Home Wistoria: Wand and Sword Amazes Fans After Gorgeous Series Premiere

Wistoria: Wand and Sword Amazes Fans After Gorgeous Series Premiere

The series premiere for Wistoria: Wand and Sword was one of the best for the Summer 2024 season. Despite ranking 21st in Anime Corner’s “Most Anticipated Anime of Summer 2024” poll, the series trended on Twitter Sunday and came out of the weekend with one of the highest ratings on fan ranking sites.

All of this was thanks to a wonderful piece of production spearheaded by Director Tatsuya Yoshihara that had many fans across the world buzzing on social media.

Story and Characters

Let’s start off with the basic situation with Wistoria first before we dive into the nitty gritty details of its stellar production quality. The story of the series, for now, isn’t the most unique out of recent anime. If viewers love Black Clover (me), Mashle: Magic and Muscles, or DanMachi, then they’ll probably feel right at home with Wistoria. Yet, the series manages to mesh the certain three together—making me still feel like it’s unique in its own way.

The journey of a magic-less MC who is aiming to be one of the top mages in a world where magic rules is by no means something we haven’t seen before. That being said, I do love how the series threw fans into the thick of it already with Will. It establishes his bullying problems at school while also exposing just how ridiculously strong he is and the fact he’s a prodigy with a sword in his hands.

The story also establishes his goal and his relationship with his childhood friend, Elfaria, flawlessly as well. Now, this all depends on what style of writing you’re a fan of. But for me, I love it when the main character of the story establishes what his/her end goal is from the beginning. I don’t like being left wondering through a story “So what’s the point of all this, again?”

Will is a welcoming character. He reminds me a little bit of Iruma from Welcome to Demon School, Iruma-kun in the sense of his clumsiness. But the hint of Asta (Black Clover) in his determination and the softness of Bell (DanMachi) in his approach to speaking to people makes Will a lively MC from the jump.

His design is stylish and caters well to his personality. Yet, at no point did I once think that I couldn’t take him seriously while he was fighting.

Colette is already proving to be a solid character from the jump. It’s set that she’s an honor student with great magical capabilities who defends Will instead of belittling him like we tend to see so much of in fantasy stories that deal with a magic hierarchy.

She brings some humor and light-heartedness to a series that obviously needs it and, more importantly, she made me want to see more of her character and what she can do.

I love the contrast between Professor Workner and Professor Edward. One who believes in Will with the character design of a strict, yet respectful, teacher and the other draped in black from head to toe stuck in his own inability to acknowledge Will’s prowess simply because he can’t use magic.

Zion being the bully is par for the course, but after the ending, I can’t expect much more from him other than solid development into recognizing that Will could crush him at any point and that his own preconceived notions of the magicless boy are all wrong. He can’t just continue to bully him at this point, right?

The world building needs some expanding upon but it’s just the first episode. Now that the main characters have been established, the story has room to grow in many different areas in this world of Wistoria—and that can only lead to better things, especially when it’s backed by a quality animation staff like this series is.

Wistoria: Wand and Sword – Production

It’s no surprise the talk of the town this weekend has been around Yoshihara’s return to directing a series, especially among Black Clover fans. But when other series are criticized, such as Tower of God Season 2 for the character design changes, it gives others a chance to shine.

There was already anticipation from the trailers that the production for Wistoria was going to be eye candy, but not to this extent. With constant rack focus camera moments, Yoshihara’s storyboard backed by a stellar team of animators almost made some moments seem lifelike, such as the cut below of Workner in his office.

But the series premiere of Wistoria: Wand and Sword went beyond just a perfect use of camera focus. It made the cinematics feel cinematic by creating an immersive experience at times that made me forget I was watching a seasonal anime. The sequence as shown below was a perfect use of focal points, transitions, storyboarding, and creative direction that I must’ve watched a dozen times by now.

It’s easy to sit there, watch, and point to the screen and say “Oh! That’s good animation!” When you learn cinematic techniques, that excitement just goes even further when they’re put on display right in front of you. It made the whole experience of watching the Wistoria premiere that much better for me.

Of course, the animation was jaw-dropping. It’s honestly been a while since I watched a fantasy-based anime with quality production that I’ve enjoyed, the latest being the Black Clover movie (probably).

So when I see the director of one of my all-time favorite series pulling out the famous Dolly Zoom created by the notorious Alfred Hitchcock in the scene below featuring Will, the production nerd in me arises.

Yoshihara and company did such a fantastic job with scene transitions, it almost made me feel like I was watching 86 Eighty-Six all over again due to Director Toshimasa Ishii’s creative use of transitions and aspect ratio that I, and many others, constantly rave about.

Throughout the episode, it felt like we got to experience what Yoshihara can really do when given the opportunity and time.

Scene transitions are crucial in both writing and visualizing. It makes everything more emotional and dramatic in the best ways possible. It keeps you hooked on the slow moments and has you rewinding the fast ones. And when you’re able to pick out those quick moments, that deeper appreciation for animation production only begins to heighten.

The moment above with Elfaria handing Will the goggles and transitioning to him wearing them before the big fight really gave me a deeper sense of their connection with each other. It wouldn’t hit as hard if the scene cut from her handing the goggles to Will and then seeing him in the middle of the fight with them on.

This is where creative direction can make a series flourish. Luckily for us, Yoshihara is an industry veteran backed by an amazing staff of animators that even the most casual anime viewer can appreciate, especially Art Director Yuki Maeda, who also worked with Yoshihara on Black Clover in the same position.

Maeda, and the staff over at Studio Easter, put out some gorgeous work for my favorite series premiere that I can’t help but discuss a little more in detail. The ability to take source material background work and amplify it so much to the point it almost looks real just gives Wistoria that much more detail to bring everything together wonderfully.

Everything was just beautifully detailed whether it was up close or far away from the camera. Even the patterns on Walkner’s desk (see below) look realistic. While some 3D work in the episode didn’t blend too well at times in the episode, the close-up shots were still of high quality and deserve their praise.

Wistoria: Wand and Sword Episode 1 Wrap-Up

Despite the story not being the most intricate to start, the Wistoria: Wand and Sword premiere was a treat to me on all levels and my favorite of the season. The potential for a great series is undoubtedly there, but will it take hold of it? That’s what I can’t wait to see. I have faith that Yoshihara will lead this series to great things.

Episode 1 rating: 9.5/10

If you enjoyed the Wistoria: Wand and Sword premiere then vote for the episode in our weekly poll! Episode 2 will be released on Sunday, July 14, on Crunchyroll.

Screenshots via Crunchyroll
©Fujino Omori, Toshi Aoi, Kodansha/Wistoria: Wand and Sword Production Committee

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