「アルクトゥルスへの道」 (Arukuturusu e no michi)
“Road to Arcturus”
Little Witch Academia‘s sprint towards the finish line has been an intense mad-dash to tie up any loose ends it created during the second half of the show. In the process of trying to make a grander plot out of the series, Trigger faces a prevalent issue of trying to resolve conflicts as quickly as possible within a short span of time. In this episode’s case, Croix was finally able to use the Noir Rod to reach the Grand Triskelion only to be trolled out of the reward she expected by Woodward, and Akko unlocked the Gran Triskelion with the last Word. The only plot-line that doesn’t feel like it’s moving at hyperspeed is the subplot of Andrew trying to resolve the diplomatic troubles that England has to face with the soccer riots, but it’s connection with Croix’s Noir Fuel Spirit doesn’t make it feel any less out-of-place in the show. Snooty old aristocrats talking about using political strife for their own gain has been the least engaging aspect of the series, but it plays the most important role as the conflict that the witches at Luna Nova have to face for the finale.
And it’s a shame because they really could have given more time to fleshing out Croix and Ursula’s relationship. They’ve only touched on it slightly in flashbacks and brief encounters where Ursula is saving Akko, but it’s easily one of the aspects of the show that intrigued me the most because of how well it relates to Akko’s journey. Croix’s breakdown cuts into how a bulk of her motivation was to be acknowledged for her hard work only to be shunned left and right, culminating in Woodward trolling her with a twig as a reward for her troubles. We’ve seen Croix as a mostly one-sided jerk character with short spurts of compassion, but seeing Croix before Chariot was granted the Shiny Rod would’ve honed in on the positive qualities to her character that are open for development once she puts aside her resentment. Her breakdown also opened the door for her to right any of the wrongs she did to get to her goals as she actively tried to undo the damaging effects of her magic, and protect Ursula from the mess she made.
On top of this, Ursula’s compassion towards Croix gave her depth that also could’ve been fleshed out more. Even after having her own dream sabotaged by Croix, Ursula still felt she owed her all this time for having the responsibility her friend could only dream of having. Ursula saddles on a lot of regrets, but we don’t see enough of the good times that Croix and Chariot shared, so it feels like we’re stuck just having to trust the show’s instincts that they had a good enough relationship for Ursula to feel this terrible. It also would’ve made it more rewarding for us to see Akko’s equally quick growth. Rather than Chariot and Croix’s relationship fracturing as they repress their emotions, Akko let Ursula know that she doesn’t hold any resentment for her taking her magic when her decision to become a witch and the resolve to trust in herself is thanks to Chariot’s inspiration. It helps set up the contrast between Chariot and Akko’s paths, yet intertwines their trajectory enough to have them compliment one another. How Akko can relate to and overcome the same struggles that Croix, and Chariot faced in their past is very significant to her story as she further develops her magical prowess, but this has only been lightly touched upon within the last few episodes.
That being said, the show does an effective job at ramping up the stakes to their highest. With the Noir Rod manifesting into a nuclear rocket heading to the moon at the same time Akko is celebrating the Grand Triskelon’s reawakening. For all the points that I wish were improved upon, I think that the show is doing a great job at keeping me invested in the overarching story, and leaves me hopeful with the possibility that we’ll leave Akko, Ursula, and Chariot’s stories on a high note next week.