The second half of Trigger’s Little Witch Academia anime series has finally landed on Netflix, and I didn’t waste anytime giving it a watch. My review of the first half was a pretty general overview of the show, but this one is going to go a bit deeper into spoilers, so reader be wary.
The first half of Little Witch Academia’s first season was a fairly episodic romp, and it served primarily to introduce us to the principal cast, give them a bit of character development and set the stage for the remaining 12 episodes that round out the season.
In contrast, the second half’s storytelling is quite a bit more serialized. The end of episode 13 reveals that Professor Ursula is actually the former witch idol known as Shiny Chariot, and that she must guide Akko, the current wielder of the Shiny Rod, in a search for seven special magic words.
Right off the bat, Luna Nova Academy receives a new instructor named Professor Croix. Croix is a Luna Nova alumni, and shares quite a bit of history with Chariot. Croix also serves as the link between the magic and modern worlds. The majority of the modern world views magic as an antiquated past time, something the first season briefly touched on.
Ever since she was a Luna Nova student, Croix’s dream has been to restore magic to its former glory. To do so, she has introduced elements of technology into her magic, such as magic routers that allow witches to carry a supply of magic energy with them on the go.
Croix’s ultimate goal, and her entire reason for coming to Luna Nova, is to perfect an invention that transforms people’s negative emotions into magical energy. This isn’t completely unfounded, as she actually used one of Shiny Chariot’s performances as a test bed many years ago.
She informed Croix about something called dream fuel energy, which allows the caster to turn their audience’s dreams into powerful magic. But as a side effect, the target loses a good portion of their magical talent, and you can probably guess where things go from here.
Akko learns that the reason she struggles with magic is the fault of her idol, the person who inspired her dream of becoming a witch, and this revelation is extremely tragic for the poor girl. Seeing her face and voice completely devoid of that trademark joy really broke my heart, but an unsuspecting friend helped bring her back from the darkness.
Diana Cavendish has a much more prominent role this time around. Because of her responsibilities to House Cavendish, Diana decides to end her enrollment at Luna Nova, but Akko refuses to let her go so easily. Through her conversations with Andrew and one of Diana’s caretakers, Akko learns that Diana wasn’t always the flawless witch that she appears to be.
As a child, Diana attended the same Shiny Chariot that Akko did, meaning that she too lost some of her magical talent. But in spite of this, Diana worked hard and never gave up, and this was a great way to make her a more likeable character. Learning more about Diana made her one of the show’s standout characters, and serves as a great basis for Akko to work that much harder.
And speaking of which, Akko’s magic has seen a ton of improvement. Although she still can’t fly a broom, her proficiency with the metamorphosis magic is commendable, and it becomes her trademark spell. Special mention goes to the show’s final episode, which shows Akko using consecutive transformations without missing a beat.
Another important character is Professor Ursula, or Shiny Chariot. Chariot and Croix were best friends at Luna Nova, with Croix being hailed as a witch prodigy. Croix was sure that she would be the one to complete the seven words and obtain the world altering magic, the Grand Triskellion. In a surprise twist of fate, the Shiny Rod chose Chariot, leading to Croix fostering resentment for her friend.
In the present, Chariot is doing everything in her power to stop Croix’s plans, all while trying to nurture and protect Akko. Chariot is somewhat of an action hero. It is our first time seeing what she can really do with magic, and the sight is nothing short of amazing. Even without magic, Chariot is extremely physically fit, and is capable of making daring leaps and drop kicking monsters with a ferocious impact.
Akko’s journey for the seven words is the main focus of this season, and I really like the way they presented it. Rather than each word being found at the end of some grand adventure, many of them are discovered in rather unexpected ways.
One of the words is found while Akko is attempting to find a cure to save Lotte’s village from a terrible illness, while another is the result of her assisting Diana. The words usually come to Akko after she has learned some type of important moral lesson, such as patience or understanding. These types of self reflective discoveries were instrumental to developing Akko as a virtuous and mature young witch.
Characters like Lotte, Sucy and Amanda don’t get as much spotlight this time around, but I felt the amount they received was acceptable. It was substantial enough that we didn’t forget they existed, but not enough to detract from Akko’s development.
One of Little Witch Academia’s most consistent themes has been achieving greater and greater feats by working together. A missile fueled by negative magic energy is on course to destroy one of the world’s major countries. Together, Akko and her friends do everything in their power to stop the missile from landing.
The girls take flight on their combined brooms, with Diana and Akko leading the charge. Eventually, the duo are the only ones left on the broom, and just as they are running out of magic energy, something amazing happens. In a sequence that wouldn’t be out of place in Dragon Ball Z, the world raises their hands and voices to the sky, sending magic energy composed of positive emotions to assist the girls.
The entire chase scene is really well done. Akko and Diana twist, dive and duck in order to avoid being attacked, and Akko demonstrates her skill with metamorphosis as she runs along the missile’s backside and joins back with Diana. In order to finish the job, Akko and Diana, Shiny Rod in hand, launch one final Shiny Arc, saving the day, and changing the world’s views on magic.
I always feel a little bit sad when I finish a great anime series. As I watched the final scene play out, I knew that my time with Akko and Luna Nova was at an end, but I was really happy that I got to be a part of her journey. Little Witch Academia may just end up being one of my favorite anime series of all time, and I would recommend it, as well as the two short films, to just about anyone. Also, I really need that Akko Nendoroid in my life.