Scattered Thoughts – Character similarities in Nichijou and Little Witch Academia

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     Quite an unusual topic, isn’t it? Everything began when a few days ago I was travelling a bus and just randomly thought about the two original Little Witch Academia films (that I will finish writing about sooner rather than later hopefully) and at the same time my thoughts were meandering around a certain 3×3 that I made, which (of course) contained Nichijou. As I’m not the best person to think about two separate things at the same time, everything got a bit mixed up and I ended up with some striking comparisons. It’s probably not a big deal, but I still wanted to share it.

     As far as I know, both of the original creators of their respective shows – Keiichi Arawi of Nichijou manga and Yoh Yoshinari of LWA – have no more or less noticeable ties so unless Yoshinari has come across Nichijou at some point (which in itself would be interesting), there’s some intriguing character archetypes thing going on. I probably needn’t say that the context in which the characters appear is also vastly different – Nichijou primarily concerns various unordinary things happening among very down to earth stuff for the sake of a good laugh, while LWA, which could be far easier compared to a hybrid of Harry Potter and Disney films, just tells a story of an ordinary girl among magical stuff.

Round 1 – Yuuko Aioi and Atsuko Kagari

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     As Akko undoubtedly is the single protagonist in LWA, Yukko shares a lot of screen time with other characters, but she still remains the central piece of the show, through whose eyes we see many of the unordinary situations. Is there some better unifying aspect? Yes, there is. Both of the heroines share the same slightly tomboyish attitude and unending enthusiasm in situations like organizing a festival or trying to make a certain poker-faced friend (and not only her) laugh. Akko as well as Yukko (man, now I notice that even their nicknames sound surprisingly similar) will do anything to achieve what they want, even if neither of them may possess the skills needed for their goals and often end up messing something up – be it broom-riding or remembering your homework. Both of the girls depend very much on their friends and in dire situations expect to be helped as conversely they would undoubtedly help others in need, yet the endless enthusiasm sometimes gets in a way and prevents them from seeing the right choices in their relationships. Yukko differs from Akko by having more thoughtful moments which for example include making some poetry, albeit it might not be in a very self-aware way. Still, Akko has yet a vast story to be told about her, so some more pronounced artistic abilities may yet breech the surface.

Round 2 – Mio Naganohara and Lotte Yanson

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     It wouldn’t be unfair to say that both Mio and Lotte are the most normal ones out of their respective groups. As LWA isn’t that generous in giving enough time to the supporting characters, there isn’t much information about Lotte, but again it’s enough to find some similarities. Both of the girls usually end up helping their energetic friends – Akko and Yukko – while on their own performing quite well on the academic level. Apart from being sincere, Mio with Lotte shares a passion for some art – in Mio’s case that’s drawing some yaoi manga, in Lotte’s – far more sociably acceptable singing. Both girls appear to be optimistic, but sometimes their tender sides show up and make them the most sensitive among their friends. Mio’s own specialty is her crush on Sasahara, but Lotte wasn’t given time for that. Yet I’d bet that if some suitable guy shows up any time soon, she’d be the first to fall for him.

Round 3 – Mai Minakami and Sucy Manbav…Manvab… Manbab…whatever…

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     If I had to describe these two in one word, it would be “brains”. Mai and Sucy share their quietness and huge academic potential, but their friends probably would feel a bit safer if these two wouldn’t be so advanced compared to the base level. Because of that Mai and Sucy never lose a chance to have some fun (as they understand it) at expense of their energetic friends – Mai is a perfect embodiment and definition of the concept of a troll, getting Yukko in all kinds of weird situations, while Sucy does endless magical experiments that usually end up affecting none other than Akko. Nevertheless, both Mai and Sucy, as the rest of their groups, deeply care about their friends and when in great need, throw away their almost jerk-like attitudes and come to help, and not only because without their friends there would be no one to make fun of. Also, Sucy seems very interested in various poisons, as much as Mai likes carving Maitreya statues.

Round 4 – what else? 

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     There the most striking similarities end, and mainly due to LWA being rather short and content with using primarily the three main characters through both of the films while others receive (if they do at all) the spotlight rather rarely. Yet, one particular quirk or another shows up, so some comparisons, even if very approximate, still can be done. Thus Diana from LWA, having a role of an antagonist, may represent Nakamura the science teacher in Nichijou, though the latter is far less arrogant, but as well as Diana actually is a good person in heart. In terms of a more delinquent-like person who likes to keep everything in control, we have Amanda and Sakamoto(-san). Constanze and Hakase, both being not that tall, share a love for various technology related things and construct lots of gadgets (be it a random robot or Nano), Hakase also could represent Jasminka because of their love for some good meal. Nichijou, telling more ordinary stories (well, on the surface level), doesn’t have such an inspirational person as Shiny Chariot in LWA, but Takasaki-sensei partly occupies the niche as someone who was good at something (that being Igo Soccer) earlier but now everybody has forgotten it, though at times he reuses his old knowledge.

As you see, the farther we go, the more obscure the comparisons become. As I said, it’s partly due to the fact that LWA has given very little time to the supporting cast, and, after all, Nichijou and LWA are two completely different shows, so total match between them would be more than ridiculous. Yet, the great similarities at least between the main three girls of the show are more than apparent. To think about a wider perspective, even in such a classic as Azumanga Daioh you could combine the traits of the main characters to get almost the same result as with Nichijou and LWA. Thus Yukari-sensei, Kagura and Tomo take the place of the energetic character, Sakaki and Nyamo combine to make up a rather normal with a secret passion, Chiyo becomes the smart one whose usage of some poker-face comes from Yomi. But it’s not only possible with Azumanga Daioh. Another possible candidate – Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is also not proof to character tropes – Nozaki gets the role of the smart deadpan character, Chiyo is a normal one and Mikoshiba occupies the vacant enthusiastic type.

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     I think it’s just a matter of randomness that I started noticing common things between Nichijou and LWA because character tropes are a very widely spread phenomenon. Still, these two shows appear to have a very deep running character similarity that transcends all the huge differences between the worlds both of the stories take place in. I’d even say that if both shows exchanged their main three girls, their respective stories still might develop fairly fine, almost as if nothing had happened. I guess the conclusion could be that no matter the circumstances, to have a believable and pretty much self-sustained source of character interactions, particularly in the slice of life genre, you only need three main characters – one too enthusiastic, one normal, but not really, and the third – an intelligent person with a knack for making fun of people.

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4 Comments

  1. Haven’t watched any of these series, so I can’t really say much but the anime is notorious for using the same tropes over and over. That’s why there are many series that feel similar to each other. On one hand, this can be comforting especially if you just want to watch something to feel good. Saying “I want to watch something similar to…” is something I always encounter with fellow fans who reach out to me. However, to anime fans who have been watching anime for a long time, this can be frustrating and repetitive. This doesn’t apply to anime either. Novels, soap opera, films—whether they’re Japanese or Western or whatever, each culture has its own tropes. And good thing you mentioned Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. That was hilarious. I love the role reversals in that series. Good post. Keep it up. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Yes, with anime a certain balance is needed – it should be identifiable enough to attract a certain audience but at the same time original enough not to feel the same as other anime in a particular genre.
      Nozaki-kun definitely was a thing. As the time passes by, I find myself returning to it and more and more enjoying its comedy.
      Thanks for dropping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  1. Little Witch Academia (I+ II) – more than Harry Potter: The Anime | Aldael's Attic
  2. Scattered Thoughts – expanded universes of original anime shorts | Aldael's Attic

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