Reviewing an underrated children’s fantasy anime, Tweeny Witches (Mahou Shoujo Tai Arusu)
January 10, 2009
Title: Tweeny Wtiches (aka Mahou Shoujotai Arusu)
Genre: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Children
Company: Studio 4°C
Format: 40 episodes, each 9 minutes long
Dates: 9 April 2004 – 4 March 2005
There aren’t many things more difficult than finding a good children’s fantasy. A good children’s fantasy separates itself from sugar-coated stories of fairies and cuddly bears by first enrapturing those into a powerfully imaginative world, then telling a story with genuine sincerity. Fantasy for children are for kids to kill time. Great fantasy for children charm and enthrall us all. Constructed with vivid imagination and boasting well-defined characters we learn to love, Tweeny Witches takes viewers of all ages into a fun and compelling adventure. I wrote this review for another site ages ago and I hope it sparks some interests (this also happens to be psgel‘s favourite).
Fantastic setting and innovative animation
Like our heroine Alice, we are at first thrust into this magical world of sprites, witches and magic, then captivated by these inexplicably charming landscapes that surrounds us. They are the kind of sceneries our younger selves would wishfully imagine and yearn to be in, from the enchanting forest that seems have spawned from Jurassic Era, to the futuristic metropolis glowing luminously at night. What really binds us to the world of Tweeny Witches though, is the stylish storytelling. Animated by the creative hands of Studio 4°C, there is a strange charm in the simplicity and creativity behind the form, colour and movement of almost every sequence. Sometimes sketchy and sometimes plain abstract, Tweeny Witches exhibits some very interesting screen compositions, cinematography, as well as outstanding soundtracks, conjuring up a diverse and awe-inspiring sense of excitement in following Alice’s journey.
Underneath that boundless creativity lies a cast of quirky characters troubled with issues that we can all identify with. What we have here are characters who are restrained from everything they love, in order to live miserably to the standard set by the society. Alice then enters their lives like a lighthouse beam, guiding a little boat lost in a sea of darkness. Watching her uncompromising character fight relentlessly without ever losing her jolly nature and her friends finding strength to challenge and change themselves, evokes such a fulfilling sense of fun and excitement, we simply can’t help but love Alice and her friends in their plight.
I do have some criticisms regarding its carelessly rapid pacing and the script that pales in comparison to Avatar, which I won’t go into because it’s getting too long. Nevertheless, Tweeny Witches is one of the most creative and enthralling children’s anime you will find. No doubt, some will leave disappointed by how simple and childish the story and characters turn out to be. I ask only to loosen that pessimistic outlooks we developed as adults before hopping onto Alice’s broomstick, and look around with a more whimsical and innocent sight. There is genuine feeling under that childish simplicity. There is unfaltering light beaconing behind that naive smile. And there is magic. Enjoy the adventure and all its wonders.