Episode Synopsis: Magical studies at Luna Nova continue, but Akko isn’t showing any improvement. She’s ordered to practice in her room, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time – Andrew Hanbridge, the handsome son of the ruling Earl, is coming for a party and now she’ll miss it! Growing dispirited with her failures (which manifest in her running around with bunny ears and nose for the episode), she decides to seek the Fountain of Polaris, which bestows great power on witches with a “hidden radiance”. On her way there, she runs into Andrew, who has left the party. He is exasperated by having to attend an event full of magic, which he despises for its antiquated nature. They team up to find the fountain, and along the way, Andrew starts enjoying it in spite of himself and Akko gains some valuable insight into Shiny Chariot’s early years (she does not, however, receive great power). Also, there’s a giant bear.
Episode Review: This was the episode that Little Witch Academia needed, and I’m really glad it happened. For the first time, Akko realizes that it’s going to take more than pluck to achieve her dream of becoming a witch, and that she’ll have to work hard to get there. I appreciate this a lot, especially because the episode started with a fakeout. Akko is pouting, having almost immediately given up on studying after an initial failure.
Rather than seeking out help, or studying harder, she instead just wishes there were some way to instantly gain power without effort, and lo and behold, there’s a (cool-looking) Shiny Chariot Trading Card Game™ card for just such an occasion!
And so Akko sets off to become The Chosen One, and I was seriously worried that this is where we were going with this show – Akko just bumbling through witch school, occasionally pulling out the Rod of Plot Device to fix a problem or faking it till she makes it/using some magic maguffin instead of ever learning magic. To my delight, this is the exact opposite of what happens. She prays to the (sweet looking) Fountain…
…and instead of being granted great power, sees a scene of Shiny Chariot doing the same exact thing… and being turned away.
Following this, we get a montage of Chariot’s time at Luna Nova – messing up, making friends, studying hard, and eventually, an accomplished witch, returning to the Fountain and finally getting the power she dreamed of.
It’s a wordless montage that makes its point elegantly, completely refuting Akko’s childish desire for phenomenal cosmic power at no cost and with no effort. Ursula is there to drive the lesson home, and hopefully now she’ll actually be able to start coaching Akko instead of always juuuuust missing her.
It’s exactly what the show needed to keep from being the story of The Rise of the Chosen One, Who can Do no Wrong.
That aside, the episode had plenty of fun stuff in store as well. For one thing, the staff is back and looking better than ever.
For another, Diana is back and as… her… as ever.
We learn a bit more about her this episode, however – she knows Andrew, the son of the Earl.
As it turns out, though, they’ve got a bit of a history, and Diana turns it up from “Aloof Haughtiness” to “Ice Queen”.
It seems they’ve long argued about the utility of magic, with Andrew firmly believing that magic is obsolete, and Luna Nova’s financial situation is only natural (man, the show is really keeping the “Luna Nova is in money trouble” subplot strong).
Akko’s interactions with Andrew are lots of fun to watch, as they almost immediately start with this:
This precipitates an adventure with the two of them searching for the Fountain to reverse their magical ear-chantment. While they may not seem like the best team…
…they’re a lot of fun to watch.
By the end, Andrew even seems to be enjoying himself for the first time.
Maybe there is hope for Luna Nova after all. I’m also interested in his father, the Earl’s plotting – he’s not on screen much, but it’s clear that he’ll be important in shaping the future course of the show.
Finally, I can’t just leave Chekov’s Gun sitting there loaded this whole review, so here you go: