With Akko nowhere to be found after the protest, her classmates begin to worry. Diana calls out Ursula/Chariot, and extracts some significant context to the recent goings-on. As Ursula no longer has the nerve to face Akko, Diana proceeds to rally Lotte, Sucy, and the B crew to help track down their wayward friend.
All too soon, the endgame is about to begin. This episode serves to wrap up the last of our major loose ends and brings us right to the very edge of the climactic confrontation with Croix. Notably, a third of the episode is a flashback that finally fills in the details of Croix and Chariot’s interactions ten years ago.
Something that bugs me about the flashback is that I’m not sure exactly how to feel about the whole Dream Fuel Spirit thing. Chariot seems shocked when Croix details the process after a few shows, but the wording is so similar to what Croix said to convince Chariot to start using it in the first place that I feel like Chariot’s guilt is supposed to stem primarily from being unable to tell what exactly she was doing. That angle doesn’t really seem to be in text of the show, though – and I think the reason for that involves a dissimilarity between my culture and Japanese culture.
From my limited exposure to the latter in anime, it seems to me that it would be frowned upon if not totally unacceptable to claim any kind of extenuating circumstance that led to any end result that you were involved in. Are you an admiral who limped back to Earth in a totaled battleship after one of your captains orchestrated a noble sacrifice with his even more damaged ship to prevent the entire fleet from getting routed? Hope you’re ready sit in silence while his younger brother cusses you out as a murderer for, like, the rest of your life even though you made the best decisions you could with the information you had at the time, there was really no way he was ever going to survive contact with your dramatically superior foes, and it was his idea to heroically serve the greater good by providing an escape opportunity for as many as could take it (it’s been a while since I’ve seen Space Battleship Yamato, but I think that’s how it goes down because I remember it really bothering me how nobody ever told anyone else what happened). Similarly, did your best friend trick you into burning the magical faculties of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people? Even if you couldn’t have known that that’s what you were doing, that’s what you did, and your psychopathic associate can carry on her merry way and hold it over you whenever she wants because she didn’t actually do squat. God, how is your entire country not populated exclusively by schemers and backstabbers for lack of any disincentive to-
As far as Croix’s interactions with Akko, I think it’s worth remembering that her plan to brute-force the seal on the Triskelion is only going to get the chance to work if she can complete it before Akko can unlock it properly with Claiomh Solais. Surely Croix considers the odds of the dunce actually pulling it off to be pretty small, and her main priority remains completing her work without anyone suspecting her role in the recent tumult, but, if, in the course of her other activities, she had opportunity to misdirect Akko (as in the Amanda episode) or distance her from Chariot (as in the previous episode)… eh, it was worth a shot (even if some of the attempts failed, as in the episode with the tree Wagandea [side note – did Ursula say that Wagandea goes up forever? Even pre-civilization Yggdrasil was shown on a globe in space in episode 15’s history lesson – what is going ooonnn]).
Back to the present, Diana’s conversation with Akko also seemed to come right up to what I would consider to be the main point without actually saying it or even making any particular effort to imply it. The way I figure it, assuming Diana and Akko idolized Shiny Chariot equally in their youths, Diana was already being taught magic when the event occurred, and had, as the heiress of one of the most venerable witch lineages in the world, access to resources well beyond even the average witch. Akko, on the other hand, probably had no reliable information about magic and didn’t even meet another witch for ten years. A more fair comparison in ability than the two girls now might be Akko now compared to Diana as an eight-year-old.
At any rate, all of the players are now ready for the final battle (or as ready as they’re going to get).
This episode felt a little bit obtuse to me, even if it did answer a question I’ve been asking myself for a while now (Whadjya do to the MOON, Chariot?). Most of the drama works pretty well, though, and Diana’s time in the spotlight is well spent.
Keep an eye out for Sucy’s effort to keep Lotte’s tears in her face, too – it’s classic.