Diana's speech in The Enchanted Parade is a reflection of the criticisms lobbed against Studio Trigger: For doing something simply because it entertained you. It isn't hard to read Shiny Chariot as a personification of Studio Trigger, Akko as a personification of the artists, writers, and animators who embody Trigger's philosophy, and witches in general representing anime itself. Which makes Akko's utter determination and pure-hearted belief in making the parade a celebration of witches rather heartwarming, because it's the same way with Studio Trigger: They make anime simply because they enjoy it and want to spread that joy. The uncanny resemblance between Shiny Chariot◊ and the studio's actual mascot Trigger-chan◊ seems to further support this.
An alternate but less accurate interpretation in the TV series is that Shiny Chariot is a stand in for Studio Gainax (one of the first studios to embrace the motto of making anime for the joy of it along with Chariot's similarities to Noriko Takaya, the protagonist of Gainax's first solo anime), Akko as a stand in for Studio Trigger (Akko's love of magic steming from her admiration of Chariot is much like how much of Studio Trigger was inspired by the studios themselves came from, especially Gainax). This makes Akko's line in episode 24 "Chariot is Chariot and I' me" line take on a whole new meaning: Studio Trigger may feel like Gainax but they are their own entity and they do the best they can without comparing themselves to another.
Ursula's conspicuous absence in episode 5 makes sense when you consider that her hair turns back to its natural red when she needs to use magic in a hurry. It's only blue because she's maintaining magic on it constantly, and so when the Sorcerer's Stone is stolen and there's no more magic in the school, she wouldn't have been able to keep up the disguise.
Episode 9 sheds some light on Headmistress Holbrooke and may explain a couple of things: She's a half-human, half-witch. Being part human herself, it explains why she was willing to accept a human girl like Akko into the academy (and likely some half-bloods, as well). And it's implied she went through a similar difficulty like Akko and Ursula in school and had to study long and hard to get to where she is right now. There's also the fact that she's in on Ursula's secret, which means she immediately knew Shiny Rod's current wielder. Which is why she accepted Akko and her friends even though they barely made it in time.
The test where Akko had to manipulate or enhance a property of an object, the apple turned poisonous. An apple seed has very small amounts of cyanide, she enhanced the cyanide and it turned poisonous. Jasminka, the student who did the test before her, enhanced the sweetness of a grape.
Croix's flying platforms are quickly revealed to be Roomba-like devices. This makes sense; as a witch interested in technology, she flies on what's roughly equivalent to a high-tech broom.
Episode 20 reveals another reason why Diana never laughed at Akko's mishaps in magic — Besides being more mature, she also knows personally what it was like to not be able to perform magic the way you want, since she at one point was unable to cast spells.
Why Chariot was using the evil-looking cubic thingies of Croix in Episode 1? Croix had been helping her with that show.
Why does Akko have so much trouble mastering spells? Because linguistics! Japanese has a way smaller phonemic inventory and it's scripts are way more phonetic than English, just being able to read and pronounce plain English with so much accuracy is a gigantic achievement. On top of that most magic words seem to be a mix of French and old German which have their own non-obvious pronunciation rules with lots of corner cases. Akko struggles to make subtle variations of phonemes she already finds difficult to produce in the first place and trips over which pronunciation rules to use!
Foil: Croix, Chariot, Diana, and Akko all resemble and contrast each other in different ways.
Croix / Chariot: Croix was close friends with Chariot in school, and they both wanted to restore magic. But when Chariot learned she was stealing skills from people using Croix's Magitek, she broke it off. She still feels guilty about it, while Croix had so little remorse she used her perfected tech to cause riots which put people's lives at risk. Visually, Croix has a flashy, impractical, outfit and hairstyle, while Chariot is much more subdued and utilitarian.
Akko / Diana: Random Japanese girl who knows very little about magic, vs the intelligent and skilled scion of an ancient but declining British family of witches. Akko is impulsive and brash, while Diana is thoughtful and subdued. Akko's hair is up, dark, and asymmetrical, while Diana's is blonde and carefully styled. Both are fans of Shiny Chariot.
Akko / Chariot: Both want to use magic to entertain people and promote the field to them, thought Chariot went too far by her own admission and still feels the guilt. They both had similar personalities as students, and Akko succeeds where Chariot failed.
Akko / Croix: Both want to save magic, but Croix relies on careful study while Akko relies on her sheer stubbornness.
Croix / Diana: Both young women with light hair, but Croix wants to save magic at all costs while Diana mainly wants to save her family. Both are jealous of their contemporary for being The Chosen One.
Chariot / Diana: Young woman who both practice restraint. Diana by training and Chariot out of guilt.
Ursula/Chariot's investment in helping a struggling student like Akko, aside from her general sense of guilt over being the one that caused her lack of magical ability, also makes more sense in light of the revelation that as a student, Chariot was also quite bad at magic and suffered poor grades in much the same way. Her snapping at Finneran in episode 7 especially really gives off the impression of someone who's been personally affected by Luna Nova's academic system and the sight of Akko's unjust treatment was the final straw.
It's also due to how Akko's situation is similar to Ursula's. Ursula/Chariot was so desperate to unlock the seven words of Arcturus that she uses an untested spell that robbed Akko, Diana and so many others of their magic. Not long after, she gets diminished by Croix that she is an incompetent and a failed witch. What Finnelan did cause all those bad memories to come back and Ursula snaps back in anger to defend her student from suffering the same fate she did.
A minor one, but Sucy enjoying her stay in the sauna at Episode 16 can be explained by the fact that she's from the Philippines, a warm, tropical country.
Upon reviewing Episode 14, I came to the realization that Akko was at the height of her intelligence.
Akko was 16 which meant she was probably born in 2001 at least during the television series. Akko has live in Japan for her entire life and experience the one thing that affected her country: The Fukushima Incident. In case if unaware, the Fukushima Incident was when nuclear spillage occurred after a tsunami hit a plant. Akko, a member of the Japan populace was naturally affected by this particularly laid offs and social unrest. Her parents may even be victims as they attempt to find new work to look after their daughter. Of everyone in the school, Akko is actually the most understanding on the Spirits situation.
Akko saw the bigger picture. Whats the point of a government if the populace would turn against them. Given that the Witches are powerless with all their basic necessities taken from them, Akko may have aided Luna Nova in dodging a bullet. Akko fighting tooth and nail against Diana is more understandable taken everything into account. Its possible Diana might have unintentionally insulted Akkos country and her people.
So to sum it up: Being a victim of the Fukushima Incident, Akko—as a child, no less—witnessed and likely experienced firsthand what it's like to be powerless in the midst of disaster. But she also saw how communities came together to support each other, fight for better facilities, and work together towards a better future. Furthermore, she also experienced government (re: higher power) incompetency and delayed action to help the Japanese population when the plant was melting down for the sake of saving face and maintaining a hierarchical status quo. The fairies' situation is similar—their livelihoods were threatened, and they banded together to oppose a higher power that is encouraging them to go back to work in order to maintain the norm. So it's really no wonder why Akko sympathized and advocated for the fairies' plight so much and why she became so angry at Diana and kept calling her "an aristocrat." She of all people knows what can happen when victims of hardships and disasters come together and what happens when those in power aren't going to do anything to help them. Did I get that right?
A more Fridge Heartwarming finding: Akko had all these cards but only one she didn't get, the premium card. Akko learning about the truth about Chariot and her shows caused a big gap in her heart much like her cards. However, the one who saved her from despair was Diana who finally accepted Akko was closer to Chariot than she ever could and could live up to those ideals. Diana's action to help Akko by giving to her the premium card she had as a child. Because of that scene, Akko's heart was filled once more followed by Diana announcing she believed in Akko's believing heart. Diana's love for Akko saved Akko.
It actually makes sense why, despite both Diana and Akko's magic having being crippled by Chariot, the former is more skilled than the latter.
First, Diana comes from a magical family, Akko doesn't. So, unlike the latter, the former has magic in her DNA.
Second, Diana worked since she was a child to perfect magic because she had to mature fast given the deaths of her parents and Evil Aunt. Akko, presumably, had a normal, happy childhood.
Thirdly, pre-Character Development Akko was under the assumption there was a way to have her magical skills advanced without hard work.
Although, Akko made a good point about Diana which even she agreed. While she and Akko are quite similar, the difference is that she has her family and countless resources to help get her magic back while Akko only has Professor Ursula and just few books and lessons to go by. This only enhanced further when she also had to deal with the struggling workers who had to survive with what little magic they had available with the rest being used by the Witches who are the reason the workers are in the situation in the first place. In short, Diana really did got off easy and she just realized this hence why she pulled back.
Anyway, after learning that the seventh word was the lesson of bonds or unity, it actually makes sense that Woodward is disappointed and the Shiny Rod's rejected Croix and Chariot.
The seventh word is the first word. Find your ideal place, a place where those who love you are there
The Shiny Rod rejected Croix because it sensed that she would betray Chariot and later left Chariot as she begun to care more about her legacy than her fans.
Woodward was disappointed at Croix for forsaking her friend over a material gain while disappointed at Chariot for running away from Akko which Diana put it was more important than the Grand Triskellion, even the magic.
Akko's decision to easily forgive Chariot just shortly after having her Heroic Second Wind makes perfect sense that Akko and co were quite near where the Grand Triskellion was. That meant she was within hearing distance to listen in on Chariot thereby learning that Chariot really did cared about her and she was actually The Atoner. Realizing that her teacher/idol was throwing away a new age of magic for her sake allowed Akko to find the heart to forgive her.
Alternatively, Akko simply isn't the kind of person to hold that kind of grudge. If anything, Akko not holding any kind of grudge against Chariot mirrors Chariots own refusal to abandon Croix.
A bit of meta-Fridge Brilliance, and perhaps obvious, but still worth stating: even before the reveal was made about all magic coming from Yggdrasil, or the appearance of the Ley Lines as being like tree roots, the very logo of the show itself with its curling vines and leaves forming the letters is Foreshadowing—both that the plot will revolve around a "re-flowering" of magic and that magic itself comes from nature and plant life, right down to the Word of God reveal that the longest-lived witches eventually become trees like Woodward and Beatrix.
How did Chariot figured that Akko's dream was related to her ability to flight? She saw the monitors with one or two of them showing a small Akko failed attempt to fly. Which is also why Chariot accepted losing her own as it was perfect punishment for stealing Akko's.
Diana summoning a unicorn for the Samhain Festival in episode 13 has a lot more significance you learn of her family history; the unicorn is a prominent symbol of her house, and it's implied that her ancestor Beatrix had a personal connection to one. It's also an appropriate sigil for a house that specialized in healing magic, as a unicorn's horn was said to purify any poison or infection it touched. Her performance at the Festival wasn't just an impressive display, it had a deep personal meaning for her as well.
Beatrix acknowledging Diana despite her failure to complete the ritual makes sense if you recall the history of the Cavendish family that Diana explained to Akko a short while before — they were healers who would help anyone in need, enemies included. Despite all the animosity between them, Diana still chose to help out her aunt and cousins over ensuring the continuation of their family's legacy, proving that she really does deserve to be the heir.
Why is Akko so good at speaking English? Because she's idolized Shiny Chariot since she was three and most likely watched every YouTube video featuring Chariot in existence and vacuumed up every piece of imported merchandise she could get her hands on. After ten-plus years of hearing your personal idol speak English, wouldn't you pick it up, too?
Like Disney, Luna Nova was founded by Nine Olde Witches who established their traditions and set the standards for conduct in the industry. The snobby big shots at the academy are named after famous American animators like Hannah, Barbara, and Avery. However, their insistence on tradition has its negative consequences, such as a fear technology will "ruin the magic" and severe financial woes, just like the real animation industry.
Shiny Chariot symbolizes, in Yoshinari's own words, "lowbrow late-night Magical Girl anime", which is flashy and colorful, even if it doesn't have much depth. It, in turn, inspires the Japanese Akko—who is named after one of the first magical girls—to get into animation, just like how early anime stole what Disney was doing and made it its own. Something doesn't have to be complicated to captivate people.
The Seven Words of Arcturus can be learned, but cannot be used until they are discovered by the heart. Just like "golden rules" for animation students, which have to be understood through hard work and experience.
When the Seven Words are discovered, the Shiny Rod's wielder unlocks the "World-Altering Magic" of the Grand Triskellion—in other words, the power of stories to inspire. Croix brute-forces its secrets and discovers its simplistic and childish magic sprouts rainbows, confetti, and goofy stars. Again, she fails to understand that cartoonish things can bring more joy than studious technical perfection. But when the fearmongering, technically-perfect "art" she created gets out of control and threatens to do harm on a global scale, she switches sides and helps Chariot, Akko, and the others bring a spectacle of optimism to the world, reaffirming the worth of "silly" Magical Girl anime in transforming hearts and minds.
It seems kind of coincidence that the Noir Rod turns against Croix and suddenly after showed a desire to destroy the world. Than it hit me, the Noir Rod was created to be like the Shiny Rod. Much like the latter, the Noir Rod responded to the feelings of its user and took the appropriate action to assist. However, the Noir Rod is A.I. Is a Crapshoot. It won't know the line between good and evil. That's why it decided to kill Croix because in its logic, killing her would remove the pain she bear for being left out by Woodward. It then attack Chariot as it simply followed her desire on stopping anymore be stolen from Croix and Akko and it did so by about to kill the person who was responsible even if accidental. However when that didn't work, it soon followed the only solution that will solve both Croix and Chariot's problems. By destroying the world, there will be no more magic that is responsible for the suffering the two girls went through. Like I said, A.I. Is a Crapshoot.
Its safe to say that Diana is confident that neither Chariot nor Croix would get the Grand Triskellion. Its because Diana has the true answer to the seventh word. Throughout the series, she's been trying to find the answer after getting the book from the archives hoping to finally unlock that seventh word and claim the Shiny Rod from Akko but she couldn't as she too couldn't understand the meaning. However, it was Akko's selfless actions that help her to realize that the seventh word is being The Heart, able to love others. Its because of realizing that seventh word that she chose to save her Evil Aunt and cousins which is the reason Beatrix deem her as the true heir. Thanks to Akko helping her find the answer she is looking for and truthfully Akko rescue her because she cares for her, Diana is more than happy to let Akko be the one to have the Shiny Rod as she saw her worthy to save the world. Diana's line with "I believe in your believing heart" is truthfully a meaningful echo.
Numerous incidents throughout the series become absolutely heartbreaking in hindsight with episode 22's revelation that the Shiny Chariot's magic show that Akko and Diana attended was when she used the Dream Fuel Spirit; absorbing the hopes and dreams of her audience to boost her magical power and create a greater spectacle.
The big reveal is that this is why Akko can't fly.
This was also why there was a period in her life when Diana couldn't use magic.
Luna Nova's staff frequently talks about their declining enrollment rate. Ostensibly, this is due to the ongoing problem of magic dying out, but who's to say how many potential students weren't also victims?
Not many actually, as episode 23 reveals she only used it for that one show, and after knowing the consequences, never used it again.
Now that the Shiny Rod has disappeared there could be problems in the future with a similar nuke due to Lalaco also having the Dark Rod and this time there's nothing to protect humanity. The final fight in this show might of caused humans to go extinct later on, all this did was delay the inevitable.
On the other hand the shows begins with the Shiny Rod suddenly appearing again, it is possibly just waiting for another worthy user.
Um is that even in the same universe?
The sense of guilt in Chariot. It is implied in multiple occasions and confirmed in ep.24 that she changed her life, but can't leave the past behind and always feels guilty for what happened. She can't have a normal working life, she isolates herself from other teachers, and pretends to be clumsy/shy to avoid confrontation. With students it isn't much better, as few students respect her due to her not appearing as a capable witch and only Akko goes to her for help. Ep.24 shows that this sense of guilt is even stronger than her survival instinct as she pushed Croix out of the way of a dragon and gets eaten as result. Considering that most of this wasn't even her fault and in her youth she was quite happy-go-lucky, she takes all of this especially hard. Ep.25 implies she got a bit better at least.
After The Reveal of Episode 22, it's confirmed that Akko literally cannot help her lack of magical ability because someone else caused it. So when you take that into account and how Akko is going to a magic school, her mistreatment and bullying from her peers and teachers is basically ableism. Whether they know of it or not, it's pretty jarring and scary to know that Luna Nova is full of so many bigots and discriminative people.
Diana's reaction to losing her magic is justified. Not only that she didn't know about Dream Fuel Spirit, it also meant that Ursula has kept the secret about the incident to only herself and Croix. Which meant if it hadn't happened, there would be thousands of girls like Akko who would come to school and they came here because of Chariot. Diana won't have to feel alone as she has people like Akko to talk about her passion for Chariot.
There is another way to interpret her reaction. We do know that Diana's family learn about her condition and maybe many of them did try to help her, with her mother being the one who devoted the most to help her daughter. The sad possibility is that Bernadette died before she witnessed Diana getting her magic back and believed she failed her. Diana, on the other hand may have grieved that she couldn't tell her mother and couldn't see how successful she was as a witch. Diana's shock and anger at Ursula/Chariot was justified. Not only that the former idol has caused Bernadette to die in regret but also accidentally put Akko in that same situation which is dying in the cold filled with despair that her dream shattered.
Some of the students made fun of Finnelan and Nelson seems like they just think that the teachers were out of times but given last episode, they may had held some resentment towards them for being unable to put a stop to the strike and unable to protect them when they revolt. How many students were injured because of that incident?
Diana has a reason not informing Lotte, Sucy and the others who Ursula really was and instead informed them what the latter's previous identity did to Akko. Diana was fond of Chariot but everyone else who had neither good or bad opinions about Chariot would be furious. Unlike the other Witches who denounce Chariot for her harmless and unorthodox actions, Akko's friend would have a more personal reason to hate Chariot. Whatever Diana has done would pale in comparison if everyone had Ursula on their sights. They would have ensure to make Ursula's life miserable if Ursula hadn't decide to confront Croix.
Who knows what were going on in Chariot and Croix's minds when Woodward disappears forever right before the Noir Rod attacks them. It can't be far fetch for them to think, given how coincidental it was, that Woodward knew this was going to happen and that she intentionally left them to die. More evidence to back it up is when Chariot screams in rage for what has happened to Akko and Croix but says nothing about magic. It seems less It's All My Fault but more on Rage Against the Heavens. It might be Alternate Character Interpretation but its quite likely that Chariot's faith on magic has been completely destroyed and that her actions at that time were an act of vengeance against the Nine Olde Witches and the world they have made. Chariot wants to destroy any hopes in reviving magic to let them suffer just as she and her friends did. Thankfully, Akko came back and restores her faith.
By the end of the series, we are unsure what became of Chariot and Woodward's relationship. Although it is assumed that Chariot has severed all ties with her mentor for good.
Imagine if Akko couldn't save Chariot from the Noir Rod and gotten killed instead alongside her friends and Croix. Chariot was already an emotional wreck but having to watch those she loved perished will pushed her to despair. She would be trapped forever with no one knows where she is and become the perfect Living Battery for the Noir Rod who feed on negative emotions.