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.