Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 1

Today we embark on a new notes adventure, checking out the unusually renowned children’s show Ojamajo Doremi! Most of what I know about this one consists of “it has a remarkably high-tier staff,” that staff includes Mamoru Hosoda at some point, and its face game is extremely strong. Children’s anime in general tends to be somewhat better-written than the stuff for teenagers, so I guess we can lump that into the “potential knowledge” pile. Also witches? I believe witches are involved. Either way, I’m down for another exploration of one the shows those sakuga nerds keep going on about. Let’s get right to it!

Episode 1

And we open with… an advertisement for Ojamajo Doremi! Seems like a pretty cool show, I should check it out

Ojamajo Doremi

The faces are already extremely silly!

Ooh, this first background is really nice. I like its storybook hand-drawn quality, and its European-style architecture makes sense for a show about witches

This is also a very engaging OP in general. Very active and creative transitions

The title is initially a series of musical notes. So there’s some sort of music theming going on here?

A song about how having powers would solve your problems, presumably introducing a show about how they don’t

Ojamajo Doremi

Jeez, there are a ton of characters in this OP. I’ve heard one of Doremi’s strengths is how it humanizes a broad cast, so I guess we’ll see how that goes!

Girls activating their transformations through items that look like, well, cheap plastic toys. I haven’t really watched any of the big magical girl series aimed at kids, so I guess maybe I’ll see how they engage with the commercial needs of the products they’re selling

Their costumes are basically just shapeless bags they stick their heads through

This song is very catchy

These backgrounds continue to be very nice. Simplistic but arresting watercolor effect

Ojamajo Doremi

Going heavy on the witch/Halloween theming with this bat weather vain

The classic scenario, a mysterious old shop offering rare curiosities

I personally would not trust a salesperson with a laugh like that

I love this show’s character designs. These faces and string bean limbs are great

The show is effectively compensating for very limited animation with highly expressive single frames

Ojamajo Doremi

These backgrounds continue to be lovely. Everything looks like it’s been animated on heavy, textured paper

Doremi’s got a crush on Igarashi

Uh oh, the girl at the witch’s shop likes Igarashi too. Gotta keep up, Doremi

Jeez, this show is INSANE with its faces. Such expressive stuff

And now this water fountain trick

Ojamajo Doremi

The school itself is very simplified – extremely basic geometry both inside and out

Oh no, cute teacher

Doremi has a megaphone in her throat

“Is it that weird for me to want to use magic?” C’mon Doremi, we all love magic

Huh, very interesting low-angle shot, focusing on the clouds here. They really are setting this up as a whimsical and sometimes ominous fairy tale

Ojamajo Doremi

Apparently witches always wear gloves

Look Doremi, the lady’s a friggin’ witch. Whatcha gonna do about it

Haha, interrupting the ominous witch’s monologue

This is such a lively episode! I love the drum roll and crazy angles for this buildup

The witch turned into a booger!

Oh no, why did the cat turn into a fairy lady. Cats are good

Ojamajo Doremi

This shop has a lovely design

More musical note motifs. We’ve already got the witch/magic theming, wonder where the music will come in

Majo Rika is the witch’s name

Time to teach Doremi to be a witch

Whoa, switching to these very thick and jagged lines for this ominous line of dialogue. This show is demonstrating far more aesthetic versatility than most shows

Ojamajo Doremi

“Taps, items used by witch apprentices.” Okay, we’ve got some of the music theming and the toys to sell

Okay, their devices play notes

“Pretty Witch Doremi!” Rika is not impressed

I like how quickly and buoyantly they’re moving through this setup material

And she’s got a gumball wand

Ojamajo Doremi

Doremi reacting to turning into a witch in a very relatable way – “this is awesome, teach me a friggin’ spell”

Doremi’s voice actress is pretty great. She really leans into Doremi’s sillier moments

Welp, looks like the gumballs are limited “magic spheres”

Ooh, witch exams. That should be fun

Lala is the fairy

Ojamajo Doremi

Doremi just slowly floating backwards and upside down across the scene

Goddamnit Doremi, you’re going to screw up your crush blocking a direct kick

This show’s faces are incredible

“If you heal someone with magic, you will receive the wound!” Magic doesn’t seem particularly useful so far

Alright, so Doremi is a mess, but why was Rika selling children dangerous magical artifacts in the first place

Ojamajo Doremi

Jeez, these kids play some rough soccer

Oh my god, this sequence of her trying to set up Igarashi for the goal is great

The nurse is surprisingly supportive of her students hooking up in the office

Oh dang, Igarashi actually likes the rival. Now that’s an interesting bit of storytelling – these other characters get to have their own totally separate narrative and lives. I guess that’s the first hint of this show’s broader focus

“They should be together.” Dang, Doremi is very mature about this

Ojamajo Doremi

And Done!

That ended up prompting far more words than I’d expected, even if they weren’t exactly the most scintillating criticism, so I’m splitting this one up. I’ve already got two more episodes of notes written, so we’ll be returning to visit Doremi again soon!

This article was made possible by reader support. Thank you all for all that you do.

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