Magical Witches Yoyo and Nene : SLA Screening Review

This year saw the return of the Scotland Loves Animation mystery film and brief hints told us that it was a kids’ movie and a European premiere not out in Japan yet. It was revealed to be Magical Witches Yoyo and Nene.

The film is directed by Ufotable which was a bit surprising since their recent TV anime and movies have been made for a mature audience (Fate/Zero, Kara no Kyoukai) and the director Takayuki Hirao also made the very gory Gyo. However, Ufotable have created some very impressive animated projects, therefore this children’s movie should be very interesting.

Yoyo and Nene are witches that run a ‘witches for hire’ business in a magical land; the opening sequences gives us a look at what these sisters are capable of and how this world operates. It’s not long before a tree full of foreign buildings suddenly appears in the forest and Yoyo flies off to investigate this strange event.

While looking around these buildings and at various objects, Yoyo finds everything alien. Upon further investigating the buildings she finds two kids in a elevator and proceeds to open it, only to find that it’s empty. All of the sudden, a magical mark appears that suddenly activates the lift and, when it stops, transports her to Japan where she sees the two children from before. After chasing them back to their house, we find that the children’s parents have been cursed and turned into harmless monsters. So begins Yoyo’s investigation into what happened here and how she can get back home.

If I were to descibe my feelings towards most of the movie, I would have to say that the film is very cheesy, both in predictable way and in a fun way. During the most important moments you can probably guess what will happen and while I have to call this a nitpick, the way these moments are animated and executed make up for its predictability for the most part.

The movie also focuses on mobile gaming and social networking and how that is implemented in the plot. It reminded me a bit of the recent TV series Gatchman Crowds and how social networking is affecting its world. The way it is implemented and revealed here is well done and creative.

One of the most enjoyable things about this movie is its charm and humour: for example, when Yoyo proves to the family that she is a witch by turning one of the boys’ heads into a penguin’s head – one of the many moments where the quickly-executed comedy is done very well. However, doing this hinders the dramatic moments due to its predictability, so for the most part it just falls flat.

The movie also rarely has any character development and when it does, it’s mostly given to characters that have been off-screen for most of the movie. It’s a shame that Yoyo’s sister Nene is sidelined for almost all of the movie and mainly given the job of ‘infomation dumper’.

Ufotable does a very good job in the animation department, especially the magical world’s designs; this might be the only time I’ve seen a flying chair made out of broomsticks. The creature designs look impressive as well.

In Summary

Overall, Magical Witches Yoyo and Nene is a fun, well animated family movie but fails at a few things that keep it from being great.

7 / 10