「ポホヨラの試練」 (Pohoyora no Shiren)
“The Trial of Pohjola”

Punniness aside, it was a cozier episode compared to the recent Croix-heavy ones. Since Croix is investing more time into making angry technoskulls and eating tasty ramen, we’re back to seeing Akko hang out with Lotte and Sucy. However, the main event of Episode 16 is Akko acknowledging that she needs to be patient. It’s been 84 years, and we’re still trying to teach Akko how to have patience. It’s a lesson that she could have used much earlier to avoid getting into hot water multiple times in the series.

That, and Akko never really seems to learn from her past mistakes. There have been several instances where Akko has had to learn not to try to find an easy fix for everything, and that she would have to work hard to get on Chariot’s level. Cut to present day, and she’s still losing her patience over the lengthy process of curing Lotte’s parents of a debilitating moss virus, a slow, irate reindeer, and a yeti with an inferiority complex getting in the way of his potion skills. It’s not until she notices the yeti is upset when she tries leveling with him, and not until she’s mixing the potion up when she is able to be patient enough to get the fourth word out. Hopefully, she’ll develop further as a more patient character and this development stays with her, but with Croix’s easy magitech and Akko’s short attention span that even Ursula had to chastise her for at the end of the episode, I’m treading lightly on saying she’d be able to retain the life lesson from the fourth word.

Other than Akko, it was great to see Lotte and Sucy once again. It’s easy for the show to look past them as it ends up getting further into Chariot, Croix, Akko, and Diana’s motivations, but they were able to provide enough support for Akko to remain in the spotlight. Particularly, Lotte had a lotte to do with the plotte since it focused on her family and hometown. More is said about their struggle to sell magical items at their shop when ordinary items sell more, and adds perspective to Lotte’s goal of being able to help out by learning more about magic at the academy. The cultural tidbits were also a treat since we got to see the show’s version of Finland, hapansilakka pie, reindeer, yeti, and Santa, who shows up as a payoff to one of Sucy’s earlier jokes.

Admittedly, I was hoping we’d get another Lotte episode, but wasn’t sure if it would’ve been possible with the Words taking center stage. Because of this, I was more than excited to see her and her family get some time to shine. I’m just crossing my fingers and hoping that Akko’s able to retain her lesson of patience at a point where temptation can rear its head at any moment.


    1. There’s been concept art of Sucy’s mom that’s been floating around the internet some time before the show started. I’m hoping they show her soon, or that she’ll play some role in the TV series.

  1. The overall episode I believe jabs at the idea of rushed plot or slow pacing. Many fans have complained how slow the plot and the numerous ‘fillers’ it has and Trigger might have intentionally created this episode that centre around those ideas. We see the introduction of Lotte’s parents but were quickly put back in the backseat and the journey in getting the ingredients were very short. Akko briefly forgetting the lesson that she had just now shows the self-awareness of her character.

    However, if we looked at the episode from Akko’s point of view, she did learn her lesson. She saw a brief reflection of herself on the Yeti who was pushed down by society and realized how the audience felt about her when she lacked progress and this turns her character to be more supportive like Ursula has done; be patient. The lesson continues as the reindeer grew fed up left her on her own, Akko attempts the journey back and getting reminded by those she cares about shows that by the end of the day, her bonds will ultimately helped her push through despite her faults. The plot was a long one from a certain point of view but if you removed the long and boring scenes, you can tell that it really felt rushed.

    I think this wasn’t just an episode for Akko to be patient but also an episode for the viewer to be patient. Looking closely, you notice subtle hints which parts Akko has changed for the better.

    I ask all of you to find out and come back and show what you have found about Akko.

    Croix’s goal in using the emotions for an uncertain goal represents something. In her first appearance, she uses emotion, red for anger. Next was yellow for happy. The third was sadness which associate with purple or in this case violet. Croix is definitely having carrying a project that associates with….rainbows. In many cultures, rainbows have very important roles. In Norse, the rainbow bridge Bifrost that connect Midgard, Earth with Asgard, home of the Gods. In other cases, the messenger or the archer’s bow in Hindu. In Australia, there is a belief of a Rainbow Serpent who is the creator of worlds. Others would have spoken that Rainbow is a sign of a great change, the time when all races come together to heal the Earth. There are many more if you look it up.

  2. Well that was a fun episode of spot-the-culture-references. What I caught (with some inaccuracies noted):
    – Lotte’s family shop is part of the R-kioski chain
    – Sauna! (Though Lotte forcing Akko to stay longer than she wants is both irresponsible and rude)
    – Riipinen is a real store&restaurant in game meat business in Lapland (“Riipisen” meaning “Riipinen’s” in Finnish)
    salmiakki (by Finland’s biggest candy company, Fazer, based on the design on the packs)
    – Moominpappa apparently advertises Robert’s Coffee
    – Janne looks remarkably similar to Mymble, another Moomin character (Janne is a male’s name though)
    – Nicholas is part of the Saami people
    – Fairly sure Lotte’s mom dresses in Saami clothes as well (at least ones themed after them), though I didn’t recognize the exact design
    – Santa Claus of course, though the Yeti must have been a recent immigrant
    – The Hapansilakka pies were clearly designed after Karelian pies though. HOWEVER, Hapansilakka (“sour herring”, it’s basically fermented herring and Akko’s reaction was spot-on.) is a Swedish, not Finnish thing and people don’t make pies from it.

    Oh and rest of the episode was good too 😛

    1. I first ran across fermented herring while watching Moyashimon and surprisingly right after that on an episode of Meteor Hunters. Any canned “food” that sends people who’ve never smelled it running and gagging should be banned as a WMD. 😛 Who knew the Scandinavians were masters of chemical warfare!

  3. I dunno if it’s because I can’t read the subs’ meaning fast enough or I am not familiar with Finnish culture, but this ep was the most ill-paced to me so far. … I don’t wanna say it was bad but… it was kinda bad. The pacing was so fast, and I do NOT remember anyone mentioned patience in the episode! We saw Lotte’s parents for all of like TEN SHOTS. That should’ve been at least twice the amount for a better paced episode even with the tasks, and it’s important because they’re one of Akko’s friends’ family. Why would we be concerned for the neighbor? We didn’t even get to meet her! Her father was visually distinct and I was expecting him to have a very memorable presence. For an episode with Lotte contributing to the new environment, I expected her to at least help Akko on the adventure. Maybe it would’ve been right to just scrap the moss disease and have them gather the ingredients just to activate the fourth word.

    I think the moment where everything worked the best was with the yeti. I totally laughed at his character! And then Akko motivated him to complete the final version of the star and he was adorable.

  4. What if Akko didn’t come to Shiny Chariot’s show.

    Akko was just little at the time. She was interested with a travelling magician and was planning on going to one of her shows. That is until a week before the show, Akko’s parents told her that she can’t go as they were moving away. Tried as she begged her parents not to leave, they couldn’t and they left the town.

    Years later, Akko lived her life as a normal high school student with no knowledge of the magic world. At England, Lotte and Sucy continued through the Ley Lines where they arrived at Luna Nova safely. As the two continued their studies, Diana would discover the Pappiliodya and have them destroyed unaware of their true nature.

    Although unable to pinpoint the whereabouts of the Shiny Rod, Croix decided to pushed that aside for the time being to focus on getting access to the Ley Lines. Her appearance would proved useful when Fafnir took the Sorcerer’s Stone. Croix offered a proposition that at an specified time, the Earl of Hanbridge would visit the school and she’ll offer the magitronics and if he likes it, it would be beneficial for Fafnir to go along with the current trend. He agreed and returned the Sorcerer’s Stone. The day when the Earl arrived, he and his entourage were so impressed with magitronics and after witnessing this, Holbrook decides to modernize the school.

    As the school continued, Sucy would have gotten herself into trouble with the potion that put herself to sleep. Eventually when the Samhain Festival was near, Amanda and her team were picked as the sacrifices for Vajarois and would be subsequently eaten while Lotte and Sucy would be picked for clean up duty.

    Sooner or later there would be someone particularly Finnelan or Diana would voiced their opinions regarding the use of magitronics until a strike commenced by the faeries who demanded more of the magical energy. Croix waited for the right opportunity to paint Diana and her team responsible for the increased violence of the faeries who witness the harm on one of their own. The incident was saved by Croix receiving more recognition while Diana and any remaining traditionalist would lose face especially Diana who was berated for unable to be responsible for her teammates. Eventually, Diana left the school.

    Unable to stand living alongside her rival, Ursula would leave as well in hopes of finding a new wielder of the Shiny Rod. Unbeknownst to Chariot, the Shiny Rod awoke and voice came after “What? A staff?”

  5. Definitely a Lotte of references in the episode from start to Finnish. I never knew she’s Finnish until today. Though with the surname of Jansen, it never really occurred to me that it’s Scandanavian. It came off as more Germanic.

    I’m not familiar woth Finnish but when the name of the pie came put, it strangely dawned on me that there might be Finnish origins. But the icing on the cake was when she had to look for a reindeer raised in Lapland.

    Akko may be a blockhead at times but she’s learning. Though if the slow pace of Luna Nova is not her cup of tea, she can always enroll in Jatkosota High School. Like Mika said, “The most important lessons in life are all condensed into Sensha-dō. But most people don’t realize that.” Maybe a dose of Sensha-dō will be great for Akko. Under the tutelage of Mika.

    I think what would be great if our favourite Säkkijarven Polka was played in the episode. That’ll be a great Finnish to the episode.


    Velvet Scarlantina
    1. It just occured to me as well… WHERE’S THE 507TH JFW?!?!?! AURORA-NEE SAMA?!?!?!? OUR FAVOURITE SOUMISIAN BREAK WITCH?!?!?!?/strong>

      Aren’t they suppose to be the witches on site?

      Velvet Scarlantina
    2. From her name, it is likely that her father is ethnically Swedish and her mother is ethnically Sami or some similar Uralic people. Sweden controlled Finland for quite awhile with plenty of Swedish speaking Finlanders and ethnic Swedes in Finland.

      One of the nice things I like about Little Witch Academia is that the cast is portrayed as quite racially and ethnically diverse without the apparent need to make a big deal out of it.

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