426th G-View: The Journey of Elaina

I must confess. My initial hype for this show came from word of mouth. I heard of the high praise this series got and of there being content that would interest me. In 2019 an anime was announced. The wait was long but in Fall 2020 the long awaited premiere came. Question was whether a story about a witch traveling to different lands would be an interesting viewing experience. Let us find out as we take a look at The Journey of Elaina.

Note: This review is by someone who has not read the light novels or manga. For a review from someone who did check out my good chum Rory’s.

The Journey of Elaina Poster

Alternate Titles:

  • Wandering Witch – The Journey of Elaina.
  • Majo no Tabitabi (Japanese)

Genres: Adventure, Magic

Themes: Coming of Age, Dark, Yuri

Number of Episodes: 12

G-Rating: 8/10

Plot Summary: Elaina was inspired by the stories in The Adventures of Nike to become a Witch herself and travel the world like she did. After overcoming an arduous trial she had successfully become a Witch and set off on the titular journey filled with many different kinds of adventures. Some mundane, others fantastical and even somber. One thing was for certain, there would always be a new experience for Elaina, the Ashen Witch.

Elaina boasting again

The simplest way to describe this show would be that everything it does it does very well.

  • The silly moments are often amusing.
  • Elaina and the recurring characters are all very charming.
  • The magic battles are very intense
  • The animation is gorgeous, especially during magic battles.
  • The soundtrack, while simple, is lovely with a fun OP and ED.
  • Every visited location has an interesting story to tell even if some appear mundane on the surface.
  • Although the author specifically insisted in an interview the sexiness be toned down in the anime what we did get was still quite lovely.
  • The yuri is delightful and sometimes deliciously naughty. More on this later.

Elaina chased by magic students

Although each episode, some early ones are split into multiple visits, feature self-contained stories Elaina’s experiences are carried over to later episodes. She does not bring up past events all the time but she does recall them and they play important roles from time to time, including some recurring characters like Master Fran. The coming of age theme does not pop up all the time but as mentioned in the plot summary every land or country visited provides a new experience for Elaina and she grows little by little with each one.

Elaina in big trouble

As mentioned in the bullet points the animation is excellent, especially during magic battles. This screen grab does not do the magic on display when Witches go all out justice. Picking a favorite is tough. Trust me when I say the animation is stunning. The soundtrack is simple but enjoyable and the OP and ED are delightful.

Elaina's frustration

I mentioned somber in the experiences. It is what I like to refer to as the “Dark Trio Episodes”. These are Episodes 3, 4 and 9. Each of these episodes gets progressively darker with 9 being…let us just say there is good reason why there is a warning at the start of the episode. My big mistake was watching all “The Last of Us” cut scenes in preparation for “Part 2” before Episode 9. Had I known what was to come I would have waited a week before checking out LoU cut scenes. OH GOH. Like I said what this show does it does very well, including dark themes…

On a more uplifting note before the end of the G-View let us go over who I believe are the top two stars of the show.

Elaina failed to lie

First if Elaina herself. She is a lovable narcissist. She is greedy, scheming, self-serving (most of the time), smug, vain (though has the looks to back it up) and petulant. She is also kind, caring, brave, honest and a great ally to have on your side. She’s selfish but selfless under the right circumstances. There are also multiple instances throughout the show that indicate she is on the side “justice”, if you know what I mean.

Saya thought Elaina called her

Then there is who I believe is the MVP of the show, Saya. A fun girl to be around who had a rough start, specifically the main reason Elaina and her first met. After that rough little patch near the end of her debut episode however, she’s an instant show stealer each time she was on screen. Unlike Elaina who was somewhat subtle most of the time Saya’s openly fought for “righteousness” from the very beginning, growing stronger every appearance. A true heroine indeed. Also pay very close attention to Elaina and Saya’s interactions. There may be an “uh-uh” but at no point was there a “Begone! I never want to see you again!”. Viewers will know what I mean as they watch the show.

There is more “goodness” on the side but the main source of “bliss” is between these two.

Overall The Journey of Elaina is definitely a journey worth experiencing. What the show does it does very well from the amusing, the awesome and the dark. Be VERY CAREFUL with the third one. While each episode is its own contained story Elaina’s experiences carry over throughout the show popping up at certain points along with the recurring characters. Recommended to many. Hopefully more of Elaina’s journey will be animated in the future.

PS: I mentioned sharing my thoughts on whether Episode 12 could outdo what I believe was the pinnacle of awesomeness that was Episode 11. While 11 was more fun to watch 12 had an EXCELLENT story to tell. Pay close attention to as much as possible during 12.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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23 Responses to 426th G-View: The Journey of Elaina

  1. cirno9fan says:

    12 sure showed a lot of interesting things.We learned interesting things, like “who would Elaina shack up with if she decided it was time for love?” Though there were two answers to that one. I wonder if it’s a path where the pandora box was never closed, and Elaina didn’t actually stop herself from breathing it in? Or at the least, after those experiences, then she decided that it wasn’t worth fighting back anymore, and suddenly Saya ended up on the defensive XD

    Lots of paths where Elaina gave up all hope, which makes sense considering how much she ran into, it wouldn’t be odd for her to break. though one has to wonder how the “dumb” Elaina managed to survive that long XD

    Anyway, talking about the 12th episode specifically aside….really enjoyable show~ The feeling of traveling was captured very well, and it was really enjoyable seeing all the different countries. I thought it’d be less interconnected than it ended up being, to be honest. But I’m glad it was how it was.

    I would love more, and I may just chance the LNs even though I keep on getting opposing viewpoints on how they are compared to the anime.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      12 was quite good, yes. We know there’s something there, which is more than enough for now.

      Most likely the same way genki characters survive.

      I only pay attention to what I saw in the anime. If the LN and manga are different I’ll always have the anime to shed light on the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This was a wonderful show and one of my favorites of the season. I’m impressed since these kind of shows aren’t always easy for me to get into, but it helped that Elaina was such a fun and charming character. Even her narcistic personality was developed well such that it wasn’t obnoxious and she could certainly back it up. Of course though, she couldn’t take all the spotlight. Saya was my favorite and the antics between the two were always fun to see. The supporting cast like Fran and Sheila were also very fun. It certainly had it’s dark moments between the fun, and some of those episodes turned out to be my favorites. However, it was nice to have a pleasant last couple of episodes, with 12 being an absolute delight. The writing displayed to tie it all together and resolve some of those darker moments was amazing. I’m really going to miss this show and I really hope the rumors about a S2 are true. It really needs it, and just maybe we might see more Saya x Elaina goodness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      Cliche phrase but it was undoubtedly a wild ride from beginning to end going through as many emotions as possible.

      Fingers crossed S2 becomes a reality as we need more animated Elaina X Saya goodness in our lives.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. tbiscut74 says:

    This was a really good series. I liked it more than I thought I would.

    Saya was obviously my favorite. And of course the drop dead sexy teacher witches Miss Fran and Miss Sheila.

    On that last episode, it was great! My favorite of the Elainas is pretty obvious. Also I loved Russian Eliana! She was hilarious!

    Here’s hoping for season 2!

    In the mean time I’ll just be rewatching it Dubbed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • OG-Man says:

      We had a strong feeling it would be but not this good.

      Saya’s the undisputed MVP and the teachers are smokin’ for sure.

      A pretty good season finale.

      Fingers crossed it happens.

      Do enjoy.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Platon says:

    Really good season, full of fun but also some unexpected darkness, would love to see season to with traveling companion.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. QueenKuvira says:

    This show was amazing. Elaina was such a great and refreshing character being breathtakingly beautiful and insanely gifted gets overlooked in most shows but this one handled it pretty well. Every episode told a new and interesting story even the somber ones were a pleasure to watch. I only have one gripe with this show and we know all what it is…. Needed more Saya!

    Fran and Sheila are dope and knowing that they have been going on vacation every year since they were young is the best.

    Episode 12 felt like a love letter to all the fans of the show its rare a finale hits the nail on the head so perfectly. Glad to know that when Elaina is done traveling she only has her heart set on one person.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Mauron says:

    One recommendation I have for anime viewers who haven’t started yet is watch episode 9 before episode 8. That’s how they were originally written, and it helps explain the finale a little better.

    Seeing this animated was a major bonus. Who’s that girl on a broom, shining more brilliantly than the sun? That’s right, she’s animated!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Giack31 says:

      Thank you for the explanation. That makes a lot more sense now. I thought it was weird that they chose the doll episode as origin for the “evil” Eliana. If that actually comes after episode 9 that means that at that time she was also dealing with the heavy burden that those events left in her mind so it makes a lot more sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Nick says:

    Looking back on the Fall season, this show will be one that stands near the top. Very good show and one that’ll be on my mind for some time after. The bullet points you mentioned cover pretty much all the main thoughts about this show. I liked how they had a good mix of fun and happy eps along with the darker more serious eps.

    Not to come across as an edgelord or anything, but I did enjoy the darker eps as much as the fun ones. Gave the show a good balance and showed that not every place Elaina visited was nice and it also showed off different sides to her personality by how she handled each situation she got thrown into. And ep 9 really didn’t hold back at all, they went pretty hard in that ep as you don’t often see little kids getting killed that brutally in shows.

    Speaking of Elaina herself, I found it a nice change of pace having such a self centered narcissistic cute girl as the main character. She’s easy to like but also has some questionable qualities about her too that come out at times. But it was nice overall having not just another run of the mill character but one that wasn’t afraid to put herself first a lot of the time.

    With such strong BD sales for volume 1, it makes me wonder if S2 is something the higher ups will consider in the future. I’d love to see more of Elaina’s adventures as she travels the world!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. yurimylove says:

    Elaina’s witch outfit is gorgeous and it’s perfect for Halloween cosplay.

    Like

  9. Pingback: OG’s 10 Favorite Anime of 2020 | The Yuri Empire

  10. K says:

    This was a very delightful watch. It may have had its dark moments but compared to other traveller shows, it wasn’t so bad to me. I mean, she ran into many (mostly) funny weirdos. Will definitely tune in to see her ongoing journey, by herself and when Amnesia comes along. I’m pretty sure Saya wouldn’t like that ;-).

    Elaina’s a good protag. Her personality was very enjoyable. She may boast a lot but she will bite if no other option exists. The side characters were also great, Saya especially.

    Seeing all those different Elainas was so funny and terrific. I just have to wonder about the kind of choices she made that resulted in her becoming a blob and an undead. I can imagine Cash(Money) Elaina flying around with a lot of bling hanging from her. Also, I didn’t expect a Main x Wrath Elaina pairing but it was most welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • OG-Man says:

      Hopefully her journey with Amnesia will be animated also, especially to see how Saya would react to them traveling together.

      Elaina was a great lead whose narcissism was more endearing than annoying.

      Saya’s the undisputed MVP.

      Elaina loves herself so her falling for herself from another dimension isn’t unbelievable. It has kind of happened before in some other anime.

      Like

  11. Zack says:

    I finally got around to finishing this show. I have no idea if my post will receive any replies, but I want to talk about this series anyway.

    I loved this show. Before it came out, a lot of people described it as Kino’s Journey with witches, and it definitely lived up to that description. Admittedly, I think Kino’s Journey was better, but this series was great as well.

    I liked Elaina as a protagonist as well. She’s narcissistic, but at the same time not a bad person. From what I’ve noticed, she seems to be a very divisive character with some people having called cruel or outright villainous. Personally, I don’t agree. Elaina may not be a heroic character, but that doesn’t mean she’s a bad person. Elaina might not jump at the opportunity to help those in need, but she does help on occasion.

    Take the incident with Nino, the slave girl from episode 3 who is heavily implied to commit suicide at the end. A lot of people commenting on the series seemed mad that Elaina didn’t do anything to help, but the thing is what could she really have done? Sure she’s a powerful witch, but there was still too many issues to deal with. She could take Nino away from there, but Nino is a slave and thus the Village Chief’s property. That would make Elaina a criminal even if she is doing the right thing, and would put unwanted attention on her head. Plus, Elaina couldn’t travel with Nino forever. She’d have to drop her off eventually, but there’s no guarantee that Nino could survive on her own. And even if she left her with someone trustworthy, she would just be making that person an accomplish to her crimes. Also, killing the Village Chief wasn’t an option either, because that would also be a crime.

    Another thing that should be noted is that, like Kino before her, Elaina also has 3 rules that she goes by. Elaina’s being:
    1. Always remain safe.
    2. Never think she’s more special than anyone else (it’s debatable if she’s actually followed this rule).
    3. To eventually return to her parents someday to tell them about her journey.

    Although these rules were only mentioned in the first episode, I believe they help explain Elaina’s actions or lack of action in some cases. If she helped everyone in need then she would run the risk of putting herself in danger and thus potentially not be able to see her parents again. This doesn’t stop her from helping out every now and then though. Elaina may not be a hero, but she’s certainly not a villain either. The thing is Elaina is just a person. Admittedly a person with magic powers, but a person nonetheless.

    The next character I want to talk about is Saya. Some people seemed to be annoyed with Saya, and I can kind of understand. However, I still liked Saya regardless. If I had one complaint about her, it’s that she’s another in a trend that can sometimes be seen in Japanese media in which a lesbian character is used for comedic relief. Usually by portraying them as being a weirdo. And, although it is unfortunate, Saya falls under this category. That being said, I don’t see her as a negative stereotype. Saya has been shown to be competent in her own right, and not once does anyone say that her feelings for Elaina is wrong.

    Speaking of Saya and Elaina’s relationship; although Elaina has been shown to be annoyed by Saya at times, but I don’t believe she hates her. One thing that potentially proves this is the pendant that Saya gave her. Elaina was given the pendant in episode 6 and two episodes later she’s shown still have it in episode 8. Not only that but she’s wearing it. This, to me, seems to prove that Elaina sees Saya as a friend at the very least.

    The final thing I want to bring up is Nike, Elaina’s idol. As the series goes on, it becomes increasingly obvious that Nike is Elaina’s mom. Although why her mom would keep this a secret, I have no idea. In episode 11, there’s a bit of an implication that Elaina might be beginning to suspect this, but chooses to ignore it for the time being.

    And that’s everything I have to say. Like I said, I really enjoyed this series and I’m hoping for more. Especially with that sequel hook with Elaina saying that she and that Amnesia girl at the end would travel together at some point. Can’t imagine Saya will be happy about that.

    Anyway, sorry about the wall of text. I would like it if my comment gets a reply, but considering this post is no longer on the front page I understand if that doesn’t happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Giack31 says:

      I really liked the slow unveiling that Nike was actually Eliana’s mother. I haven’t read the LN but i feel like it might have been done “better” or at least more subtly there since they weren’t forced to share what she looked and could have kept it secret for way longer. In the anime once they showed her in the episode about the wall it became very apparent that they were the same person. As for why she kept it secret from her daughter I also have no idea why she did that.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Giack31 says:

    I really like this anime.
    All the episode were very different but they managed to make them all really good from the more happy and comedic ones to the sad and dark ones.
    Elaina is a great protagonist and she certainly doesn’t hide her “preference” at any given opportunity.
    This doesn’t happen often but I’m now tempted to go read the LN since I really like the the world and the characters and I want to know more about the and other stories they might have skipped in the anime.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If you are short on time, here’s the guide to watching only the yuri for the Journey of Elaina.
    ep1: Elaina x Fran
    ep2: Elaina x Saya
    ep6: Saya x Elaina
    ep8: provides context for ep10 & ep12
    ep9: Estelle x Selena (warning! tragic lesbians trope). also provides context for ep12
    ep10: Fran x Sheila
    ep11: Mina x Saya
    ep12: Elaina x Elaina

    Like

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