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.
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.
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…
…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.
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 –
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In almost the background of the show, Andrew is having his own quiet arc.
Real talk, though, Andrew – you may always feel the need to look proper, but some of the poses you strike look ridiculously uncomfortable.
Maybe take some more cues from Akko.
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?