Anime DVD Review: Tweeny Witches Volume One

Tweeny Witches Volume One is a two-disc set that includes the first seven episodes of the Tweeny Witches television anime series. The first disc contains four episodes and the second disc contains three episodes.

Tweeny Witches Volume One
English Publisher: Media Blasters
Format: DVD
Release Date: March 18, 2008

The protagonist of Tweeny Witches is Arusu, a human girl who mysteriously enters the world of the witches. Since she is a fan of witches and magic, she is delighted to be there. She quickly meets two witch apprentices named Eva and Sheila; Eva is a short and sometimes uncertain witch apprentice, while Sheila is a knowledgeable and no-nonsense apprentice who helps teach the other apprentices.

Arusu quickly discovers that the witches are capturing sprites, and she doesn’t like this. Arusu releases the sprites and is marked as a troublemaker. Sheila is put in charge of Arusu, and Sheila and Eva are given the job of trying to reclaim the sprites. It’s quickly revealed that Arusu has the ability to do magic; in fact, a book she had with her in the human world that came with her into the world of witches turns out to be an important book from the witches’ world.

Over the course of the seven episodes in this set, there is a lot of head-butting between Arusu and Sheila. Arusu believes magic should be used to make people happy and doesn’t want to use it to fight others; however, Sheila believes that magic users should fend for themselves and that magic should be used for fighting. Poor Eva ends up being caught in the middle.

My first exposure to Tweeny Witches had come from seeing an episode of the series that was on a sampler disc that was included in the Voltron Volume 5 DVD box set. After watching that episode, my husband and I thought it felt rather choppy and it didn’t do much for us. Recently, my husband saw this DVD set sitting on the shelf at the library, and we decided that we might as well give the series another chance, since this would give us the potential to see more than that one episode. It turns out that the episode on the sampler disc had some edits done on it, because the part in the first episode that explains how Arusu ended up in the world of witches had been cut.

After watching the episodes in this set, I have to say that while it turned out to be better than what we had seen on the sampler disc, it’s still not a great anime series. There’s the potential for an interesting story with this concept, but the execution is a little lacking in some places. It’s not a bad series, but it’s not one that grabbed me when I watched these episodes.

While this series has good character designs, the rest of the animation suffers due to the number of animation shortcuts that were utilized during the episodes in this set. There were times that these shortcuts drew too much attention to themselves and distracted me from the story that was being told.

There’s also some short pieces at the end of each episode that seem like they’re trying to give hints as to what’s in the next episode, but the animation is so different from the rest of the episode that it’s rather jarring. I think they would have been better off either doing an actual preview for the next story, or not including anything at all. These pieces feel awkward, “out there,” and thrown in.

I may end up trying to track down the remaining episodes of Tweeny Witches at some point in order to finish the series, but I’m not in a major hurry to do so at this point in time.

As for the DVD set itself, Media Blasters used one menu design and used it for both discs; the only difference is the disc number changes. Both menus claim to have trailers and bonus features; however, if you choose “Bonus Features” on the first disc, all you get is a splash screen that tells you the bonus features are on the second disc. And if you try to access the trailers on the main menu of the second disc, you get a splash screen telling you the trailers are on the first disc. This really annoyed me, and it felt like Media Blasters really didn’t put in as much effort as they could have for this DVD release.

The first bonus feature on the second disc is an interview with Keita Amemiya, the creator of Tweeny Witches. This nearly 11-minute long interview was decent for what it was, but it wasn’t anything terribly earth-shattering. There are also textless versions of the opening and ending included as bonus features.

In the end, I can only truly recommend this DVD release to viewers who are already familiar with Tweeny Witches and want to add the series to their anime library.

I wrote this review after watching a copy of Tweeny Witches Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Tweeny Witches:

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