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Nishi no Yoki Majo – Astraea Testament

a.k.a. The Good Witch of the West

astraea-2
Genre: Drama/Romance
Company: Hal Film Maker/Project West Witch
Format: 13 episodes
Dates: 4/7/2006 to 6/30/2006

Filiel was in seventh heaven after receiving a necklace that belonged to her deceased mother as a present from Astronomer Dee for her 15th birthday. Unfortunately, she didn’t know that before long she would be escaping from her house and looking for answers in places she had never seen before, all while being pursued by strange men whom she knew nothing about. What exactly makes her so special?

summary by Soundchazer

 

Reviewed: 09/08/2006 by
Grade: 56% av-Soundchazer

Highs: Interesting plot elements

Lows: Dull characters; disjointed storyline

I can almost picture it: the creative people in charge of this project met for an entire week to come up with a sensible plan to bring the product to life. Fast forward to Friday, 4:30 p.m. … several ideas were still on the board, and they had yet to make a decision on which one to use. Knowing that production had to start next Monday, frustration started to creep in. All of the sudden, an epiphany occurred: “Screw it… we’ll use all of them!!!” Obviously, I don’t know for a fact that this was indeed what happened, but it’s the image that I get from the final product.

The sad part to this story is that Nishi no Yoki Majo doesn’t start like this. The first couple of episodes have a lot of intrigue; an interesting and sinister world were the story takes place with potentially good characters. Unfortunately, it becomes painfully obvious early in the series that both plot and characters are ill-conceived. It is not good when you have a story with knights and magic, but also a very shoujo high school mini story reminiscent of Hana Yori Dango or Peach Girl; or having a strong female lead who also is very weak, and a hero who is clumsy but also very skilled. It doesn’t help its cause that the characters turn out to be bland, either, with zero charisma to talk about.

The reality is that plot twists and changes of pace are nothing new in anime, but they have to be thought out carefully. Series like My-Hime and Full Moon wo Sagashite are good examples of what to do when deciding to use plot twists. Nishi no Yoki Majo is a poster child of how to botch a good concept with poor handling. I would only recommend this anime to those who enjoy stories filled with fantasy like Pretear or Princess Tutu, but do not expect it to be at their level; it would require more than magic to make that happen.

 

Nishi no Yoki Majo can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.


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