Looking for Witch Apprentices is a film commemorating the twentieth anniversary of Ojamajo Doremi, as well as the third Ojamajo Doremi film to be release overall. It was initially scheduled for release on May 15, 2020, but was postponed to release on November 13th due to production issues caused by the 2019/20 coronavirus pandemic.
The movie was publicly announced at the Ojamajo Doremi 20th Anniversary ~Magical Stage~ stage presentation on March 23rd, 2019.
The story follows three adult women from the generation who grew up watching Ojamajo Doremi. Mire Yoshitsuki; a 27-year-old returnee working for a leading trading company, Sora Nagase; a 22-year-old college student aspiring to become a teacher, and Reika Kawatani; a 20-year-old freeter (freelancer) working part-time. A new magical story begins once they embark on a journey together.
This article contains plot details about an episode, movie or a manga/light novel chapter.
The movie begins with Doremi, Hazuki, Aiko, Onpu, and Momoko in silhouette discussing what they want to be when they grow up; Doremi wants to own a steakhouse, while Onpu comments that it's still quite a ways off. Then they turn around to face Sora, Mire, and Reika as young children, and ask them what they want to be.
In present-time reality, in Tokyo, Mire (age 27) is in a conference at work. Ignoring Japanese business etiquette, she speaks up in protest when she feels that the company isn't adhering to fair trade standards. Her supervisor quickly berates her before explaining to the rest present to never mind Mire, as she's a returnee from overseas and unfamiliar with how things are supposed to be done. Annoyed and frustrated, Mire glances out the window and thinks that she sees someone flying on a broom.
At a university in Aichi prefecture, Sora (age 22) reflects on her student teaching practicum. She had complimented a special needs student, Makita, on his drawing skills when he gave her one of his sketches. However, she pointed out that now is the time for writing, not drawing, and that he should also try writing his name in kanji instead of hiragana. Frustrated, Makita scribbled over his drawing and stormed out of the classroom. Later, when Sora tried to voice her concerns about Makita's developmental needs, she was scolded for focusing too much on one student instead of the class as a whole. Dejected, Sora feels like she sees a glance of someone flying on a broom outside the window of her university lecture hall.
In Onomichi, Hiroshima, Reika (age 19) is excelling at her part time job at an okonomiyaki restaurant. The patrons love her cooking and her employer is very impressed with her work ethic, though there are some concerns about her boyfriend, Seiya. One patron brings up that he saw Seiya spending money on pachinko instead of busking outside the station. After leaving work, Reika muses over how she knows she needs to break up with him, but she just can't bring herself to. Meanwhile, someone seems to be flying on a broom overhead.
A little while later, Sora is in Kamakura, Kanagawa, marveling at a western-style house that was rumored to be the basis of Maho-do in Ojamajo Doremi, eagerly taking photographs from outside the fence. The fence is overgrown with shrubbery and she wishes she could get closer for a better look, when the gate creaks open. Sora takes the opportunity to sneak in, quietly apologizing for the intrusion, and when she approaches the house she finds Reika crouching at the front door, the broken doorknob in her hand. The women both panic, accusing each other of being burglars, and Reika hastily tries to explain that she was just trying to get a closer look at the Maho-do. Quickly picking up on the word "Maho-do," Sora realizes that they're both there for the same reason. At that moment, Mire emerges from the shrubbery, also inquiring about the use of the word "Maho-do." Embarrassed, Sora and Reika try to sidetrack, but Mire asks if they also watched Ojamajo Doremi as children, and reveals that she had asked asked to borrow the house key from the owner to take a look inside.
As the women enter and explore the house, they explain their histories with the show. Sora had only watched Dokka~n! as it aired, but owned the rest on DVD. Reika, as the youngest, didn't get to see any of the show when it was airing, but had watched reruns and on-demand distributions. Mire was the only one to have seen the entire show in real-time as it aired. Despite their different ages and experiences with Ojamajo Doremi, the fact that they were all able to meet at the same place at the same time seemed to be some sort of destiny.
After leaving the house, Reika confides in the others that the reason that she traveled all the way to Kamakura to see the house was because she had been feeling down, ad her life hadn't really been going right after her mother died two years earlier. She apologizes for bringing down the mood by mentioning her troubles, but Sora and Mire reveal that they also came in hopes of cheering themselves up. Mire suggests they all go for drinks together, though Reika points out that she's still not old enough to drink.
While at the pub, Sora and Reika marvel over Mire's experiences living in America and traveling in Africa. Mire gripes being a returnee from overseas isn't all that it's cracked up to be; all that she can really do is speak English, and there are so many different languages and cultures in Africa that it makes trade difficult. Sora and Reika comment that Mire's attitude is similar to Onpu's, and the fact that she's a returnee makes her like Momoko. Mire reveals that her favorite character is actually Hazuki. Sora says that her favorite is Doremi. When asked which character is her favorite, Reika grins and produces a blue Magic Sphere from her bag. Sora and Mire are amazed, and comment that since it's blue, that must mean that Aiko is Reika's favorite. Reika confirms, saying that her own parents divorced when she was young, so that made her want to cheer Aiko on. Sora brings out her own Magic Sphere - a pink one - and when Mire reveals that she also carries around an orange one, the women feel even more that their meeting was destiny. Sora musters up the courage to ask to exchange contact information with the other two so they can meet up again, and they gladly agree.
After returning to their respective homes, Mire goes to work only to find that not only has she been demoted, but she's also been transferred to a different department. Yabe is indignant about this, but Mire coolly tells him to do his best in her stead for when she's gone. Yabe takes this to mean that she's going to quit the company, but she assures him that she won't... yet.
Reika returns to her apartment, but just before opening the door, she realizes it's unlocked and hears some movement from inside. She flings the door open to find Seiya in her room with Reika's bank passbook in hand. She shouts at him and sprints over to try and grab it back, but he easily holds it out of reach. Seiya proceeds to persuade her, promising that he's looking for a job and that he plans to be playing his guitar outside the station that evening, inviting her to join him to sing. After he smiles sweetly, Reika acquiesces and hands him a few ten-thousand yen bills. He thanks her and exits the apartment, leaving Reika feeling frustrated.
At her own apartment in Aichi, Sora has received a clumsily-written letter from Makita which reads:
Hello. Thank you for complimenting my drawing the other day. I really like drawing so it made me happy. I'm going to a supplementary school now so I've gotten a little bit better at writing. Just as you told me, I'm going to try even harder so I can use more kanji when I write."
Sora is curled up in her bed, dejected, but perks up a bit when she receives a text from Mire saying that she'll send the photos from her digital camera later that evening. Sora thanks her and in the meantime sends over her own selfie of the three of them that she took with her phone.
As Mire sits in a company lounge drafting an email to a partner, informing them that Yabe will be taking over her duties, she hears some coworkers loudly gossiping about her. When one of them warns the others to be quiet, that Mire can hear them, they laugh that it doesn't matter because she's a returnee who doesn't understand Japanese anyway. Mire is enraged but doesn't say anything to them, instead packing up and leaving, raging all the way home.
Outside Onomichi Station, Reika sits drawing in her sketchbook, still waiting for Seiya who ended up never showing up. She wishes she had the courage to just finally break things off with him. She then gets a text from Sora in their group chat, suggesting that the three of them spend Golden Week visiting Takayama, Gifu, where Doremi's grandfather lived. Mire is enthusiastic for it, but Reika says that money is a bit tight for her. After Mire says that she can find inexpensive modes of transit, and Sora adds some more persuasion with a LINE sticker, Reika decides that she'll go with them after all.
Ojamajo Doremi Characters
- Animation Production - Toei Animation
- Planning - Hiromi Seki
- Character Design - Yoshihiko Umakoshi
- Director - Junichi Sato, Yū Kamatani
- Screenwriter - Midori Kuriyama
- Chief Animation Director - Yoshihiko Umakoshi
- Animation Director - Shoko Nakamura
- Art Designer - Kenichi Tajiri
- Maho-dō Design - Shinzo Yuki, Yukie Yuki
- Color Key Artist - Kunio Tsujita
Upon its theatrical release, Looking for Witch Apprentices grossed 74,061,680 yen within the first 3 days and ranked fourth-place at Japan's weekend box office in it's opening weekend. Additionally the film also ranked second-place in Filmarks' first day satisfaction ranking, with a average rating of 3.81 out of 5 based on 616 reviews.
At the 74th Annual Mainichi Film Awards, Looking for Witch Apprentices won the award for Best Animation Film in 2020.
- A new recording of Owaranai Monogatari sung by Rumi Shishido (with chorus by Chiemi Chiba) is featured as the ending theme of the movie.
- A poster for the movie has made a cameo appearance in episode 16 of Healin' Good Pretty Cure.
- Many voice actors and staff members from the original anime are cast in cameo roles throughout the movie. The full list of cameo roles are:
- Yuji Makita - Hyosei (Tetsuya Kotake)
- Sora's classmate - Ai Nagano (Reika Tamaki)
- Yuji's homeroom teacher - Nanaho Katsuragi (Seki)
- Supplementary school instructor - Yuka Shino (Haruka Harukaze)
- University lecturer - Kyousei Tsukui (Kouji Senoo)
- Section chief Miyao - Nobuaki Kanemitsu (Alexander T. Oyajide)
- Executive director - Kenji Nomura (Akira Fujiwara)
- Secretary - Megumi Takamura (Lala)
- Tetsuji Tamaki - Junichi Sugawara (Kotaro's Grandfather)
- Tamaki's wife - Yuka Tokumitsu (Dodo)
- Tamaki's daughter - Haruka Shiraishi (Ayumi)
- Nurse - Chihiro Sakurai (Dela)
- Ryoyu employees - Youji Ietomi (Shinshuu Yamauchi), Kinoko Yamada (Kaori Shimakura), Yukiko Hanioka (Atarimeko/Majopi/Minto Wada)
- Pub employee - Akatsuki Yamatoya (screenwriter)
- Female okonomiyaki store patron - Rumi Shishido (Onpu Segawa)
- Baseball boy - Nami Miyahara (Momoko Asuka/Masaru Yada)
- Junior high school girl (older sister) - Yuki Matsuoka (Aiko Senoo)
- Junior high school girl (younger sister) - Tomoko Akiya (Hazuki Fujiwara)
- Girl in the park (older sister) - Chiemi Chiba (Doremi Harukaze)
- Girl in the park (younger sister) - Sawa Ishige (Pop Harukaze)
- Father in the park - Yuuta Mochizuki (Keisuke Harukaze)
- The film was released on the Chinese online video platform; iQIYI, on Janury 28th, 2021. This marks the first time the film has been available outside of Japan.
- The film will be screened at the 43rd Moscow International Film Festival as an official selection in the Films Around the World category, despite Ojamajo Doremi not having gotten dubbed in Russia. The title has been translated as Дореми: "В поисках волшебства" (Doremi: In search for magic).