[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]HAPPY NEW YEAR! We’re picking up right where we left off with a review of the second season in the Doremi franchise, Ojamajo Doremi #! Spoilers for the first season below!
No longer Witch Apprentices or Witches, Doremi, Aiko, Hazuki and Onpu now enjoy a peaceful life as normal elementary students. As they wistfully enter the former MAHO-Dou they find themselves suddenly in the Witch World and soon enough in the Witch Queens personal rose garden from which a baby is born. This baby is particularly special as while all Witches are born from roses only once every century or so is a baby born from the blue rose in the Queens Garden. Thus this baby is next in line for the throne of the Witch World and will need to be raised very carefully. So, in her infinite wisdom, the Queen tasks Doremi and her friends with the responsibility of caring for this baby witch for a single year. If they can do so successfully and pass all of the health exams held for all magical infants every month, the girls will be restored to full fledged Witches. To lighten their load, the Queen makes all four of them as well as Doremi’s sister Pop Apprentices once more and gives the MAHO-Dou a makeover as a gardening shop. Will Hana-chan (the baby) be too much for the five young apprentices to handle?
If there was anything I regret saying in my previous review of the shows first season it was that it looks like every other magical girl series which it doesn’t. Ojamajo Doremi is particularly notable in that all of it’s characters are varied in their character design so much so that you can literally pick the background characters out of a crowd. You’d think that getting a second season would mean more money though that doesn’t seem to be the case. No, Toei Animation seems to be getting away with the bare minimum to keep the show presentation worthy and as this is a multi-seasoned show, this begins working as a detriment early on rather than later. Character’s hands seem more often than not represented as spheres attached to their arms and while this was a cartoonishly cute shortcut in the original series now it looks like a stylistic choice and a lazy one at that. Toei, at this point it’s starting to look lazy and trust me, people aren’t idiots, they can tell. Another thing that baffles me is that more often than not we don’t even get to see Hazuki’s eyes. Her glasses just fog up inexplicably as opposed to when she’s trying to be scary or smart. Other than that though…everything is the same, which isn’t so much a detriment as it is a disappointment. The most fluid and “nice” scenes to watch are the opening, ending, transformations and Magical Stage which occurs when the girls pool their collective Magic together to cast a more powerful spell. But other than that the show just looks…alright, which it really shouldn’t. It should look better. The music is roughly on par with the previous season. I like the new opening “Ojamajo Wa Koko Ni Iru” and I not only hate the very very mellow ending, I despise the charming lullaby that’s played over and over and over and over and over again throughout the series. The voice acting is, once again, on par with the original series so no complaints there.
So I feel that so far, in terms of emotion, Sharp greatly surpasses the first season. There is SOOOOOOOOOO much more heart in this season than the last one and maybe it’s because of Hana the baby. I find it odd that these four 4th grade girls and a kindergardener are expected to properly rear a baby in between their school and personal lives. And what’s more is that Hana isn’t just some garden variety baby. She’s a Witch, and a very powerful one at that even at such an early age as her constant (mis)use of Magic is one of the biggest obstacles the girls have to face, especially since right out of the gate they decide not to use their own Magic to help take care of her in basic ways. And I’m not the only one raising my eyebrow at this as in universe the other Witches are doing the exact same thing. But we’ll come back to logic later…hopefully. Like I was talking about earlier, there’s a lot more emotion in this season and again, a lot of it is because Hana is there. Taking care of a baby isn’t just a 9-5 going-through-the-motions job it’s a physical, emotional and financial commitment. Early in the series, Doremi almost kills Hana due to leaving her out in the open for too long and it’s handled very well. The girls don’t treat the task of raising this baby as some inconvenience or a means to an end to becoming Witches again, they treat it like a legitimate responsibility. Later in the season we’re introduced more to the idea of Wizards (an idea that was touched upon in the first season) and there’s a group of them that want to kidnap Hana so they can use her vast magical abilities to revive their dead land. The girls don’t know about the why but when Hana is kidnapped (repeatedly) they take responsibility and try to find and retrieve her, which they always do. That as well as the health examinations and their final scenes with Hana cement how very dear they are to each other.
But the rest of the cast is no slouch in pulling the emotional weight either. There’s a great Mother’s Day episode that really made me tear up and all the girls get really sweet episodes revolving around their parental relationships, though I think that Aiko’s is handled the most superbly tackling issues of then current sexism and miscarriages with finesse I didn’t expect this show to be capable of. Everyone gets a little slice of character depth and development which for a kids show like this isn’t particularly unusual but just rare for me to see since I’m not Japanese and I don’t particularly indulge in kids anime all the time. I like that the show treats it’s cast like people and people are flawed and not every problem can disappear with Magic, sometimes they take hard work and effort. But there’s also a great amount of emotion from the supernatural side of things. This season allows the viewer the pleasure of seeing a lot more of the Witch World or at least the people in it and they’re also treated like people. Majo Heart, the Doctor in charge of the health exams is hard on everyone though is particularly hard on Doremi and the apprentices not just because of their age but because they happen to be Humans but I appreciate that she’s never outright malicious or hateful towards them. She’s strict and stern but reasonable…for the most part. This season also allows us insight on how the Witch World works where babies are born from roses and then assigned mothers for a year. After that they’re just dropped off at the magical kindergarten until they grow up…presumably. We get to see a number of relationships between Witches and their former mothers and its’ all very sweet and touching.
The comedy is also higher this season, with a lot more laugh out loud moments than the first season, at least in this reviewers opinion. Half the fun I had with this was riffing on it with my friend Krystal but the other half I was legitimately laughing with the show when it wanted me to. All in all, I think that this is another charming addition to the Doremi franchise. It had ups and downs but it truly blossomed into a beautiful flower all on its’ own. DaWaRou![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXGORjizD1M”][/vc_column][/vc_row]