Ojamajo Doremi – Episode 12

And we’re back with more Ojamajo Doremi! Doremi has always been a charming and well-constructed show, but its last couple episodes have felt like a step up even by its own standards. Having fleshed out its initial platform through the addition of Hadzuki and Ai and completion of the Level 9 tests, the show is confidently employing its wider cast to great effect. Managing an ensemble production is inherently tougher than juggling just a few central characters, but Doremi is consistently demonstrating the many strengths of the approach. Let’s see what adventures our terrible witches get into today!

Episode 12

Looks like we’ve got a new focus character – a boy with an unfortunately shaped head who plays soccer

Or it could be his little brother up in the stands? It’s hard to gauge age differences given this show’s noodle-character design – smaller children just have shorter noodle-limbs, not meaningfully different features

These thick black lines are a reasonable way to convey the motion of the ball without having to do too much animation. The framing of his rush to the goal is also good. The camera sticks close to the ground to avoid countering the sense of motion while “following” him, even though it’s not actually moving into depth. Then a succession of quick shots move around the ball after it’s kicked, this time simulating a spinning camera without the serious animation chops that would generally imply

Welp, that’s all we get to start. Two brothers

And again, the show isn’t shy about attempting visually ambitious shots that brush up against the edge of its visual reach. More shots into depth as we enter the store, using a simple two-plane environment to create the illusion of forward movement

“I hate recessions.” It’s tough out there for all of us, Hadzuki

A pun based on how “recession” sounds in Japanese. That’d be a tricky one to translate, but the subs just kinda run through it

The little brother arrives at the shop

“A Wish for a Precious Shirt”

“Will my wishes really come true?” In today’s episode, Doremi learns how to lie to children. It’s easy!

He literally trades them the shirt off his back, apparently?

Apparently they’re able to trade dirty old clothes for magic spheres. These witches are very accommodating

Wow, Dela sure gets a slow introduction this time. Just one lengthy zoom on the closet as her theme music starts. I guess they were really scraping for this episode

Apparently the witch world has scales that you can just use to measure any object versus its worth in magic spheres. I guess that’s one way to fight inflation

The shirt is worth twenty spheres

“In our world, regular items or money don’t matter. The stronger the owner’s attachment to it, the higher its worth.” In a mechanical sense, this economy doesn’t make any sense at all. It’s a thematic point – an item’s financial value can be far less important than how much it means to us, meaning we should cherish the things we love and not covet things just because they’re expensive

And so the shirt must be deeply cherished by its owner. Our leads have to think it over, but unanimously agree not to sell it. They are good kids

Dodo finds a clue

Looks like this shirt was a hand-me-down from his brother

“Where’s that shirt you always wear.” “Somewhere. More importantly, this is for you!” Oh god, we’ve got a Gift of the Magi situation

Pop is having friends over, and Misaki, the young boy, is invited. Once again, we see the world expand beyond Doremi’s immediate sphere. Having the show tether Misaki into their lives from multiple angles is good – it emphasizes the cohesive, connected nature of this world, in much the same way Nichijou liked to do

The loose art design allows for stuff like “Doremi snooping” to be articulated with giant ears

Misaki’s brother is a reserve player. Misaki wishes for him to be able to play

Misaki’s brother is Daichi. Turns out he actually kinda sucks

“Misaki-kun truly believes his brother will be in the game.” Again interested in seeing what direction they take to solve this one without leaning on any easy answers. One theme they really could go for is “sometimes we don’t get the things we want, but we can still take solace in the people we care about,” but I get the feeling they’ll find some way to put Misaki in the game without making his victory seem easy. Ojamajo Doremi and children’s shows in general work under some interesting constraints there – shows for general audiences are actually more able to get away with deus ex machina solutions or fake cliffhangers, because they’re just trying to create dramatic tension. In contrast, Ojamajo Doremi is consistently attempting to illustrate important life lessons, and so its narrative solutions have less leeway to cheat

This episode is far more focused structurally than most of them. We barely see any characters outside of the main three and the two brothers

And Misaki shows up to Daichi’s practice again. Having someone totally believe in you like that can actually just put you under a lot of pressure

Daichi knows he’s not good, and hearing his brother say he’ll play just hurts him

The pendant embodies his feelings. He’s the one who’s trying hard and not succeeding, so how dare his brother say something as careless as “as long as you have that magic pendant, you’ll succeed?” And so he snaps

Man, all of this show’s conflicts are great. Everyone feels totally sympathetic all the time, but they still run into plenty of trouble navigating their feelings. Life is just tough that way. Our feelings often won’t intersect in easy ways

“Get Daichi-kun in the soccer game!” Jeez guys, you gotta be more specific than that. How many kids are gonna have to get injured to make your monkey paw magic happy

I was just kidding about that, but it looks like the magic really does want to get Daichi on the roster by having his teammates be mauled by wild dogs

Really like this shot that pans across Daichi’s new wristband. It looks better like that than as a necklace, anyway

Also appreciate that once again, the good players aren’t just antagonists. Daichi’s teammate immediately recognizes how hard he’s working

And the fact that the magic solution is “give his teammates the opportunity to notice his efforts” once again centers this episode on learning to appreciate the complexity of the people around you. You can’t know how much someone else is working to improve

It seems a little odd to me that fifth grade soccer would have reserves at all. Is it really that competitive at that age?

Oh my god Daichi’s look of joy at getting a chance to play, my heart

Doremi is so shocked her hair bulbs grow stalks

We get a new song for this episode’s big buildup sequence, a martial song accented with a penny whistle to match the sports theme

“I’m the genie of the pendant.” Good save, Doremi

And Done

That was a nice one. Not really a highlight, but the build to that last climax was very strong, and the episode hit on a variety of reasonable themes without feeling didactic. Some of the visual ideas here felt a bit clumsy – the zooming of still objects into the camera was consistently distracting, and transposing a transparent Daichi over the soccer field was a little awkward. Still, the actual story here was very endearing, and the main crew are continuing to settle into their roles as good witches. Even average Doremi is a very nice time.

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