Something of a turning point this episode, for both our protagonist, Alias Akko, and her school, Luna Nova. This is the first time, I would say, where Akko has put effort into honestly being a witch, and the first time that Luna Nova has honestly put effort into being an educational institution. It’s a good time for it, since we’re halfway through the first cour, and Akko was also due for a lot of character development. Before now, she really had little in the way of redeeming qualities to sell (and was silently upstaged by cooler witches). Sure, she has her ideals, which was great, but little direction on how to achieve them, resorting mostly to pure stubbornness, and it is hard to make a virtue of stubbornness. After some real introspection last episode it’s heartening to see that she got something out of the whole ordeal and is dedicated to turning over a new leaf. I hope it lasts.
Being the only muggle at Luna Nova, fresh to the magical world and with no prior experience in the area, one could only expect that Akko would have to put in at least twice as much work to keep up. The fact that she only does so now, right before her exams is… the story of every student ever, I suppose. Some fault, though, must lie in her teachers as well, and I think Little Witch Academia mostly critiques the institution. We see the teachers do very little in the way of teaching, and even when they do, do they really know how to teach someone like Akko i.e. a muggle? They’ve only just started this muggle-acceptance programme, and it seems that Akko is the only one. Why just her? On what basis was she accepted? I don’t think we’ll ever know, and perhaps the Luna Nova staff don’t really know either, because they have no idea what to do with her. Even if they have no plan, though, they could at least try harder to care. Take this recent fish incident, which almost gets Akko expelled. At no point do the teachers weigh the merits of her actions, and only her personal mentor manages to grow enough backbone to stand up for her. All they cared about was that it was embarrassing, and only relented when it turned out that it was not. Come on, why would you care so much about some stupid tabloid, anyway? Any headline with an interrobang is not worth paying attention to.
To be fair to Luna Nova, Akko is something of the boy who cried wolf two; she’s spent six episodes being mostly up to no good, and caps it off with almost murdering a teacher. Her tutors suffer much, and the benefit of the doubt understandably comes hard for them. Still, it does seem that they don’t focus enough on nurturing all those unique little talents their charges have. All this moaning about people criticising magic as being too ‘traditional’, when so much one can do with it with just a bit of imagination. I mean, Akko can make metal explode; with a bit of refinement I’m sure that would be really useful for somebody. The message, which Ursula drills home, is about growth. Contrast Akko to Diana. Diana already knows everything, or at least more than the teachers most of the time. She doesn’t really need much academic guidance. Akko, on the other hand, started with nothing, but can now, I don’t know, talk to fish after just a bit of immersion. One needs to grow, the other does not. And one should be a greater accomplishment to teach than the other.