The Journey of Elaina Episode 4: Mirarosé was dealing with a lot
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Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 4 Review – Best In Show

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Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 4 Review – Quick Summary

In Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 4, “The Princess Without Subjects,” Elaina, at the end of a long day of flight, approached a magnificent walled city. However, even at a distance, she could see it had been ravaged, and recently, too. Thick, black smoke rolled from buildings. Too far away from another city to reach it before full dark, desparate to find lodging for the night, Elaina found that the castle in the center of town stood intact. Entering it, she found a beautiful woman named Mirarosé, who had amnesia. She only had a letter explaining that a terrible monster had ravaged the city, and it only came out at night — and that Mirarosé was a princess. What had happened to her memories? Would Elaina help rid the kingdom of the terrible, fire-breathing monster outside? And just why was Mirarosé, a princess, so good at baking bread?

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

Favorite Quote from Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 4

The Journey of Elaina Episode 4: Subtle Elaina ain't.

I gotta think there’s a less destructive way to open a door! Capture from the Hulu stream.

Elaina knew she had to find shelter before night fell. The castle being the only intact building she could find, she knocked on its enormous front doors. There was no answer. The doors were too heavy for her to move, so she did what any cold and hungry witch would do. She burned the doors down.

The flames still flicking along the opening, Elaina entered and said (04:34), “Please excuse the intrusion.”

I’ll give her points for being polite. Still think she might have found a less destructive way of opening it, though!

Best in Show Moment for Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 4

The Journey of Elaina Episode 4: No, Elaina isn't afraid of hard work

Is Elaina afraid of hard work? Doesn’t look like it… Capture from the Hulu stream.

Setup: Is Elaina Afraid of Hard Work?

Elaina is the perfect character to carry this series. She’s a combination of traits I don’t usually see in young women, in anime or other forms of fiction. She’s objectively talented. Earning her apprentice designation so early proved that. We’ve seen her in action against Fran, and though at first Elaina lost, she eventually drew even. We’re not sure of how her power stacks up within the world of witches, but we know she’s no slouch.

We also know she’s well-aware of her physical beauty. I’ve seen a lot of people take exception to that, but for me, it boils down to a simple question: Is she beautiful? Looks like to me she is; and I don’t know of any standard that would suggest otherwise. Based on that, I don’t have any problem with her proclaiming it. To me, “I can cast spells,” “I have ashen-colored hair,” “I’m beautiful” are all equivalent, in that they can be tied to some objective or widely held subjective view. To me, there’s no real question here. In fact, I enjoy her self-confident character.

The Journey of Elaina Episode 4: Yes, Elaina is afraid of dying

Elaina saw the monster through her magical eye-lens. What did the creature represent to her? Capture from the Hulu stream.

On the other hand, Elaina’s character is complex enough that her actions in the third episode made me wonder. Why did she abandon the town to the murderous plants? What else (if anything) could she have done to help Nino? Or to put it another way: Why didn’t she do more? Was there a reason based on principle? Or did she just not want to get her hands dirty?

The data was, I think intentionally, sparse. In this episode, we got a few more hints. After seeing them, I’m a little more confident in my positive assessment now!

Delivery: It’s Not Hard Work She Fears

Mirarosé had just finished saying she was going to take on the monster Javalier that evening. At first, I thought Elaina was showing a bit of cowardice when she said (10:08), “Do your best. I will be cheering you on from a safe distance.”

Even then, it wasn’t clear. I mean, Elaina had just seen the monster from a distance. All she knew is that it breathed flames and it had destroyed the entire city. Did she have any hope of prevailing against it? Did Mirarosé? The logic and morality of Izuku Midoriya aside, why would Elaina engage the monster without solid hope of victory? She had promised her mother she’d come home alive, after all. And why should anyone risk their life without reason?

The next morning at breakfast, Mirarosé asked Elaina to help her prepare for battle, even if Elaina wouldn’t participate in the battle itself. Almost to my surprise, Elaina readily agreed, saying she owed the princess witch at least that much for lodging and food.

The Journey of Elaina Episode 4: Elaina knows how to keep motivated. Mostly.

Turns out that Elaina wasn’t in the least bit afraid of hard work. Capture from the Hulu stream.

When Elaina said help, she wasn’t kidding. Later that day, she single-handedly created an enormous trap. To do so, she animated an army of stuffed animals to excavate the pit. She worked from sun up to almost sun down, and by the time she had finished, she was utterly exhausted. So much so that Mirarosé said she’d treat her to dinner after the battle.

“No, thank you,” Elaina said (14:11). “It will be a lot of work for you to cook after finishing a big job. I will cook.”

Elaina wasn’t lazy. She’s not afraid of hard work. She’s afraid of dying. I’m pretty sure I can understand, and respect, that position!

What did you think of the big reveal? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 4 Review – Best In Show

  1. Honestly, while I liked this episode more than the last one, I’m still not that fond of it. It’s almost like an illustrated story-book story, but with the visuals being explicit there’s little room for imagination. Compare this to the (rare) people we meet in Girls Last Tour, for example, where all the characters have a sort of feel to them that at once individuates them and makes them blend into the show’s unique feel. All the elements come together. In Wandering Witch we have an extremely pretty show, but it feels to me like polished allegory, and nothing all that interesting to boot. I mean, I’m still enjoying the show; it’s still definitely closer to the top than the bottom of the season (and it’s a fairly strong season), but it’s losing places by the week.

    For example: why does Elaina use stuffed toys to carry out the work? It doesn’t feel like characterisation to me; it feels more like: “she’s a pretty girl, and girls like cute things, which in turn makes them cute.” It contrasts with general mood of the show, but even that contrast goes nowhere, because that sort of contrast has been an anime staple for a long, long time. Elaina was a character in the first episode, and that carried over fairly well into the second, but from the third on she became ever more nondescript. (Over at the Apprentice Mages Lounge Derek posted twitter posts from Scott of Mechanical Anime reviews I couldn’t help but agreeing with.)

    At this point, I’m not sure what I want from the show. Get more personal? More interesting stories? I’ll just lean back and take what we get. The show still has fairly high click-it priority when watching, but its main draw at that point is production values.

    1. I’ve always been fascinated in how a show like this can produce such wildly reactions. I mean, we watched the exact same episode. We’ve had historically similar (or at least not completely dissimilar) tastes. Yet, we have a very different view of this show.

      I appreciate you taking the time to lay out your perspective. I think we agree on one thing: The show’s really easy to look at!

Please let me know what you think!

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