「Don’t stop me now」

One thing I’ve never really understood about the stereotypical witch: why brooms? Brooms, and pointy hats. Perhaps big hats are just fashion statements, and I can dig that because big hats are stylish (and useful!), but brooms? To fly on? Even when witches, as in Little Witch Academia, have shed the ‘old crone’ image they somehow still insist on brooms. Can nothing else suffice? Is there an ancient pact between witches and cleaning tools that give them flight? But if they’re allowed to steampunk their rides, why not go the whole hog and replace the brooms with something more practical? Like, something with a seat. Or at least a saddle. Brooms just aren’t designed to be sat on, let alone rode. But somehow, the entire witch community has decided splinters up the bum is something they insist on. It just seems to me, if all your magic is powered by a shiny rock, the peripherals should be negotiable. Look, I’m not asking for them to fly around on anti-tank rifles or anything. I’m just saying, considering the rest of the world has modernised the witches can at least afford to upgrade to flying vacuum cleaners.

Actually, wasn’t there a Zelda game like that? Anyways.

The episode? The episode was great, as usual, so nothing much to note here. Little Witch Academia is tapping into its strengths here with the broom relay, really making use of it snappy animation to express a sense of speed. As old Sonic games (and wrecked sports cars on the side the the road) still show, there’s just something exhilarating about going fast. And so the episode was great fun. Silly, but fun.

The silliness is something we should address though, as part of our evaluation of the series three episodes in. Now, the silliness is great. I’m all for it. It’s a cartoon, after all, so there’s really no need to be confined to reality too strictly. One of the great advantages of LWA over, say, the Harry Potter movies is that it is a cartoon, and can basically run wild with the imagination. Could another medium, outside of the most surreal comedies, have their protagonist die multiple times in quick succession? Animated cartoons invite us to suspend our disbelief all the more, and we let them get away with all sorts of things.

I also don’t want LWA to be entirely silly though. I also want plot and character development, which LWA does seem to intend to provide. If the show does get more serious, then it may undercut the silliness. We may have to actually think about things a bit harder and confront some hard questions about LWA like, for example, how most of the cast are in fact horrible sociopaths. Even our protagonist, Atsuko, underneath the childlike wonder and positive attitude (which is great) is at best a simple idiot who doesn’t really earn any of her relative successes except through sheer stubbornness. In fact, the most sympathetic character is arguably Diana, who may be over-privileged, aloof, and has terrible communication skills but is for for the most part a decent human being. And she’s like the only person in this entire broom race who just honest-to-goodness rides on her damn broom. And wins. So there ya go.

When the mood is silly, this all is fine. Cheat however much you want in the broom race, it adds character. The comedic sociopath is funny. But when the needle moves towards serious, then perhaps we have to wonder why all the teachers are so bad at their jobs. And I rather I didn’t have to. Mind you, this is not something I’m that worried about, but something to consider if we want to do a proper preliminary evaluation of the show. That’s only the kind of thing bloggers want to talk about, though. The rest of you may rightly not care, and go off to enjoy the show. It’s good! You don’t need me to tell you that.


  1. i’m officially hooked with this series. this episode clearly shows why this anime created waves in the otaku world when its OAV was aired… it is indeed really good.

    and yeah once again sucy proves she’s the best girl, i mean witch in their group… her actions are very…. witch like hahahaha…

  2. https://randomc.net/image/Little%20Witch%20Academia/Little%20Witch%20Academia%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2008.jpg
    To answer your question… There’s a YouTube video of it. They used brooms to get high. They’d spread some LSD-like compound on the broom and straddle it so that the compound gets applied directly onto their bare skin and at the most sensitive and highly absorbent part of the human body. As time passed, it gets codified into the witchcraft lore. There were records of them “witches” riding brooms naked.

    And here we see Akko attempting to tame Nimbus 1000. Though if she had won the race, that would have been a convenient deus ex machina. But I’m glad she came a respectable 2nd place.

    3 weeks in and Shiny Chariot and Diana continue to be the cuties of the show.

    Velvet Scarlantina
  3. Even our protagonist, Atsuko, underneath the childlike wonder and positive attitude (which is great) is at best a simple idiot who doesn’t really earn any of her relative successes except through sheer stubbornness.

    You’re reducing the character to what you don’t like about her. You forget she saved Sucy in episode 1 even though the latter tried to have her killed. You forget that she didn’t think Diana owed her anything after what happened in episode 2. She was genuinely confused when Diana said “consider my debt paid now” this episode.

    I do agree that Diana is a decent human being, but Akko is too, even more so actually, because no only is Akko kindhearted enough to risk her life to help others, but she doesn’t even expect anything in return.

    1. Akko can also be painfully thoughtless and self-absorbed (a trait which was a major point of conflict in the second OAV.) In this episode she signed up her friends for the race without even asking them about it; they only went along with it because Sucy discovered there was a prize she was interested in and Lotte is a forgiving marshmallow if you don’t push her too far. Both kids have a lot of room to grow as people (which is probably the point.)

      1. Akko can also be painfully thoughtless and self-absorbed

        She can be thoughtless and self-absorbed, but I already explained that’s not all there to her. Just like Passerby, you’re reducing her characterization to the one trait you don’t like.

      2. I did say “also,” didn’t I? Pointing out that characters have multiple layers is the opposite of reductive. Akko is positive, passionate, friendly and self-sacrificing, but she is also thoughtless, self-absorbed, slow on the uptake and overly dependent on luck and sheer pigheadedness for what successes she ekes out in this unfamiliar new environment. Diana is level-headed, diligent, thoughtful and gracious, but he is also… actually, while she clearly has problems with social skills, it’s hard to pin down exactly what it is that keeps her from being more personable or riding herd on Hannah and Barbara without knowing more about their relationships and Diana’s background. Though none of the LWA characters are particularly “deep” as of yet, they at least show room for growth.

      1. Aaahh– basically THIS.

        Really, I thought I was the only one who dislike the “general messages” that this show’s protagonist(s) and/or just every characters in the anime directly or indirectly trying to convey. Yes, yes, I know this is a show intended for middle school-er (or most people in their early 20-ish or under); but still, with it’s popularity around across all anime forums, I’m originally have very high expectation for this series.

        Maybe I’m getting old (heh), because I no longer able to stand shounen anime tropes in general –their all-day shouting, no-responsibilities/consequences/whatever for their YES-I-BELIEVE!-acts, people won’t die even though they are killed because of the protag’s said action (sigh), which, I finally -and subjectively- classify LWA as a shounen anime with female protagonist and magical girls setting).

        But yeah, after 3 episodes I really regret that I want to continue watching it for the lore and everything else, but simply couldn’t because of the characters… (except the non-annoying Sucy maybe -heh)

        Or maybe the anime is just not for me no matter how popular it is…

        ╮ (. ❛ ᴗ ❛.) ╭

    2. I think the answer here is both have their own good & bad points. What’s a bit different with LWA is that Diana has more redeeming qualities than your more typical anime antagonist.

      1. Don’t diss Diana as antagonist. She’s a cutie okay!

        But in all seriousness, Akko does have qualities that are irksome to the people around them and she does need to learn how it actually affects those around her.

        As for Diana, seeing that she’s one of the “pure blood” and also her family status, she’s taken it upon her to act as such. In short, Diana Cavendish is what Draco Malfroy would have been if the latter was genderbent and not being too much of a self entitled dick head as he was.

        Velvet Scarlantina
  4. It’s series for middle schoolers, but damn i like it so much being so old, i keep expecting cliches evil protagonist to show up with each new character, or some betrayal but nothing but nice things happen

  5. Just a heads up: in your “die multiple times” links, “die” and “multiple”, despite being deparate links, both link to the same image. Context made it seem like that wasn’t intended, so I thought I’d speak up.

  6. I am an animation fan/hobbiest and adore dynamic physical animation that drives a story. So, magic broom flying + TRIGGER / 22 minutes = my smile fixed onto my face the entire time. Amanda is probably my favorite character besides Sucy, so I was overjoyed to see her in a prominent role in this show.

    I have one gripe though, and it once again has to do with the fact that you can only access the school through flying a broom. This episode reinforces how the stone in the tower provides the magic energy that all students use to practice magic with, and they say it’s weak outside the campus and can’t really be used! …. so how come they only allow broom flying to GET TO the school, if the magic energy in that area is weak!?! Even if Akko DID know how to fly perfectly, none of the students would be able to GET to the school simply by an external force!

    1. I had a similar question in my mind.

      They didn’t really explained it in detail, but implicitly.
      Remember how Akko hat to get to this huge tree that endet up being a “Broom Stop” instead of a Bus Stop? The talked a very little bit about Ley Lines so that actually explains it enough for me.

      But the question i ended up with was:
      How yould the fly in this Magic Forest (Arcturus Forest) then in EP 01?
      I guess its just a really MAGICAL forest so there is enough Magic hanging around…

  7. I’m very happy that the prediction that this would be a card series
    seems to be wrong.

    But what a great episode. I rant sometimes about Disney and
    how with D., everything they do now all seems to execute the
    exact same plot formula with little variations here and there.
    This series (so far) proves a good point. In a D. cartoon, Akko
    would have tamed the broom and won the contest (with the
    earnest help of her friends), because, hey in a D., it’s all about
    the main character…

    In this, though, she gets to ride it, but it’s her sheer willpower to
    do so that make everything about it work! And Akko doesn’t win!
    But it show great (comedic) character that she grabs any opportunity
    to achieve a desire, and wrestles it with all of her might to make
    it hers, even if she doesn’t completely succeed in her desires,
    it doesn’t dismay her!

    I could go on, and on…

    I hope the series continues on this great trend!

    1. Not trying to belittle Disney or what ever, I think that’s the stark difference between American and Japanese animation.

      The former always or at best, tries to paint that all is well while in latter, anything goes even if it means dragging the main character through the mud.

      Oh and don’t let me get started on character deaths in Western animation and Japanese animation… I’m looking at you RWBY FNDM…

      Velvet Scarlantina
  8. Definitely staying on the light, fluffy, silly side of things with a large dash of “believing in yourself/gambatte” which is fine. That recipe worked well for the original OVA. Certainly fits the tone of the series so far and anime execution pulls it off. It’s hard not to get swept up in the fun. 😀 Lot of episodes to go (MAL has this listed as a 2-cour, 25 episode run) so things may change. While, I can’t see this getting all that dark/serious, there’s still some middle ground as well as plenty of time to flesh out things (e.g. character backstory), some character development, etc. So far it’s been 99% silly fun, but there is one thing I caught this episode which at least gives me some hope for additional depth which I’d like. I’ll put it in a spoiler to be safe.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Just to be clear, I did have fun watching the quidditch match broom race. Definitely some LOL worthy moments. Worked out for comedy’s sake, but I’m still not sure how I feel about Akko being unable to fly a broom at all. Going the other extreme (i.e. great at the first try) would be bad, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing either. Can barely fly would have worked, though perhaps then you wouldn’t have same level of silly hijinks. The OVA did a good job IMO with balancing Akko as novice but yet still learned/was able to perform some magic. So far the TV series isn’t quite as balanced on that IMO. You can’t make her too inept (for one thing how did she get into this school then?). No big deal so far.

    The “here’s your school provided broom” irritated me a bit more than I would have thought because it just reminded me of the “brooms required to enter school” BS in the first episode. Again, how the hell did they expect Akko to make it to the school given her non-witch background? Meh, over & done. Just need to let that go.

    Points for no Shiny Rod ex-machina.

    Points also for having Diana win. Bit different from the more typical protagonist wins scenario. Also, she did earn it. OTOH, while donut passing rather than “baton” make sense for disqualification, not sure why Akko’s team wasn’t disqualified for Sucy sabotaging the other brooms at the start. What are the rules here? Well, given the over-the-top silly presentation I guess it really doesn’t matter much.

    I liked Amanda a lot in the second OVA, but her to cohorts are utterly “meh” IMO. The tech-wizard girl might be OK, but the one-dimensional “always eats” girl is one-dimensional and adds nothing for me. Homer Simpson eats a lot, but he’s got much more personality and depth as a character. :/ Hopefully the TV series will do something more with those two beyond comic relief if they have any substantial screen time.

    Lastly, yeah traditional broom riding does not look comfortable at all. Points to Flying Witch for addressing that.

  9. There’s something about this episode that really bugs me, and it’s the fact that it ended without showing us Akko’s reaction to her failure. I mean, I guess we can assume she’d either take it in stride or be so mad that it will feed her drive even further (probably the later), but to deny us a chance to witness some kind of change in our main protagonist can really work against letting us connect with her; it certainly has with me. My only hope is that the next episode will pick up this development in some form, but considering this episode started with Akko bullheadedly continuing to try mastering her Shiny Rod, rather than react to Diana getting all the credit for her actions, my expectations aren’t all that high. Speaking of which, I just know that Akko’s attitude will come back to bite her like it did in the movies, but from what I’m feeling, the movies did it more organically than this.

  10. Am I the only one getting bored of this show?
    I feel like Trigger is really not my studio (I also dropped KLK around 3-5 episodes in). Sure the visuals are dynamic, the way the characters move are cute, but the story so far has been just ok.
    It’s a big problem for me when the only character I really like is Lotte. Akko..yeah she’s cute and she’s nice, but if you look at her personality and characterization, she’s basically a shounen protagonist who’s a girl (plus all the shouting is really getting on my nerves).
    Another problem I have is the world of LWA…they can only fly their brooms if there’s a magical stone? I feel like they’re dumbing down the witch world for the sake of Akko, a muggle.

    I’m going to give this show one more ep, but honestly the odds are I will eventually drop it.

    1. That’s fair – to each his/her own as the saying goes. Not everyone is going to like the same shows/songs/movies/etc.

      “Another problem I have is the world of LWA…they can only fly their brooms if there’s a magical stone? I feel like they’re dumbing down the witch world for the sake of Akko, a muggle.”

      Technically speaking (in Harry Potter terms), Akko would be “muggle born”, not a “muggle” because she can use magic (even without Shiny Rod). As I noted in my post above, I wasn’t thrilled with how the TV series deviated from the OVA with the broom riding (in the OVA Akko could use a broom, just not well as to be expected from a beginner). So in that respect I would agree because again there’s a balance to be had here. Avoiding protagonist power of instantly good is perfectly fine (arguably better), but she should be able to do some magic even if not all that well at times.

      Again to each his/her own, but I never felt the series was “dumbing down” the witch world. The stone to me is no different from the “leylines” in Izetta. Plenty of magic at the school so not helping Akko there. Even if you had magic elsewhere/everywhere, Akko is still “muggle born” without the advantages of witches from long running witch families. She’s still be a novice either way. JMO, but no issue with the stone “mana” supply as presented.

    2. Indeed, the story so far isn’t great, and we all discussed a ton of plotholes. But I’m still gonna follow it just because I support TRIGGER. The second OVA was a success story of a major crowdfunding campaign that showed there are people who wanted this to be made, and it’s one of the rare passions projects that the creators just wanted to make without depending on merchandise or sell-outs, AND was allowed air on TV.

  11. Sooooo….nobody else here noticed that the magic-item shop owner is basically Chumlee from “Pawnstars”….Magic-item pawn shop…..normal human pawn shop….exact same face. If anyone remembers the Samuel L Jackson cameo in Kill La Kill you should know that Trigger will randomly insert westerners in their shows lol.

  12. A lot of nitpicking going on in the comments…I really don’t think it’s all that serious.

    Just gonna have fun with it like I did with “Dog Days”. My new guilty pleasure.

    I literally laughed out loud when those witches straight CLOWNED on akko by putting her on a broom with wheels!!!!

    BROOKLYN otaku
  13. I think what happened to Shiny Chariot is that she had “the talk” from a senior witch and Had to Grow Up. Which is why she’s a minor teaching witch in charge of Astronomy now, instead of the rock-star Shiny Chariot.

    It must have been personal, since we don’t have a kingdom-wide witch hunt (sorry for the pun). But reality and paying the bills comes to all adolescents, including witches.

  14. > Can nothing else suffice?

    In Russian folklore, witch Baba Yaga rides in a mortar, uses pestle to direct it and uses “pomelo” (a kind of tiny broom – not one you clean the floor with but more like a brush used to clean up the baking tray in oven) to wipe out the traces after her…

  15. I just loved the fact that the protagonists team cheerfully did their best to cheat their way to victory (the frog-broom, the donuts, etc.), and pretty much nothing was made of this.

    In fact, what with the steampunk witch, the other witch trying and failure to use the super-broom, and so on, it was practically Wacky Races.

    Ironic that Diana won fair and square AND also took time out to save our heroine on the way.

    I’d much rather have interestingly flawed heroes like this lot (or, say, Tanya…) than the usual pure-as-the-driven snow types.


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