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Anime Archivy Fantasy short blogs

A “special library” or a misnamed archives?: Little Witch Academia and archives stereotypes

Hello everyone! For today’s post, I thought I’d write about the 20th episode of Little Witch Academia, titled “Intellect and Sensibility.” In this young-adult anime, Akko, about age 16, is going to a school to try and become a witch. In this episode, she is trying to convince her so-called “rival,” Diana, to return to the school, which she has left to settle family matters at her huge mansion. And, yes, Diana is as rich as you can get, with Akko, in an earlier episode, criticizing her for being “bourgeois,” leading to a good deal of anger from Diana.  About halfway through the episode, we see an area that is dubbed the library as I noted on Twitter:

This place is dimly lit and includes books on healing magic, detailing research on the subject. The place is clearly unused, with books appearing to be in some sort of magic water (or just water). Also, there are vines everywhere, so who in the world uses any of these resources or cares for it? Yikes! Again, this is another stereotype when it comes to archives, that materials are disheveled, disorganized, and that the place is poorly lit. All of those are fulfilled here.

Despite these negatives, the location does become central to the episode, as it allows Akko to unlock the fifth word, bringing Diana the boom of Chariot, allowing them to escape from this place. Overall, I enjoyed this episode and what this archivy place, which may resemble what the ALA calls “special libraries.” They are places that can “serve particular populations.” So it’s hard to say whether they outright confused an archives with a library here like was done in the Star Wars franchise (mainly Attack of the Clones and the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animation) or the Mystic Archives of Dantalian. Since this location is in a basement, it shares some stereotypes with the newspaper archive in Stretch Armstrong, to give one example. In some ways, it is a bit unfortunate the special library, as we can call it, is a setting, because neither Akko, nor Diana, uses any of the materials, like characters in Cleopatra in Space, Hilda, and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.

In any case, like most of my times I find these archivy situations, I stumbled upon this one. And yeah, I do think there some lesbian vibes between Akko and Diana, but that’s a discussion for another day, I’d say. That’s really all I can say about this because it was more of a setting than anything else. I wish they had done more in the library, but alas that did not happen. Hopefully, archives appear later in the series.

By histhermann

Marylander with MLIS who loves archives, libraries, genealogy, reviewing pop culture, and writing fictional stories. UMD '19 & SMCM '16 grad. I've been running various WordPress blogs for a while now, about genealogy, libraries, archives, and more.

6 replies on “A “special library” or a misnamed archives?: Little Witch Academia and archives stereotypes”

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