The Journey of Elaina Episode 3: Elaina doesn't like where the conversation is leading
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Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 3 Review – Best In Show

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Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 3 Review – Quick Summary

In Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 3, “The Girl as Pretty as a Flower / Bottled Happiness,” we get two vignettes in one episode. In the first, Elaina encounters a beautiful red-haired woman sitting alone in a field of flowers. She asked Elaina to deliver a bouquet of those flowers to anyone in the next town. The townspeople’s reactions were unexpected. In the second, a young man flags down Elaina and talks to her about the bottle in which he has captured random happiness. He intends to share it with the young woman he’s in love with. What Elaina discovers of their circumstances, and guesses about their consequences, is forbidding.

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 3

The Journey of Elaina Episode 3: Elaina wasn't sure how Emil expected her to react

At first, I thought she was being sarcastic. But now I don’t think so. I think she was trying to figure out what Emil expected from her. Capture from the Hulu stream.

Emil guided Elaina back to town. From a distance, he pointed out his home to her. Given that he’s the son of the village chief, he was really proud of how big it was. Materials things like that don’t impress Elaina, and she showed it.

Emil, as much in surprise as slightly hurt feelings, suggested that she didn’t seem interested.

In an earnest voice, she asked if it would have been better for her to pretend to be amazed. She even went stereotypical girly, got bit eyes, and acted like she was impressed that he was rich.

The display was so fake that he said, “Uh, right, never mind” (12:01).

They continued their previous conversation as if nothing had happened.

Best in Show Moment for Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 3

Setup: What Constitutes Negligence?

I’m glad the series gave us the first two episodes to get a good feel for who Elaina was. This episode put the young witch into two situations that were every bit as serious and disturbing as some of the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales. You know, like the original Red Riding Hood, where the wolf eats Red?

I’m going to focus on the first story, where Elaina takes the pretty bouquet of flowers from the young woman in the field. Elaina agrees to deliver them to anyone in the next city. What could possibly be the harm in that? They’re lovely flowers. The young woman is happy and expansive. What reason did Elaina had to refuse or even be suspicious?

The Journey of Elaina Episode 3: A pretty girl asks Elaina to deliver flowers. Seems legit. No, really, it does.

Aside from a few subtle hints, if I hadn’t’ve read that this episode went dark, I wouldn’t have suspected much was wrong. Capture from the Hulu stream.

She found out as soon as she got to the city. The younger guard recognized the cloak wrapping the flowers as his sister’s. She’d been missing and presumed consumed by the flowers. Yes, consume! The older guard explained that they were poisonous to anyone who wasn’t a witch. He immediately burned the flowers, but only after Elaina had retrieved them from the younger guard. He seemed strangely attached to them.

Whether because the flowers had enchanted him, or he had gone in search of his sister, Elaina found the younger guard the next day. He was kneeling beside the remains of his sister. The plants had eaten her, and only her hair (or something like it) remained. The vines wrapped themselves around his limbs and drew him in. Elaina looked on in silence.

Delivery: What Constitutes Wisdom?

If this had been My Hero Academia, Izuku Midoriya would have gone on a rampage to save the guard and destroy the field of evil flowers. No doubt he would have to reach deep within to find the strength to beat the Boss Flower. Those are fun stories to watch. We get to see the action; we get to see everyone happy in the end.

Except that’s not how life works. The Brothers Grimm knew that. So does Jougi Shiraishi, this series’ original writer. Elaina learned a terrible lesson the previous day: Doing something as innocent and apparently harmless as delivering flowers turned out to be lethal.

As the young man went on about how he wanted to show everyone how his sister had become “pretty as a flower” (08:06), Elaina backed away. As bees buzzed around the flowered crown where his sister’s hair had been, Elaina flew silently away.

The Journey of Elaina Episode 3: The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes hard.

A field like that doesn’t spring up naturally. I’d love to know where it came from and why. Capture from the Hulu stream.

Should she have intervened? We know Elaina is powerful, but we know nothing of the flower’s magic. Maybe she couldn’t save him. Should she destroy the field of flowers? What if they were a magical barrier against something even worse? What if the field was the result of an evil power that wouldn’t take kindly to interference? We don’t know. That ambiguity is what makes the story so memorable.

Did you notice that at the beginning of the episode, she had flown through the trees so she could better see everything? Now, as she left the field, she flew over the tree tops. She’d had enough details for awhile.

What did you think of Nino’s plight? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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11 thoughts on “Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 3 Review – Best In Show

  1. Yeah, I might drop this series–ep 3 pretty much cemented my dislike of Elaina as both a character and a witch. While the Nino tale is heartbreaking, Elaina’s choice to leave things as they were is distasteful but understandable. What I find truly repulsive is the fact that in the first story Elaina, having discovered that she had been used as an instrument of death, let that go unanswered. I see a lot of references to magic in the comments above, but would remind people that true witchcraft is much more than magic (and that most modern people have a misguided concept of what constitutes “magic,” anyway). Elaina could have protected the village and avenged her abuse with just an axe and some salt. But, no, she’s too busy comparing her own beauty to that of flowers–ragweed, maybe. After all, Elaina, if “Pretty is as pretty does,” then don’t you think the same might be said of ugly?

    1. ” see a lot of references to magic in the comments above, but would remind people that true witchcraft is much more than magic (and that most modern people have a misguided concept of what constitutes “magic,” anyway). ”

      I’ve seen so many magic systems in anime and elsewhere, and I’ve had so little direct experience with IRL, that I’m not sure if this series is trying to present witchcraft as anything but magic.

      It makes it hard to really frame her actions.

      “Elaina could have protected the village and avenged her abuse with just an axe and some salt.”

      Maybe. But I interpreted her action to be partly in response to learning more about the law of unintended consequences. That’s a reason I would have preferred each of these be given their own episode. Did the incident make Elaina so aware of the unintended consequences of her actions that she’s now afraid to act? That’d be a reasonable attempt to zero harm from someone who’s bright but unexperienced.

      After all, inaction can be just as lethal.

      So, the show left us with a dark situation and not enough information to really frame it. At least, that’s how I saw it.

    1. I liked the contrast between this episode and the previous two! I just wish the two vignettes had a little more room to spread their wings.

  2. To be honest, this might have been my least favourite episode to date. Both stories felt short-changed by being put together like that. It felt like the “tragedy package”. When the flower-story was over, I had this short jarring moment of “that’s it?” Not because I thought Elaina should have done something more, but because I expected the story to fill the episode and watched what has come before with that in mind. So the ending was rather abrupt. There was, for example, very little about how the city folk live the flowers around. Only the guards and the central story, but nothing about the city.

    The second story, then, had the advantage that I didn’t expect it to be longer, so I was prepared for the finish, but here I now had the opposite problem. I guessed the ending of the story the moment Elaina told it, so her saying she didn’t remember the outcome came across as setting up a suspense where the outcome was predictable, and then it happened just like that.

    In both cases, the reduced length didn’t allow the involved characters’ fates any breathing room, and as a result they felt like boilerplate tragedy. More intellectual then emotional, while also not being very engaging intellectually.

    I might be watching this show like Somali and the Forest Spirit a very pretty show I’m enjoying on the whole, but always with the background sense that there’s unmined potential here. We’ll see where this goes.

    1. “There was, for example, very little about how the city folk live the flowers around. Only the guards and the central story, but nothing about the city.”

      I remember reading some horror comics back in the 1980s. They were formulaic, and the “twist” was less a twist or more of a shock. This episode reminded me of those comics.

      I don’t understand the need to put both stories into the same episode. I’m willing to wait and see how things go from here, and I enjoyed the episode. But throwing in the show of the plant zombies at the end just confused me. Sure, I could generate my own explanation and chart its course, but I’d prefer to see where the story would have gone.

      “I guessed the ending of the story the moment Elaina told it, ”

      I thought the wife had died while the husband was gone, but I get your point. Elaina’s lack of memory felt a little contrived.

      “We’ll see where this goes.”

      Despite the qualms I’ve voiced here, I’m still really enjoying it. But I hope the stories get a little more space to breath.

  3. As I mentioned before, I see a lot of “Kino’s Journey” in this. She gets drawn into some pretty tragic situations and sometimes her curiosity gets the better of her. And while she might do battle to protect her interests as a traveler, she’s soon on her way.

    In both stories, Elaina didn’t so much learn something new as remember something she’d read in a book. I think she is prepared to see a lot of tragedy out there.

    1. “In both stories, Elaina didn’t so much learn something new as remember something she’d read in a book.”

      If I had a complaint about the plot, it’d be that her memory has, so far, been conveniently unreliable. I thought it might have been more dramatic if she remembered the story about the ill wife, but chose to withhold it to spare Emil’s feelings. But then, maybe that would have given her too much skin in the game?

  4. I see a lot of backlash to Elaina’s actions this episode, and I’m not judging Elaina as harshly as some others have.

    As far as the magical plant goes, if it is the same plant in the fairy tale, it feeds on magical energy, so Elaina’s magic could make it grow stronger, making it a bad idea to engage it or try to destroy it. Elaina also had no idea of the zombies heading towards the village. Elaina’s mother also told her to flee from danger as a condition to going on a journey.

    As for Nino, the poor girl had been raped shortly before Elaina arrived to the residence, and that’s why her top wasn’t completely buttoned. Emil made Nino cry seeing what she couldn’t have much like the bedridden wife in the story, so Nino is stuck in a horrible situation. Given that slavery appears to be legal in this world, there wasn’t much Elaina could do aside from going back and telling Emil that the woman in the story committed suicide. Killing the father and taking Nino away would have been against the law, and I’m sure that Elaina thought of hurting the father when she pointed her wand at him but decided it wasn’t worth the trouble. I guess Elaina in the end decided that it was a matter for that family to settle and that she had no right to interfere.

    Having said that, I still think Elaina is very vain though, given that she compared herself to the flowers at the start of the episode.

    1. “if it is the same plant in the fairy tale, it feeds on magical energy, so Elaina’s magic could make it grow stronger, making it a bad idea to engage it or try to destroy it.”

      That’s a good point. I hadn’t considered that. I remember you made some similarly thoughtful points about Re:ZERO! Glad you’re watching this show, too.

      “I guess Elaina in the end decided that it was a matter for that family to settle and that she had no right to interfere.”

      Every solution I could think of for her to try would have had serious consequences. I mean, it’s 2020, and in the USA, there are still discussions in some quarters that slavery might not have been so bad.

      That’s unfathomable to me, but it underscores the problem.

      “Having said that, I still think Elaina is very vain though, given that she compared herself to the flowers at the start of the episode.”

      There’s something my wife and daughter made me aware of. It’s a subtle thing, and YMMV. But if a man brags about something that’s likely true, it’s a sign of strength. If a woman does the same thing, she’s vain or frivolous. After they pointed this out, I’m afraid I can’t unsee it.

      To me, Elaina speaking positively of her beauty would be equivalent to saying a flower is beautiful. Both conditions are obvious; both are true.

      I think that’s why far from bothering me, I like that about her character.

Please let me know what you think!

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