The first Little Witch Academia film caught me off guard because I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much. When I learned it was created by people who used to work at Gainax, one of my favorite animation studios, I wasn’t actually surprised. I tend to like works from Gainax (at least their older releases). Little Witch Academia – The Enchanted Parade, while not quite as good as the first, was still fun and quirky and enjoyable.
As happened in the original, the three main characters have again gotten in trouble for causing problems in class at the Harry Potter-esque magic academy for girls. Akko, Lotte, and Sucy are assigned to plan and produce the annual witch parade in the local town. Joining them are three new troublemakers: Amanda (a wannabe thief), Constanze (a creator of hybrid tech/magic, usually in the form of robots), and Jasminka (a perpetual snacker and food absconder). Akko is put in charge, and her wild ideas and boundless enthusiasm make Lotte and Sucy get mad at her. This causes a lot of tension within the group, making it difficult for anyone to work with Akko.
The animation in The Enchanted Parade is at least as good as that in the original. Everything flows smoothly, and I still love the style of the art with its watercolor feel in parts. The monster designs were over-the-top inventive. I could really see the Japanese mythological influences in how the monsters acted and came to life. That part alone was truly an enchanted parade.
The music was fun, with a new theme song by Michiru Ōshima, creator of the music from the first release. She has a long resumé of excellent work, including live action films and television (Shomuni is one of my favorites), anime releases (Queen Emeraldas, Fancy Lala Magic User’s Club), and video game soundtracks (especially a crazy little game called Ico). She has been nominated multiple times for the Japan Academy Prize (think: Oscars of Japan) and won multiple other awards.
The plot was not very deep, but The Enchanted Parade itself isn’t meant to be a deep, thoughtful show. That’s not to say there weren’t serious moments where the characters learned important lessons, but the show never grew too philosophical. I liked how it handled the issue of discrimination simply because of what a person is. Both sides of that issue learned some good lessons from the interactions between the characters.
In the end, while not quite as amazing as the original release, Little Witch Academia – The Enchanted Parade was a solid addition to the series. Trigger has hinted that if this one did well, they might bring out a television series or regular feature film. Both this film and the original are available on Netflix (as of right now), so go watch them. You can watch both in the same time as one regular film.
Release Date: July 3, 2015 (Japan)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Original Title: リトルウィッチアカデミア 魔法仕掛けのパレード (Ritoru Uitchi Akademia: Mahō Shikake no Parēdo)
Alcohol/Drugs: 0 (other than Sucy’s bizarre potions)
Violence: 1 (slapstick mostly, tomoato fights, some peril at the climax)