Akko’s long hours of practice with Ursula have started paying off. Though clumsy, her magic spells have begun to show promise. As Luna Nova’s Samhain festival nears, Akko dreams of becoming the Moonlit Witch – a title once given to Shiny Chariot for her enthralling magical displays. Yet when the roles for the festival are handed out, Akko and her friends become the butt of a long-running joke.
Why should she put up with this, Akko wonders? Why can’t she be like the talented and beloved Diana? Doubting herself once more, and urged by Urusla, Akko returns to the Fountain of Polaris to discover the magic that only she can perform.
It’s a bit tricky to gauge this episode, as it’s the first of what appears to be a two-parter. That said, it does an excellent job of reinforcing the plot details we learned in the previous outstanding episode.
Just as I’d been hoping, we get to see some of the progress Akko has made while training with Ursula. She’s still as hyperactive and sensitive as she’s ever been, but it’s rewarding to see that she’s taken her earlier lessons to heart. Shiny Chariot worked tirelessly for her magic, and Akko is now taking after her idol in more than just enthusiasm.
Even so, her magic still lags far behind everyone else in the school. Adding insult to injury, she and her unlucky roommates find themselves stuck as the not-entirely symbolic sacrifices in one of Luna Nova’s Samhain traditions. Being devoured by an ancient ghost may not be fatal, but it’s definitely not pleasant.
In this case, I’m actually 100% behind Akko in her outrage. More to the point, the magical shenanigans she gets up to as a result of her frustrations aren’t even her fault this time. A mischievous magic mirror puts her in the very awkward position of stepping into Diana’s shoes (not to mention the rest of her ensemble). It’s pretty contrived, but I can get behind it.
At least she uses it to take petty revenge on Hannah and Barbara. And really, wouldn’t you?
This is mostly an excuse for Akko to peek a little deeper into Little Miss Perfect’s life. What she finds is someone deeply invested in the history and current state of magic, as we’ve seen in prior episodes. This seems to be laying the foundation for a change in the antagonistic relationship between the two, which I more than welcome. As funny as it is to watch Diana berate Akko for her temper and impropriety, it’s clear that they both share a love of magic I hope we get to explore further.
The episode ends with Akko going back to the Fountain of Polaris for another beautiful look into Chariot’s past at Luna Nova. There are a few questions raised by this that I won’t spoil here, but considering the show’s deft handling of plot points so far, I’m confident we’ll learn more about what’s going on in the not-too-distant future.
While mostly serving as setup, episode 12 is another top-notch entry. It uses the show’s now-familiar formula and takes it in interesting directions based on how Akko has started to mature, and the growing responsibility Ursula has taken on for her.
As we hit the rough halfway mark of the series, I find myself delighted. Every time I’ve begun to wonder if LWA is starting to fall into a rut, it puts out something more substantial to chew on. Just as I was questioning if Akko would forever remain a spell-less blunder, she starts to develop legitimate skill. Perhaps it’s just falling in line with my own hopes for the show, but it makes the experience of watching it a real treat. I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Samhain brings for Akko, Diana, and the rest of the Luna Nova students.