Are you familiar with FLCL, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and Kill la Kill? What do they have in common? Right smooth and powerful animation. Studio Trigger had been known to deliver these jaw-dropping animations, but this time, let's give credit to the man responsible for creating these works of art: You Yoshinari. He is the key animator that put all those animations into life.
You Yoshinari is a celebrity in the world of animators, all because of his incredibly vivid and dynamic animation. He debuted as an animation director with his original work, Little Witch Academia, in Anime Mirai 2013. Two years later, Studio Trigger took in the project with Director Yoshinari and released a movie, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade. Another two years and this story has been adapted into a TV animated series. From being a young animator's project, into a movie, now a TV series, the premise that this anime showed the world is great.
The story revolves around Atsuko Kagari (Akko), a normal girl who enrolled in Luna Nova Magical Academy to be like her idol, Shiny-Chariot. However, after spending her first day in the school of her dreams, she finds it to be quite different from what she imagined. From boring lectures to strict teachers, and students who mock her idol, Chariot, Akko’s fantasies about magic and witches slowly fall apart. Being the only “normal” person among an environment filled with natural-born witches with pure bloodline and long history, she struggles with her studies to become a witch and be acknowledged by everyone. Despite being at the bottom of her class and her many shortcomings, she remains positively motivated to surpass her own limits so that someday she could face her idol proudly. Along with her friends, Sucy and Lotte, she spends her days in Luna Nova having fun learning while running into a number of troublesome scenarios. Akko and friends do not only give their teachers a headache but will also make your sides numb in laughter as they perform one mischief after the other.
The first half of the series mainly introduces the audience to the characters and the world they live in. The important points and key characters were set up as it builds up the plot in the background. Becuase it has a large cast, these episodes proved to be important in fleshing out the characters making them feel unique and real. On the other hand, the second half of the series jumped right into revealing Akko’s mission, why Shiny Rod chose her, and the impending crisis that the witches of modern society are facing. From here on, the series becomes more focused on resolving the problem.
Little Witch Academia’s theme focuses on the importance of hard work, not just for those who are lacking in talent but also for those who are brimming with them. This part is teased during the Samhain Magic Festival, where Diana wins the award due to some technicalities and both faculty and students acknowledged it simply because she is for the “Cavendish’ bloodline.” Meanwhile, Diana herself knows that Akko’s group performed great, achieving something that no one else had achieved before. Their hard work is set aside because of the existing prejudices. Diana, being a talented witch, with expectations that do not allow her to be anything less than “excellent” while at the same time dismisses how much hard work she put into her performance because she is supposed to be good at these things. Akko, on the other hand, no matter how much good intention she puts into her magic and no matter how much she works hard to achieve it, everything she does is merely dismissed because it does not fit within the criteria of excellence in the teacher’s books.
This concept of hard work and talent is something that Director Yoh Yoshinari understands well, as he also went through, treading the path of where he is now. Being the younger of the two brothers, Yoh was taken into the anime fandom by his brother Kou. Kou became very drawn into animation, that when he started doing animation on his own, he made his younger brother help him. It was during this time that Yoh discovered his talent in animation. When the brothers grew older, Kou (who does not want to let his little brother’s talent go to waste) convinced Yoh to take an animation course with him. At the time they started classes, with their experience, the brothers are already ahead compared to the rest of the students. As they stepped into the anime industry, Yoh’s talent gleamed brighter. It did not take long for his name to be widely known among the animator’s world. He is known to be a very talented young animator, getting his break as a director in Anime Mirai 2013 with “Little Witch Academia.” This project being his very own series shows how one does not succeed on talent alone, hard work that nurtures their skills, Yoh, Akko, and Diana would not be able to achieve their dreams.
Overall, it is a series with smooth flowing animation, characters with unique designs and personality in a modern magical world. I love how the magic feels so magical like it always delivers that sense of surprise, amazement, and bliss. In many magic battle shows, magic explodes violently, but in Yoshinari's case, he makes it explode in a very creative way. Watch and be surprised as it warms up your heart. Little Witch Academia is a very enjoyable series, it does not make you laugh at every turn but it touches your soul that you can not help but simply smile at them.