Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 4

Hey everybody! I’d say it’s right about time for a bit more Ojamajo Doremi. The world is a scary place, and sometimes it’s hard to bear with all of it at once, so it’s nice to take a breather with a show with such an upbeat tone and such positive intentions. I remember how when I was an emo teen, I’d scoff at media that embraces positivity as thoroughly as this, since I felt it was “lying” in some unacceptable way. At this point I’ve accepted how crucial it is to bring our own positivity to the world, and great children’s shows are one wonderful way to do that. So let’s dig right in and see what’s going on in Doremi’s world of kinda crappy witches.

Episode 4

Ojamajo Doremi

Man, Doremi’s posture and body language are so good. They draw so much relatable action out of these almost stick figure designs. What a lovable dork she is

Still not sure anyone involved in this show has seen a frog before

“It’s Not Scary If We’re All Witches.” Huh, that was quick! I figured Doremi would have to spend a significant amount of time as the only witch, but apparently the three of them are all getting witchified immediately

Laughing a lot at Doremi’s friends peering in through the window, and also at the fact that Doremi somehow thought bringing them to the witch’s shop would be a good idea

Ojamajo Doremi

I again have to wonder what the actual purpose of a witch’s shop selling nefarious trinkets is, if witches are supposed to either help people or not get discovered. This seems to run somewhat contrary to those goals

So, so many great faces

And the witch and familiar are discovered. Ojamajo Doremi, a fifty-something episode series, still has more narrative momentum than many twelve episode series

Doremi gets off on a technicality, because she’s an apprentice and not a licensed witch. Way to abuse the system, Doremi

Ojamajo Doremi

This show’s expression work puts other shows to shame. If you’re not going for some form of realism, there really isn’t much reason to avoid this kind of charming, creative goofiness

Of course, the moment I write that, I think of how very bad the Hellsing author is at doing silly faces and comedic interludes, and okay, maybe you actually have to be good at comedy and expression work to try and pull off constant faces like this show

The backgrounds of this cabin are so good. And there’s a diversity of angles here that helps this place feel both solid and cozy – it’s not that much taller than the girls, and the angles of the ceiling actually bend within the shots

In a post-Madoka world, it’s funny and endearing to see these girls rightfully acknowledge that magic is awesome within minutes of learning it exists

Ojamajo Doremi

“We’re all gonna be witch apprentices friends!” I feel so genuinely happy for these kids. This show is so good

Ahaha, Doremi just losing her shit over being called a sempai. Doremi is an incredibly relatable protagonist

Once again, Majo Rika’s big outbursts are conveyed in a much more thick-lined style

Oh no Hadzuki’s witch suit is stuck

It’s actually pretty impressive how effectively this show conveys its’ cast expressive personalities through expressions from basically any angle. There are lots of interesting angled cuts here, but the character designs work well for that

Ojamajo Doremi

This is a pretty generous episode as far as bank footage goes. Three transformation scenes, three wand activations

Ai’s spell starts with a nice shot of her face reflected in one of the magical balls

I like the little gag of Majo Rika having to push her little wand-drawer to safety every time they try to cast a spell. Very understated physical comedy

…followed by the extremely LOUD physical comedy of Doremi and friends getting chased around the shop by a suit of armor

Ojamajo Doremi

Ooh, forbidden magic. Exciting

“If you cast such magic, bad things will happen to you, so don’t do it.” Seems simple enough

No necromancy, no healing. The first one’s kind of irrelevant, but I’m guessing the second will come up pretty often – as Doremi notes, the first episode already demonstrated that particular limit of magic

Hadzuki is pumped to hear there are witch exams, as she should be

Doremi’s friends have already joined her in her jonesing-for-magic-sphere ways

Ojamajo Doremi

“I can give you money to buy them.” It’s very like Hadzuki in a couple of ways for her to be the first one to mention paying for the magic spheres. She’s the most traditionally polite member of the group, and also the one for whom money isn’t really a meaningful concern

It’s also very like Doremi to proudly declare that Hadzuki is the top student in their class

I like the tiny detail of even Doremi’s wand going limp when she gets called out

The incorrigible Doremi is pretty much immediately peer pressured by her friends into being excited about working at the shop

Ojamajo Doremi

Aw dang, is it time for a shop makeover?!?

God this show’s backgrounds are lovely. The show displays the mushy colors and fuzzy lines of early digipaint, and it’d probably be impossible to upscale and get a high quality release, but the fundamental art design is wonderful

The girls take advantage of Majo Rika’s absence to remodel the shop

Ojamajo Doremi

Oh my god, Ai threatened her broom into flying straight. Ai has very quickly picked up on the looseness of magic in this world

Clearly more magical girl shows need remodeling montages

Doremi teaching Majo Rika the importance of selling matching accessories

“This is our shop!” If there’s a lesson in this episode, it’s the pride of hard work leading to a sense of ownership, and how satisfying it is to work on big projects with your friends

Ojamajo Doremi

And Done!

That was a fun one! Much lighter on the moral lessons than the first three, but that’s because it had a whole lot to do – instead of introducing a new character and giving them a narrative, we tied all three of our leads together. I’d expected Doremi to go it alone for a while, but in retrospect, the dynamic works much better with all three of them present. I like Doremi’s particular brand of useless dork, but her friends are both great in their own ways, and their communal friendship parses as very genuine. I hope their first day at the store goes well!

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