The Halls of “Academia”

November 5th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

The biggest problem with any show that deals in magic is that it is all going to be referred back to ‘Harry Potter’ and how they did it. It can put a damper on things, as you want to let all of these institutions and locales teach magic and all its complexities in their own manner. It’s just that “Little Witch Academia” started out practically like a Harry Potter rip-off.

Akko Kagari (her of the center) enrolls into Luna Nova Magical Academy, a school for young witches. But she has zero magical abilities. She can’t even ride a broom! On her way to school, she has to pass through a portal in a high tower (and not Platform 9¾, OK?), but can’t do it. She is befriended by two others who HAVE the power, Lotte Jansson (on our right), a Finnish witch who specializes in talking to fairies and Sucy Manbavaran (on our left), who hails from the Philippines and deals in poisons.

Well, they get in trouble right off the bat and end up on everyone’s radar as being troublemakers. However, Akko manages to obtain the Shiny Rod, a tool used by her hero, Chariot de Nord, and the reason she got into magic. The series details her adventures and misadventures as she tries to become a real witch, over the objections of practically everyone in the academy.

Yes, we have the Star of the Academy, the very pretty, incredibly smart, and totally obnoxious Diana Cavendish from Britain. I mean, she is the elite of the elite and she feels those like Akko are nothing more than a blob of marmalade on a napkin. Yes, Akko is able to do more, and in serious situations, than Diana does or can achieve. But how well does Diane accept this?

We also a key moment in the series. It is a 25-episode run, so when we get to Show #14, we have the switch-over to the new plot and the new foes and the new situations. It’s that it was rather naked in what it wanted to achieve and where it was going, but it did not detract from a rather compelling five-episode closing arc, where all the questions are answered and everything is revealed.

There is nothing overall wrong with the series, but one got tired of all of Akko’s misfires and Diana’s haughty preening and the exposed machination of Croix Meridies. I mean, even Harry learned how to do something, so he wasn’t that big of a bumble, but Akko takes forever to achieve anything of merit under Diane’s scornful eye. Yes, it is part and parcel that we see Akko flail and fail, but, still, there has to be some headway in all of this. But I still say you see it. Aside from the approach to wizardry presented, it does it in an appealing manner, and the rather cartoony artwork helps, rather than hinders (although Professor Ursula has got hips to spare!)

Now, as it stands, it could be over, but there is enough energy to continue on for another season. Time will tell. Oh my flaming gosharoonie, you have to, you must, you had better, binge, binge, binge. OK, we really see what an enormous clothead Akko is and it’s a wonder she can put on her hat and not suffocate herself in the process and that might get tiresome, but the rest of the cast holds up marvelously and if you are willing to overlook Akko’s liabilities for her enormous zeal and commitment to all of this, you will be rewarded. This will especially help with the concluding arc episodes, where it comes at you fast and furious (Hmmmm. That’s a good name for a movie franchise).

 

On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork           8 (Effective, despite the cartoony approach)
Plot                  7 (Rather typical, even for magic)
Pacing              7 (A lot of ‘nick of time’ rescues)
Effectiveness  8 (Slowly comes around)
Conclusion      5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service     2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability   10 (A perfect candidate for such an action)

Overall            8 (Springs far from common ground)

And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Never forget, a believing heart is your magic.

This Ugly Yet Beautiful “World”

July 9th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

Yeah, OK, sure. We have another, another offering in the “Girls Who Save the World” genre, but this one has more of an edge than I have seen in other shows of this type, especially with the massively capacious title of “Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka?” (also known as “Sukasuka”, and its English title “World End” or “What Do You Do at the End of the World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us?”) (more…)

Saved By “Zero”

June 18th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

Although this is a magic show, it is miles away from what you are used to, even with the mediæval flavor. It is a land where man and beast live. It is a time where common folk are in fear of witches and the Beastfallen. It is a situation where the Beastfallen are in fear of others, despite their size and numbers. This is the world of the “Grimoire of Zero” (“Zero kara Hajimeru Mahō no Sho”, or “Starting the Magical Book from Zero”). (more…)

“Fantasy” Life

April 2nd, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

There is a problem when you try and convert a video game into an anime or a manga, in that the adaptations don’t always work. Yes, in a sense you have the best story board around, but you are spending a lot of your time fighting in the game and that the plotting may come off as a bit thin. Such are my concerns with “Granblue Fantasy: The Animation” in that it feels like a video game…and I wonder why. (more…)

Shining “Star”

February 20th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

I have a problem with long-format shows and that is: when do I give the review? When I reviewed “Toriko”, I ended up giving the reviews after 52 episodes had been dispensed. I was going to do it with this show, but it closed up shop at 50, so no “Year-End Review” approach for this one. But long-format shows have another, more pressing, issue and that is being interesting throughout the run. Some shows can pull it off; others limp to the finish line and a couple I’ve seen just end without concluding and leave you hanging for either a real end or just fade into the distance. And so we are at this particular one, “Sousei no Onmyouji” (“Twin Star Exorcists”) . (more…)

The Grand “Saga”

February 6th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

Considering the sheer amount of manga out there for this franchise, as well as one season of anime and a movie (two movies?), plus that this tale isn’t told out, it was no real surprise that “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” (“Ao no Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen”) came out. It had to be. (more…)

Hot Child in the “City”

January 16th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

Yes, this is a brand of magical girl show, done a lot better than the ‘mow-‘em-all-down’ approach we currently have, but not as mindlessly frothy as previous versions. For this go-around, we have “Urara Meirocho” (“Urara Labyrinth City”). You see, Meirocho is a town filled with fortune tellers known as Uraras, who each specialize in different forms of fortune telling (Ooh! Ooh! Can I do tyromancy?) (more…)

Made Her Look a Little Like a “Military” Man

January 9th, 2020 in Anime, General Reviews by

Wow, I’ll be honest, I did not think I was going to like and/or enjoy this series, and there were some fits and starts to it, but once it got on track, it became rather compelling. We are talking about “Saga of Tanya the Evil”, (known in Japan as “Yōujo Senki”, “The Military Chronicles of a Little Girl”) and it is not as straight-forward as you might think. (more…)

Short Pull Series XXIV – “Quest” for Fire

December 26th, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews, Short Run Series by

I always have a concern when you see a good anime and then someone at Corporate decides that they need to make the most of things, you know, strike while the iron is hot, and so start cranking out questionable product. “Attack on Titan” did it twice. First, for “Monster Theater”, which worked, as it was a bit of comic relief from a show that offered none and with “Attack on Titan: Junior High” which didn’t work, as it seriously undermined all of their efforts. (more…)

Dividing by “Zero”

October 31st, 2019 in Anime, General Reviews by

Now, there are a ton of shows out there about getting hooked into a video game or being transported to a distant land and place, where you have to make the best of a bad situation. And if anyone can tell me why there is always a medievel flavor to it, I’d appreciate it. My suspicion is that it is the use of magic, which seem connected at the hip with the era. Anyway, this is where we find ourselves in the montropaciously titled Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu” (“Re:Zero − Starting Life in Another World”), and, brother, not only is he starting, he’s starting over. (more…)