“No one understands Chariot. She taught me all about the wonders of being a witch. How do I make them understand what she really is?”
-Akko Kagari, Little Witch Academia
We are all inspired by different things.
The story of Little Witch Academia is simple. Akko Kagari is a hapless student, who was inspired as a child to study magic following a performance by the witch Shiny Chariot. For young Akko, the performance was like nothing she had ever seen. As fireworks exploded in the sky above Chariot, they were reflected in Akko’s eyes and heart. Unfortunately, Shiny Chariot is not well-thought of in the wizarding world. Even Akko’s closest friends, Sucy Manbavaran and Lotte Yanson, believe her to be a fraud, with all flash and no substance. Nonetheless, Akko continues to idolize Chariot, and it’s this belief that allows her to redeem herself, slaying a dragon and saving her classmates.
Produced by Studio Trigger for the Young Animator Training Project, Little Witch Academia only has 25 minutes to tell it’s tale, and it uses every moment wisely. Following its conclusion, the audience yearns to see more of Akko, Diana Cavendish, Sucy, Lotte, and others, in spite of the fact that this specific story arc comes to a neat and tidy end. Additionally, this simple story of inspiration – told time and again in numerous forms of media – carries with it a large amount emotional resonance. We are all inspired by something. As the credits began to roll following my initial watch of the short, I simply wanted to draw (my default method of expression), and I didn’t want to stop until I was completely exhausted. Like Akko and Shiny Chariot – albeit on a far smaller scale – I felt inspired. I wanted to create.
I would like to think that Akko’s frustration at her friends’ lack of respect for Shiny Chariot (quoted above) stems not from Chariot’s image in the wizarding world, but what she specifically means to Akko herself. Understanding “what Chariot really is” is inherent to understanding Akko and what is important to her. It’s communicating one’s belief in, or love for something, that’s often the tricky part, and Akko does this in predictable, but marvelous, fashion towards the end of the short. She creates the same magic that inspired her as a child, allowing fireworks to appear in her eyes once more.