Meari to Majo no Hana
Produced by: Yoshiaki Nishimura
Mary Smith moves into the British estate of her Great Aunt Charlotte ahead of her parents. The bored, friendless girl tries to make herself useful through chores, but she repeatedly messes up. A local boy named Peter teases her for both her clumsiness and her wild red hair, which she hates.
Tib-cat and Gib-cat, Peter’s cats, lead Mary to some mysterious glowing flowers. Zebedee, the estate gardener, identifies the flowers as “fly-by-night”; legend has it that witches covet the flower for its magical power. The next day, Gib-cat disappears and Mary follows Tib-cat to go look for her. Tib-cat leads her to a broomstick ensnared in a tree’s roots. Mary frees the broomstick but accidentally bursts a fly-by-night bulb on it. The bulb releases magical power in the form of a blue gelatinous substance, making the broomstick come to life and enabling Mary to ride it like a witch. The Little Broomstick whisks Mary and Tib-cat away to a complex of buildings hidden in the clouds, known as Endor College for witches.
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The headmistress Madame Mumblechook assumes Mary is a new pupil with Tib-cat as her familiar and takes her on a tour of the college. The tour reveals a campus with modern technology and conveniences, wherein witches take courses in the magic arts alongside fields of science such as chemistry. During the tour, Madame introduces Mary to Doctor Dee, the College’s renowned chemistry teacher. Mary finds herself able to perform advanced spells such as invisibility. Madame and Doctor Dee become convinced that Mary is a prodigy, because of her performance as well as her red hair, which turns out to be a distinguishing feature among the best witches.
At Madame’s office, Mary finds a spellbook hidden behind a picture of fly-by-night. Mary admits that her magical ability comes from fly-by-night and that Tib-cat actually belongs to Peter. Madame’s attitude to Mary suddenly changes, but she still lets Mary return home. That night, Madame sends a message to Mary informing her that she’s kidnapped Peter, and demands that Mary turn the fly-by-night bulbs to her. She and Tib-cat quickly fly back to Endor with the bulbs, but Madame and Doctor Dee imprison her instead in Doctor Dee’s transformation spell lab. Mary finds Peter locked in the lab with her, and discovers that Doctor Dee has been experimenting on animals transforming them into fantastic creatures, including Gib-cat. In the spellbook, Mary finds a spell that can undo all magic, and she uses it to undo all the transformations and to unlock the lab. They try to escape on the Little Broomstick, but Madame and Doctor Dee recapture Peter.
The Little Broomstick takes Mary to an isolated cottage. Within the cottage, Mary finds notes on transformation spells and a mirror that Great Aunt Charlotte uses to contact her. Charlotte reveals that the cottage was her previous home, and she used to be a red-haired pupil that excelled at Endor. But one day Charlotte found fly-by-night on the campus, leading Madame and Doctor Dee to obsessively pursue a project to use the flower to transform all humans into witches. When one of their experiments disastrously failed, Charlotte decided to escape Endor, taking the flower with her. Charlotte begs Mary to use her last bulbs to return home, but Mary vows to rescue Peter instead.
Mary returns to Endor and finds Madame and Doctor Dee trying to use the flower to transform Peter into a witch. But the experiment fails again, leaving Peter trapped within a gelatinous monster that rampages across the campus. Mary gets the spellbook to Peter, and Peter uses it to undo the failed experiment as well as all of Madame and Doctor Dee’s research. Mary and Peter finally return home, with Mary throwing away her last bulb and saying she does not need magic.
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It’s a feel-good movie. The story is light and it has the elements of a typical Japanese anime. What is impressive about this movie and it should be commendable is its animation. It didn’t fail an otaku like me, instead, it delivered an outstanding to almost perfect animation quality.