Little Witch Academia, Episode 6: There Are No Shortcuts

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Wouldn’t it be awesome if all it took to become good at something was a magical spell with maybe some slight pleading?

No huss and fuss over mistakes, no self-tormenting over your inability to do something you so desperately want to do, just all of the glory, right from the get-go.

Well, let me and Akko know if you find it. For now, I’ll stand the belief that real life doesn’t really work that way (although it would’ve been great to have one of these magical fountains to save me from all the heartache I experienced in art school).

Little Witch Academia’s message this episode was simple and to the point: there are no shortcuts on the path to your dreams.

Those who have followed Little Witch Academia so far will undoubtedly see a contradiction to the message with Akko only managing to overcome challenges at Luna Nova through dumb stroke of luck. At this point, we’re conditioned to expect that she’ll miraculously overcome anything thrown her way, so when Akko’s setback doesn’t go as planned this episode, it’s equally as alarming for the viewer as it is for Akko. 

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The time has come for our witch trio to take exams on their use of metamorphosis — what we learn through the other witches to be one of the most basic abilities in the arsenal of a witch — and expectedly, Akko’s failure to perform such low-level magic only highlights just how little she’s progressed as a student. Instead of transforming the rodent supplied to her during exams into something else, which all the other students before her had done with ease, her spell backfires, giving her a pair of bunny ears. Her professor was not too happy with her.

In the middle of the exams, the rest of the class gossips about an upcoming welcoming party hosted by the Earl of Hanbridge and his supposedly handsome and prodigious son, Lord Andrew (Men in the show!? Gasp!). Akko’s ears perk up as she repeats the word handsome aloud, only to be met with the disapproval of Professor Badcock (her name gives me a chortle every time). Professor Badcock sternly reminds her she will have to study as punishment. Talk about adding salt to an open wound.

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The bunny ears stayed with her for the rest of the episode almost like a bitter reminder of her flaws as a witch. But hey, at least she pulled it off with style.

And so, while the girls attending the welcoming party, Akko confined herself to her room to properly learn metamorphosis. She reads various textbooks on the subject, painstakingly recreating the exercises only to fail yet again. Her ineptitude has become all too clear for her.

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“Maybe I really am a dunce.”

Akko, Little Witch Academia, Episode 6

Her failures eat at her, making her search inward for an answer and revealing the self-awareness we’ve been waiting for. Sadly, it doesn’t sink in for her until much later on in the episode. Akko, in the brink of despair, remembers the card called the Fountain of Polaris which hints at the whereabouts of a magical item capable of bestowing someone with the abilities of a great witch, and this realization leads us to believe she’s experienced yet another lucky break.

With all of Luna Nova busy in the welcome party, Akko sneaks around, searching for the whereabouts of the fountain. To be fair, I can’t really blame her for seeking the opportunity out. Struggling and coming to terms with your inability to do something you so desperately desire is scary, uncomfortable, and often times humiliating for people. Her search inevitably gets her discovered by Lord Andrew, who can’t help but notice the girl tiptoeing around with bunny ears.

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Their encounter was altogether quite cute to watch. Lord Andrew’s curiosity gets the best of him, so he grabs at Akko’s ears, only for her to let out a pained howl. Akko eventually realizes who he is and is visibly flustered by his approach (something we’re not really used to seeing from her). She’s so clumsy and blunt, she blurts out how he’s the handsome Andrew everyone has been talking about. To this, Lord Andrew responds, “I’ve always considered witches to be strange, but you’re the most unique one I’ve ever met.” Even someone like Lord Andrew, who has painted himself as somewhat of a serious guy, can’t help but be captivated by Akko’s brazen attitude. Akko, mistaking his curiosity for a genuine interest in magic, attempts to show off her abilities as a witch, only to end up giving Lord Andrew his very own pair of ridiculous ears.

This leads to Lord Andrew begrudgingly accompanying her in attempt to find the fountain so she can reverse their predicament. They arrive at the fountain, but Akko did not get the answer she desired. Instead, the fountain shows her scenes from Grand Chariot’s past, who seemingly experienced all the same struggles as her(even the rejection of the fountain), but unlike Akko, she ultimately persevered and overcame the odds, making the fountain recognize her ability as a witch. This makes the situation all too clear for Akko: If she wants to have the fountain recognize her, she’ll have to conquer her flaws through her own means, rather than having the fountain solve them for her.

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Just like that, Little Witch Academia circles back to the moment of introspection planted within Akko earlier, allowing her to finally take the first real steps forward towards realizing her dream. The resolution came to was the one she was avoiding all along, but can we really blame her trying the path of least resistance? I know I’ve found myself in her position before, trying to find the quickest way to reach my goals only to realize that there’s no better way than the tried and true one of constantly pushing myself.

 

– Palpable (*´▽`*)

2 thoughts on “Little Witch Academia, Episode 6: There Are No Shortcuts”

    1. Likewise. It wasn’t like I didn’t empathize with Akko’s character before, but her constantly getting what she wants without much effort doesn’t make for a compelling story. Hopefully, she changes bit by bit from here on out.

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