Posted by AidanAK47 on 4 July 2015 with categories: Anime Reviews, Reviews by AidanAK47

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away from the stigma of being children’s entertainment. However in doing so I believe a fear was born. A fear to return to making “childish” media or to attempt to step down from creating something that could be considered for kids only. It’s a shame really as some of the most fondly remembered games and shows are those “childish” material.  The Crash’s, Spyro’s, Sly Cooper’s, Dexers laboritories, powerpuff girls, Samurai Jack’s and many more do seem absent in current times. When you get down to it, sometimes you don’t want an intellectual thriller, a political commentary, a satire or philosophical exploration. Sometimes you just want something simple and fun. Trigger have provided exactly that with with the second OVA/movie for Little Witch Academia.

For those who don’t already know, this anime is a result of studio trigger putting up a Kickstarter to help extend a planned second episode for their 2013 animated short made for Anime Mirai 2013. They asked for $150,000 and with the help of 7,938 backers they got $625,518 instead, over three times what they asked for. Thanks to that we have an hour long, wonderfully animated episode that never overstays it’s welcome and is just downright enjoyable from beginning to end. The story is fairly simplistic and is predictable from the get go, as well as the characters being straightforward. Through that really just adds to the charm, for you see to those who grew up watching saturday morning cartoons this anime brings back that nostalgic feeling. You can really tell that this was made with a lot of heart and soul with the animation which is more cartoon than anime styled. On that note many of triggers works tend to go in that direction and it is their strongest suit in my opinion. When you think of a trigger work it’s not for it’s story or deep thought provoking characters but instead for it’s seer energy and lively atmosphere. In that regard it’s hard to judge a Trigger work on a critical standpoint when the real value is just in how it makes you feel. When watching this I knew exactly what was going to happen, I knew Akko would have a falling out with her friends and this would end up with them making up at the climax to help defeat the villain. I seen all the chekhov’s guns get fired and there were no twists and ends that surprised me but I just didn’t care. The journey and characters were so entertaining that I honestly didn’t want it to end.

I think that if this anime deserves real merit it would be in how contained the story is. Often in anime I find that Japanese works seem to have trouble with a small time frame, anime movies in particular are guilty of this. It always seems like they can never wrap up the story in the movies time frame, pacing can just become too slow or go too fast and endings don’t feel like an ending. It’s like a large story crushed into a short time frame but with this the story doesn’t waste a single moment. It went on exactly as long as it should and ended where it needed to end thus creating a solid satisfying experience. I understand that this might not be the kind anime for everyone as I am certain people will get turned off by its simple nature but if you find the character interactions as amusing as I do I say this will give you entertainment that is harder to find in the current market. I can safely say that the backers of this project got their moneys worth which is rarer than you think with Kickstarter projects. Studio Trigger, I missed the Kickstarter for this episode but if you are planning a new kickstarter for the third episode then you can count on me being a backer.

3 Responses

  1. Avatar Puran says:

    About childish being bad : I guess Welcome to the Space Show exemplified every bad with childish best.

    And after having said that, I realise I remember absolutely nothing about welcome to the space show… Huh.

    So while I have nothing to back it up, the impression I have of it, is that every element in it was neutered, every plotline, every character, every emotion. It was trying really hard to be “safe”.

    Little witch academia, was simple, straight forward and predictable, but filled with charm and creativity. And the characters and their struggles felt genuine.

  2. Avatar Hogart says:

    It’s become bad to be childish? I’m not sure about that. I’d say it’s just become more obvious when an anime is trying to sincerely entertain us, or trying to sincerely make us buy stuff. Time was, anime could strike a balance with selling us merch and wanting to entertain us, but there are simply too many anime now for us to be kind to the ones that are clearly half-assing things (pretending to be mature when they’re really quite the opposite).

  3. Avatar ;( says:

    I disagree with you on a few of your points in the beginning.
    First of all the thought of entertainment and art in general as “evolving” is I think more of an illusion of fans than the reality.
    While experience of various concepts that have been done teaches us more about what can be done with it, many times other flaws emerge from the changing styles of periods and society outright making flaws themselves by trying to be too marketable or trying too hard or too poorly to revive an old style.
    All this is quite hard to think about in this terms, but for a more straightforward explaination I believe if you check every few years and periods you’ll find that all had not too big a differences with the number of profound works that were released at that time!!
    Therefor as with many things in life these days I believe that in retrospect nothing is getting too much better or too much worse but rather the world\industry\medium and the things we hated or loved about it are constantly changing!!
    And to relate to what you said; a medium isn’t becoming more intellectual it just changes to whatever the creators think is or would seem “intellectual” at that time.

    I also believe that the thought that “other mediums are aimed at kids only” is also an illusion of fans (in fact many fans of a particular medium would usually like to denounce another form of entertainment they couldn’t get into as less fun or intelligent) though I get where you are coming from as certain mediums and at certain societies (particularly TV in America I guess) there were a lot of restrictions that didn’t let them explore various new depths though even in these mediums you can find a lot of gems that were a bit more than “kid-friendly silly fun”!
    Either way, the restrictions weren’t on all mediums and definitely not everywhere around the world!!!
    For video games I could think of games with great depth as old as the snes era!!! (Heard of shin megami tensei? Or live-a-live? Yeah these never left japan but they weren’t really “super Mario” like at all in gameplay or story…)
    Saw Batman the original animated series? Screw Nolan and his boring aesmathic (I definitely spelled that wrong) Batman, this show was crazy!!! It was both dark and amusing and did so much with it’s short 20 mins episodes!!!
    I could go on with the other mediums but you get the ideas, we had deep intellectual mediums for a long time now in the least and they all have better and worse works. The stigmas exist though in some cultures especially America but it’s probably affects the nature of society more than the works.

    I believe that what Hogart said is right rather than the stigmas of being “childish” it all comes down to creators trying to make shows that will be hits even without coming with the best ideas for stories or characters. Some of the popular ways to do that is make you to believe that the work is really deep or really serious and to that end creators sometimes create conflicts that seem too forced or serious or trying too hard to impress you with how smart they are.
    (Hilariously for the exact same marketing reasons these serious works also are fed light-hearted tropes and themes like harem comedy, heroes that can’t graduate from highschool if their lives depended on it, and all the otaku society baits like lolis and tsundere and such which could be really distracting the more attention they get on the behalf of plot progression!! But then again these things do sell so you gotta wonder who’s the fool in all of this.)

    Btw I wrote this just before I’m going to bed so sorry if any of these arguments sound redundant.

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