The Journey of Elaina Episode 9: Estelle was ready to risk a lot to help her friend
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Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 9 Review – Best In Show

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Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 9 Review – Quick Summary

In Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 9, “A Deep Sorrow from the Past,” Elaina found herself in a new country with two problems: She was starving, and she was broke. So, when she saw a flyer asking for a witch to help with an “ultra” short assignment, she jumped at the chance! Estelle, the hiring witch, explained that she just needed help for a little while, and the fee would be a huge bag of gold. Elaina, immediately suspicious, asked for more details. She learned that Estelle had developed some specialized magic and needed help to execute a mission to save a friend. Should Elaina accept such a huge payment for what appears to be a simple assignment? What kind of magic did Estelle have to create? And why is does the whole scheme scream “sketchy?”

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

Favorite Quote from Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 9

The Journey of Elaina Episode 9: Elaina was so innocent at the start of this episode

Look how innocent. Look how carefree. And you’ll need to look carefully, because this young witch isn’t walking away from this episode unscathed. Capture from the Funimation stream.

Elaina found herself broke and hungry in a new country. It was a great riff on her usual self-adoring monologue — she asked “Who is this frail but beautiful woman… out of money and hungry, who looks like she’s about to cry” (00:36). That’s not my favorite quote, but it sure sets the tone for the episode, doesn’t it?

Almost as if by magic, a flyer blew into her leg, and she saw the advertisement that took her to Estelle’s home. As Elaina stuffed as many of the courtesy cookies as she could into her mouth, Estelle asked if Elaina were willing to do work. To earn money, you know!

“If possible, I’d like to make money without working,” she answered (04:48).

I thought it was funny, based on what we’ve learned about Elaina. Little did I realize it might well be the last flippant thing she ever says!

Best in Show Moment for Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 9

The Journey of Elaina Episode 9: Elaina had to confront her own self-image

Elaina now has to face the question head on, in the light of a harsh reality: “Who am I?” Capture from the Funimation stream.

Setup: The Writer is Messing With Us

Just to get this out of the way, the final moments of this episode were astounding. They’re the ones I picked for my favorite moment. Not the wonderfully dramatic confrontation between Elaina and Selena. Not even the stupidly powerful confrontation between Estelle and Selena. The reason I bring this up is that I think the writer has been messing with us — in the best way possible.

I mean, consider what he’s done to prepare us for this episode! Remember how Elaina bawled her eyes out in the first episode when Fran, the Stardust Witch, humiliated her?

Do you remember how she flew away from the field of flowers without helping in the third episode — almost as if the show were being shown out of chronological order (it is) and the Elaina from that time had gone through something traumatic? Some that made her doubt herself?

The Journey of Elaina Episode 9: This wasn't what Elaina had expected

The show is being release in non-chronological order. Had these eyes already seen the guard in the field of flowers? Or was that still in these eyes’ future? Capture from the Hulu stream.

And do you remember how Elaina declared that decapitation/capital punishment wasn’t either cruel or unusual for someone who had stolen her hair back in episode 8? Almost as if someone who hadn’t experienced anything lethal were mimicking the reaction of someone who had?

Elaina is wildly talented — likely a prodigy. She’s self-confident as only the talented and untested can be. She’s been able to shrug off any “threat” so far, with the most dangerous probably being the king who had the sword of truth in episode 6. The situation in Episode 4 doesn’t count because Mirarosé had everything well in hand.

Each of those moment, and probably more, played into the gut-punch that was the ending of this episode.

Delivery: Or Maybe Dancing

Exception Preparation for a Dramatic Moment

Every one of those moments helped lay the groundwork for the last moments of this episode. The last piece of preparation we needed was Elaina meeting Selena. Elaina had stayed behind when Estelle evacuated Selena’s parents. Elaina had begun to wonder where the robber or Estelle was when she felt magic energy draining from her ring — meaning Estelle was in magical combat.

When Elaina arrived at the scene, her insular life vanished. She gazed on a scene of carnage the likes of which were utterly alien to her. Selena had butchered her parents; she had apparently killed Estelle. Seems her parents had abused her, so she murdered them in the original timeline, and now in this timeline. Their perversions had turned her into a serial killer.

That’s when Selena lunged at Elaina, clearly intending to kill our hero with a knife. Instantly, Elaina whipped up her wand, her magical power ready.

Elaina froze.

The Journey of Elaina Episode 9: Elaina was plenty powerful and fast. She just didn't pull the trigger

Elaina, the powerful, self-assured witch, had to choose between slaying a child and dying. She did not choose to slay the child. Capture from the Funimation stream.

The witch who had demanded capital punishment for the one who had stolen her hair, froze. She couldn’t pull the trigger when her own life was on the line. Despite her magnificent self-confidence and her undeniable skill, despite her enormous firepower, she could do nothing.

Well, that’s not quite true. At the last instant, she flinched. It took the not-dead Estelle’s magical attack to save Elaina’s life.

Results in an Exceptional Execution of a Dramatic Moment

Think about that! Would you have expected the Elaina we knew at the end of the first episode to not protect herself?

Would you have expected the Elaina of the previous episode to decide not to use lethal force after demanding it for something so relatively petty?

Elaina was an arrogant but generally kind soul. This episode thrust her into a situation where she had to make an instant life and death decision. Then, once the moment of crisis was over and Estelle was back in the present, Elaina found that another decision awaited her.

Who was she? How powerful and capable is she, really?

The moment a character hits rock bottom is infinitely interesting to me. Why? Because the next moments can be magic. Or they can be hell.

That why my favorite moment in this episode is when Elaina, having abandoned the nearly incoherent Estelle, collapsed onto a bench.

The Journey of Elaina Episode 9: Where's Elaina go from here?

Elaina had to flee from Estelle’s side. Was Elaina who she thought she was? Capture from the Funimation stream.

““I couldn’t stop her. She… with her own hands… killed her best friend twice…,” Elaina said, her control cracking and the tears beginning to flow (21:53). “I’m just an ordinary traveler. Just an ordinary witch. Inexperienced… Unable to do anything…”

Then she wept harder than she had with Fran.

An ordinary witch? Unable to do anything? This is the moment when Elaina has hit rock bottom. Will the next moments be magic? Or hell?

You know what? Anticipation is a lot of fun.

What did you think of Estelle’s battle against Selena? What was your Best in Show moment? Let me know in the comments!

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12 thoughts on “Wandering Witch: The Journey of Elaina Episode 9 Review – Best In Show

    1. To be fair, there seem to be a lot of folk who don’t like the series. I really enjoy it, though, FWIW!

      If you watch it, I’d love to know what you think of it!

  1. Time travel is always confusing to at least me but I think that Elaina was dragged into a corner. I mean no matter how much strong or invincible a person is a matter of life and death surely make their brain thinking’s stop. But I will be waiting for the next episode as the preview is too good. Loved you blog and the details. Thank you!

    1. “I mean no matter how much strong or invincible a person is a matter of life and death surely make their brain thinking’s stop.”

      That moment when Elaina froze, then could only flinch? That’s good drama, that is.

      I really enjoy moments that push a character to their limits.

      Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I can’t really compare the anime to a source I haven’t read. Yeah, it’s out of order. And I also hear they cut a lot of Elaina’s inner thoughts, and we hear what makes to the anime it’s mostly the ain’t-I-pretty stuff, which most likely gives a one-sided view. (In episode one I thought that was basically a meta-fictional conceit: that is Elaina was also writing a book in her head – like her idol, Nike).

    This episode changed my mind very little. I mean, her reaction is that of someone shocked out of her world-view to some extent (it’s not quite that bad; and I wouldn’t say that’s rock-bottom yet, either – she’s still crying and not catatonic). The one thing I wondered was: does Elaina have a childhood friend? Did she makes friends during witch-training at all? Any connections? The show doesn’t really tell us anything about Elaina, and gives us grand emotion from the melodrama hotpot. And it’s either all fun and games, or mad despair. If the show were more down-to-earth, where people have backbreaking work just to survive, while witches go by with magic, but have some sort of prime directive not to meddle, then this week’s “I’d rather not work for the money” would have a bit more of an edge, but it’s not. Excessive horror serves as some sort of gambit: don’t really look at what’s going on in the world. For example, episode 4 was the tragic love story of a princess driven mad, and an entire kingdom’s worth of population didn’t count for much more than to put a value on the stakes involved.

    It’s entirely possible that the people responsible for the adaptation didn’t see in the novels what I would have seen in them. For example, the flower episode might have gone more into the lives of the guard and her sister involved than the abridged half-episode we got. Who knows what they cut? But, well, the anime is all I have, and I’m just not fond of the vibes the show is giving me. But it is a really pretty show; well worth watching for the visuals.

    1. “it’s not quite that bad; and I wouldn’t say that’s rock-bottom yet, either – she’s still crying and not catatonic”

      Nor is she dead. I mean, absent the grave, one can always go lower. From her perspective, though, I think she hit as low as she’s ever hit — at least as far as I’ve seen.

      “But, well, the anime is all I have, and I’m just not fond of the vibes the show is giving me.”

      Just from the standpoint of a writer, I’d love to understand more how episodes (or novels, or movies) drive such different reactions. It’s not that I disagree with any specific point you’ve made, it’s more that I’ve assigned higher value to other points. For me, the arc of her character was utterly fascinating. I enjoyed seeing how previous episodes prepared us for what happened here.

      It helps that I identify with Elaina, at least to some extent. Though to be honest, she’s way more attractive than I am!

      “But it is a really pretty show; well worth watching for the visuals.”

      That it is! Now that I think about it, I missed the OP. The shot of her flying into formation with the geese, then her conducting with her wand are beautiful.

  3. Returned to the dark side. I like that.

    Showing things out of order is a bit confusing. Kind of ruins the notion of a character arc. I’m sure someone will figure it out and write it up in a blog.

    1. “Returned to the dark side. I like that.”

      I tend to enjoy those more, too. Though I will admit that I like Saya’s episodes, too.

      I kinda hope she stays out of the darker ones…

      “Showing things out of order is a bit confusing. Kind of ruins the notion of a character arc.”

      I’m not sure why they’re doing it that way; and truth to be told, I’m relying on the testimony of others to even know that. Still, Looking back over the episodes, I see evidence of it, though it’s subtle.

      So maybe I’m just making it up!

      “I’m sure someone will figure it out and write it up in a blog.”

      It’s tempting! It’d interesting to compare the two timelines. Kinda reminds me of Princess Principal in that regard.

Please let me know what you think!

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