Little Witch Academia takes place at Luna Nova Magical Academy (ルーナノヴァ魔法学校, Rūna Nova Mahō Gakkō), a prestigious school for young girls training to become witches. Having been inspired by a witch named Shiny Chariot, a girl named Atsuko ("Akko") Kagari enrolls at Luna Nova Magical Academy to become a witch, but struggles due to her non-magical background. This all changes when she discovers the Shiny Rod, a powerful magic relic left behind by Chariot.
One of the main themes in the franchise is Akko trying to live up to Shiny Chariot's ideals by showing the world that magic is still a wonderful thing, while Luna Nova struggles for its continual existence because the general public regards wizardry as outdated. In the TV series, this background element is expanded into a plotline in which magic is waning across the world. The secret to restoring the flow of magic lies within the forbidden Arcturus Forest, sealed inside a magical locale named the Grand Triskelion erected by the Nine Olde Witches, the legendary founders of the academy.
The key to undoing the seal lies in a sequence of seven magical words and the Shiny Rod, an artifact which reacts only to the wielder's genuine desire to spread joy and happiness. When Akko gains possession of the Rod, Chariot (secretly one of her Luna Nova teachers and the Rod's previous wielder) tries to guide her on the path to restoring the power of magic to the world. However, Croix, Chariot's former best friend, had also coveted - and was denied - the power sealed within the Triskelion due to her selfish ambitions. As a result, she schemes to unlock the Grand Triskelion using her technomagical abilities, willingly tapping into dark powers in the process.Atsuko "Akko" Kagari (篝 敦子 (アッコ), Kagari Atsuko (Akko))
Voiced by: Megumi Han (Japanese); Erica Mendez (English)
The main protagonist, Akko is an energetic, optimistic but very impulsive Japanese girl who attends Luna Nova after being inspired by the witch Shiny Chariot. Having come from a non-magical background, she struggles using magic much of the time, and is disappointed by the mundanity of her classes as opposed to Chariot's more spectacular performances. However, her unshakable belief in magic and her genuine desire to use it for good enables her to wield the Shiny Rod, which accepts her as its new master, and gradually discover her own magical talent. Because of this quality, Akko is destined to play a key role in unlocking the Grand Triskelion and restoring the force of magic to the world.
Lotte Jansson (ロッテ・ヤンソン, Rotte Yanson)
Voiced by: Fumiko Orikasa (Japanese); Stephanie Sheh (English)
Akko's friend and roommate, a kind and soft-spoken Finnish witch who worries about Akko's well-being. She has orange hair and wears lower-framed glasses. Her magical specialty involves summoning and communicating with fairies and spirits residing in old, well-used items.
Sucy Manbavaran (スーシィ・マンババラン, Sūshi Manbabaran)
Voiced by: Michiyo Murase (Japanese); Rachelle Heger (English)
Akko's other friend and roommate, a cynical, mischievous witch from the Philippines who specializes in brewing potions with various bizarre effects. Her hair covers one of her eyes. She often uses Akko as a test subject, or to help her in gathering the poisonous or hazardous ingredients (mushrooms in particular) she needs.
Ursula (アーシュラ先生, Āshura-sensei) / Chariot du Nord (シャリオ・デュノール, Shario dyu Nōru)
Voiced by: Noriko Hidaka (Japanese); Alexis Nichols (English)
Ursula Callistis (アーシュラ・カリスティス, Āshura Karisutisu)
is an astrology teacher at Luna Nova whose real identity is Chariot du Nord, a famous witch and alumni of Luna Nova who performed under the name Shiny Chariot (シャイニィシャリオ, Shainī Shario)
and inspired Akko to become a witch. Her chosen mission was to use her magic skills to bring joy to people's hearts. She mysteriously disappeared from the public eye ten years ago after her former friend Croix tricked her into employing a sinister type of magic, which stripped Akko of her latent magical powers as a child. Now living and teaching incognito at Luna Nova, she takes Akko as a personal student after she notices her strong desire to become a witch, which enables her to use the Shiny Rod and unseal the lost seven words to the Grand Triskelion, in order to make up for her guilt.
Diana Cavendish (ダイアナ・キャベンディッシュ, Daiana Kyabendisshu)
Voiced by: Yōko Hikasa (Japanese); Laura Post (English)
The top student of Luna Nova who is greatly admired by her classmates and teachers alike. She has light green and blond hair. Hailing from Great Britain as daughter of a noble family of witches, she has a serious and arrogant nature and oftentimes clashes with Akko, whom she holds in disdain for her impulsive nature and admiration of Shiny Chariot. Despite this, Diana is secretly a childhood fan of Chariot herself, and gradually develops a grudging respect for Akko. In the TV series, she is additionally revealed to be a descendant of one of the Nine Olde Witches.
Hannah England (ハンナ・イングランド, Hanna Ingurando) and Barbara Parker (バーバラ・パーカー, Bābara Pākā)
Voiced by: Eri Nakao (Hannah) and Chinatsu Akasaki (Barbara) (Japanese); Jennifer Alyx (Hannah) and Alexis Nichols (English)
Diana's two followers and friends that are always seen together. They both idolize Diana and praise her in synchronicity as well as bully Akko for her lack of magic ability and not coming from witch heritage.
Amanda O'Neill (アマンダ・オニール, Amanda Onīru)
Voiced by: Arisa Shida (Japanese); Marianne Miller (English)
A delinquent Luna Nova witch student from the United States who has a penchant for stealing priceless artifacts and magical objects that catch her fancy. She excels at dancing and performing aerobatic stunts on her broomstick.
Constanze Amalie von Braunschbank Albrechtsberger (コンスタンツェ・アマーリエ・フォン・ブラウンシュバンク＝アルブレヒツベルガー, Konsutantse Amārie fon Buraunshubanku-Aruburehitsuberugā)
Voiced by: Rie Murakawa (Japanese); Jennifer Alyx (English)
A silent, grumpy-looking German Luna Nova witch student who combines magic with machinery such as robots and laser guns, which are typically forbidden on the school premises. In the TV series, she has even set up a secret workshop in a disused part of the academy, which can only be entered by means of her own bed.
Jasminka Antonenko (ヤスミンカ・アントネンコ, Yasuminka Antonenko)
Voiced by: Reina Ueda (Japanese); Stephanie Sheh (English)
A friendly and laid-back Luna Nova witch student from Russia who has a passion for food and is always seen snacking on something, even during classes. She specializes in culinary magic.
Croix Meridies (クロワ・メリディエス, Kurowa Meridiesu)
Voiced by: Junko Takeuchi (Japanese); Caitlyn Elizabeth (English)
The main antagonist of the television series. A new teacher at Luna Nova Magical Academy who specializes in technomagic. She was once close friends with Chariot and previously helped her in searching for the Grand Triskelion's words, but grew spiteful towards her over not being chosen to wield the Shiny Rod.
Andrew Hanbridge (アンドリュー・ハンブリッジ, Andoryū Hanburijji)
Voiced by: Ryōsuke Kanemoto (Japanese); Lucien Dodge (English)
A regular human who appears in the television series. He is the son of Earl Paul Hanbridge and is childhood friends with Diana. Having grown up in a rich family, Andrew has an old-fashioned prejudice against witches, which gradually starts to change after he meets Akko.
A one-shot manga based on the anime, drawn by Terio Teri, was published in Shueisha's Ultra Jump magazine on August 19, 2013. Another manga by Teri, featuring an original story, was serialized in Ultra Jump between August 19, 2015 and November 20, 2015 and was compiled in a single tankōbon volume released on January 19, 2016. Another series illustrated by Yuka Fujiwara, Little Witch Academia: Tsukiyo no Ōkan (リトルウィッチアカデミア 月夜の王冠, lit. "Little Witch Academia: The Midnight Crown"), began serialization in Shueisha's Ribon magazine from September 3, 2015.
Little Witch Academia was produced by Trigger as part of the Young Animator Training Project's Anime Mirai 2013 project, which funds young animators, alongside other short films by Madhouse, Zexcs and Gonzo. The short was created and directed by Yoh Yoshinari and written by Masahiko Otsuka with music by Michiru Ōshima. The short, along with the other Anime Mirai shorts, opened in 14 Japanese theatres on March 2, 2013. Trigger later released the short on Niconico and with English subtitles on YouTube and Crunchyroll on April 19, 2013. The YouTube version received over 850,000 views up until it was taken down in August 2013 to promote the Blu-ray release. The short was later released on region-free Blu-ray Disc on October 24, 2013.
On July 5, 2013, Trigger announced at Anime Expo that a second short film, titled Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade, would be developed in response to the reception the first short received. The project began production in 2014 following the airing of Kill la Kill. Whilst initially having the funds for a twenty-minute episode, Trigger launched a Kickstarter campaign to extend its runtime to fifty minutes. The Kickstarter was launched on July 9, 2013 and met its $150,000 USD goal within five hours, finishing with a total of $625,518. The short premiered at Anime Expo 2015 and was made available for Kickstarter backers on July 3, 2015 and was subsequently released in Japanese theaters on October 9, 2015. Both films were later released on Netflix with an English-language dub on December 15, 2015.
An anime television series of Little Witch Academia was announced on June 24, 2016 following the final episode of Space Patrol Luluco. The series aired in Japan between January 9, 2017 and June 26, 2017. For the first cour, the opening theme is "Shiny Ray" by YURiKA while the ending theme is "Hoshi o Tadoreba" (星を辿れば, If You Follow the Stars) by Yuiko Ōhara. For the second cour, the opening theme is "Mind Conductor" by YURiKA while the ending theme is "Tōmei na Tsubasa" (透明な翼, Invisible Wings) by Ōhara. The series ran for 25 episodes released across nine BD/DVD volumes. Netflix began streaming the first 13 episodes with an English dub as of June 30, 2017. The remaining 12 episodes began streaming as of August 15; but they were labeled as the show's second season.
During interviews, Yoshinari said he wishes to create a second season that explores the history of characters like Diana Cavendish and Amanda O'Neill. The director also wants to create an anime spinoff series focused on the witch Shiny Chariot. He even suggested that the Night Fall (or Naito Foru) books in the anime might work as a standalone anime series.
A video game developed by A+ Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment, titled Little Witch Academia: Chamber of Time (リトルウィッチアカデミア 時の魔法と七不思議, Ritoru Witchi Akademia: Toki no Mahō to Nana Fushigi, lit. Little Witch Academia: The Magic of Time and the Seven Wonders), is scheduled for release on PlayStation 4 in November 30, 2017 in Japan, followed by a PS4 and Steam release in North America in early 2018. A bonus game, Madō Senshi Gran Sharion (魔導戦士グランシャリオン, Magical Warrior Gran Sharion) is available in Japan as a pre-order bonus.
A crossover short featuring characters from both Little Witch Academia and Inferno Cop premiered at AnimeNEXT 2015 on June 13, 2015 and was also shown at Anime Expo 2015 on July 2, 2015. Both Akko (in episode 13) and Sucy (episode 8) make guest appearances in Trigger's 2016 anime series, Space Patrol Luluco.