Review: Little Witch Academia: The Nonsensical Witch and the Country of Fairies

Akko wants to be the best witch there’s ever been, inspired by her childhood hero, Shiny Chariot—only one problem: she’s not actually all that good at magic. Now, she and her classmates are taking a school trip to a particularly magical spot guarded through the ages by the witch Sifla, currently heartbroken after both her pets have run away. The witches won’t be welcomed back if the dog and cat aren’t found, so Akko and her friends—Lotte and Sucy—go to the fairy world to find them!

Little Witch Academia: The Nonsensical Witch and the Country of Fairies is a light novel addition to the popular anime and manga franchise Little Witch Academia from TRIGGER and Yoh Yoshinari. The book was written by Momo Tachibana with illustrations by Eku Uekura. The English release is part of Yen Press’s Junior Yen imprint, focused on manga and light novels for preteens and junior fiction. Translation was provided by Taylor Engel, and was released in July 2019.

For those unfamiliar with the main story of Little Witch Academia, it is a series about 16 year old Akko learning how to become a witch along with her friends and peers at the magic school Luna Nova. After being inspired by a witch named Shiny Chariot a decade before, Akko decides to become the greatest witch in history—even though she has no magical background or family. Its reminiscent of other popular movies about young witches like The Worst Witch, Mary and the Witches Flower or Kiki’s Delivery Service. If you have not yet watched the two anime OVAs and the subsequent anime series this light novel is based on, you will not be given much introduction to the setting. Like most franchise light novels that rely on a parent anime or manga, there is an assumption that readers are already familiar with the characters and story. The anime series is available on Netflix and the recent 3-volume manga has also been released by Yen Press via the Junior Yen imprint, so this book is directly appealing to young fans of either.

Needless to say, the story is simple and straightforward—as appropriate for the audience. Akko and her friends travel to a magical Stonehenge-esque spot where the entrance to the fairy world is located. The hill has been protected for generations by a bloodline of witches named Sifla. The current Sifla is only six years old, and has retreated into her home after both her dog and cat ran away. None of the Luna Nova teachers are able to convince her to come out, and it’s only with the promises of delicious tea and fangirling over romance novels that Akko and her roommates are able to meet her. The three teens decide to help find the two pets (under Akko’s boundless enthusiasm), and their only clue is to search the fairy world.

The three friends circle the stone entrance to the fairy world nine times, before coming across a congregation of talking cats. Their purpose? The coronation of the Cait Sith king, Feoras. As the new head of the group, he’s responsible for confronting the king of the Cu Sith, a rival fairy group. The two have been at odds for centuries, and now Feoras wants to prove himself worthy over leading all of fairy-kind. Akko, Lotte and Sucy accidentally get caught, and the three promise to help the felines in their battle to prevent them from being captured. As they meet the Cu Sith—dog-like fairies—and their king, Alan, it’s then that the three witches realise they weren’t the only ones to sneak into the land of the fairies. Troublemaking trio Amanda, Constanze and Jasminka have all been captured by the canines.

In order to help their classmates and prevent an all-out battle between the two groups, the teens decide to help solve a riddle for the magical creatures, used to decide succession over the land. The task is to revive thirteen trees, each of them having a significant point of power.

The simplicity of this novel makes it easy for young fans of the Little Witch Academia to become invested in more adventures of Akko and her friends at Luna Nova. Each recognisable character gets her own time to shine in the book—including the posh and accomplished Diana. It makes sense for the reading level of the prose why this book is part of the Junior Yen line, as it definitely skews toward a younger audience. There’s no real mystery or excitement here for older readers or more seasoned light novel enthusiasts, but its a fun addition to an already beloved franchise. The writing and translation also does a great job at capturing each of the characters’ voices throughout the books, so it may be worth a look for LWA fans desperate for new content too.

Gee’s Rating: Good for young fans.

You can purchase this book online via sites like Amazon (available in paperback or as an ebook) and Book Depository (which offers free worldwide shipping). These are affiliate links, so a small percentage of sales goes toward this site.

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