ROLLING REVIEW – LITTLE WITCH ACADEMIA (04)

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Episode Synopsis:

Lotte is excited for the upcoming release of a new book in her favorite series. However, when she, Akko and Sucy are caught swiping food from the academy’s kitchens, the trio are confined to the school grounds. They sneak out to attend the release event, meeting all manner of fans and even the author of the books, Annabele Crème, herself.  Yet when Lotte finds herself winning a trivia contest about the series for a mysterious prize, she gets far more than she bargained for.

Episode Review:

This episode is quite different from what we’ve seen so far from Little Witch Academia, but it keeps up their high standard of quality and engagement. This time around, we’re focused on Lotte; easily the most even-keeled of Akko’s trio, and the one who most often acts as the voice of reason (or at least sanity). It’s a fun storytelling test to consider what would make a character behave irrationally or at least over-excitedly. For Sucy, it’s poisons and dark magic. For Akko it’s… well, pretty much everything, frankly. For Lotte, it’s the 365-entry-long book series, night fall.

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night fall (yes, all lower-case) is a direct send up of the Twilight series, beloved by young women and girls for its whirlwind of vampires, werewolves, time travel, gosh-darn NUKES and bonkers continuity. The show plays the comparisons to the hilt, down to the constant online trolling.

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This is the internet – that’s practically glowing praise by our standards

Lotte is up on that like only a teenage fan can be. She knows everything there is to know about the series, and can’t contain her joy at the prospect of meeting the author. It’s a lot of fun to see such a normally quiet and timid character get so energized and passionate about something.

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I think a lot of that enjoyment comes from the fact that it speaks to me, and I’d be willing to guess many other fans of anime, scifi, fantasy and so on. While I don’t have any interest in the style of books night fall is skewering, there are definitely topics that I can talk for hours about in-depth and love to describe to anyone who is interested. The show captures that vibe and the sense of community that big events and conventions provide, and while it does make fun of the silliness and extremes the material can get into, it doesn’t judge the fans of that work for liking something that clearly brings them joy. It also captures the utter befuddlement of people on the outside looking in.

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OK girl, maybe it’s time to slow your roll a bit

On the more technical side, the end of the episode gives the studio a chance to show off some of its lovely backgrounds and magical effects. The race in episode 3 was all about kinetic action, which is what Trigger is rightfully famous for, but they do produce some truly beautiful environments as well.

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It captures LWA‘s European fairy tale aesthetic nicely, and gives us some breathing room before things inevitably go all Loony Tunes again. It’s a study in how to pace out your show that I hope other studios take note of.

I don’t really have anything negative to say about this episode, other than the fact that it feels a little padded at times. There’s simply not a lot going on, but the writers do a decent job keeping everything moving along so it doesn’t drag. Elements of the ending also feel a bit contrived, but considering that LWA seems aimed at a somewhat younger audience, I’m not really put out by it.

Episode Summary:

Episode four takes a much more calm approach to its shenanigans than the previous three, but still packs plenty of energy and entertainment. I enjoyed watching Lotte get her due, and getting to see a different side of her character. The cast and story are still pretty broadly drawn, but we’re starting to add some nice depth to everyone as the show gets into its rhythm. I hope that we continue to see everyone put into a range of situations that helps draw out elements of their characters that might otherwise be hidden.


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