Majo no Tabitabi, or Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina, is a rather interesting work that chose to walk a different path than your typical slice of life, cutesy stuff. While it is not the first of its kind, I’m still giving it credit for adding more substance to an overused formula.
With all that being said, execution matters. While I did my best to enjoy the show as naturally as possible, there are flaws that I can’t overlook and thus dampened my experience for Tabitabi.
Some of the highlights that this anime has to offer is refreshing world-building. Though it can use some more polishing, I can still emerge myself in this fantasy realm of Tabitabi, especially when switching to locations that feature beautiful landscape shots.
The magic mechanism is probably the only thing that bugs me somewhat during the ride. I don’t know if they explain stuff in the light novel but anyway from how I see it, they’re too convenient for some of the dramatic events for me to fully appreciate it.
However, it’s not really a terrible thing since the creator sure knows how to captivate on that to bring forth a worthwhile climax.
Now come to the main complaints. First and foremost, too many incoherencies. The structure of this series is annoying if you ask me.
I’ve heard that it takes non-chronological order but even so, that’s a bad decision because I can’t quite take this show seriously when they head over the depressing and daunting route with some well-done episode.
Simply put, there were only 3 “good” episodes in my book, which quickly got undermined by the random cringe humor and annoying segments. I know some people would beg to differ but that’s just how I see it.
I’m acknowledging that it is trying to balance between light mood and upsetting tone but with this kind of half-baked execution and content, it more or less has no clear direction than being wholesome.
The cast, in general, isn’t too grandiose. The protagonist has raised quite a lot of debates but I’d rather not delve too much into that. I can see where all those take from, and my stance for her is most likely neutral, but only as a character.
Confused? Well, Elaina isn’t really a bad person from an in-verse perspective but to me, as an audience, I can’t say I enjoy her personality or attitude to be more specific, even though it is more or less justified.
The side cast, on the other hand, is one giant mixed bag if I have to be honest. The yuri overtone IMO is the most obnoxious part in this regard.
Not to say I’m entirely against it but I just can’t stand how are they so adamant on this topic without giving a clear direction. Either bring them together for once or just cut it out, no in-between, please.
On another note, though there aren’t many villains, they’re mere decors that are just horrendous to get over with in any way. Nonetheless, some arc characters were neatly handled such as Estelle or Fran. Apart from that, Elai-mom could be further fleshed out but not really a major issue to me.
Technical-wise, Tabitabi is quite modest but still sufficient enough to get the job done. The best part of this aspect is probably the sublime background artwork that befits the atmosphere of a fantasy world.
To top it off, the use of sound is really what kept me in awe when it comes to dramatic moments. From the diversity of elemental sound (episode 4) to the unsettling ring from the Great Tower (episode 9) signifying a turning point of an event, details like that were what helped enhance the ride of Tabitabi to me. The OP and ED are fine at best, but I do like the animated sequences for them.
The directing, however, is a bit inconsistent. Sometimes I feel like they’re trying too hard to emphasize a key event but end up dragging to the point of negating any potentially poignant value it has. It does have some great use though such as a chill talk between the characters, or some grim revelations.
Lastly, I don’t know why but I just can’t seem to find the character design being 100% compatible with the background art because at some point I feel like they’re just out of place or having reduced quality lol, but that’s just me.
Tabitabi has intriguing concepts and a potentially good cast but is not really well presented. Furthermore, though it can contain nice themes, execution is always lacking behind, thus resulting in a rather spoiled feeling and a sense of incompleteness. All said and done, I’d still recommend giving it a watch if you’re looking for a decent fantasy anime for a change of pace, or a bit of chilling.