Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 8

Let’s get back to Ojamajo Doremi! When we left off, Doremi had just flunked her level 9 witch exam, though there were admittedly some extenuating circumstances – not only did Doremi need to help Pop all day, but the test questions were up to interpretation. Still, Doremi probably would have found a way to screw it up anyways, so I guess it’s all the same in the end.

I assume we’ll be learning more about fairies this time, since both of Doremi’s friends now have their own familiars. Outside of that, we’ll have to wait and see. Let’s get right to it!

Episode 8

Yep, looks like Doremi’s failure will be the focus here. Our cold open sees her being mocked by an array of witch shadows

This show’s lively sense of architecture is wonderful. I like how these houses lean in over Doremi’s head, amplifying the sense of looming danger while also somewhat anthropomorphizing them, as if they’re doubling over with laughter

“Go to the Witch World!!” Nice. We might actually get the exploration of witch society that I’d hoped for last time

Doremi’s faces are as strong as ever

Oh no, the magical debt collector has arrived. This magic sucks

Oh my god, everyone is dunking on Doremi. Sorry you’re such a bad witch, Doremi

“What if I say I know a way for that apprentice to catch up with the others?” I mean really, it’s not actually Doremi’s fault. The exam question sucked. Doremi actually did get unlucky this time

That actually seems to be a bit of a theme – Doremi’s human actions are generally reasonable, magic is the thing that screws stuff up

More energetic linework for their reactions here

There’s a makeup exam!

“Practice? Without any magic spheres?” Doremi has really learned how to work Majo Rika

Welp, guess I take it back. Doremi actually does suck at magic. Sorry Doremi, that’s how it goes

Doremi is just burning through those spheres

Kind of a superfluous episode so far, frankly. We’re almost at the halfway point and it’s basically just been “Doremi gets another try at the exam,” along with some simple jokes. GET US TO THAT WITCH WORLD

Ai and Hadzuki let their fairies stick around to replace them while they go watch the exam, because there have definitely never been any problems caused by using magic to create a body double

These noodly limbs are still pretty good at conveying the idea of tiptoeing

“Your best? What’s your best?” Majo Rika is savage

For the first time I realize that even Doremi’s fairy in the ad break is a screwup

“How about finding the herbs to cure her cold as the exam?” Some actually brilliant work by Majo Rika. Doremi can’t cast spells worth a damn, but anyone can pull up weeds. Of course, I’m sure magical herbs are a little less convenient than that

Go to the Witch Meadow and get some fucking Sneeze Grass, Doremi

Doremi instantly defeated by her inability to maintain focus for five goddamn minutes

Apparently magic spheres are actually just the currency around here… along with whatever currency that other witch wanted in payment for magic spheres. Look, the worldbuilding is a little loose, we’re just gonna roll with it. The currency of the magical world is not the point of Ojamajo Doremi

Looks like Doremi’s already famous for sucking so much

Doremi manages to parlay her infamy into free ramen, which is honestly better than most of us get

“Why am I here again?” Goddamnit you three

The witch world overall is also kinda underwhelming. The strange, almost Dali-esque warped terrain of the early areas has given way to pretty mundane towns, and there aren’t really any visual ideas beyond the floating musical instruments. I actually kinda prefer the charming specificity of the real-world backgrounds – the mix of visual variables here doesn’t really culminate in any clear emotional effect

Alright, here we go. A forest of brooms set on a spiraling edge of the town’s terrain. This is the sort of thing I was hoping for

“The Witch’s Meadow is very far from here. You have to get through this forest first.” And now we’re slipping into the language of a magical quest. Things are pulling together – this episode’s been pretty unfocused, but “traversing specific obstacles in the magical world” gives us a sense of drama, and the fact that they’re already in the exam offers a sense of urgency

“You have to answer my question to get through here.” Yep, now we’ve jumped onto a classic genre template

I weirdly appreciate Hadzuki admitting she’s not good at riddles. They require a very specific form of imagination and inference, so it’s nice of the show to give this piece of lateral intelligence to Doremi. There are all sorts of different ways of being clever or smart

“Your math may be bad, but you’re good at this sort of thing.” Yep

Another core theme of the show – you may think you need magic to solve your problems, but the fact is we’re all just good at different things, and it’s important to be able to accept that

And of course, the fact that Doremi is consistently punished for her laziness means the show is also insistent you have to work hard to succeed. It’s a positive but accommodating overall message

The scenery is really nice now. Some lovely Seussian landscapes

Apparently the Witch’s Meadow was actually in Motamota’s backyard. Well, at least it was a learning experience

Really cute shot of Doremi almost crying over getting a fairy

All’s well that ends in more dunking on Doremi

And Done!

Welp, that was a fine episode. Definitely not a highlight, but I guess I shouldn’t really have expected it to be – Doremi’s strength isn’t in its magical worldbuilding, it’s in the way it ties its magic into compelling little character dramas. With this episode focused on such an emotionally flat task as “Doremi has to pass the witch exam,” it was natural for the episode to feel a little underwhelming. The last act was pretty solid, though – we didn’t get all that much exploration of the magical wilderness, but there were still some evocative backgrounds, and plenty of fine faces. Doremi knows what it’s about!

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