As a child, Elaina read stories about the adventures of a witch named Nike and wants to go on travels of her own. When her parents say she can travel once she becomes a witch, she studies hard to pass the official exams and become the youngest apprentice witch in the kingdom. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear (is it just jealousy…or something more?) none of the local witches are willing to accept her as their apprentice. This may involve some kind of discrimination; possibly Elaina is, or least looks like, a foreigner or something. Eventually she meets Fran the “Stardust Witch,” who accepts her as an apprentice. After a month of menial chores and no magic lessons, Fran challenges Elaina to a duel and completely humiliates her. (Bizarrely, she seems surprised when Elaina starts crying.) It turns out that Elaina’s parents actually hired Fran to teach their magical prodigy of a daughter about adversity and failure. We get a training montage covering a year, then Fran promotes Elaina to full-fledged witch and grants her the title “Ashen Witch.” Fran departs, then Elaina bids her parents farewell, and then there’s a three year timeskip and Elaina is now eighteen. The end.
I’m not certain where the show is going from here. Will the rest of the episodes essentially be flashbacks where eighteen-year-old Elaina describes her adventures in the past three years? Will the focus be on now-adult Elaina’s continuing travels? Elaina’s mom also seems a bit suspicious mysterious, so that could be a plot thread, too. And there’s that weirdness about how all local witches shun Elaina, which might be setup for something. Whatever the case, the first episode suggests this will be a warm, cheery series. Elaina’s parents (is it even anime anymore when both a child’s parents are together and alive???????) are wonderful, caring for and guiding their daughter while allowing Elaina freedom to pursue her dreams. Fran also has some great lessons to share with Elaina. Wherever Elaina is wandering from here, I’ll be watching.