Ojamajo Doremi – Episodes 2-3

We’re back with more Ojamajo Doremi! The show’s first episode was very charming, and I already know these episodes are good too since I’m writing this intro after the fact, so let’s not waste any time. Doremi may not be a particularly good witch, but she’s going to do her… well, maybe she’ll try somewhat. LET’S FIND OUT!

Episode 2

Goddamnit I just got Doremi’s name. I am not a smart man

Ojamajo Doremi

This writeup is going to be a little weird, since between watching that first episode and now, we just experienced the greatest American political disaster in many, many years. The world is a darker place now, and so I’ll do my best to bring my usual enthusiasm to this lovely show, but it might be a little tough. Who knows, maybe Doremi + Trump’s Apocalypse will actually make for a reasonable reading experience. Let’s get to it

…welp, just spent another forty minutes just staring through my monitor. Cleaned up some trash downstairs. Still feels like I’m living in some weird soundless dream world

Gotta do it, though. We’re in this together, guys. One day follows another

Alright, let’s start

Ojamajo Doremi

Opening with more of the combination fairy tale/musical note theming, with this musical bar border around the first shot

Looks like we’re getting a formal introduction to Doremi’s bookish friend

“I wonder what would happen if I ran away.” Jeez! It’s tough all over

Still really appreciating this show’s small-scale but pretty painted backgrounds

“Becoming a witch apprentice isn’t about the cool outfit!” Rika, I hate to tell you this, but the outfit kinda sucks

Ojamajo Doremi

A lot of this show’s appeal is just “dang, these are some great faces,” which doesn’t really necessitate the most in-depth criticism!

Of course, Doremi herself is also great. The average protagonist of a children show seems to be much, much better than the average protagonist of a show aimed at teenagers. Shows for children offer characters that it’s easy to relate to – shows for teenagers offer characters that it’s “easy” to pretend you are. From an adult perspective, the artifice of an eternally witty or deviant teen protagonist is just tiring and distancing, while an honestly portrayed kid is completely human

Doremi jonesing for that witch sphere fix

Doremi has been enlisted into forced labor. The witching world is tough

Ojamajo Doremi

The style of delivery this vocal director is going for is very different than what I’m used to in anime. They’re not afraid to give Doremi herself a very abrasive tone (similar to Usagi from Sailor Moon, actually), and the deliveries in general feel more choppy and honestly conversational

Apparently Rika will just be traveling in a flying dust pan from here on

A series of witch exams numbered 9 through 1. Our first meaningful narrative hook, at just about the right level of evocative vagueness

Lala is a lot better about managing Doremi

Ojamajo Doremi

Hadzuki is her friend’s name. The title of this one was about becoming Hadzuki, so I assume that’ll be our magical adventure. Between that and the first episode, it seems like this may just be a show about discovering and respecting the personal worlds of others, which would be pretty lovely

“You don’t know what’s happening in my house.” Yep. Why are the children’s shows the ones that actually take on meaningful topics

Well, I know the answer to that – late-night anime is escapism designed for a very specific audience of teenagers and young adults, occasionally sprinkled with compelling sparks of poignancy and vision. Children’s anime is intended for a broad audience, late-night anime is in large part a phase to be moved past

Ojamajo Doremi

I really appreciate how understated and honest this conversation is. They don’t make a big production of Hadzuki running away, and they don’t villainize Doremi in spite of her being quite insensitive

But Doremi still immediately notices Hadzuki acting differently at school

Talking to the nurse. Another good lesson: try to find adults you can confide in to support you

And what’s this, characters immediately working to settle disagreements and reestablish their friendship. What sorcery is this

Ojamajo Doremi

“Only magic can help me.” YOU DON’T SAY

“I’m a witch friend of Doremi’s” god damnit Doremi

It’s good that magic can just do whatever in this universe. This is extremely not a show about magic rules

The still frame of Doremi spinning across the sky is extremely good

“She’s wasting her magic spheres on useless crap again.” I’m sure that’s some translator artistic license, but I still laughed

Ojamajo Doremi

Looks like they’re playing really loose with the existence of witches. Also a good choice – this is not a show about trying to hide her witch nature. It’s a show about people and their problems

The show’s expression work isn’t fluid at all, but you can still easily parse Doremi in Hadzuki’s body

It’s interesting that Hadzuki is just excited about all this, with no real reservations

Not yet sure what to make of these cash register ad breaks

Pop is so great

Ojamajo Doremi

It’s nice seeing Hadzuki get flustered in her own very different way

Goddamnit Hadzuki, Doremi is way worse at being a person than you, you’re screwing this whole thing up

Of course, Doremi is far worse at even this

It’s nice how the problem doesn’t really seem to be anything totally devastating – Hadzuki just has very possessive and low-key controlling parents, a common but very real conflict

Ojamajo Doremi

Hadzuki is apparently supposed to be good at violin. They really didn’t think this one through

Welp, grandma just revealed she actually doesn’t have a bottom half for a moment there

The finale of this episode involves Doremi almost destroying her own house in a broom collision. Doremi is not a good witch

The episode’s conflict ended up being even more mild than I expected, and that’s fine – “other people’s home situations are different” is strong enough on its own

Episode 3

Looks like this theater frame will be how they introduce a given episode’s focus characters. And here we’ve got the third witch from the OP

Ojamajo Doremi

This girl is unsurprisingly the sporty one

Doremi still bemoaning her tragic lost steak. Times are tough all around, Doremi

So the third girl is a transfer

The guy who makes fun of Doremi gets a name: Kotake. Interesting to think that basically no character in this room is a background character. It’s a shame only children’s shows and rare exceptions like Bokurano get to humanize an ensemble like this. It seems like that’d be one of the naturally best directions to take a reasonably long-running series of self-contained episodic adventures

Ojamajo Doremi

Yeah, everyone in this classroom has a totally distinct design. It also makes sense that this episode comes now; we’ve had two episodes to first introduce the premise and then the likely structure, and now the show can build on that platform by introducing a portion of their larger social world

Aiko’s very confident! Totally owning this introduction

The SOS trio. Lots of offhand character introductions – pretty much anyone in this class seems capable of adding to the conversation, meaning this room feels a lot less fabricated than most show classrooms, where only a half dozen or so characters truly exist

Jeez, Ai is really letting these girls have it

Ojamajo Doremi

It’s nice seeing Hadzuki defend Doremi in her very Hadzuki way

Even the teacher claps when Ai catches the chalk thrown at her, lol

“She’s so cheerful, but she says things that can hurt others without a care!” Another classic and very relatable scenario – the kid who’s mean to you somehow getting popular, thus isolating you and your feelings

TAKE HER DOWN, DOREMI

Whoa, unexpectedly ambitious shot backwards out of depth here, as Ai walks towards the screen

Ojamajo Doremi

Doremi’s backgrounds seem very flat and simplistic, so it’s interesting how this sequence is emphasizing their physical nature – Doremi hiding behind objects in the background, sneaking around corners of a continuous painting

Doremi, your magic sucks

Doremi’s flying noises are great

Seems like the focus is once again seeing life in another’s shoes

Oh no Ai’s acting nice and her relationship with her father is charming, this is terrible

Ojamajo Doremi

Parents are key in this show, another separation between this and the escapism designed for teenagers

Funny but actually kinda realistic how one brief afternoon turned around Doremi’s feelings on Ai

This riverside background is lovely

Ai’s parents are divorced and it’s not a big deal. Another nice touch

Ai’s dad can’t come to the parent-teacher day because he has work. Once again, Doremi is presented with a problem that magic can’t actually solve, but might make her better able to understand

Ojamajo Doremi

Nice conversation between Ai’s dad and Doremi. This show is just stuffed with the kind of frank, honest conversations that are unfortunately rare in so many shows

There is no way this magical adventure ends well. Already cringing

Oh my god Doremi made a zombie clone of Ai’s father Doremi this is not helping

Oh no the real Ai-dad is actually going to make it, THEY’LL HAVE TO FIGHT

Really touching scene between Ai and her dad

Ojamajo Doremi

Aha, this last scene is so great. We’re really playing loose with the other characters discovering magic, and that lets the show do a lot of goofy scenes like this

And Done!

As I kinda expected, I didn’t have the most to say about this show craft-wise, but I certainly enjoyed it for its own sake! Ojamajo Doremi is absolutely charming, from its cast and aesthetic to its sensitive episodic stories. It pretty much embodies the honesty and empathy that tends to make children’s shows great, touching on a variety of personal topics with universal resonance. I’m not surprised people like it so much!

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

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