The journey promised in the title of this series has finally begun so this is real test of whether or not this show will work. I’ll admit that I do find this episode less enjoyable than the first but I must stress that you take that with a grain of salt. There’s still plenty to enjoy here.
In this episode, Elaina travels to the “Land of Mages”, a city-state of some kind populated almost entirely of mages. Surprisingly, this is the most underdeveloped element of the episode. The most you really get out of the location is that lots of witches fly on their brooms (and cheekily enough, the architecture is designed with that in mind) and you’re essentially homeless if you lose the brooch that states your status as a full fledged witch, as demonstrated by Elaina in this episode. I don’t know, I was really hoping for something more here. Maybe bring up the rather heavy emphasis on one’s officialness as a witch or the potential elitist or classist attitude that can come in a place exclusive to a specific set of people. Have Elaina make note of what she experiences here; the most she comments on is how inconvenient it is to not have her brooch.
For the most part, the story focuses on Elaina’s chance encounter with a novice witch named Saya (Tomoyo Kurosawa; side note but I hope Kurosawa is recovering well from COVID-19). When Saya asks Elaina to train her for the magic exams (which I must say are quite brutal), Elaina agrees to do so while she searches for her brooch. It does feel a bit too soon for Elaina to take on an apprentice. We literally just saw her apprenticeship one episode ago. Still, it does make for a fun reversal as well as an exploration of Elaina’s character so far. In addition to killing time, Elaina agrees to train Saya out of amusement at how much the latter wants her help. Evidently, this girl still has a bit of an ego though she once again keeps that in check. Elaina proves to be an effective teacher whose advise more than matches up with her skills. She also proves to be perceptive too, deducing that what Saya needs is less actual training in magic and more just a confidence boost.
That Saya is the one who stole the brooch I saw coming a mile away. Elaina losing it is happens very coincidentally with her meeting her apprentice. It works however in the nuance it lends to Saya’s motivation. Saya keeps the brooch to herself so that Elaina is stuck in the city (honestly, you’d think they’d just kick her out if she can’t prove her title) but less to prolong the tutelage and more to just have someone around. Poor girl has been by her lonesome while passing the magic exams so while her actions is misguided, you get why she does it. Rather than be mad though, Elaina provides some encouragement. A really nice touch is that she gives the spare hat her mother gave her in the last episode over to Saya. That got brought up sooner than I expected and it’s definitely a more interesting use than if Elaina really did lose her hat and pulled out the spare.
I really couldn’t help but notice the yuri vibes from Saya towards Elaina. Between her asking Elaina’s help right after the latter took a shower to being confronted over the brooch while the two sleep together (no, not like that), tell me that isn’t on the nose. Hell, the end of the episode has Elaina finding out Saya passed the exams and the interview Saya gives has her describe the former as someone she loves. I would love it if Saya really is attracted to girls though I’ve also seen enough anime to assume that this is likely just the usual shipping bait.
With Saya passing and wanting to catch up to Elaina, the door is left open for her to return and I look forward to another appearance by her.
Thanks for reading!