I don’t mind the lighthearted shenanigans of Little Witch Academia but in my opinion it’s episodes like this that will truly make the show memorable. After ten episodes of mere hints as to the state of magic and it’s history we get a truckload of answers. Why is magic being considered antiquated? Because magic is declining and less witches are being born into the world. What is Ursula’s past? Much like Akko, she chased after her own Icon in the form of professor Woodward, one of the great witches. What is the plot of Little Witch Academia? Akko must activate the magic words of Shiny rod(Claiomh Solais) and bring back magic to the world. As it stands Akko has activated two of the words, strangely the spell she said in the second episode doesn’t seem to count. We even get a small glimpse of an antagonist and strangely it wasn’t the horned woman who turned out to be Professor Woodward. It’s nice to see Ursula get some development though rather silly that Akko is too oblivious to notice her connections to Shiny Chariot. Even the Bird in Ursula’s room should have been a massive giveaway. Though perhaps I don’t give her enough credit as in her dream it showed at first Ursula from behind before switching to Chariot while repeating Ursula’s words. At least on a subconscious level, I think she’s beginning to catch on. Either way, with a task given to her by Woodward I think Ursula is going to buckle down on Akko’s training. If so I hope they go further with the bond the two have in this master student relationship.
Can I just say just how refreshing it is to see anime make references to Irish Mythology? I admit that as an Irishman I am biased in that regard but it’s just so refreshing to see something referenced that isn’t bloody leprechauns. Today we know the real name of Shiny rod and that is Claiomh Solais which strangely enough translated to “Shining Sword”. Considering that it has the ability to transform into a bow and an axe I say that it is highly likely that it also has the ability to transform into a sword. I also really loved the celtic theme that played when Ursula was talking to Woodward. Quite marvelous. This episode was a bit of a retread of the fountain of polaris as Akko once again seeks out something detailed in her Shiny Chariot cards. Though with the fountain she was seeking a quick path to becoming a great witch, here she is just trying to see if she has the potential to become Shiny Chariot. While the reason for seeking it out is different, the lesson is more or less the same. In a way it’s sort of regression that Akko needs to learn that there are no shortcuts for her a second time. It is understandable that she is losing patience with her constant failures with magic though she has made progress. The weakest part of this episode was the choice that Akko was presented as giving up her past in exchange for being Shiny Chariot was out of the question from the start. There was no tension in the choice because the choice was obvious. Otherwise I consider this a great episode of the show and one it sorely needed at this point.
My biggest worry at the moment is that with the story laid out this will mean we return to the more episodic nature of previous episodes. After this development I don’t think people would have the patience for the show to sideline it so that we can see Akko have some one off adventure with little consequence. One of the things that could suggest this return is that while Sucy and Lotte have gotten their own individual episodes, there’s still Amanda and her whole crew that have yet to get the spotlight. Not saying I wouldn’t want an Amanda or Constance episode but if we are going to get one I would wish it would push forward some kind of plot. Diana may have gotten a large amount of screentime but I feel she has become a Mary Sue with the antagonistic aspects of her removed. I originally applauded this change as I thought this would put more focus on her contrast with Akko but unfortunately she just has been disconnected with the stories so far. So in order for this show to really shine we need Akko to work towards finding these words while developing the side cast of characters. One last thing, was Sucy meditating at the start of the episode? That’s a pretty interesting detail.