「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.


  1. Well, at last Akko can use little Light magic with her Staff, and now we see her little steps. This time she cast herself these ears.. With time this little steps grown bigger?..

  2. I don’t actually understand why people keep banging on about magic being an obsolete relic of the past.

    Same as learning an old dead Language, like Latin. For what do you need them in daily life outside the School? for becoming Doctors, in Science?

    The same here.. Are there natural Magic Stones outside the School Yards?. for what they go to this School. to become Witch Maidens?. You get the same gist here

    But then, how could Harry Potter and friends, cast magic? You will need an Solution for that, IF Lwa should play outside the School Yards, Studio Trigger. Nice Graphics and animation aside, this is all useless, if your “skeleton” (Story) is weak

    1. i could support an solution.. Magic grown from the Heart

      This Magic Stone is just an gigantic Booster of the Powers inside the Witches, after graduate from School, they create their own “Mana” inside their Hearts…

      But then, you need to draw Mature/older Witches in the outside world

      i promise, this is the last comment today. Sorry

      1. And here is what Shiny Chariot was trying to do build a the fan base from the masses of humans interested in magic. She was shunned for putting on a show my her community and possibly treated like a magic act by fans as a one woman show.

        Funnily enough Diana was also one of the children watching her shows, shes in the background with
        Akko in episode 1. 😉

  3. It’s really weird to watch Akko not being up to snuff with a bunch of things yet in the TV series after witnessing her accomplishments in the 2 OVAs that come later in the timeline.

    El Huesudo II
  4. Magic is obsolete because the witches, probably the only ones who can use it, don’t do anything relevant to the world at large with it. They closeted themselves and are letting their art wither.

    For magic to survive, it has to be relevant to the modern world. That means the witches have to be willing to change their ways and make magic useful, but they’re probably afraid of change.

    That’s probably why they shunned Chariot. She could have been their savior, opening magic to the world at large, but the magical community wasn’t willing to change.

    1. That’s hardly magic’s fault, is it? Opening up Luna Nova is one thing (noting that they’re finally accepting muggles now), stamping it out is another. It would be rather against human nature, or at least unwise, to destroy what you can exploit.

      1. That’s hardly magic’s fault, is it?

        But the average person doesn’t know that. What most people see of magic would come from the traditional isolationist sect of the witches: meaning most average people would see absolutely nothing of magic and would think it’s completely irrelevant. When they do see it, they’re shown ugly ladies dancing in a non-attractive manner while giving off little spurts of fire: something that can be duplicated without magic rather easily. This gives the impression that magic does not actually have any use. They are repeatedly shown that magic is nothing of value, has nothing of value, and does nothing of value, and is supprted by people who have no grasp of the modern world. They see nothing to exploit, and no reason to offer the witches any support.

      2. They have been hiding everything. The official website says some of the teachers outright hate humans (seriously, if you can read Japanese, go check it out).

        Chariot was literally the only one willing to show the common people what magic was all about. That’s why they other witches hated her.

  5. The only thing that bothered me on this episode was how hard they are trying to sell the hard work beats talent and or can stand up on the same stage as it idiocy. I believe that encouraging children (I guess) is all fine and dandy, but the truth of the matter is that if you lack talent for it, no amounts of hard work are going to give you more than average results. A better lesson would be learn to find your strengths, focus on them, and it’s okay to give up on the impossible.

    1. And this is what happened to Shiny Chariot. After her “world tour”, trying to inspire a new generation of witches (and not succeeding?), she came back home to…a stack of unpaid bills on her desk (theorizing).

      Every child grows up realizing that their dreams are not going to put food on the table. Our “children can grow up to be anything” system hurts more than it helps. Add in government welfare and you have the problems of today.

    2. I think this episode actually was selling the idea that “hard work is necessary for success” more than “hard work trumps talent.” Talent and hard work jockeying for victory is a standard trope in anime targeted at certain audiences- but don’t forget that in almost all of these shows, the actual lesson demonstrated (if not the lesson extolled by the characters) is that “hard work and talent are necessary, but destiny trumps all.” Akko was chosen by the Shiny Rod, and thus has gotten the nod from destiny. Unless another character gets a similar nod that is the primary factor that will determine her success, not the degrees to which she demonstrates talent or work ethic.

    3. Ursula never said that Akko doesn’t have talent. Sure she can’t do basic spells right now, but that’s because she just started with magic. The other girls have been doing magic all their lives. There’s no comparison. Akko probably has a lot of talent, which is why the Shiny Rod chose her (beside her passion) but that talent can’t bear fruit if she doesn’t put effort into it. She needs work really hard because she’s way behind those who has been doing magic from childhood.

      That’s what this episode was about, not about “hard work vs talent.”

    4. Have you ever watched Sakuraso no Pet na Kanojo? I would strongly suggest that you do so, as well as read the reviews Stilts wrote for it here on RandomC. It goes into the “talent vs hard work” theme a lot, with a main character who wants to create video games but apparently has nothing going for him, and who is surrounded by people who he views as talented geniuses in their various fields. Except as the show unfolds we see that not only have many of these people gone through many of the same kinds of struggles that he’s facing, they have worked their freaking butts off to get to where they are now.

      And by the end of the series, Show Spoiler ▼

      Saying hard work can never beat talent is, frankly, insulting to the people you’re calling talented, because you are, in ignorance, spitting on all the effort they put in to get to where they are and implying “oh, they’re talented, it’s easy for them.”

      1. Never said anything about not having to work for it, though? That’s why I even pointed out that a better lesson is “focus on your strengths, and is okay to give up on the impossible.” Personally I haven’t met a person with talent that doesn’t work their ass off, so that thing about hard work beating the talented who doesn’t work is, in my experience, the stuff of fairy tales like The Tortoise and the Hare.

    5. In reality hard work without talent still wins 90-10 against talent without hard work. A mediocre player can get into a top serie in almost every sport just by sheer hard work. Practice makes perfect, we all have heard about wasted talent, have we ever heard about wasted hard work? :p
      Ofc there are limits to where you can get, there’s always someone more talented than you in almost every field, and he’ll get the same results you get with half the amount of work, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on something you love. Maybe you won’t become Messi or Lebron James, but still there are less geniuses around than ppl use to think.

      1. Not in the big money pro teams or the Olympics. Hard work can get you into higher ranks of collage, minor leagues. But even the people being cut by the pro’s are very talented compared to the average person. Remember Army physical fitness test for students in ROTC wanting to be officers. We were hard working out daily runners who could run way faster than a average person could. One test we had a Olympic team qualifier and as this time it was on a normal track for the two mile it was amazing how much faster they were than the other hundred plus there lapping the field. They did not get close to a medal.

    6. If I learn anything for my short life so far, hard work is very important but also talent. You must work hard in order to discover your talent as well. In this case LWA, Ako is trying hard as well, but not enough, she makes a good effort but when you are behind everyone in class due to not having basic magical pieces of knowledge, school are not sympathetic and provide effort to help a non-magical student. Her efforts must be triple or more, she basically has to work harder than Diana herself. One can not have any talent(I am bad at drawing) but I just need more time to paint a wonderful oil canvas compare to others( hard work and also I have good teacher). And remember you don’t have to be the best in your field to successful. You can be above average but with connection and efforts, it is possible.
      In the future, it would be nice to see Ako receive more tutoring from Urzula sensei and befriend Diana. Suzie and Lotte are good friends but they really need a good teacher who can provide real methods.

  6. Yep. World history confirmed. Not only do we know the school has been a shadow of its former self with dwindling finances, but they now have ENEMIES from the Muggle world who believe magic is useless. I hope this is incorporated into the second half of this show in show way.

    This is also the first time I actually rooted for Akko in this show, though only at the end of this episode. It seems she’s realizing for the first time that you need to WORK in order to be great at something, you can’t just get accepted into a school and focus on being just like one particular person. But this could be a detriment- we’re already at Episode 6, and I don’t see this being two-cour!!

    1. I think, and no one has mentioned, that maybe (magic) it’s
      considered a relic because it’s only effective around the stone.
      So away from school, it really has no practical application.

      Good story-telling in this series, not all fun and games but
      has a solid serious human side. Now I’m really interested to
      see / learn more about this “enemy.” Do the senior staff know;
      things like that? Unlike the White Dragon of last episode which
      was more of a financial nuisance than dangerous, there seems
      a real threat brewing…

      Can’t wait to see.

  7. Passerby I’m surprised at you. Of course Andrew can have a royal title and not have daddy dead. He’s not going to be Earl until dad croaks but that doesn’t mean he can’t have another title. Prince William, for example, is Duke of Cornwall and dad is still around. Same goes for Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex who’s son is James, Viscount Severn.

      1. But then there’s this:

        “The son and heir apparent of a duke, marquess or earl may use one of his father’s peerage titles by courtesy providing it is of a lesser grade than that used by his father.

      2. I get the “borrowing” of title courtesy, but you also wrote “Little Andrew is still a commoner;”. Maybe Andrew isn’t The Viscount of Appleton, but he’s still a noble by birth – right? Not an expert on peerage, but that’s my understanding of it. Andrew’s still part of the noble class, not a commoner.

      3. @daikama
        Technically speaking, until Andrew inherits The Earl of Hanbridge (The Viscounht of Appleton, The Baron of Baronham) he’s not a peer. Therefore, he’s a commoner. Technically. But being the direct heir of The Earl of Hanbridge (The Viscount of Appleton, The Baron of Baronham) is worth a fair bit, which is why he gets to use his dad’s subsidiary title.

      4. Yep it very fuzzy on the actual status of a Nobel’s family. Legally often no more than a commoner but until recent times never actually treated as a commoner. In England you still had the right to a special title if you were of a noble family. I guess the best way to see this as class systems run along with Nobel systems. So people are treated by society by what class they belong to. Thus anyone of the royal family is royal class, then noble class, upper class(often with divisions), middle class, lower class. So no one would actually call a child of a noble a commoner they would refer to them as a member of the house of blank or other way of describing members of a Nobel household. Now females would often get the title Lady automatically at a certain age making them officially lessor nobility and males would earn a knight hood joining the nobility officially that way. Males to infirm to earn a knighthood often would get the title Sir similar to the way females would. Many countries had untitled nobility in England that was referred to as Gentry.

        The use of curtesy titles is part of this system with the curtesy title used instead of something like esquire, Sir or Lady. Until modern times only people granted the right to be called Sir were called Sir. Heck you had to gain the right to use the term Mr even. You can see a echo of this in the military, officers who originally came from the noble class are addressed as Sir while enlisted never are no matter how high in enlisted rank. Calling a Sargent Sir can get you the “I’m no sir I work for a living” response.

  8. Magic which casually lets you overcome the very laws of physics, there isn’t a rational way to explain why 99% of the world’s businessmen aren’t trying to exploit it to make money and 99% of the world’s scientists aren’t crying in a corner.
    Suspension of disbelief is required.

  9. One question I had was how is the TV anime going to fill 2-cours worth of anime? Is it going to be just episodic adventures, maybe filling in backstory (e.g. Shiny Chariot & others) + some world-building, or will there also be some longer running plot line? I have no doubt the episodic approach will be maintained, but after this episode sure seems to be strong hints that a “will the school close down/magic is threatened” plot line will also be present.

    Have to admit, Andrew was better than I initially figured. I thought he’d be strictly a haughty jackass (no pun intended :P), but despite thinking how outdated/”useless” magic is (see below), have to admit he was pretty cool about Akko giving him donkey ears and a tail (what those looked like to me). Unlike his duplicitous father, Andrew does seem to at least potentially have some sort of willingness to re-think things. That’s the impression I got. Right now thinks magic is archaic/useless, but is at least willing to consider counter-arguments.

    Wow is it a sloooow burn to Akko being able to do more than just wand flashlight. I get that she’s not a hard working student, but she does put forth some effort. Does she have any talent for magic apart from heir apparent to shiny rod? In the OVA she did, but here…. I’m beginning to think not. The show derives a lot of comedy from Akko being inept, but I maintain there needs to be some progression, especially after the hard work speech. Something. Even if it’s “baby steps”, steps are being taken. Besides, she wasn’t this inept in the OVA and there were still plenty of Akko inspired comedy moments.

    As for talent vs. hard work, it’s both if you are to be the best. For example, I can work harder than Lebron James, and while I might become a good club or HS basketball player, perhaps even make a college team, I ain’t getting into the NBA let alone be a superstar. Such is life.

    Andrew’s dad’s comment – “It’s important to place enemies in your debt” surprised me. Enemies? How? When? Why? Did he get prank donkey ears during some important social function as a kid? This needs to be explained because other than ye old “witches/magic is bad” line of thinking (from OVA #2), not seeing any conflict with the school or magic and RL yet, certainly not him personally. Hell, the school can barely stay afloat. Where’s the threat if one thinks magic is useless anyway? Why does this guy even care?

    Finally, yeah, having a hard time with magic being useless. Hard to say much about that specifically because I don’t know the “magic system” rules beyond need some supply of mana (e.g. stone at the school). Is transformation magic permanent without a counter spell or nearby mana supply? If so, while rat-horses may not be nearly as useful as say 200+ years ago, how about coal into diamonds? Lead into gold? How about curing cancer or some other disease? It’s freaking magic = can do “impossible” things that science can’t. The mana supply is a restraint, but still could always go to the school or some other place with mana. Again, don’t know enough about LWA’s magic system to do more than speculate, but still… magic. Only takes a little imagination to find some usefulness even in today’s technologically driven society.

  10. Magic have lots of use because of it defy logics answer. Magic plus machine is even better, look at Constance. The Duke is way more stupid than he thinks. LoL
    Ps. There is always a use for something if you look hard enough.(I stand by it, anything has its usefulness, for better and for worst)

  11. I have read enough magic working with sci fi type stories I know there something going wrong here. Heck we have mages running around as a special type of combat unit in a World War One type world this season. Anime Youjo Senki (Saga of Tanya the Evil) major hook is 10 year old girl, Tanya, with super high magic ability kicking ass as she moves up the officer ranks develops a elite combat unit and her very amoral brutal personality. In that story scientists are building devices to focus magic power and often the spells are delivered by using a rifle bullet. Cool did not know there was a magazine fed semiautomatic rifle in WWI before this. Mexican invented the rifle was too sensitive to field conditions and so was passed on to the air force and in that story mages as they can fly.

  12. BTW, I rewatched the first OVA today. They did mention how much the school views Shiny Chariot as a pariah and who smeared the witches’ reputation. I simply forgot that part. Suddenly, Ursula shedding her second identity doesn’t seem as mysterious.


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