Anime Spotlight: Tweeny Witches

Tweeny Witches is an anime series produced by Studio 4C and directed by Yoshiharu Ashino. The series ran on Japanese television from April 9, 2004-March 4, 2005. There are also six OVA episodes that were produced, but those episodes have not been licensed for release in North America.

As of this writing, Media Blasters holds the North American distribution rights for the 40 episodes of the Tweeny Witches television anime series.

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. This book is known as the True Book of Spells.

Early on, there’s 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.

The three of them meet Sigma, a guy from the Wizard World; he makes them believe he’s trying to help them, but it turns out he’s really after the True Book of Spells. He takes them to his world, but the girls are discovered and captured by the wizards. The girls manage to escape, but not before Sigma shows Sheila the truth at the Sanctuary. And while Arusu is in the Wizard World, she learns that another human had been there years earlier, and that he says things that are similar to what Arusu says when it comes to magic. Unfortunately for Sigma, he is imprisoned for his failure to obtain the book.

Sheila learns the truth from the Grand Master, shortly before the Grand Master collapses. Other witches begin collapsing as well and an epidemic of witches losing their magic begins. This is all being caused by the destruction of the magic world.

When Sheila tries to send Arusu back to the Human Realm on a transport crossing the Interdimensional Sea, Arusu’s ship is attacked by a pirate named Lennon. Later in the series, it’s revealed that Lennon has a connection to Arusu as well as to the witches’ world.

The series reaches its climax with a group of witches overthrowing Atelia and allying with the Warlocks after Arusu ends up giving them the True Book of Spells. This alliance gives someone that no one in the series expects the ability to use dark magic to try to bring about the destruction of the Magical Realm. It’s up to Arusu to try to save it.

After watching the first 14 episodes of the series that were included on the first DVD set for Tweeny Witches, I thought that it really wasn’t that great of a series. I saw the potential for an interesting story, but I found the execution to be a little lacking in places. I thought it wasn’t a bad series, but it just wasn’t grabbing me when I watched those early episodes.

While I watched the 14 episodes that were included on the second DVD set, I thought that the story was a little more interesting, but the storytelling was starting to get a little choppy at times. Also, the animation in these episodes deteriorates drastically. It starts out by simply seeing the animators using less and less detail on the characters, and then it progresses to various cheating methods; these include having characters speak when their back is turned to the camera and suddenly pausing the action as a character is speaking. All I could figure is that either the production budget had been cut at this point or the animators were in a rush to get episodes produced on time.

The storytelling in the final 12 episodes of the series felt very choppy and rushed, to the point that there are jumps in time where we suddenly see characters in what appears to be the middle of a scene. Because of this storytelling, it could be a little hard to follow what was going on at times. And when the series came to an end, I found it to be an unsatisfying ending. It was like, “I watched the entire series for this?”

Over the course of the series, it seemed like the tone and storytelling direction changed with each set; in fact, it almost felt like I had watched three different series by the time I finished watching all three box sets.

During a couple of interviews that appeared on the third DVD set for Tweeny Witches, it’s basically admitted that the secondary characters had been developed before the three main characters, and that the three main characters weren’t fully developed when the main voice actresses went in to record their lines for the first time. The series definitely felt like the writers were winging it as they went along, and these interviews seem to back this up. I just can’t help but think that Tweeny Witches should be used as an example for how not to create an animated television series.

While I’m glad I can say that I’ve finally seen Tweeny Witches in its entirety in order to be able to judge the series as a whole work, it’s definitely a series I won’t be rushing to watch again.

I really have a hard time recommending Tweeny Witches to anyone. Honestly, if you don’t see it, you’re not really missing much.

One comment

  1. nyankoto · August 24, 2014

    I like witches, so I would’ve been tempted. Glad to know it’s one that’s fine to skip.

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