“There is the story about Hayao Miyazaki entering the anime industry because he was moved by Panda and the Magic Serpent.
Then he watched the movie again afterwards and was disappointed by how bad it was. Yet, even if it’s actually not enjoyable at all, it can be irreplaceable for that person. What’s important is the feelings you got from watching it, and the fact that you had admiration for it. That’s the theme we were looking for.”
–Yoh Yoshinari, creator of Little Witch Academia in an interview with AnimeStyle (2013)
I’ve never personally felt betrayed by by a piece of media, but I can identify with the feeling of being inspired by something that just isn’t good.
Most recently, I experience this feeling after returning to Digimon Tri. Disappointed, the latest episodes prompted me and a friend to return to the original series, where we made a shocking discovery as lifetime Digimon fans.
The first two episodes of Digimon . . . just aren’t good.
There is barely any animation, and what little animation these episodes do have — along with still frames themselves — is often recycled within that same episode. No, this isn’t an English dub or fault of U.S. distributor Saban Entertainment, it’s a reflection of how low-budget this series was when it first aired.
This is to say nothing of the story’s merit — and Digimon will always have a special place in my heart as the first online fandom that I really became involved with — but the actual animation is awful. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed how bad it truly was when I first watched it, and I’m not certain that I’ll be able to watch it again.
Little Witch Academia‘s emotional narrative is centered around the strongest iteration of this exact feeling.