Little Witch Academia: Episode 3 — The True Magic is in an Earnest Approach

It’s not often the case that people pursue their dreams with all that they have. After all, if it were that easy, we’d all be well-accomplished individuals.There are many factors that can become a deterrent in the journey, and more often than not, may even cause people to settle on something less meaningful. There are those that let finances or time get in the way of their goals. Some just aren’t willing to put in the effort. Others are worried about how they’ll be perceived. However, people that do give their all stand out from the crowd. The reason they’re revered as people is simple: people want to believe that those that accomplish their goals are different from them. They want to feel that it was through some miracle of nature that they obtained their dreams. No one wants to accept that they simply didn’t work as hard as someone else. Little Witch Academia is here to tell you otherwise. “A believing heart is my magic.” Those were the words Kagari told Professor Ursula as she inquired about Shiny Chariot’s magic staff. To Kagari, the sentence is her sacred creed. Through sheer force of will, passion, and belief in herself, Kagari makes the magic of Little Witch Academia come to life, creating breakthroughs that shouldn’t be possible.

The magic of Little Witch Academia isn’t in the school, staffs, incantations, cauldrons, or books. Nor is it in the brooms or even the sorcerer’s stone itself — it’s in the characters’ approach to life. For Kagari in particular, she’s not a talented witch by any means. What separates her from everyone else is that she’s not taking anything for granted. For her, every moment in Witch School is something to be appreciated and cherished.  She’s not looking for vast wealth or prestige. On the contrary, she’s blazing her own path that she believes will bring her happiness and she doesn’t care if she looks like an idiot to get there. The small hiccups she experiences  along the way are largely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.

In order to understand what made episode three so great, let’s break down some of the events that transpired. From the beginning, Kagari is seen in her room attempting to use magic to organize the mess of books piled on the floor, but it’s to no avail. Having just experienced the awesome moment during the prior episode where she had casted a magical spell to transform larvaes to legendary butterflies, it was really no wonder as to why she would believe she could use magic. However, her situation has not changed and she’s still just as every bit incapable. Afterwards, Professor Ursula walks in on her to introduce herself as her mentor. Professor Ursula notices Shiny Chariot’s Staff dangling behind Kagari and asks her about it. Kagari mentions that she found it and while she knows she’s supposed to hand over found items, she will not do so because she thinks it’ll lead her to Shiny Chariot’s whereabouts. Her blatant disregard for the rule is one of many instances that highlight just how far Kagari is willing to go to achieve her goals.

Afterwards, Professor Ursula hands over a broom to Kagari so she can prepare for her flight lessons. After a brief chit-chat with the witch trio, we see the myriad of scars Kagari has earned attempting to learn how to fly on a broom — a testament to how far she’s willing to go to learn something. Sucy explains that she needed the power of the Sorcerer’s Stone to use magic, and that by being far away from it, the task was next to impossible for her. Regardless, she believed she could fly and kept trying. There’s something to be said about someone willing to make a fool of themselves to achieve something. Sure, Kagari’s naïve and silly for even attempting, but it makes her all the more appealing as a character. Nevertheless, just because she believes she can do it, it doesn’t mean the path to get there will be easy.

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Kagari threatens her broom.
The rest of the episode was dedicated to exploring Kagari’s weaknesses as a witch, and how it’s not necessarily a setback for her. With the impending prestigious broom relay race on the horizon, Kagari was desperate to sieze the number one spot so that she could place her picture next to Shiny Chariot’s in the school’s trophy case. She even attempts pleading to an antique shopkeeper to hand over his legendary broom, The Shooting Star. Apparently the broom rivals the speed of jet planes, but it cannot be tamed by any mere witch. However, no matter what Kagari tried, nothing seemed to work for her. All her friends and even her professor pitched in to help her, giving her their own fool-proof methods. Suffice to say, none of them worked. Sucy tried just about everything to get her to fly: she launched Kagari off a tall tower, shot her out of a cannon, and even tied her to her own broom in hopes something would happen. Finally, Sucy comes up with a plan to win the race through devious methods, such as sticking the opponents broom’s with plants. She’s become one of my favorite characters due to how consistently mischievous she is. The race takes place without Kagari learning how to properly fly. Instead, Sucy rigs her broom with a magic potion to give the broom’s top the ability to bounce. Kagari ends up leap-frogging her way to a lead for a good portion of the race. It looks as funny as it sounds.

This is exactly what makes the episode so potent. Thematically, Little Witch Academia remains consistent to its message. In today’s world of immediate gratification, people often want to take the path of least resistance. Some of us talk big, but we don’t really want to put in the work to get there. We don’t really want to fumble or experience failure. Failure is scary. Little Witch Academia sticks to its guns and tells us failure is okay. That, through failure, we’re given the opportunity to improve ourselves and push forward. I wholeheartedly love this message, regardless of how corny or cliché it is. Kagari could’ve given up multiple times throughout the episode, but she sticks to the motto without a second thought. As she leaps ahead of everyone in the race, she’s ridiculed by all the other witches. This means very little to her, considering she’s ahead of them in the race. She truly feels that, as long as she believes, she will overcome any obstacle. Instead of succumbing to despair because she never learned how to fly, she went through the race and end up finishing in second place. To be fair, Kagari did use the help of the legendary broom to get there, but you cannot dismiss her determination. She literally strapped herself to the broom so she would not be thrown off.

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For as much fun and comedic value present in the anime, there’s a more serious, poignant message to be taken out of all of this. The scenes that really shined were those where we were watching Kagari fail with grace. The earnest way Kagari approaches all facets of her life truly captures the spirit of the series: “A believing heart is all you need.” The message is so simple, but it’s executed with brilliance.

 

 

— Palpable ヽ(´▽`)/

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