Upon learning that Croix was a contemporary of Shiny Chariot, Akko attempts to mine the new teacher for information, but it is instead the opposite which happens. Summoning Akko and the Shiny Rod to her new laboratory, Croix puts her student under and seeks to gain insight into the latter’s relationship with the staff. Worried that Croix has more immediately nefarious things in mind, Ursula/Chariot rushes to Akko’s aid. After she breaks through some of Croix’s security measures, the former classmates trade biting remarks with each other before Akko is returned unharmed. When Akko regains consciousness, Ursula explains to her the basics behind the Shiny Rod and the power sealed within the Arcturus woods.
One sec, folks – the first thing I’ve gotta do, as someone who watched his share of Sabrina the Teenage Witch when I was a lad in the late 90s, is appreciate this reference:
I will say that 2nd place in what appears to be a transfiguration tournament seems like a jab that’s just a little bit cruel, since Salem Saberhagen, who was indeed a witch (warlock?), spent the series in the form of a black cat because Witch Court was punishing him for attempted world domination. I’ll take it, though – what a nostalgia bomb.
Fun fact: another picture of Croix, with almost exactly the same face, did appear back in episode 3 in the Luna Nova Cup trophy case to the lower left of Chariot’s victory photo, but a lack of apparent organization and an apparent shortage of photos from intervening years (and a zoomed-in shot showing fewer columns than the wide shots) make it impossible to tell what year either of them were in during their respective victories.
Furthermore, Akko (who knows almost everything about Chariot) supposes Croix (who graduated in 2007) to be her idol’s senior, but Diana guesses Ursula’s graduating year (judging by what book she picks out after talking with her) as 2005 (which raises the question of what Diana is going to do if she doesn’t find an entry in any year for Chariot’s current alter ego…).
Two more pieces of potentially conflicting information are Croix’s claim that Ursula gave up the name Chariot ten years ago, and a memory of Croix’s that appears to be Chariot finding the Shiny Rod in Arcturus. If we assume that Chariot herself graduated prior to putting on magic shows, it would then follow that she was Croix’s senior (since Croix graduated ten years ago), but Croix’s presence when she received the Shiny Rod suggests that she wasn’t (largely due to how young she looks in Croix’s memory).
Man, this is hurting my brain. Let’s get to some more catnip.
I liked seeing who isn’t going gaga over Croix’s modern magic doo-dads, mostly because I’m predicting that they’ll come down opposite the schemer if/when the battle lines ever get drawn for real. As implied last episode, Finneran remains distrustful, and the flight instructor (whose name… may have been given to us? I think it’s Nelson) might have her back. On the student side, Diana is not impressed, and Amanda is clearly not having very good luck with her… router? I think the real question here, though, is how Constanze and her own techno-magic are going to play into this, especially since she as a character existed (in the Enchanted Parade OVA) prior to Croix (who I believe is new as of this series).
So the actual stor- wait, wait – one more thing. Every time a newspaper has been on screen since episode 3, there’s been a article about the Shooting Star being sighted in some new location. After about the second time that this happened, I’ve been pretty sure that it’s been leading up to a triumphant return, and now that someone has actually mentioned it out loud, I’m double sure. I’ll consider it reparations for that thing that flew away in the first episode of Petite Princess Yucie and never came back.
Where was I?
So, uh, the actual point of this episode is to give us a better idea of Croix’s target and methods, to start the slow drip of revealing what happened between her and Chariot (with a little action thrown in to keep the pacing up), and to roll out the stakes with a majestic scene where Ursula tells and shows Akko the significance of the Shiny Rod.
Little Witch Academia continues to be deftly written (with the possible exception of the age question) and tightly directed, with likeable characters, an intriguing story, solid action and delicious humor.
This is definitely a show to savor.