Hello everybody and welcome to our next exciting episode of Little Witch Academia, the school that hosts a bunch of nobles at random in the hopes the students won't turn them into beasts.
In our last episode, Akko is having issues with using metamorphosis magic, accidentally giving herself animal features instead of transforming the rat proper, so until she's got it down, she isn't allowed to attend the banquet that is going to host a very important noble and his son, Andrew. While Akko does that, Andrew finds the whole thing rather tedious, but is then offered a tour of the campus by the Headmaster, with Diana acting as the tour guide.
Turns out, Diana and Andrew already knew each other, once, briefly, long ago. And they don't get along well now, mainly because Andrew finds the whole thing with magic rather outdated and useless in the modern world. Now where have I heard that one before? As for Akko, she gets frustrated with her failures, but instead of letting that keep her down, she decides to use a cheat. She's going to find an artifact called the Fountain of Polaris, which is said to give the magic of the starts to those that have the talent for it.
So as Akko goes for the fountain, she runs into Andrew, they get into a heated debate, and she accidentally gives Andrew the ears and the tail of a donkey. Yeah, that was fun. So he joins her on her little quest, running away from a polar bear, until she finds the Fountain of Polaris. However, what she found isn't was she was expecting, for it turns out, she wasn't the only one seeking it. Long ago, her idol, Chariot, did the same thing, and in the flashbacks that accompanied it, we saw that Chariot had the same difficulties as Akko does now.
Of course Akko isn't ready for it, yet, but perhaps she will, one day. With Ursula showing up for reasons that may or may not be related to the fountain, Andrew is turned back to normal, but seems to have a different outlook on magic as a whole. I wouldn't say he's changed his mind, but Akko has certainly given him something to think about now.
With Akko now knowing she needs to buckle down harder, will she begin the same turn around that Chariot did? Let's tune in and find out.
-Our episode starts with another class taught by Professor Lukic. She tells the students that, should a witch use magic for fraud, then their tongues would be cut out with hot iron. Ouch. Should magic be used for murder, then the perpetrator would be eaten alive by mice who have extra sharp teeth for this task. And Lukic is having a blast repeating these lines. Lotte doesn't think this is that funny, and yeah, only Lukic, who's playing up the classic witch trope, would find it funny. Really, I think it's just an act, but that's just me.
-Lukic continues, saying that if one resurrects the dead with magic, then there would be a punishment so great they would wish they were dead. So, basically, an Uwe Boll marathon for twenty four hours straight? I know I would be wishing for death after that. So, yeah, no bringing people back from the dead or else. Fun times. The students are chilled to the bone as Lukic goes full on evil laughter with an evil, crazed look... that gets ruined by a question by one of the students. It's Akko, and she's asking if all of this will be on the next exam. Damn, Akko, you are insanely brave... also, that's actually a good question. After a very long, awkward pause, a clearly dejected Lukic tells Akko that it will probably be on the exam. Accepting that, Akko gets to writing down those remarks. Lotte stares at her friend, horrified, that apparently she had the gall to ask a serious question when she should have been fearing with dread.
-Later, Lotte addresses that Akko is acting weird, because apparently legal studies is usually nap time for her. Akko denies such a thing, even if she is acting a bit out of character. Well, she did get a major motivational boost recently, so she's probably doubling down hard. Sucy comes by to tell them that Constanze is showing a double feature tonight. The movies she's showing are the classic horror films "Apkallu: Merman of the Nemi" and "Apkallu 2: Revenge of the Merman." We don't see of the third film, which apparently took the series in space. Who does that to such a classic horror monster?
-Akko declines, though, since exams are coming up. Sucy is shocked that Akko is actually going to study, with the young student saying that she can't be like Chariot if she doesn't do her best. Sucy just stares in disbelief, uncertain where to even begin. She's probably going to check to make sure Akko didn't contract some disease given how out of character she's acting.
-After the opening, we're at the next class that Finneran is teaching. She tells the students that, in order to move an object at will they must stay highly focused. Diana, who's already got this down, ask the professor how many cubs of sugar she wants. Teacher's Pet! Though it's rather impressive that she's able to multitask like that. Akko, not wanting to be shown up, tries herself and ends up flinging the tea cup, along with the muffins, into Finneran's face. Well, that didn't go quite the way I was expecting, but still, looks like she's showing some real progress.
-Apparently Finneran has had enough of this and addresses her concerns with Professor Ursula, since she's Akko's counselor. The professor wants to know why Ursula isn't doing a good enough job, then tells her to get her little protege in shape or her next exams will be her last! You know it would have helped if you allowed Ursula to actually say anything, but you also scoffed at the idea of letting Akko have a guidance counselor like that, so I don't think you really got a leg to stand on. Besides, Akko is taking this seriously, she's just... lacking, compared to everybody else.
-We cut to Akko, alone in a classroom, looking very sheepish, but regretful. Ursula, however, still has a smile, because she understands her student's plight, and will help her out, first by starting with the basics and moving on from there. First, Ursula asks Akko to open the window. And unlike what happened in class proper, she fails to open the window. It seems to go on for a full day and Akko looks very tired. It's going to be a long week.
-Of course, while Akko is getting extra help, she still has to take her regular classes, and here the students are learning about hte avian language. Owls and ravens are the most common among familiar spirits, and since they can be a great help, it's important for girls to understand the language. Though I imagine most things ravens say consist of "stupid humans". The raven caws and the students get to writing. Well, except for Akko, but she gets back to writing. During the break we learn that this is actually an exam, but she scored a C, so that's still pretty good. Lotte offers moral support, saying that Akko will do better on the other exams.
-Of course, what doesn't help is Hannah and Barbara. They take the exam sheet from Akko and start reading the answers out loud, mocking her. Akko isn't in the mood for this crap, though, and takes it back and yells at the girls, but the mocking continues as they leave. Diana, you really need to pick better friends. Anyway, back to the tutoring. Akko's next exams is on white magic, and it'll be on repairing broken objects, so they'll go over restoration magic. Ursula shows this off by sprinkling a potion on a broken clock, giving the magic words, and soon enough, the clock is back to working order. As for Akko, she takes the class herself, but instead of a clock, it's a spoon. The teacher just sighs and asks for Lotte to perform the task next. She comes up as Akko is still there, holding up the spoon, as she brings up and repairs a shoe. Though unlike what happened with Ursula and Akko, Lotte brings out familiars to repair the shoe. I wonder if they're union?
-That night, Akko is praising Lotte, as apparently only she and Diana scored an A-Plus in white magic. Though she is still in the dumps as she only scored a C-Minus on her exam. Hey, that's still passing, so as long as you don't fail anything, you're good to go. Lotte does remind Akko that she's been working with spirits all her life, since her family owns a magical cafe and all. Of course, Lotte has also heard that it's outdated to use magic to repair things, which seems rather odd, given that it doesn't seem like it takes much to use magic to repair items. But the reason Lotte is at Luna Nova is to see about getting a Magic Tool Handler's License. Akko is surprised that a license would be required, but apparently, it's the law to have one after graduation. You know, like driving!
-Though the talk of getting a job after graduation does peek Akko's interest, so she reads up the list of alumni with Ursula, who goes on to mention some of the jobs witches have, like one that became a plastic surgeon who uses transfiguration magic, while others are CSI officers who use restoration magic on crime scenes. You know, these sound like excellent plot points for their own spin-offs. Especially the CSI one.
-Akko starts reading off one entry involving an alumni named Michelle, who excelled at astrology, works as a fortune teller in London. Ursula is curious and asks Akko what she wants to be when she graduates. Why, she wants to be a witch like Chariot! Of course she would. More specifically, she wants to go out in the world to make people happy. Well, got to keep that youthful optimism somehow, right? Though Akko's question for Ursula is quite the armor piercing one. She asks her teacher if she wanted to be a teacher when she was younger. Ursula doesn't respond, but stares out into space, as if she hit her with a question about a war. Yikes, that has to be something. That's when Lotte arrives to grab Akko for their flight exam. Oh, this isn't going to go well, is it? Akko departs with her friend as Ursula remains, thinking about her childhood dream. I wonder if we'll come back to this at some point.
-So we're in the flight exam, probably Akko's worst subject. Luckily it's Amanda who is on the field and she's showing off her skills on the field before coming to a flashy landing. Professor Nelson, the flight instructor, won't be having any of this nonsense, telling the reckless red-head that she will either fly safe or won't fly at all, giving her a grade of a C-Minus. Next is Akko and... yup, still can't fly. Though apparently Nelson is a very forgiving teacher, giving her a D-Minus. Amanda and her friends are joining Akko for lunch, and like before, Akko has nothing but compliments for her, thinking the red-head would have gotten an A if she didn't show off so much. Well, she's a free-spirit who isn't bounded by those rules, man! Though given the comments before, Akko wonders if she'll be a broom dancer when she graduates. Amanda isn't really thinking about the future. She just wants to have fun.
-Speaking of fun, Amanda ask the group if they want to go to a club tonight? Her friend is the DJ and offers to help them sneak in. Akko declines though, saying she has to study, which catches Amanda by surprise as her try-hard partner stands up, listing off the exams they have tomorrow. Amanda, unable to believe this, accuses Sucy of having fed Akko something. Her silence is deafening, though the look certainly says "Do you really think I'm that evil?"
-Unfortunately, while Akko tries to study, she ends up falling asleep. This won't be good. Though I do have to say I like the distortion effect they added, to kind of give it a hard, creepy cut. In class, we see Jasminka cast a spell on a grape, and while Badcock thinks it is sweeter, Jasminka is eating the rest of the grapes, she she gets an A-Minus as as a result. Next is Akko, who tries to do something with an apple. Badcock hesitates for a moment, examining the apple to look for anything weird, but seeing nothing, takes a bite and... yup, she starts drooling, but in a bad way. Well, at least it didn't explode or anything like that.
-For the next class, we see Constanze for her alchemy exam, who uses her magic to turn it into a freak transformer! Complete with the lawyer-friendly sound effect, too! And this is why Constanze is Best Girl. The teacher finds it impressive, but tells her to try and turn it into something more valuable. Hey, I know people who would pay a lot of money for something like that. Still, she gets a B-Plus, so awesome! Next is Akko. And after such a build up, she finally causes an explosion. I think that's an F, Akko.
-In the tutoring class, Akko is all kinds of depressed because everybody has something their good at. Everybody but her, that is. It does make me wonder how you got into Luna Nova. Are you from a rich family and the school was just that desperate? Ursula, being a good guidance consoler, says she has plenty of things she's good at. This perks Akko right up and asks for more details, and with such a happy expression on her face, Ursula just can't tell her the truth. Instead of lying, though, she just skips it to the next exams, magical astrology. The professor does have high hopes for her, but Akko gets depressed at the obvious subject change. This has not been a good week for her, has it?
-In class, we see Diana doing her thing and sees many challenges for Luna Nova, but they must stand united to face them. Ursula is rather impressed by it, but Akko isn't impressed, saying that she's just muttering vague things to sound wise. Dianne offers to read Akko's future, but Akko doesn't want to hear it because she already knows she'll be a great witch like Chariot. Still, Diana is quite curious and gets to reading the future, but she finds something rather surprising. Akko will leave Luna Nova.
-Akko doesn't believe her, but according to Hannah, Diana's fortune-telling is quite accurate. Barbara twists the knife a bit more with her mocking tone, causing Akko to lunge for her, but Hannah trips her up instead. While the two girls laugh, the rest look rather horrified by it. But that won't keep Akko done and a fight ensues. Ursula tries to get things under control but Finneran arrives rather quickly, putting a stop to it. One thinks she was waiting just for this opportunity, because that was pretty fast.
-In the Principal's office, Finneran lays out the charges against Akko, which includes feeding the teacher a poisoned apple, blowing up an exam room, and above all else, starting a fight in class. Akko claims it was Hannah who started it, but Finneran isn't interested in hearing any excuses. She doesn't think Akko would be a good fit for this school or would be a good witch, so should Akko fail her last exam, they will have no other option to expel her. Ursula is shocked by this as Akko doesn't want that to happen. In the wide shot Hannah and Barbara are smiling, as if plotting something terrible, but Ursula wants to say something, but Finneran won't let her speak. I imagine few teachers can get a word in when Finneran is on a rant.
-As far as Finneran is concerned, they cannot continue to teach a witch who will do nothing but bring shame to Luna Nova and turns to the Headmaster, who agrees. Looks like the odds are against Akko, especially when it seems like the staff is against her. Well, all but Ursula, it seems. Later, in the hallway, as Ursula tries to speak with Akko, the young student turns to her consoler, dejected, asking if the professor is disappointed in her, as well. She doesn't want to be a bad student and doesn't want to drop other, either. She refuses to lose and will do whatever she can to pass. Assuming nothing terrible happens.
-In the cafeteria, we learn that the last exam is magical philosophy. Lotte asks if Akko can really pass that class, with Sucy shocked that she picked that as an elective. Apparently there isn't even a teacher for it, so she wonders how they're going to hold an exam? Apparently the whole class is seat work, for all you do is just stare at a goldfish. Except the goldfish is actually a teacher, and her name is Professor Pisces. Well, isn't that name a little too on the nose.
-Akko is rather shocked by this, and as we see in the class, the goldfish talks to the students. Akko, of course, can't understand, so she turns to the student next to her, who explains that the fish language is very difficult to understand and that only advanced students of magical language take this class. Akko is rather impressed by this, as she is by most magical things, and asks what the teacher is saying. It's about all the things that will be on the exam. Akko plays it cool, though, but in her room, she's freaking out! You know, one would think that somebody would explain to Akko about how some of these classes work, but given how most of the staff is, I'm not actually surprised by this.
-Sucy comments on Diana's fortune-telling being accurate, but just the name "Diana" really fires Akko up. She won't let some perfect goody-two shoes student be right on this! She's going to ace the exam, even if she has no freaking idea what she should be studying for. Lotte is shocked by this this recovery, which means they found the codeword needed to bring Akko back around fore fire and fury.
-Though one of the things Akko is going to do is to bribe Professor Pisces with some expensive water that all the celebrities are drinking. She pours the bottle into the fishbowl and continues to butter her up in the hopes of getting a little leeway for the exam, but it turns out she accidentally killed her teacher. Oh that isn't good. Akko panics trying to revive her, but just to make it worse, it turns out the professor is still alive... and jumps out of Akko's hands and into the sink drain. It's just one thing after another, isn't it?
-Akko screams in horror as Sucy, Lotte, and Professor Ursula arrive, probably to help cheer her up. What excellent timing. Ursula is shocked by this as Akko claims there was no ill intent involved as Lotte tries to help, saying that no fish would take well to mineral water. But wow, the grin on Sucy's face. She's so very proud of her friend. And thanks to her, things have gotten interesting for the potion got girl. Akko is still depressed, but Sucy and Lotte suggest that maybe Pisces didn't get very far, so they're going to check the sewers. Ursula objects to that, but like with Finneran, she's left behind without being able to get a word in. You two are just so similar to one another, aren't you?
-We follow the girls down into the sewers as they look for Professor Pisces. Lotte suggests that they transform into fish, as it might help with the search, with Sucy adding that the professor might understand them as a result. So we see them them transform, and while Sucy and Lotte turn into fish, Akko... isn't. She's actually a merman, which gets a laugh from Sucy. Hey, this is much better than last time. Still, Akko thinks she looks terrible and she's going to redo the spell, but Lotte puts a stop to that, saying that they don't have enough power for another spell, since they're technically not at the school anymore, so they need to stay as is. And Akko's week just get worse.
-Ursula's week isn't looking too good, either. She's there to cover while Pisces is on her impromptu vacation, but the students start arriving, so in a panic, Ursula transforms an eraser into a fish lure and throws it in the bowl, then hides behind the podium. If this works I will be completely amazed.
-We return to the girls searching for Pisces and... is that a sunken ship? Why is there a sunken ship inside the sewers of a witch school? That just makes no sense. Anyway, Lotte doesn't think the professor would have gotten swept out this far, but suddenly, Akko hears a cry from somewhere. She goes to investigate and finds another fish. Akko, in her fish form, can understand other fish, so she asks about Pisces, but this one hasn't seen her. Akko is happy that she can finally understand the fish language, but this fish is very sad, for their family is gone. Well, you certainly look cheery for somebody so sad.
-Sucy and Lotte try to get Akko back on track with the mission, but Akko is just too much of a nice person and promises to help find this fish's family. Well, I'm sure Ursula will have it covered in class. Speaking of, we go back to check in on her and find Professor Nelson handing over the exam papers to the fake Pisces. Ursula makes water sounds that passes off as the professor, which apparently translates into her having a cold. Shocked by this, Nelson stays to help with the exam, despite fake-Pisces objections. Oh, this is going to be a long week, isn't it?
-Back with Akko, she continues the search for Pisces, only to find a trap inside of the lake. Fish friend recognizes the other fishes as her family, apparently all of them, and apparently she's the middle child of the family. Sucks to be her. Lotte is shocked to see the trap as it's forbidden to have them in the lake. Akko tries to open it but it doesn't work, so she tries for a spell but Lotte stops her, reminding her of the limited magic use. Lotte tries to press for time, but after a long moment of looking at the fish's sad eyes, Akko throws caution to the wind and uses her magic to open the cage. Oh taking that class is going to be so awkward now.
-And hey, Professor Pisces was in the cage, too! So now they can head back to school and take the exam where Akko will hopefully not flunk it. Except we have another problem. The cage still has a trapped fish, the little sister. You can tell because she has a pink bow on her head. This just asks so many questions. Anyway, Middle Fish gives chase, followed by Akko. On the surface we find the guy, who looks a bit like a hipster, who is upset to have only captured one fish. That complaint ends right away when Akko, in fish form, arrives to take the cage back. She then tells the hipster that fish poaching is not cool and dives back underwater. The look she gives, but the general look overall, just makes the entire scene a riot.
-With the family reunited, the girls, along with Professor Pisces, make their way back to the school. There, we see them running back with the Professor, and are cheerful when they enter in the class, having completed their self-appointed mission. Except, sadly, Ursula got caught and Finneran is there and she doesn't look happy. Well, she never looks happy in general, but more so than usual. I think we've officially hit rock bottom, Akko.
-In the Principal's office, Ursula gets dressed down by Holbrooke, but apparently she isn't quite upset. Pisces says something, which Akko is able to translate, which Holbrooke confirmed, and we also learn that Akko received an A for truly embedding the course content. So, yeah, Akko can understand fish now, though she doesn't know how that happened. Finneran, however, won't let Akko off the hook that easily as she shows off a tabloid paper called the Moon, which has a mock picture of Akko in her merman form. Guess we got a new legend now, though Akko is curious how the guy got a picture of her. Maybe it was the real deal?
-For Finneran, this is the straw that broke the camel's back. She wants Akko expelled from Luna Nova for bringing shame to the school. Ursula, however, has had enough of this crap. She loudly objects to the expelling Akko, pointing out that she tries her hardest, learned Fish Language in a day, and is doing her best, including with transformation magic. Yes, Akko has failed a number of times, but she is growing. And the school isn't here to compare her to other students, but to compare her to herself, to help her grow as a person and as a witch, and not to point out how somebody else is doing something better. Oh, and Ursula isn't done yet. When Finneran says that Akko has no value as a witch, Ursula counters that Akko has value as a person, that she wouldn't leave anybody else behind, that she cares more about other people than her self. And raising the students to care for nothing but grades and the public image is just stupid! I think this was a long time coming for Professor Ursula.
-The professor continues, saying that she values Akko. Finneran, usually the one intimidating the other professors, finds herself intimidated by Ursula. She has nothing to say to her junior, struggling for any sort of retort. Luckily, this comes in the form of Professor Badcock, who mentions that they received a strange phone call and asked if the merman is a student at Luna Nova. Finneran takes this as justification for her arguments, but apparently the people calling are an environmental group, who wish to thank the merman for rescuing a very rare and endangered breed of fish. And just like that, any thoughts of Akko's expulsion are forgotten, despite Finneran really wanting to be rid of Akko.
-So Luna Nova won't expel Akko for being an honorable student, but she did try to cheat on an exam, so there will be a punishment, one that Holbrook has in mind. Apparently she and her roommates will be living with Professor Finneran, who will be a harsh mistress to the girls. Ursula doesn't understand why she's being punished this way, as well, but I can think of a number of reasons. Still Akko thanks her consoler for saying all the things she said about her earlier, adding that she never had a teacher like her. Well, the smile certainly won over Ursula, who just says that she was just doing her job and totally not helping out a student that reminds her so much of herself. Fun times all around! And hey, the end credits actually include Akko and company as fishes. That's a nice little touch.
The episode shows that while Akko still has a long way to go, she is growing as a witch. Granted, she's still having trouble with other things, like with flying a broom, but she's getting better, slowly but surely. Early, the show kind of painted Akko as a bit of book dumb, but we would need to put that into context. Yes, she lacks in the basic knowledge and powers that the other students have, but that could be considered a fault of her being a commoner family and only having self-study for magic. It's clear she is capable, but is so far behind everybody else that she needs special attention, one that Ursula is trying to do but apparently can't outside of specific circumstances.
And this episode shows that Akko is very capable. Learning the fish language in one day, despite it being very difficult, is a remarkable feat. Even Sucy and Lotte can't understand Professor Pisces, so whatever allowed Akko to do it, it wasn't becoming fishes, though that does apparently help being understood and understanding fishes.
So one thing I want to bring up is Finneran. Yes, she plays up the whole as the harsh disciplinary teacher teacher, but it does look like she's playing favorites. Specifically, she looks down on Akko quite a bit while giving high praise to Diana. Granted, Diana's praise is deserving, but at the same time, Finneran does look for any excuse to expel Akko. Or at least, in recent episodes, that seems to be the case here. If anything, Ursula serves as a counter to Finneran. One is a stern, harsh teacher that isn't easily impressed while the other is a warm, kind teacher who seems to be a bit of a pushover.
Speaking of Ursula, it's also clear that her ways of teaching are very different from the rest of the staff. She's in an uphill battle if she wants to change anything, but it's pretty clear that she thinks Akko is just as capable as anybody else, and in some cases, she's more than worthy of being a student of Luna Nova.
With all that said, so far, I think this might be my favorite episode so far. The first half was, admittedly, a bit slow with it basically seeing how badly Akko can screw up, but the second half with the fish and their family? I thought that was comedy gold. Apparently somebody at Studio Trigger watched The Sword and the Stonerecently and wanted to do something similar to the fish scene there, only they would deal with a poacher instead of an enemy crab.
What wacky adventures await Akko and her friends next? Tune in on Sunday to find out.
Until next time, remember, when you need to replace your teacher who is a fish and found herself in a drain, you should always use a fish lure to be the replacement. Nobody will be the wiser.