「チャリオット・オブ・ファイア」 (Chariotto obu Faia)
“Chariot of Fire”
Trigger really put the pedal to the metal this time. They did a great job at building the tension as Ursula races to make sure Akko is safe from Croix’s experimentation. It was ballsy for Croix to move this quickly in trying to emotionally manipulate Akko into letting her see the Shiny Rod, but it does allow the narrative to move more quickly towards getting back into finding the words to restore Yggdrasil. My jaw hung low during the episode’s big action sequence where Ursula briefly sheds her disguise to fully reveal her true identity as Chariot. Even with some art hiccups, like Chariot gaining tights once she takes off her professor dress, it’s still awesome to see Chariot taking names as she face Croix’s guards and confronts her about aiming to experiment on Akko and use the world reconstruction magic for her own gain.
This episode continues the efforts of the last one to finally expand on the world-building of show’s first half. Although they recap previously known information like Chariot’s standing in the wizarding world, how witches are able to gain access to magic through leylines nowadays, and the goal of gathering the seven words, many of these aspects are explained in fuller detail in this episode. We learned that the seven words would unlock Grand Triskelion to help restore Yggdrasil, allowing witches to use magic freely, and making magic a little more relevant to society once more. The Shiny Rod is also given attention as Akko is told what exactly it entails in restoring magic and why it is compelled to let Akko be the one to help find the remaining words. We also know that it only answers to Chariot and Akko, and that Chariot was unable to find the last word because of reasons.
The highlight of this episode is in how the characters are interacting now that magitech has provided a conflict. A duality between Chariot and Akko is elaborated on with their bond to the Shiny Rod as well as why the professors find Akko to be the same kind of student that Chariot was. Their mentor/pupil dynamic is very nice, and it’s great to see Ursula open up to Akko about wanting her to be able to finish what she started.
It is frustrating how Akko is still left in the dark about Ursula being Chariot because it could provide more conflict if they let it linger for too long. After Diana is seen trying to research Ursula’s identity and Croix knocked Akko out to probe her mind for useful information, it’s more crucial than ever for her not to be further prone to manipulation. At the same time, I also understand that Chariot might be doing it to protect Akko from losing her yay, allowing her to fuel Yggdrasil’s restoration without being discouraged by Chariot’s failings the first time around.
I won’t say Akko was dumb for being enamored enough by Croix to go to her evil dungeon because, like people said last week in the comments, Croix just seems like a cool, new professor who happens to reminisce fondly of Chariot from Akko’s perspective. What I will be nitpicky about, however, is the fact that the school let Croix operate in a giant laboratory with stone guardians without any supervision so they wouldn’t know they’d have to admonish her for experimenting on a student she lured in. I understand the professors/administration aren’t the brightest bulbs at the academy, but it seems like Croix’s evil mastermind qualities will be on the down-low throughout the next couple episodes because they don’t want to keep tabs on what Croix is doing. Hopefully the impression that Akko got from Croix wasn’t as trusting as it was this time all because she was thought it was all a dream.