series a negative score would require me to almost hate this series, which I don’t by any means. Doing so would imply that this series has any drastic flaws—ones aside from personal preference and occasionally formulaic clauses.
What can one expect going into Little Witch Academia? The unexpected, when it comes to humor and the manner in which a situation is “resolved” for the structure of a specific episode. Otherwise, a toned-down animation explosion by means of Trigger Studios, with a heavier focus on fulfilling the basic evoking of human passion and dream-chasing. This kind of thing seems up my alley, and yet the series is one I can’t help but find myself disappointed with. When all’s over with, it does little to distinguish itself from others, who similarly provide the same mission of bombarding one with gleeful enthusiasm, though admittedly with half the charm. Trigger can produce some wacky stories, but it may be a while before it can make anything as incoherently amazing as Kill la Kill again.
The rating for this title and all others can be found on MyAnimeList.