「言の葉の樹」 (Koto no Ha no Ki”)
“Tree of Leaves”
Trigger’s back at it again! Little Witch Academia ended on such a high note that it’s hard not to come away from it with a good mood. In contrast with the last episode’s dour side after Noir Fuel Spirit’s rapid acceleration manifested into a nuclear missile heading towards Britain’s soccer rivals, the final episode is consistently optimistic. A couple minutes after finding out that the missile has no way of being dismantled, here comes Akko with the steel chair of hope! And as a light-hearted series, it’s all the more fitting that the show end on such a high note with “The New Nine Witches” gathering together to dismantle the bomb.
What really pulled me in was how they used the last episode to show us how far Akko has come from here. Seeing her friends help boost her up closer to the missile, solidifies all of the bonds she’s made up to that point, though a Jasminka episode would’ve been nice. I think what impressed me was how awesome Akko’s fight was as the combat equivalent of Chariot’s show. Akko being able to pull on a showcase of everything she’s done up to that point with a flurry of transformation magic and fast-paced dodging on Diana’s part was very exciting to watch. They even scared me for a second because it looked like what the 2nd ED was foreshadowing about Akko disappearing into a phoenix was going to happen. But then she showed right back up to save Diana from a freefall! Forgive me, it’s just that this kind of colorful, fast-paced action and whimsy is what I was expecting from the TV equivalent of the Little Witch Academia films, and it came full-force for the finale.
At the end of the day, the finale really was a culmination of almost everything that the show had introduced up to that point. Along with Akko and Diana being strong enough to join forces to use the full potential of the Shiny Rod to solve the crisis, Andrew was able to gain the confidence he needed to stall any intervention on Britain’s part against the witches as he gladly cheers Akko on, most of the minor characters from the season joined in giving the witches positive energy, Lotte and Barbara are now reading Nightfall together and Yggdrasil awakened a new era of magic. I’m also glad that Croix could redeem herself by devoting the rest of her studies to finding a cure for the pollen. So many shows are dead-set on punishing antagonistic characters, but here, she is given a lot more leeway to make up for being reckless. On top of all of this, the epilogue ends right when Akko is finally able to fly her broom! It’s such a feel-good ending that it leaves me wanting to see more of Akko’s hijinks soon.
Looking back at all the episodes, and seeing some of the familiar faces from them in the finale, I can safely say that I really enjoyed the show. I do have some complaints; mainly that there was so much I wanted to know about the universe and characters that I felt they rushed some of the story. Personally, I would’ve liked one two-cour season about Akko getting to know her friends along with some world-building and lore about Luna Nova, and another two-cour season to focus on Akko gathering the Words as we delve into Chariot’s relationship and past with Croix. I appreciated the characters so much that having more time to be able to get familiar with some of them and their quirks, histories, and motivations would’ve been great. We barely know about Jasminka, and what Croix and Chariot were like before they fell apart. They didn’t have as much to do with Sucy after her dream world episode even with the concept art of her mom floating around the internet. However, the complaints I have about the show are because I got invested in the characters, and wanted to see more of them as they grew.
My case and point for this is how well the parallel between Akko and Chariot were. With everything they had in common, they were two worlds apart as far as their handling of stress. To see the relationship between Akko and Ursula grow further and become complicated as the season went forward was intriguing. It is touching to see Akko and Ursula follow the same trajectory, but on different paths; one as a young girl learning to find herself beyond emulating her childhood hero, and another as an older woman teaching a newer generation with hopes both to see both them and her regain their strength. To me, it felt rewarding to see the characters gradually become better versions of themselves with Akko slowly becoming more adept at magic and believing in her own strength, more rigid characters like Andrew and Diana softening up and wanting to support Akko in her journey, and her new friends having more faith in Akko regardless of how many times they’ve seen her fail. As a whole, I have no trouble saying that the Little Witch Academia TV series is another Trigger anime that I enjoyed watching from beginning to end.
Being able to blog the second half of Little Witch Academia with everyone here is somewhat of a personal accomplishment. I was deeply invested in the show during its first half, and it motivated me to write about anime on the same level I’ve been writing about film and media. Specifically, I wanted to write about Episode 7 of this show, the episode where Ursula stands up for Akko, and startles Professor Finnelan by insisting that trying to stunt her growth by expelling her is arrogance. It was very moving for me to see Akko try her hardest in the uphill battle to get some kind of proficiency from her lessons, and to see Ursula fight this hard for Akko. It were moments like the end of that episode that made me want to write further about anime even though I gave up a while ago because my writing was much cruder. I guess in a way, I saw parts of myself in the characters, and ultimately, the show accomplished it’s goal by summoning up that sense of emotion in a viewer such as myself. As the episodes kept coming, it was still entertaining, but the character relationships were well executed to the point that it compelled me to write even more about them. And here we are today, finished with the TV series. It was a long road we traveled on, but the journey and the destination were worth it all, and I’m looking forward to whatever Trigger makes of Little Witch Academia next. I also look forward to getting the game only to not be able to play it until I get a PS4 in time for KH3.