Professor Ursula carries with her many lessons from when she was Shiny Chariot. A few of the more important ones are how to draw a crowd, and how keep their attention.
After all, advertising is it’s own kind of magic.
Prior to the explosion of popularity that accompanied Kill la Kill, Hiroyuki Imaishi’s Studio Trigger had released two other anime offerings. The first was Inferno Cop, a low-budget ONA that aired on Anime Bancho along with similar cult hits like Turning Girls. The second was a short 26-minute film titled Little Witch Academia that aired as part of the Anime Mirai project.
Little Witch Academia thrived on quick characterization, allowing viewers to easily identify and sort themselves as they wished. Headed up by former Gainax veteran Yoh Yoshinari, Little Witch Academia was tightly written, wonderfully animated, and appealed to a wide variety of viewers. Like in-universe protagonist Akko Kagari – who was inspired to become a witch by Shiny Chariot’s magic show – audiences clamored for more. A Kickstarter campaign to extend a pre-planned 15 minute sequel, $625,518, and a little over two years later, Little Witch Academia: The Enchanted Parade was released.
Clocking in for 30 minutes more than its predecessor, Enchanted Parade expands – as much as it can within 53 minutes total – on the one-note personalities established in Little Witch Academia, primarily Diana Cavendish and the aforementioned Akko. Both desperately wish for magic to be revered by the general populace; however, their individual methods are completely different, reflecting their respective upbringings.
While Diana secretly loves Shiny Chariot, and also was inspired by her as a child, she’s bound by family obligation and knowledge of her social position. Draco Malfoy comparisons are apt, although Diana’s familial influence isn’t nearly as negative. Due to her upbringing she is put in a position of privilege which she uses to her advantage by studying hard and honing her craft. By studying, and through her measured actions, Diana is a shining example of how powerful and talented a witch can be.
Meanwhile, Akko is pure energy and ambition with no nuance or natural skill. She is driven by raw emotion, and has delusions of grandeur directly related to her desire to prove both herself, and how wonderful magic is. Her heart is technically in the right place – and Akko does great things when inspired – but she lacks the follow-through, care, and education of Diana.
Framing their actions throughout Enchanted Parade‘s climax is Shiny Chariot herself. Masquerading as the demure Professor Ursula at Luna Nova, Shiny Chariot hypes up the crowd, and sets a tone of wonder for their parade audience. This conveniently disguises the fact that more than half of the events were unplanned and nearly catastrophic. For Akko, this provides direction and a spotlight. For Diana, it allows her to move more freely, momentarily shedding her social skin. All the while, the witches’ boat magically meanders down the street in a scene eerily reminiscent of Madoka: Rebellion, prodding the audience and asking if they are entertained.
If one chooses to look at Enchanted Parade within a meta framework, it becomes an in-universe celebration for backers of the project. Shiny Chariot is their Master of Ceremonies accompanying the recent digital release and Anime Expo premiere, hyping them up for Enchanted Parade‘s grand finale. All in all, Little Witch Academia is a charming offering that somewhat sells itself. However, just like Akko and company draw from the support of their crowd, the project always has room for a bit more publicity to cast a larger spell.