Rolling Review – Little Witch Academia (22)

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Dun dun dunnnnnn!

 

Episode Synopsis:

The riots from the soccer matches, and the enmity between the countries, have worsened.  Britain’s leaders, Andrew’s father among them, have begun down a path towards confrontation with another continental nation, probably France (although they are not named).  Of course, this has nothing to do with Akko… until she discovers that Croix is using her techno-magic to keep the two sides angry as a way to create additional magical energy and pursue some kind of dramatic end-game.  She confronts Croix, and the fallout from this leads to the reveal of Shiny Chariot, the cause of her disappearance, and a dark secret that may stop Akko from pursuing the Words.

Episode Review:

Before we get too deep into the review, I just want to say that Andrew’s dad is pretty good at cutting a dramatic figure, even when he really shouldn’t.

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This is a man that knows how to turn off a television with extreme prejudice

 

Before we go any further, though, I think it’s appropriate to post a SPOILER WARNING here.  We generally do spoil most of our episodes as we review them, but this one is a lot more spoiler-y than usual, in the sense that it would be a lot more dramatic and impactful to watch this episode than read about it.

At last, we’ve reached the pivotal point of the season.  Croix’s plan has left the lab and moved onto a national stage, a crisis is rising, and the major arcs of Akko, Croix, Ursula, Andrew, and probably Diana are all getting ready to intersect.  Now, I’ll be the first to admit that Croix’s plan is not super original as far as anime villain plots go.  Gaining power from negative emotions and using them to do… whatever it is she’s planning…

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With a name like that, you just know this plan isn’t going to be puppies and rainbows

…is a pretty standard trope.  That said, the explanation of this large plan was given alongside the explanation as to why Akko is basically the world’s worst witch (Shiny Chariot’s show accidentally? intentionally? stole the audience’s magical aptitude to generate magical energy), and that actually did a really good job of tying together many of the things that have bugged us all season.  That event is why Akko is bad at magic, why she can’t fly on a broom, and also explains why Ursula was so reluctant to reveal herself as Shiny Chariot.  It’s not just that Ursula would have to deal with Akko fangirling on her for the rest of her school life, she also would have to explain her very dark past and risk losing both Akko’s friendship and (perhaps more importantly for Ursula) Akko’s pursuit of the Words.

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Of course, putting off this painful explanation means that it happened at the worst possible time instead

So, nice job on that one, Trigger, it explains a lot in one fell swoop.  Of course, we don’t know everything yet; there’s still more to learn about Croix and Ursula’s relationship, as well as –

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OK, what?  Ursula, you have some SERIOUS explaining to do.  I thought that was a charming background detail, but the shape on the moon is RELEVANT!?  We’d better circle back around to this, and soon.

Akko is, of course, emotionally devastated by the revelations, and now I’m sure it’ll be up to her friends to get her back on track.

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Plus, someone’s going to have to stop, or at least hold off, Croix before there’s another European war.  Come on, Diana (and maybe McGonagall), show me what you’re made of!

With the big drama going on, there are a number of other musings I want to touch on.  For one, Croix’s reveal does have one major plot pitfall (other than its standard-ness) – no part of it appears to hinge on Akko or the Shiny Rod at all, at least at this point.  So why did Croix spend so much time befriending Akko?  Her reveal didn’t take the form of a dramatic betrayal of some trust Akko had in her; Akko basically stumbled onto Croix as the plan was beginning; Croix was surprised to see her there at all.

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Was it just to hurt Ursula?  Maybe, but that doesn’t seem like it was a major goal either, just kind of a side project for Croix.  In short, I don’t know why Croix ever played “good professor” with Akko, but maybe there’s more to come.

 

Next up, the riots.

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They make a strong statement

As silly as it is to imagine Britain and France going to war over a controversial referee call in a soccer match, I do have to wonder how European viewers are feeling about the show.  Here in America, I’m pretty used to my country being represented as a shady, immoral, vaguely threatening but usually incompetent villain that menaces Japan from afar.  Or to the assumption that all US citizens are either gun-toting cowboys (for the men) or blonde airheads (for the women).  It’s… a depressingly common portrayal in anime.  But now, out of the blue, it’s Europe’s turn, and their characterization is being one soccer riot away from a war.

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So to any of our European readers – what are your feelings on this episode?  Leave us a comment; I’d be fascinated to read it.

 

Also of note: Andrew’s character development.  Andrew’s difficult relationship with his powerful, brook-no-interference father, and how the heavy burden of his father’s expectations of future leadership is weighing on him, are their own small but well-told story.

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In almost the background of the show, Andrew is having his own quiet arc.

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Real talk, though, Andrew – you may always feel the need to look proper, but some of the poses you strike look ridiculously uncomfortable.

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Seriously, what are you doing?

Maybe take some more cues from Akko.

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Bad example.  That looks a lot more fun… but still uncomfortable to hold

Finally, as we approach the endgame of what has been an enjoyable ride, I do find myself feeling a tinge of regret: I don’t feel like we really got enough time with Lotte, Sucy, or the academia part of Little Witch Academia.  Well, maybe they can do a sequel, or a spinoff or something.  LWA Gaiden: Diana and her Terrible Toadies?


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4 thoughts on “Rolling Review – Little Witch Academia (22)

  1. I theorized that magic is like any form of energy, it cannot be created nor destroyed, just transferred or transformed. As for Akko, her magic is related to Diana’s. However, how Diana got her magic back is simple.She didn’t get her original magic, her mother transferred all her magic into Diana. After her mother died, Diana learned about the seventh word which meant sacrifice. Diana interpreted that sacrifice meant that her mother took her own life to ensure that she has magic and Diana has since them blamed herself for her mother’s death. I’m pretty sure that when Diana learns that Chariot was the one responsible for her loss of magic and was Ursula, Diana might forgive Ursula for robbing her of her magic but will never forgive her for taking her mother away.

    Akko will attempt to leave Luna Nova only to be stopped by Diana and Akko’s friends. Akko revealed that her whole dream was a big lie and Diana was right to call her a fraud as she worshiped the one who caused all these problems and responsible for her suffering. Diana counters that Akko has proven a true witch and hugs her in the process. Diana will bring up all the past noble deeds Akko has done and finally revealed her condition to Akko. Despite losing her ability to do magic, Akko did many amazing things all the while Diana had to use her mother’s magic. Diana was proud that Akko was not a rival but a kindred spirit as they both love magic. It was at this point, Akko learned about the meaning of the seventh word and went to the Fountain of Polaris where it saw Akko’s maturity and granted her new magic to prepare for the final battle.

    The meaning of the seventh word, sacrifice. Despite all the hardships and both the light and dark of the world, one able to risked their own life to defend others is proof that one is worthy to be the master of the Grand Triskellion. Potential spoilers, Akko will disappear leaving everyone to believe that Akko was killed in bringing back magic leaving Chariot to confess that she robbed magic because she was a coward to sacrifice her own life but now Akko has taken her place. Suddenly, the Grand Triskellion restored everyone’s magic and Akko returned, alive showing what the seventh word meant. Akko has proven that she was not only the keeper of the Grand Triskellion but officially inducted into the Olde Witches not known as the Ten Olde Witches.

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    1. Ooh, quite the intriguing theory; you’ve really thought of some good details. I definitely agree that the Fountain of Polaris is going to come up soon, to give Akko a much-needed boost. I’ll be interested to see how Croix’s plan for the Grand Triskellion will intersect with Akko trying to open the seventh word. And of course, Diana’s Shiny Chariot card will have to come into play.

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