Bold, energetic, and bright with a sparkle, Little Witch Academia makes a reappearance this season in unapologetically lustrous fashion. Its world of magic is absolutely entrancing, imbuing the environment with adventure, bewilderment, and wonder. For a young wide-eyed Kagari Atsuko, she peers onward at an event that’s much like a magic show. At center stage, the renowned witch Shiny Chariot delivers a heartwarming speech in front of a roaring crowd, making a show of casting spells and blowing up monsters. Kagari marvels at the spectacle before her eyes, completely enchanted by the magical feats of the great witch. Shiny Chariot summons a powerful bow to destroy a magical creature which combusts into a glittering array of stars. As the stars rained down like fireworks, we could see young Kagari’s idolization of Shiny Chariot being cemented.
Fast-foward to the present, Kagari, with the same glint in her eyes, enrolls in Luna Nova’s school of witchcraft, determined as ever to follow the footsteps of Shiny Chariot. Her tenacious, friendly, beaming bundle of joy attitude infects the narrative with her positive energy and direction. She practically talks to everyone on her way to the school’s(unknown to her) broom stop, Leyline. Though, her arrival is met with a few setbacks. On her way to Leyline, she bumps into Sucy, an anemic-looking witch with sharp teeth, snakes that dangle from her robes, and dark magic. These two could not be any more opposite of each other, but it doesn’t stop Kagari from being Kagari. Even in the face of someone as anti-social as Sucy, Kagari insists on getting to know her.
When Kagari arrives at the Leyline stop, she is met with the disapproving glares of would-be witches, where they mock her for not being able to fly a broom. Her resilience shines through, insisting that she can’t let trivial matters such as being the only human enrolling in a school full of witches keep her from her first day of orientation. Much to her surprise, she bumps into Lotte, an adorably dweebish witch with comedically oversized spectacles who clumsily drops all her belongings. Kagari jumps at the opportunity to introduce herself, making it a point to share with Lotte all her cherished treasures such as her shiny Chariot Card. After a brief exchange, Kagari realizes, much to her dismay, that there’s no way for her to make it to class. This causes her to sulk before Lotte’s good nature kicks in. As we see the two fumbling together on the way to school, there’s a glimmer of the hilarity to come: Lotte’s dorkish and clumsy nature proves to be a potent combination with Kagari’s upbeat can-do attitude.
What makes series like this so enjoyable is that the characters are stylish with strong personalities. Every character is extremely likeable. Kagari isn’t afraid to put herself out there to get what she wants, even if she makes a fool of herself. She lives for adventure with a passion and drive that is utterly infectious. In a way, she’s challenging the status quo by being a non-witch who wants to pursue the world of magic. There’s the clumsy Lotte, whose oversized luggage consists of treats from her family, hinting that she may be somewhat of a homebody. And yet, we already see she’s willing to leave her comfort zone by helping others out. This allows Kagari to pull her along to all sorts of antics. And lastly, we can’t forget about Sucy, the witch whose eerie personality screams “leave me alone.” Even with a voice that sounds like scratching on a chalk board, there’s still charm to her character. It helps that she also looks cool. She was willing to work together with the other two to get to school on time. Together, these three stooges essentially guarantee an explosive adventure filled with the trials and tribulations of adolescence, unexpected friendships, and comedy that will leave you in tears.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching every moment of this episode. It was leaps and bounds ahead of anything else available this season. The animation and personalities practically glow with style. Every nuance of the story is utilized to evoke a certain emotion. Even the backgrounds, with the contortions of trees or branches that look like claws, serve to create environments with a sense of purpose. This show’s quirky cast stand out in a season plagued with inconsistent characters and incompetent storytelling. Little Witch Academia is the series this winter needed.