Little Witch Academia – 10

Note: I filled in for Oigakkosan reviewing this episode. —Preston

Akko, Lotte, and Sucy’s pleasant afternoon ice cream is marred when Diana’s Maybach limo rolls up and her two lackeys jump out just to gloat that they’re going to a sumptuous party celebrating Lord Andrew’s top marks.

Sucy has just shown Akko and Lotte a “Fallin Lovelove Bee” that was delivered to her in error, and we already know precisely where this is going: the peasant girls will crash Andrew’s party, and the Love Bee will sting him, sending him head-over-heels for Akko.

Because it’s so obvious this is going to happen, Akko’s desire to stick it to Diana’s lackeys by attending the party uninvited doesn’t feel like her own choice, only a means to get that bee sting in Andrew’s neck. While Akko and Lotte clean up great, the two-hour, half-price “Cinderella Kit” is just a means to those means…not to mention overly borrow-y feeling.

Andrew is his usual dismissive, aloof jerkface self, while his pal Frank is his usual friendly, decent self. Just when he’s tossing the witches out, Drew gets stung, Akko is the first face he sees, and we’re off to the races. The Bee also stings Frank and three other dudes who all fall for Lotte, then stings Diana, who also falls for Akko. Akko spends much of the evening flailing around, not ready for this kind of “attention.”

Eventually she gets away from her pursuers, then overhears Andrew’s dad chewing him out about staying on the precise path that has already been laid out for him, and not wasting his time on witches or “effeminate” piano playing.

When Akko gets a bead on the bee, she darts all around the party, swatting at it in vain. Andrew, still at least partially under her spell, plays the piano (“Flight of the Bumblebee”, of course) to accompany her. Finally the bee stings Drew’s father, but seconds later Akko kills the bee and the spell is lifted from all.

The Cinderella spell also fizzles out, Akko & Co. return to their uniforms, and Andrew reverts back to being a dick. Maybe he changed a little bit, like the last time he met Akko, but the guy is so stone-faced and inert, it’s as hard to tell as last time, leading to another shrug on the night.

In a nice twist, even post-spell, Frank asks Lotte out because he thinks they’d get along, but she turns him down gently, preferring they were friends first. But otherwise, after the bee reset button is pressed, we’re pretty much back to where we started. No one has changed and nothing was learned.

Now ten episodes in, LWA is not what I was hoping it would be: a show with a structured arc in which Akko gradually improves as a fledgeling witch, some kind of sustained conflict arrives that she and her friends and classmates must come together to overcome. The modern world’s increasing rejection of their craft, for instance.

Instead, the show is content to dawdle around with self-contained episodes that start and end in pretty much the same place, and an Akko who is unapologetically static in both her magical ability and personality. Her dreams remain way to vague and childish to carry any further significance, no matter how much she waxes poetic about them, and the entire premise of crashing a party for spite, leading to the pedestrian “love spell” antics, was generally unsatisfying.

Akko, Lotta and Sucy are still usually more fun to watch than not, but their lack of development and LWA’s lack of direction thus far make it hard to keep coming back. I never expected Madoka, but I would have settled for a story, rather than the series of disjointed, inconsequential vignettes we got.

Author: magicalchurlsukui

Preston Yamazuka is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

5 thoughts on “Little Witch Academia – 10”

  1. “Akko who is unapologetically static in both her magical ability and personality.” Personality? Yes. Akko’s personality has largely been static so far. Magical Ability? That’s a claim that goes a tad bit too far – consider that in this episode alone, Akko was able to turn a rabbit into a giant monster to drive off the guards.

    It would be quite ironic if LWA was dropped for the lack of a plot – right before the most plot-significant episode yet with Episode 11….

    1. Does it go too far, though? From episode one, Akko could use Shiny Rod to open a portal to Luna Nova. In the second episode, Akko fixes Diana’s mess with the Jennifer Memorial Tree. Those acts were presented as far higher-level magic than a novice like Akko should be able to perform, yet there she was, performing it at the beginning. Her magical development has been uneven at best. And she still can’t ride a broom properly.

      As for episode 11, I have no knowledge of LWA’s source material, or of the events to come. All I (and Franklin) have watched are ten largely standalone episodes that have painted a patchwork picture of Akko’s world but indicated nothing concrete about anything big on the horizon. I for one hope things pick up plotwise, but IMO LWA has neglected to prepare the necessary groundwork to give that plot (whatever it is) the fullest impact.

      For more discussion on the first ten episodes, check out my chat with Franklin here.

      1. 1. LWA Episode 11 has been released. It’s the most plot-progression that has happened ever since Episode 2 or perhaps 6, and not only that, maps a clear quest with clear objectives and a likely endgame that probably has locked LWA into a plot for it’s second cour. Something, that if your critique is correct should have been done way earlier than near the end of the First Cour, and I suspect would be the crux of any critique of LWA, even if the second cour has a tight plot at least as interesting as Kill La Kill’s second cour. I am not referring to a source material, of which there is none for LWA – LWA is anime original, I’m referring to the very latest episode that has come out. I think it’s EP 11 where you’ve got to defend your claim that LWA has not laid out the necessary groundwork for that plot it presents, so, I am sincerely looking forward to it. But even if LWA has earned that plot with the past eight episodes, it could still be argued that quite alot of those 8 episodes were unnecessary fillers.

        2. LWA’s order is very, very strange, and probably a testimony to sloppy buildup. By rights, Episode 2 shouldn’t have been an early game episode – you are right, there’s a very jarring drop of competency between Episode 2 and Episode 3. It was, on hindsight an unearned piece of competency. Furthermore, Episode 2’s semi-redemption of Diana preceded the subsequent portrayal of Diana as arrogant and antagonistic in the eyes of Akko. The entire Akko-Diana unknown rival dynamics basically appears weirdly out of order as a result.

        3. The nadir of Akko’s competency was Episode 3, where it seems that Akko can’t even cast a single spell to begin with. The first visible improvement was in Episode 5, when Akko managed to actually create a light with her wand. In Episode 6, Akko performs a botched and very partial Metamorphosis of herself, after many failures. In Episode 7, Akko at least manages to turn herself into a pseudo mermaid in contrast to 6, though it also illustrated that Akko was desperately far behind in things such as repairing. In Episode 9, Akko manages to pull off a simple repair spell. In Episode 10, Akko manages to transfigure a whole rabbit into a Kaiju casually. So, there is build up of competency between 3 – 10 at the very least- I don’t think it’s really that fair to say that Akko is magically stagnant. Perhaps her growth is too implausibly slow after what she pulled off in Episode 1 and 2. Perhaps LWA never needed 7 episodes to build Akko’s competency up through that slow increase.

        4. If the plot point of Episode 10 is a further buildup of Andrew’s father’s plans against magic (which appeared in 6, was dropped for three episodes and built up again in 10), then the key plot significance here is probably to make it credible that Andrew would eventually defy his father on a more substantial level.

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