Akko is now on a mission to get all the words and restore magic! She must read, she must find strength, and she must persevere. Before all that though, Amanda O’Neil is really bored and wants to cause some mischief before she gets expelled from Luna Nova. She also totally doesn’t feel like this everyday….today is definitely the day she’s gonna quit school…definitely….
Deceived into going after the Holy Grail at Appleton Academy, Akko and Amanda get caught up in a “Knight” of trouble together (*snicker*). It turns out that Andrew is a student at Appleton. Will he aid Akko and Amanda, or will he stand behind Appleton’s tranditions regarding hatred towards witches?
Akko is certainly determined to get the sacred words and help with the restoration of all magic, but that doesn’t mean Trigger isn’t gonna take a pit stop to throw a party.
Episode 16 brings Andrew back into the equation, and instead of meeting him like a one-off character, we get to see him in a more natural setting. Like Episode 15, this one is…more or less “filler” but it does some good things.
Firstly, it re-establishes the fact that witches are thought of as vermin to the outside world. The show needs this reminder because otherwise it would feel like Croix is just a boring old villian. It’s not hard to see why she and Chariot have disparaging viewpoints about the future of magic, nor why Croix would choose a path that’s 100% divergent from traditional magic. If I was a Witch that was actively being persecuted and thrown into iron maidens, I’d totally invent a magic storing, tablet controlled thingamabob and smack everyone around with my Wand Justice!
Dude…you need some serious Wand Justice right about now
The second critical piece of this episode is Amanda. If you count this out, there are seven sacred words for Shiny Rod. There are also seven important characters (including Akko) that have been a part of our LWA journey. They aren’t always working together, but in their own way, they all love magic, and have aided Akko at various stages in the journey to her inevitable destiny. The show seems to understand this and takes the time in this episode to give the spotlight to someone other than the core-three. Amanda is notoriously a troublemaker, but through Ep. 16 you realize it’s not out of malicious intent. It’s out of the undending desire to experience adventure.
Amanda and Akko’s journey through Appleton is not terribly interesting aside from you the viewer getting to look at pretty architecture. Akko and Andrew have an important chat where she digs deeper into his emotional armor by once again asking the question, “What is is that YOU want to do with YOUR life”. While this isn’t central to the plot about destiny and magic restoration, I really love this angle. Akko is the representation of straightforward bullheadedness. Whether or not you agree with the way she does things, she does it her own way, in her own time, with her own sense of flair. To some degree we are all Andrew Hanbridges. Trapped within our own confines and constraints, and it’s important for us (and Andrew, of course), to be challenged in our way of thinking about life.
Where things get exciting for this episode is during the duel. Akko and Amanda inevitably find the Holy Grail hidden in Appleton, but they are captured and almost tortured by the douchey Louis Blackwell. Andrew comes to their rescue (because Akko couldn’t rescue the broadside of a barn) and reminds Louis that Appleton has a way of settling desputes, and that way, is sword duels.
The duel sequence is epic, and got my blood pumping with its Revolutionary Girl Utena-like speed and camera work. When the grail is broken and its secret is revealed, Trigger cracks its knuckles and pulls out some radical artistry for demon armor and the battle that follows.
Like last episode, this episode is mostly a distraction. Croix is clearly gathering data, so the wild goose chase that Amanda and Akko go on is aiding her. Since we don’t know the endgame, this all just feels like a one-off affair. That being said, it’s a fun on-off affair. Amanda gets a moment in the sun, the artistry is top notch for the fight scenes and architecture (but suffers in terms of facial expressions and crowd scenes), and maybe good old Andrew is starting to come around.
If I had to complain about something this episode, it would be that Amanda goes from wanting to be kicked out of school, to being apologetic and wanting to go back, in the span of this episode. It makes the whole thing feel a touch contrived.
My other complaint is of course…that Diana is not present, and may in fact be in need of aid.
What do you MEAN Diana is in trouble?!?! NOOOOOO!!!
I’ll leave you with a parting gift. The best villian face ever.