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Prior to the 2017 series of Little Witch Academia there were two films: a ~30 minute one released in 2013, which is just called Little Witch Academia, and a ~60 minute one released in 2015 called Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade.

I am wondering if one needs to watch either or both of these films before watching the 2017 series?

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[This seems like enough of an answer to post as such, but I still haven't watched the films, so I don't have the full context.]

I watched the Little Witch Academia anime without having seen the films. I didn't have any trouble understanding the plot, and I could spot a major plot twist coming even without the context of the films. However, from the Wikipedia synopses, the events in the two films are not ones that appear in the anime, and at least one plot point is outright handled differently:

Per Wikipedia and the fan wiki, how Akko finds the Shiny Rod is different. In the anime, she stumbles into the Shiny Rod while she is in trouble, while in the film, she finds it on a class assignment to look for treasure.

As far as I can tell, the characterisations in the films and in the anime are consistent with each other. In particular, Akko's incompetence and her classmates' ridicule of her for her love of Shiny Chariot are a theme in both adaptations. Anecdotally, I have also heard that the aforementioned plot twist was foreseeable in the films as well, although it does not appear to be explicitly revealed:

Ursula is Shiny Chariot.

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You don't need to since the events of the movies are, in fact, not "canon" in the framework of the anime. In the first movie, for example, Akko discovers the shining rod, but in the anime, she discovers it as well but in a completely different way and place. Feel free to skip the movies if you want to, they are completely independent on the anime.

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