[Full Review] Little Witch Academia

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[Full Review] Little Witch Academia




Japanese: Little Witch Academia
English: Little Witch Academia
Studio: Trigger
Online availability: Crunchyroll
Premise: Little Witch Academia is a 26-minute short film produced by Trigger for Anime Mirai 2013. It is about Akko, a student enrolled at a school for witches called Luna Nova whose non-magical background causes her to have trouble with magic. Even so, because of her childhood memories of watching magic idol Shiny Chariot, Akko continues to strive to become a magical sensation herself.
 
 
Story: 8
The story is a little bit predictable, but that doesn't make it any less fun. There are pretty obvious influences from Harry Potter, and that, particularly early years of Harry Potter, is the best comparison I can give for the kind of narrative found in Little Witch Academia. You watch these kids stumble their way through the obstacles they face, and you're rooting for them because they're clearly trying their best and you want them to succeed. Sometimes things can get hairy, but you know that it has to turn out okay because it would just really suck if it didn't. It's simple and straightforward, but you can't help smiling because the simplicity is fun and silly.
 
Character Design: 9
The characters are charming, and they feel fleshed out despite the short timeframe. They have a liveliness which works well with the art and animation style of Trigger.
Character Development: 7
There are some minor bits of character development, but in truth there isn't much. However, not much can be expected given the length and goals of the story. It's not about great growth and discovery within the characters; it's just a small, fun story about witches at a magic school. With that in mind, it feels unfair to judge too harshly on the lack of character growth.
Overall Character Score: 8
 
Art Direction: 9
The world has a nice fantasy feel, and the magic is bright and colorful. It's a treat to see the castle and dungeon-style architecture splashed with bright colors.
Animation: 9
Little Witch Academia was Trigger's first (non-Inferno Cop) production, and it really set the stage for the animation style that they would go on to use in Kill La Kill and to some degree in Inou-Battle. It's bouncy and loose with exaggerated movement, and along with the flashy magic, the animation is eye-catching and imparts a freedom and whimsy to everything going on.
Overall Art Score: 9
 
Music: 10
The music very strongly reminds me of Disney animated movies. It's thrilling and majestic, and it creates the exciting and fun atmosphere. Personally, I thought the music fit perfectly, and it was one of the highest points among the many high points in Little Witch Academia.
Sound Design: 7
The sound design overall is pretty standard, but one thing which is of note and which I enjoyed was that a lot of the scenes were Mickey Moused just like in old-school Disney cartoons. I appreciated that, and it really drove home the Disney influences on the music.
Overall Sound Score: 8.5
 
Personal Enjoyment: 8
As you can see by the brevity in some of the sections, it's hard for me to say much about Little Witch Academy simply because there isn't all that much to talk about. It's nothing super innovative, and in fact, it seems to draw heavily upon elements from classic animation, i.e. Disney and Ghibli, while adding in Trigger's unique style of animation. Above all else, I've tried to emphasize that Little Witch Academia is fun and charming, and captures the magic of animation. Trigger created a whimsical world full of bounce and full of life, and their efforts really show. I think you should go watch it. It's less than half an hour long and it's available for free on Crunchyroll, so you really don't have any good excuses unless you're allergic to happiness. If you're allergic to happiness, I'm sorry. But for everybody else, hopefully Little Witch Academia can make you feel like this.
 
 
Final Score: 8.3

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[Full Review] Little Witch Academia :: Comments

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Post on Fri May 22, 2015 9:22 pm  Ethanmn

Nicely written! I'll definitely try to make time to check this out. My only comment is that I feel like your scores have been influenced heavily by the school system wherein a "very standard, nothing special" section gets a 7/10. To me that's a 5, otherwise what is the rest of the bottom of the scale for right?

Edit: Whoops, just realized you added a LOT more today, including a ratings thing. Well, I guess ignore my previous statement.

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Post on Fri May 22, 2015 10:12 pm  ChaoticGrowth

Yeah, a 7 is good, and something can be good even if it's not particularly special. Basically any score 5 and below would indicate that there was more negative than positive, which as is mentioned in the scoring post, probably won't happen for something I choose to do a full review on. Basically, the baseline neutral for me is a 6, but if I find that I enjoyed something, that's usually enough to bump to a 7. I think in both cases here, there was at least something mentioned which I enjoy, so they were bumped to 7, though admittedly, character development might be a kind of weak 7 for Little Witch Academia, but that was because I was trying to judge it in light of the fact that there isn't really room or intention to have major development within the short film.

I guess if you want to see a bad review, there are things that I could watch. I know of at least a few things which would almost 100% earn at most a 3 in every category, though I might hate you forever for making me watch them. Haha. Something like Abunai Sisters. Ugh, I'm shuddering at the thought.

Also, I've updated the scoring post to mention this, but my 10-point scale is very heavily drawn from the MAL rating system because I want my scores to be consistent across platforms. The only slight difference is that MAL calls 6 "fair" and 5 "average", whereas I've shifted that so that 5 is a little below average and 6 is only a little above.

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Post on Sat May 23, 2015 7:06 pm  Aznmastermind5

10 for music? Sounds like it's worth a watch

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Post on Sat May 23, 2015 9:58 pm  ChaoticGrowth

Yeah dude. For me, a 10 doesn't necessarily mean perfect, but it does mean crazy good. Among other reviews I've seen, there weren't many comments on the music, but I thought it was impeccably scored.

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