Original blog post here.
It’s not even the best story out there about kids at a magic school.
Little Witch Academia is everything Harry Potter is, only better when measured by any possible metric.
Basically, Little Witch Academia is Harry Potter, but good.
And that’s all the time I’m going to devote on dunking on Harry Potter.
Now, as a (Greatest Living) author, I’m aware that there are only so many ways to tell a story, but I feel like the whole “Chosen One” thing is overplayed, worn out and never used particularly interestingly, especially in kids’ stories.
And, yeah, Little Witch Academia does revolve around Akko, the main character, being the only one who can wield the legendary magic wand and restore the world’s fading magic. But that’s not because she’s some pre-destined hero. It’s because she’s the one character who most truly and sincerely believes in the wonder and splendour and value and the, uh … magic of magic.
She’s not going to save the world because destiny said so. She’s going to save the world because she cares about the world and she has the determination and perseverance to put in the work to be able to do it.
And “work hard for the sake of the things you believe in” is a more interesting, more meaningful, and more valuable thematic statement than “something, something Destiny”.
Reading that back, I think I’m making Little Witch Academia out to be a lot more serious and dour than I should be. Fundamentally, it’s very lighthearted, and you probably could categorise it as a comedy — though it does have its share of meaningful, insightful, and emotional scenes and plot points.
Even more than the whole “bring back the magic” thing, Little Witch Academia the story of Akko’s relationships with her multi-national gang of friends and rivals (who are basically also her friends; Akko’s non-confrontational like that), and the teachers who become her mentors.
Ultimately, the major crisis in Little Witch Academia does involve the fate of the whole world, or at least the whole magical world. Overall, though, most of the individual episodes are fairly personal and low-stakes. More than anything else, it’s the story of everyday life at a magic school, just delivered in a silly, very-rarely-servious, very anime-y way.
Plus, one of the Professors at the magic school is a fish wearing a wizard hat.
Copyright 2021 J.B. Norman
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