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Little Witch Academia – 11

「ブルームーン」 (Burū Mūn)
“Blue Moon”

It’s good to see that Little Witch Academia is keeping up with the development this episode, because considering it’s track record there was a very good chance it would simply lose interest and—oh look, a butterfly!

Character development can only come from a capacity for self-reflection, and I’m glad to see that Akko continues to show that she is capable of that. Of course, the confident, shoot-first-questions-later Akko is more fun but the secret ingredient in giving any character depth is doubt. Doubt is what prompts exploration, and doubt makes Akko interesting. And this episode takes Akko’s partners in crime out of the picture entirely to focus squarely on exploring Akko’s doubts, so you know they’re serious about it.

And it’s not just ‘mere’ character development here, too! Almost half way through its run, LWA‘s plot finally rears its head again, and no mention of the plot can go without the involvement of Shiny Chariot. In particular, I suppose it’s time to stop playing coy about the Ursula/Chariot connection. Even if you haven’t watched the OVAs, I’m sure you’ve had an inkling of it for some time now. They’re both around the same age. They both attended Luna Nova. They could even be… classmates! Classmates!

…Yes, they’re the same person. Glad we got that out of the way.

But is Ursula secretly Shiny Chariot, or is Shiny Chariot secretly Ursula? Does Bruce Wayne dress up as Batman, or does Batman dress up as Bruce Wayne? Akko insists that she’s aspired, since childhood, to ‘be Shiny Chariot‘, but if (if) Chariot is but an act that Ursula puts on, what does that mean for Akko’s dream?

Asking the moon for advice, though, is definitely the wrong way to go about it, though. Here’s where we can read some symbolism into LWA, if only because the cards motif makes it obvious. Know about Tarot? It’s Tarot, right? In the allegory of the Tarot, the Moon, XVIII, represents not just mystery but also deception, leading our hero (the Fool—who might play that role in LWA?) astray. And indeed, the apparition of the blue moon tests Akko more than counsels her. It is opposed, naturally, by Shiny Chariot, the sign of the Star, the guiding light that inspires Akko.

…Or maybe Shiny Chariot’s sign is the, er, Chariot. I dunno, Tarot is very much ‘make it up as you go’.

For now, LWA insinuates a bunch of plot, and Akko is set on a mission, even if she may not quite know of it yet. I know some has expressed doubts about whether LWA actually wants an overarching plot, but it still seems, at its heart, nominally a magical girl show. And that means Akko has to go forth and collect the seven Dragon Balls words/staff lights/whatever. It’s a useful magical girl tradition, turning fluffy hopes and dreams into a more tangible fetch-quest. There’s a progress metre! I think we’re set for the rest of the series.

March 20, 2017 at 7:47 am
26 comments »
  • March 20, 2017 at 8:04 amAzureDivinity

    I can’t wait for the eventual reveal to Akko though. We all know Ursula is Shiny Chariot but I just can’t wait to see Akko’s reaction to finding out the truth.

  • March 20, 2017 at 8:16 amjhpace1

    I see Professor Ursula as Shiny Chariot grown up. She tried to revitalize magic to an audience of people, but the nay-sayers (like a younger version of that politician?) were not convinced. And Ursula found out that she had to live a life, not a concert.

    The TV series being different from the OVA series, with the dragon’s mortgage and such, somehow Akko needs to keep magic from, not being destroyed, but being forgotten. As more than a “charm school for talented girls” school. Not relevant as in “battle witches”, but in fulfilling a niche more than Shiny Chariot the pop idol. Professor Ursula is obviously at the bottom of the totem pole with her sister witches, but she can support Akko.

    • March 21, 2017 at 9:07 amqwert

      There’s more to Ursula than growing up, there’s an air of disappointment and failure. I’m sure Ursula used to be in Akko’s shoes, she had the right attitude, and was in the right place at the right time to gain possession of the shiny rod. But something happened and the shiny rod abandoned her. She didn’t just fail to bring magic to her audience’s she failed at the task Akko has now taken up to likely bring magic back to the world. And that’s how we went from the cheerful Chariot to the more sullen Ursula.

  • March 20, 2017 at 9:06 amBigFire

    Bruce Wayne is Batman dressed up. In one of Batman the Animation episode, Batman realized that he’s in a dream because he ALWAYS think of himself as Batman, and Bruce Wayne is just his alter ego.

    • March 20, 2017 at 12:26 pmGoukaRyuu

      Exactly. That’s the nice dichotomy between Batman and Superman. When Batman is physically wearing a mask he is his true self and when he is not and is Bruce Wayne he actually is wearing his mask. When Superman is wearing his mask, the glasses, he is Clark Kent and that is who he truly is. When he takes the mask off he is actually wearing one as Superman.

    • March 20, 2017 at 2:55 pmPasserby

      Quite so. But I would like to think that Batman’s character is a bit more nuanced than that. If you recall, Perchance to Dream climaxes with Show Spoiler ▼

      I think the best interpretations of Batman (like the animated series one, because that was a great show) bleeds the two sides into each other and have Batman struggling with issues concerning his humanity and personal happiness, the kind of things Bruce Wayne represents.

      • March 21, 2017 at 10:17 amGoukaRyuu

        That’s true. It’s why you can look at him as insane and compare him to the Joker.

  • March 20, 2017 at 9:14 amsithstormjedi

    Now if the entire series could be like this that’d be great. I really thought that the entire series would be entirely shenanigans. I dont mind the character focused episodes such as Sucy or Lotte’s since they develop the characters a bit more, but the episodes like the LoveBee one feel like a throwaway or a diversion from the “main” path of Akko attaining her dream.

    • March 20, 2017 at 9:38 amAndmeuths

      If Andrew is the Satsuki Kiyurin and his father is the Ragyo of this series, odds are, the Bee Episode is crucial for establishing why Andrew might defy his father.

  • March 20, 2017 at 9:22 amVelvet Scarlantina

  • March 20, 2017 at 9:32 amVelvet Scarlantina

    http://randomc.net/image/Little%20Witch%20Academia/Little%20Witch%20Academia%20-%2011%20-%20Large%2029.jpg
    “Don’t erase it!”
    “It’s full of failures and mistakes I’ve made, but I don’t want it to be erased!”
    “The teasrs and frustration and laughter, they’re all part of me!”
    “It’s my life, and it doesn’t belong to anybody else!”
    “I’ve lived it as hard as I could”

    That is by far the most powerful declaration I’ve seen thus far this season.

    “I’ve only lived 18 years, but I don’t want to change any of them. They’re all part of my life, even the failures.”
    - Makise Kuristina

  • March 20, 2017 at 9:37 amAndmeuths

    IMO, if the plot this episode is suggesting is indeed the over-arching plot of LWA, there has only been a handful of plot-relevant episodes. Episodes 1, 2, 5, 6, possibly 10 and 11. 2, because it introduces Diana and characterizes her effectively. 5, because it shows to some degree the decline of Luna Nova and magic in particular. 6, because it introduces a potential antagonist in the magic in decline plot (Andrew’s father) and marks a crucial stage in Akko’s character development. 10, if it does turn out that the future plot requires Andrew to defy his father and forge his own path. And of course 11, which spells out a clear quest with definite objectives – that Ursula/Shiny Chariot knows… but AKko doesn’t yet, as well as a project Diana is embarking on that probably will intersect with the fetch quest plot and the magic in decline plot.

    • March 20, 2017 at 3:10 pmPasserby

      Well, there’s 26 episodes and only seven Dragon Balls, so I guess LWA intends to take it easy with the plot.

  • March 20, 2017 at 2:53 pmmac65

    It seems like random things happen to advance the characters and plot.
    Don’t get me wrong, I like the series. It just doesn’t seem like there’s a
    rhyme or reason (really) for how things get started in an episode. There
    was no hint that a blue moon was significant in their world; could’ve been
    a solar eclipse or whatever. I kinda get that they’re making it up each week
    rather than working from a series story-board. Or that another person existed
    via some secret stairs – and what the hell happened to the squirrel!

    Oops, I digressed a bit… Oh well, it not a criticism and I can’t wait to see
    where it finally goes.

    • March 20, 2017 at 3:05 pmPasserby

      LWA does seem to be the kind of show to pull stuff out of the aether as it goes, but hopefully this episode will establish enough lore for them to draw on in the future for their plot hooks. And if a giant squirrel pops up in a later episode to cause grief for our girls, I will be thoroughly tickled.

  • March 20, 2017 at 4:32 pmTarage

    http://randomc.net/image/Little%20Witch%20Academia/Little%20Witch%20Academia%20-%2011%20-%20Large%2006.jpg

    You hear a knock on the door and see a genki baka in the window… WHAT DO YOU DO?!

    • March 22, 2017 at 4:10 pmSyaoran Li

      I can’t tell why, but that face of Ursula right here bothers me a lot.

  • March 20, 2017 at 5:42 pmstarss

    *plot and world-building is as heavy as its ever been this week, we now know the significance of the Shiny Rod, and we have tiny hints as to how the series can end*

    …. So what was all this about ditching the coverage for this show past the first cour???

    • March 21, 2017 at 1:06 amPasserby

      New season, there’s a shuffle, and I’ve already said quite a bit about this show, haven’t I? We’ll see what happens.

  • March 20, 2017 at 5:47 pmstarss

    BTW, so old Professor Woodword is the spirit who appears in the opening! Good to know after all those tests with Shenron.

  • March 20, 2017 at 7:09 pmRedRocket

    Interesting elements. Really like it.

    Considering Diana not having side kicks around when she gets serious I have concluded Diana probably does not even want those two around. I think Diana tolerates them because they are daughters of the rich and powerful as well, just not as rich and powerful as her. Plus sometime it nice to be around people even if they not the crowd you would really want. I get that with both of the side kicks going to the party with Diana they must be thought of as acceptable in society. Diana has never seamed the type who needs others praising her, I get that from the fact that Diana does not participate in the bullying her sidekicks do, Diana only points out real flaws when the situation demands. As the magical lock went away for Diana she gains new knowlage that the newer traditional way of doing things had repressed. Only as the situation become truly desperate I believe Diana is allowed to see the archive. I wait to see if Diana goes villain from getting the wrong secret or becomes the other half of solving the problem with Akko. Paired with Akko, I see Diana as the Spock to Akko’s Kirk.

  • March 20, 2017 at 7:33 pmBear

    YES! Finally! Best episode since the OVA. This is what I (at least) came for.

  • March 21, 2017 at 3:24 amShahir

  • March 21, 2017 at 4:12 amJeffers

    excellent episode!!!! but this episode also showed some possible major plots in the future like: the possibility that diana will steal the shiny rod once she realized it is the claiomh solais. you can see that diana has some sort of strong desire for something and this is supported by her “perfect witch” act (which i see nothing but a way to win the professors’ trust) and pride

    and… as an astrophotographer, the big dipper isnt classified as 7 star because the sixth star has a companion (alcor and mizar; and they do showed the 8th star in the OP) and i wonder how this will impact the story (probably unlocking the 6th would require 2 spells or words as how they call it?, probably that missing premium card in akko’s collection of chariot cards has a role on it).

    anyway, good thing that this will be covered for the next season. we are into some story now so it would be a waste in randomc will stop covering it (because there’s indeed a lot of good anime to watch in spring line up)

  • March 23, 2017 at 1:05 amGray.

    Why do i think the show will have a time skip?
    This “Villain” looks like Diana to me Òó

    http://randomc.net/image/Little%20Witch%20Academia/Little%20Witch%20Academia%20-%2011%20-%2033.jpg

  • March 23, 2017 at 4:38 amronelm2000

    I’m liking how this series is now WMG-able.

    I think the part of witches suddenly needing Sorcerer’s Stone piques my interest.

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