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Little Witch Academia – 13

「サムハインの魔法」 (Samuhain no Mahō)
“Samhain’s Magic”

I guess you could call this an action finale. Our protagonists are called upon to fight a giant ghost with nothing but quirky Disney transformations and sparkles, which made for a good show all around. Of course, it does seem like that all of Akko balloon-animal, since she needed to know about the magical weakpoint before she can lay the princess to rest, but let’s not detract from Akko’s triumphs. And this was her triumphant moment. After an entire cour basically bumbling about, being kicked around by her peers and the universe, Akko finally gets to show off how far she’s come magically, impress people who matter, and do something truly worthwhile. It’s a grand way to end this first half of LWA on a high note.

More important, perhaps, than Akko’s feel-good moment is her affect on the minor cast. For many of them, this is a turning point. For example, the ever perfect Diana finally feels doubt. And doubt means: character development! I suspect that she’s had this clear goal all her life, to restore magic, and was sure of her singular direction, but has lost sight of why she’s doing it. Along comes Akko, someone whom Diana had disrespected as being all-talk, and shows her up at this fancy magic festival. I think it’s good for Diana to have this ‘what am I fighting for?’ moment, if only because perfection is rather boring. She and Akko will surely continue to be good foils for each other, with one having the will, and the other the heart.

Of course, when it comes to the secondary cast, we must talk about Lotte and Sucy this episode. Just last week we were musing about their role in the plot, and this week it seems like LWA obliquely addresses the problem. The plain fact is, Lotte and Sucy do not have any investment in Akko’s ambitions. Sure, they’d stick together because they’re supposedly friends, but they weren’t inspired by Shiny Chariot, don’t really think much about revitalising magic, and don’t have this philosophy about using magic to make people happy. What are their ambitions? Not much. Take, for example, Sucy’s character episode. What did we learn about her in it? Basically nothing except ‘she likes mushrooms’ if you hadn’t gotten the hint already. And Lotte, of course, enjoys books but makes a point of studying magic just to take over her parent’s magic shop. Since the two don’t have much ambition, they don’t have much motivation, and without much motivation they don’t do much by their own volition. That’s the one of the tricky problems with a story without a major villain (yet) like LWA. Usually, the good guys can be counted on to rally together to defeat the bad guy, but when there’s no bad guy in sight, they just mill around. And such is the way of Lotte and Sucy; they have very natural reason to get involved in the plot, and have to instead be dragged into it, like they were this episode. I see this episode as a turning point for the two, where they start becoming proactive participants in Akko’s mission. I’m hoping that, in the future, they will muster the power of friendship not just because they are Akko’s designated sidekicks, but because they, too, believe in her dream.

So, lots of potential, juicy developments to look forward to in the future! However, this will be the last episode of Little Witch Academia I will be covering. That’s not to say coverage is going to cease here on Random Curiosity, it’s just that there’s going to be a new writer manning the post. They actually wrote their application on LWA, so I think their fan-passion. Hopefully you’ll enjoy their take on this show. And of course, I hope you’ve enjoyed mine as well, or if you haven’t, that you’ve found it fun to hate it. I’ll see you all in the rest of the Spring 2017 anime season.

April 4, 2017 at 6:11 am
21 comments »
  • April 4, 2017 at 6:56 amVelvet Scarlantina

    You jnow, I actually shed a tear in the episode

  • April 4, 2017 at 6:57 amZaiden

    Never forget, a believing heart is your magic ;_;

  • April 4, 2017 at 7:10 amJeffers

    FINALLY, an episode where akko trumped diana and yes, their performance is way much more WOW than diana’s. seriously, i have been waiting for this kind of episode for so long. i hope this is the start of akko’s journey to the top but, this also clearly the start of diana’s path to becoming a villain. and who’s hand is that in the end? LWA is getting exciting this past episodes.

  • April 4, 2017 at 9:38 amToto

    Although the fact that Akko and friends finally got their moment in the sun is cause for applause, I think it should be pointed out that it more or less all happened because for once Akko was motivated by something other than her own selfish desires to an extent. Reflecting upon what she saw in her vision of Chariot, she decided that she wanted to make the ghost smile. She still wanted to be the moonlight witch, but it took a backseat to a desire to do something for someone else, which is very much at odds with the “Me first” attitude Akko has displayed for much of the run.

    Of course, as always the real MVP here was Ursula. Without the critical aid she brought in at the last minute, the sacrifice would have gone as expected despite the detour into zany antics.

    • April 4, 2017 at 5:04 pmPasserby

      Well, Akko’s goal has always been ‘I want to be just like Chariot!’ but she did need to work out what that actually meant.

  • April 4, 2017 at 10:17 amKamui

    I think is funny because even though I liked the episode itself, I finally was able to understand why I’m not really liking the show as a whole. I simply don’t give a damn about Akko, Sucy or Lotte. I’m not saying that the girls are bad characters or anything, but I simply can’t muster any interest on them.

    It’s such a shame because I really wanted to like this show.

  • April 4, 2017 at 11:49 amChris hall

    great episode

  • April 4, 2017 at 1:00 pmGoukaRyuu

    This was easily the best episode of the series to date.

  • April 4, 2017 at 5:12 pmRedRocket

    And Akko learns she can make a living in comedy. And comedy is harder than drama and in this case even impressed the visiting VIP’s. And of course Akko is disqualified because she did not comply with her role. But of course Akko’s role of sacrifice ruled out her winning the competition in the first place talk about a catch 22.

    I don’t see Diana as villain I actually think of her and Akko eventually teaming up together after all Akko has shown she will work really long and hard on improving herself and as that is a trait Diana values highly as soon as Diana learns that Akko is now working hard her opinion should change. I have seen no signs of Diana being a snob, rather Diana has always shown respect for hard work and distain for slacking off. As far as Diana knows in the past Akko is a goof off cheater and thus Diana dislikes Akko but this episode might change that some.

    • April 4, 2017 at 9:24 pmdaikama

      @RedRocket: Don’t agree with your assessment entirely, but I do agree that Diana isn’t really a true villain. Of course my opinion of Diana may different than someone TV anime-only (not sure if you are) since I watched the original OVA. For whatever reason, the TV anime has tempered Diana’s character. She’s more haughty for sure (IMO) in the OVA.

      There’s a line in the OVA which really stood out to me where Diana says “Witches exist to be feared.” It’s definitely telling of Diana’s viewpoint on magic and witches She’s from a very famous, long line of witches and takes magic very seriously (no fun allowed. Magic is serious stuff) – the exact opposite of Akko which is why she’s such a good foil to Akko.

      But yeah, even in the OVA, Diana never reached villain levels IMO. Haughty & look down upon Akko? Sure, but it’s not like Diana went out her way to torment Akko or sabotage Akko.

      • April 5, 2017 at 11:19 amRedRocket

        Just ran across this in other chat other subject that especially non english speakers do not get the difference between antagonist and villain when talking about a story. When talking about a story the antagonist an “antagonist is a person or a group of people who opposes a protagonist” from Wikipedia, and can be a wonderful good person with no villain qualities. A villain is someone with evil qualities who might not even be the antagonist in a story although often the antagonist will be a villain.
        Above is for those who don’t know even though I assume most do.
        One reason I love character like TV show Diana is she is an antagonist without being a villain and the perfect type of person to get under Akko’s skin as Akko cannot find a really good reason to hate her. The typical noble or rich character antagonist in this type of story is the stuck up type who thinks they are better without actually being better and often worse than the hero. Diana’s friends are probably examples of this type, and Diana still hanging with them is one of her flaws but I imagine they are people Diana has been stuck with because of family connections as the only type of person she should hang out with and Diana is expected to tolerate them in order to not upset the family connections.

  • April 4, 2017 at 9:11 pmdaikama

    Ep. 13 definitely had more of the same vibe as the original OVA . I’d say one of the, if not the, best episodes of the TV anime so far. I agree with most of the review, but not entirely.

    There wasn’t a ton of plot advancement, but there was some (beyond unlocking 3rd magic word) to go along with a nice, fun episode. As a result, Ep. 13 didn’t have quite the same insular, episodic feel that some previous episodes have had. As the review notes, it certainly feels like an important turning point for several of the characters. Lotte (and presumably) Sucy rediscover the fun of magic and thus gain greater empathy for Akko.

    And yes! Diana finally has some character development beyond “is perfect student”. I’d also add a bit of character depth because the TV series took away some of Diana’s edge she had in the OVA. Akko’s saved the day before (Ep. 01 & Ep. 02 or 03) thanks to Shiny Rod (“SR”), but here it was done in full public view. Have to think her fellow students will look at Akko more favorably henceforth. Maybe not much, but some.

    All in all this just felt like a more complete episode of LWA with a little bit of everything. I hope that trend continues in the second cour.

    “Akko finally gets to show off how far she’s come magically…”

    Not really IMO. It’s essentially the same ‘ol same ‘ol. Akko still simply cannot get some form of magic right unless it’s specifically SR related (i.e. 7 magic words). Same thoughts I’ve had before on this. The show just can’t seem to budge much, if at all, when it comes to Akko’s magic ability because there goes the comedy gravy train her noobishness (t-that’s a word – right?) provides. Again, NOT asking for hax/OP or Diana levels of competence here – not even Lotte or Sucy levels, but a freaking 100 attempts at something (prior episode) or however long she practiced this episode, and she can’t get even the basics down? Hell, she STILL can’t ride a broom in anyway shape of form (compared to OVA).

    I’m ALL for Akko learning hard work & practice, but the problem I have is that now that we constantly see her doing so, there’s NO real payoff for said hard work. It’s still nothing but SR to the rescue. It’s frustrating to watch (for me at least), and it just keeps making me wonder how the hell Akko even got into the school/how are there not any other “muggle-born” students with apparently next to zero talent enrolled? Have her get some basic stuff 100% correct, but screws up on the advanced stuff. Find a middle ground.

    “And Lotte, of course, enjoys books but makes a point of studying magic just to take over her parent’s magic shop. Since the two don’t have much ambition, they don’t have much motivation…”

    Totally agree on Sucy. We learned nothing new about her from her own episode (wasted opportunity IMO). However, I take issue with Lotte in that IMO, there is NOTHING wrong with wanting to take over the family business as long as that’s what the person desires. Happens all the time in RL, and I do not think such a goal should be slapped with an “unambitious” label. Running a business, even an established one, isn’t easy. Important thing is that it’s Lotte’s choice to do so which seems to be the case. Remember, she gave up the chance to be a Nightfall writer and stick with her plans.

    That being said, I do agree that having Lotte (and presumably) Sucy rediscovering the simple joy of magic does give them not only some empathy for Akko, but additional motivation to help Akko beyond what friendship provides. Certainly sharing the same ideals is a powerful motivator.

    • April 5, 2017 at 12:13 amPasserby

      Oh no, I’m not criticising Lotte for only aspiring to take over her family business. As you say, it happens all the time in real life. It’s normal. But in a story like this, we need Lotte to be a bit more than normal, because normal people certainly don’t go out of their way on adventures and quest to revitalise magic and whatnot. By ambition, I mean the kind of grand ambition that will make her a protagonist. It’s the Bilbo Baggins scenario; first we need to get him out of his hobbit hole, and then we need to make him invested in the success of the quest.

      • April 5, 2017 at 3:40 pmdaikama

        Ah, got it. Thanks for clearing that up. Also thanks for blogging LWA.

  • April 4, 2017 at 9:43 pmArsene Lupin

    I haven’t been here in years, but after watching LWA:13 I thought to myself, “wouldn’t it be great if RandomC was still around? And covering this show?”

    So: glad you’re still here!

    Little Witch Academia is definitely one of my favorite anime of the past… too-many years. Stellar animation, fantastic humor, great characters. This episode was definitely pretty awesome, but I still think the episode where Akko & Co. sneak into the fancy party was better.

    I do disagree about Sucy and Lotte being uninteresting. Their development has been subtle, but it has been there. Sucy’s character episode gave us a lot of insight into her personality and her friendship with Akko. I found it fairly poignant. And Lotte may not stand out much, but she’s grown a lot, too. I don’t really feel the need to LWA to change up what they’re doing with any of the cast, at this point. So long as it keeps going the way it’s been going, I’ve full confidence we’ll find ourselves at one hell of a finale in a couple of months.

    • April 5, 2017 at 12:03 amCitanLu

      I was in a similar situation a few weeks back. Didn’t think the site still existed lol ^^. Love reading these every week, it’s somewhat reignited my passion for anime (man I’m getting kind of old aren’t I?). My only complaint is that it seemed like there was a lot more passion in the past writers compared to the current ones. Too much analysis and not enough excitement and commentating. I like reading about the pros and cons of an episode and it’s structure don’t get me wrong. It’s academic. But sometimes I also just want to see someone else be as excited and passionate about the show as I am. I feel like the old RandomC that I remember did that a lot better. I can still remember how excited I was to come here and read about K-On! and going even further back shows like True Tears, etc. Those were the days ^^.

    • April 5, 2017 at 12:07 amPasserby

      Welcome back! RandomC will continue chugging along for a long time yet, I think. We’ve grown roots into the internet and aren’t going anywhere.

      About Lotte and Sucy, it’s not that they’re uninteresting, per se, it’s that they lack ambition. And that is usually fine, but it means they get left out of a lot of Akko’s adventures simply because they have no reason to be there other than being her friend and tagging along. It’s in this episode that the whole revitalising magic thing, that grand goal, becomes something that they actually want to do, which is why I consider it a turning point for them.

  • April 5, 2017 at 4:01 amLuckySolles

    That princess look awfully like Princess Bubblegum

  • April 5, 2017 at 6:20 pmjohn

    what up with th grammar errors?

    • April 7, 2017 at 1:59 pmCrook

      Ironic.

  • April 6, 2017 at 12:16 amKiraboshi

    Great episode! The best yet so far!

    But what kind of a competition is this though? Imagine is Diana got the cleaning duty or the sacrifice duty? It’s not giving students a fair chance to show their talent and instead have to rely on their luck at drawing things like “summoner” to look good.

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