Kagari Atsuko (also known as “Akko) has dreamed of becoming a witch ever since she was a young girl. Inspired by Chariot, a world-renowned witch who wowed thousands with her breathtaking magic shows, Akko vows to attend Luna Nova and become a full-fledged witch. There’s only one problem: she doesn’t come from a long line of witches. Will Akko be able to overcome this significant disadvantage and achieve her childhood dream?
The first thing you’ll notice, even looking at promotional materials, is that it has some very similar themes with Harry Potter. You have a trio of friends who are identified as trouble makers from the start: Akko, the dreamer, Sucy, the studious but slightly unhinged potions fanatic, and Lotte, a mild-mannered witch just trying to make it through the school year. They’re all attending a school for witchcraft, and there’s a certain negative attitude towards non-magically inclined people or half-bloods. So far there’s no real mention of a lurking darkness or unspeakable evil, but Chariot’s disappearance may very well have to do with whatever evil is ultimately revealed.
Of course, Studio Trigger didn’t just pick up a carbon copy of the Harry Potter world and call it a day. The studio that brought us Kill la Kill steps away from the heavy doses of drama and emotion that saturated Kiznaiver and embraces an adventurous and fun spirit with Little Witch Academia. That’s all there is to it – it’s just damn fun to watch. When you see Akko’s expectations of magic school get squashed as she’s subjected to dry instruction on how to concoct potions and read magic script, you’ll begin to understand what I mean.
While episode 1 introduces our trio of protagonists, episode 2 offers Little Witch Academia’s take on an antagonist with the debut of Diana Cavendish. A young witch from a well-regarded family, Diana overhears Akko praising Chariot. Dismissing her as a superficial showwoman and not much else, Diana encourages Akko to dismiss her hero-worship of the missing witch.
Akko is determined to showcase the power of Chariot’s inspiration, and having stumbled upon her magic staff, the “Shiny Rod”, she attempts to invoke its power to bring a statue to life, but is unsuccessful.
Trigger could fall into a common trap of establishing a shallow rival, but veers away from the pitfall by humanizing Diana in the latter half of the episode. Unlike some antagonists, who are vindictive and spiteful (Draco, for example), Diana is able to acknowledge when she’s made a mistake, and is reluctant to accept praise after Akko helps her realize the mistake she made.
Overall, Little Witch Academia is shaping up to be one of the best of the season. With endearing animation, lovable characters and an engaging plot, it promises to bring a good blend of comedy, drama and action.
This is not currently offered on Crunchyroll, though Netflix will be bringing the series in its entirety to its library once the season ends. Keep an eye out for this series, you won’t regret it!