Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina volume 11 cover art
Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina

Series Overview

Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina (Majo no Tabitabi / 魔女の旅々) is a fantasy adventure series with some slice of life aspects thrown into the mix. I enjoyed watching The Journey of Elaina, but this series isn’t going to be for everyone. As I’ll get to later on, there was a lot of controversy surrounding the series.

You wouldn’t really expect this series to be so divisive based on its plot. It’s about a girl who becomes a witch and sets out on a journey all over the world to follow in the footsteps of the protagonist from her favorite childhood book. On her journey, Elaina travels through all sorts of different countries and interacts with the locals she meets there.

Sometimes she simply passes through countries as a traveler, other times she acts more like a tourist, and a few times she even gets involved in the issues plaguing these nations. But regardless of what she does in each country, her primary motive is to gain experiences just like her role model.

It’s at this point that I should bring up the first problem some people might have with The Journey of Elaina. It’s mostly episodic. The only real overarching story is that Elaina is on a journey. There’s no set destination or really an end goal beyond that. And I wouldn’t really say that Elaina’s past experiences influence her future actions.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s a series that can be watched in any order. Elaina’s relationships with the other characters of the series do develop over time, and this is primarily what gives the story structure. Some people have chosen only to watch the controversial episodes, and I don’t recommend that because you’ll miss out on context.


The second reason The Journey of Elaina isn’t for everyone is because of the Ashen Witch Elaina herself. I actually liked Elaina’s character. But apparently, that’s not a very common opinion. Or at least, the people who don’t like her are much more vocal than those who do, which is pretty common.

Elaina is completely self-centered and arrogant. I guess I can see why that would put people off. But I found it to be pretty entertaining. Every episode either opens or closes with her monologuing about how great and beautiful she is. And it’s not as if she’s joking. She truly believes all the praise she piles on herself.

The other part of Elaina’s character that people don’t like is how passive she is most of the time. Elaina is extremely passive at the start of the series, and even in some of the later episodes. However, there are also many instances in which she does get herself involved. And what I think people forget is that she’s only 18 years old and a stranger in these countries. Even if she did get involved, her involvement often wouldn’t be welcome.

The Ashen Witch, Elaina from the anime series Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina
The Ashen Witch, Elaina

Despite how much I do like Elaina, the Charcoal Witch Saya is my favorite character. Saya is a witch with the Mages’ Association, which is to say that she doesn’t simply wander the world as Elaina does. She gets sent off on assignments. But what I like about Saya is that she’s completely obsessed with Elaina, which often makes her the comedic aspect of episodes.

The other two main witches in the series are the Stardust Witch Fran and the Midnight Witch Sheila, who are the mentors of Elaina and Saya respectively. Fran is extremely laid back while Sheila is effectively a Yakuza witch.

Controversy of Elaina

I’ve already touched on why there was controversy surrounding The Journey of Elaina when I said that people didn’t like her passive nature. Throughout the series, Elaina sometimes finds herself in situations where she has the ability to do the “right” thing but instead chooses to do nothing at all.

Episode 3 was the main episode that people seemed to have issues with. I’m also guessing that most people who had an issue with Elaina’s actions in that episode didn’t continue watching the series, so their views of Elaina are probably a bit skewed.

In episode 3, Elaina finds herself in two situations in which it could be argued that she did the wrong thing. However, I don’t believe Elaina did anything wrong. It’s not her place to intervene in the workings of other countries. Elaina isn’t a hero. She’s a traveler who records the things she sees.

Elaina and Saya from the anime series Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina
Elaina and Saya

The first situation Elaina encounters is a city that’s plagued by a dangerous plant that can be found on its outskirts. The plant’s flowers contain magic or a drug of some kind that lures victims to its main body. Once victims have been lured there, the plant wraps its vines around them, feeds on them, and turns them into zombie-like creatures.

What Elaina did “wrong” here was she allowed someone to willingly die by this plant after he found his loved one killed by the plant. She could have saved the man, but he wanted to die, so she stood by and watched instead.

The second situation she encounters is a family that owns a slave. Obviously, slavery is bad and Elaina doesn’t condone it. However, she doesn’t help the slave and instead leaves the slave to her fate despite knowing full well that she would likely die.

So how can I possibly defend that inaction? Well, there wasn’t really anything Elaina could do. She can’t take the slave with her. She’s also not going to kill people. So the best she could do is confine the slave owners and let the slave run free. But how long would that really last? She’d be captured and killed. And what if the slave was too afraid to flee? Basically, there’s no winning so Elaina doesn’t get involved.


Overall, I think Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina is a 6/10. I enjoyed it enough and I thought the characters were pretty good. However, I do think it would have benefited from being less episodic. Episodic anime can be great, but I think it’s much harder for them to be because the characters have to do a lot of heavy lifting.

What I will praise The Journey of Elaina for, however, is its OP and ED. I love the OP song and I think the ED visuals may have been the best of the season. I do like a different ED song from this season more, but the visuals of the Elaina ED were great.

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2 Replies to “Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina”

  1. Yeah I checked out of this series on episode 3. Semi glad to hear it might pick up but to be honest it wasn’t anything special before that point either. It was in true Anime fashion these days too rushed. Perhaps the manga/novels are better but we barely spend any time in any given location or with any character.

    Episode 3 was the first truly bad episode in that they shoe horned in two plots in one 18minute or so episode. We had no time to care of feel anything for these people so there was pretty much no emotional impact. Nor does it seemingly affect the MC to do these things in following episodes…

    A MC that has zero impact on the world around them and feels nothing about her actions just isn’t that interesting. Defeats the whole purpose of being some kind of super witch if your just gonna ignore the world around you.

    1. Elaina definitely has more of an impact on the world in some later episodes. But her role in the series is primarily to be an observer. We see the world via Elaina as an outsider. She’s not meant to be some super active protagonist.

      I do completely agree with your first point about episode 3 though. I thought the fact that it was basically 2 episodes was odd. Either of those plots could have easily taken up a full episode on their own. And they weren’t really connected to each other in any way so the transition from one to the next made no sense.

      Since you disliked Elaina’s role in this series, I’m interested in your opinion on Violet Evergarden. Have you seen it? And if so, what did you think? Violet is very similar to Elaina in that emotional impact means nothing to her at the start. But Violet Evergarden is also one of the few anime I’ve rated 10/10.

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