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Majo no Tabitabi: The Journey of Elaina
Wandering Witch follows in the vain of titles like Kino no Tabi - the Beautiful World (TV) and Mushishi in featuring episodic stories involving a wandering traveler's travels to different lands with some sort of moral being expressed or strange encounters. In this case, the gifted witch Elaina chooses to explore the world. But whereas the two mentioned titles are highly effective with their storytelling to explore the journeys of their central characters, Wandering Witch starts off okay yet does squander a bit toward later episodes with its dabbling into bizarre situations on Elaina's journey and one later episode that felt rather over-the-top in its violence in a half-assed attempt at shock value. Early episodes have some decent storytelling and one episode has a solid story that explores the pasts of the witch masters of Elaina and Saya during the middle of the show's run. But this series didn't make as strong an impression on me as Kino's Journey and Mushishi did. The final episode of Wandering Witch teased of events yet to come. But I don't think I'll be returning to this series again anytime soon, if ever, due to how underwhelming its storytelling got in its second half.
Last updated Friday, December 18 2020. Created Friday, December 18 2020.
Majo no Tabitabi: The Journey of Elaina
(11 episodes watched):|
What stood out about episode one of this anime to me was that there seemed to be a moral to this story, rather than it just being made of the sort of stuff that might happen while playing a video game. "Don't simply endure" Elaina is taught by her mentor Fran, the 'Stardust Witch'. Sometimes you have to stand up for yourself. This may not seem all that radical to an American, but how often do we get such a message in anime? 'The nail that stands up gets hammered down' is a traditional Japanese saying. The reason why a vicious fight breaks out between Fran and Elaina was surprising but made sense. This feels like a work of literature rather than just a mass-produced magical action tale. So, this series seemed to have a third dimension whereas most have only two. That caught my attention and I'm curious where this story will go from here.
Episode two was OK but not up to the standard set by number one, IMO. The 'surprise' we get at the climax didn't seem to have all that much of a message to it; did the wannabe apprentice girl learn something worthwhile? I didn't. I definitely hope this show will have more episode one-type episodes than episode two-types. Episode three was... odd. It consisted of two separate stories. What they had in common was that they both had unhappy endings; in each Elaina discovers a problem, but seems to take an attitude that they are none of her business and leaves them unresolved. You would think (and expect) that with her formidable magical powers, she would fix these things, but she doesn't. I wonder what message (if any) there was to these. Episode four was better, with a mystery that has a curious explanation. But Elaina still acts as little more than an observer; her attitude reminded me of the Non-Interference Directive from Star Trek. That's not necessarily bad, but I have yet to be convinced that it is good. In episode five Elaina encounters her old teacher, Fran, in Fran's homeland. Seeing how magical education is conducted in this place was sort of fun. In general this series is seeming like lots of loosely connected (or not connected at all) events which have one thing in common: magic is involved. And again, Elaina herself is often just an observer. Episode six sort of felt like a parable as Elaina visits a land where a magical spell forces everyone to be honest, and we see that there are benefits from lying. The lesson could have been more convincing and clear, but it was OK. Part one of episode seven, about a town where a wall has been built to separate the two jealous halves of the community, was rather boring. Again, I didn't see much of a lesson to it and switched to another anime rather than watch the rest of the episode. On the other hand, episode eight, about Elaina's experience in a strange town where dollmaking is the main industry, was amusing. The quality of episodes in this series seems to vary somewhat. Episode nine opens with a warning of disturbing violence, and indeed it gets pretty grisly at a point. The difference from preceding episodes was so great that it made me wonder if there was more than one author writing the scripts. Episode ten was sort of confusing as Fran and another witch recount how they once took on a criminal group called 'the Curio Company'. Were they using Elaina as a substitute for their former mentor as they told the story, or did that person just have white hair as well? At any rate, the climax was lacking something and didn't surprise or thrill me. And then the Company is back in episode 11--this angle may have been good enough (by the standards of this show) for one episode, but it didn't deserve two. After watching I asked myself, what was the best episode of Maho, and after racking my memory concluded that it must have been the first one. Episode one seemed to promise a really good series, but the succeeding episodes failed to deliver.
Last updated Thursday, December 31 2020. Created Saturday, October 17 2020.
|Official Japanese Series Web Site||https://majotabi.jp/|