Little Witch Academia – 06
「ポラリスの泉」 (Porarisu no Izumi )
“The Fountain of Polaris”
First, an aside about noble titles, because I’m sure this will come up again later and it’ll just keep irking me if I don’t address it. Our main blue blood this episode, Lord Andrew here, is styled the Viscount of Appleton in the subs. But he’s not ‘The’ Viscount of Appleton. Of course not. The Viscount of Appleton would be his father. In a system of hereditary peerage, unless the Queen goes out of her way to actually do something, the place to get a title is from your father, and the way to do it is to wait for your father to die. Alas, dear old dad is still kicking, so no luck there short of tried and true assassination. ‘Wait, isn’t his father the Earl of Hanbridge?’ I hear a soul who’s never experienced a hierarchical class system ask. Sure, but he can also be the Viscount of Appleton (and probably the Baron of Baronham or something as well). Apparently these guys can just hoard a bunch of peerages. Someone with this many titles, though, don’t really use them all at once, so they’re allowed to let their eldest son (i.e. the heir, because primogeniture), use one of them. And hence his son gets to be called Viscount of Appleton. But, again, he’s not ‘The’ Viscount of Appleton. Little Andrew is still a commoner; they’re just letting him use one of his dad’s titles out of courtesy. So no definite article. Don’t do it.
A bunch of stupid rules, perhaps, but rules are what separates humanity from the anarchy of beasts.
Now, jumping to the opposite of inherited privilege, the moral of this week’s episode: that there’s no substitute for hard work. Often in stories like Little Witch Academia, the protagonist will go out of her way to find a fast way to ace their exams or win their love interest or conquer whatever immediate goal is set for her. And those never, ever work. I guess we need to teach the children that there’s no magical shortcut past life’s hardships (because that’s, of course, what the parents’ money is for). Curiously, in LWA it’s not that the Fountain of Polaris doesn’t exist or even doesn’t work, it’s just that Akko has to earn the magic first. That’s less a magical shortcut and more Excalibur; I guess when Akko proves herself worthy (after a lot of character growth, no doubt), she gets to be the Queen of England.
The other question is whether all the effort is going to be ultimately worth it. The actual Shiny Chariot does seem a lot more jaded than in her days of idealistic youth, and we already know she’s not particularly respected in the magic community. And there’s also the continued theme about how nobody wants to study magic anymore. I don’t actually understand why people keep banging on about magic being an obsolete relic of the past. It can turn rats into horses. What else can turn rats into horses? Nothing. Don’t you think the world could use a few less rats and a few more horses?
In any case, it’s a bit rich hearing the Earl of Whatever talk about outdated anarchisms. Tell me, old man, how many people need an Earl these days? Yeah, I thought so.