Ursula Callistis (アーシュラ・カリスティス Āshura Karisutisu ), born Chariot du Nord (シャリオ・デュノール Shario Dyunōru ) and also known by the stage name Shiny Chariot (シャイニィシャリオ Shainī Shario ), is a main character in Little Witch Academia. She is the Magic Astrology teacher at Luna Nova Magical Academy and the mentor (and idol) of the young witch Atsuko Kagari.
As Ursula Callistis
Ursula is an adult woman with back-length dark blue hair tied with what appears to be bandages just before the end, forming a small ponytail over her right shoulder. She has red eyes with white pupils and fair skin complexion. She wears the default uniform of Luna Nova's staff: a dark violet hooded dress reaching up to her knees with long wide sleeves, a red flame-like design in the bottom, a single brown strap on the chest area, and the dress' inside is colored a deep red; a black choker; a dark violet witch hat with a dark blue band decorated with a red feather and a golden crescent-shaped object; dark blue knee-high boots with a deep dip and red tips; and black-framed oval glasses which usually obscure her eyes due to reflecting light, making their resemblance to Chariot's less obvious. She does not actually need her glasses, as first shown in "Blue Moon". She is notably younger than the other teachers and this shows in her appearance. This is not lost on them, as in "New Age Magic" they relegate to her the exhausting task of acquiring extra magical energy for the school, prompting Ursula to remark that "being young is suffering".
As Shiny Chariot
As Chariot, her hair was shorter and had a red tone similar to her eyes. Her hair was parted to the middle so as not to fall over her eyes, but part of it fell between her right eye. She also had bangs framing the sides of her face and curving in, with neck-length hair curving out on the back of her head. In her costume as Shiny Chariot, she wore a white stylized tailcoat vest with long sleeves secured by four blue buttons holding everything together which doesn't cover her armpits, clavicles, cleavage, and navel, giving it a similar appearance to a corset or vest; a blue skirt; a brown body-belt with a golden ring-shaped buckle; blue thigh-high stockings (which appear to be folded over themselves); white boots with a diamond-like shape in the tip, two parallel buttons right under it, along with a red tip and heels; a white witch hat with a blue hatband and a red-and-blue diamond/spade-like symbol with a golden four-pointed star in the middle; and also a red cape with a brown strap and golden buttons.
Ursula's true appearance is first seen in "Chariot of Fire", later in "Chariot and Croix", and from the end of "Yesterday" to "Tree of Leaves". Without her hat and hair-tie, her red hair falls in the same way as it did before she became a teacher, though it has grown longer. Without glasses, her eyes are unobscured. This "transformation" occurs when she is in or preparing for magical combat, and she also takes the skirt off of her uniform to make it easier for her to fight. With her uniform modified as such it resembles a black body suit with similar patterns to those on her skirt, and with her shoulders and cleavage visible.
After Akko and her friends destroy the Noir Rod missile and her identity has been revealed, Chariot continues her role as Luna Nova's astronomy teacher and Akko's mentor. She dresses in the same manner as she did as Ursula, including her glasses, but no longer magically disguises her natural red hair.
From her early childhood, Chariot sought to become a witch who could make people smile. Her natural charm and radiant personality attracted everyone around her. However, Chariot's passion for magic exceeded her skill, which led to many blunders. Her faithfulness to her belief that magic should be used to make people happy brought her the staff of seven stars, Claiomh Solais, which she nicknamed the Shiny Rod. In her frustrations, she sought out the Fountain of Polaris, which grants the great magic power of the stars onto the witch with a hidden radiance. The Fountain opened for her but did not bestow the power upon her, as she was not yet worthy to wield it. She started to work harder and took her studies more seriously, eventually earning the power of the stars for her determination and dedication. Chariot became a very powerful witch, easily awakening the first six words of Arcturus. She never sought for power for its own sake, wanting nothing but to use her power to benefit others. When she performs, both as a child and as Shiny Chariot, her passion for magic is unmistakable. While there is never a time she does not enjoy what she does, Chariot is highly attuned to the reactions of her audience and is devastated when her magic does not make them smile. This did not become an issue until she became a magic idol and the public's expectations of her grew ever higher. Ultimately it was the pressure to please them which led to her downfall.
After this, Chariot left the stage and assumed new identity "Ursula Callistis" where she becomes astronomy teacher of Luna Nova. While never quite losing the spark she had in the past, the decade of becoming humble teacher and shadow of her former self takes its toll on her. Ursula had brief lapses of her self-reflection whenever reminded of her past life as before becoming a teacher, and become hopeless until she met Akko, her fan who brings her hope for redemption (as the young witch came to her life as new bearer of Shiny Rod). Her devotion to the young witch is the greatest illustration of compassion and selflessness, and her guidance also reveals a great wisdom beyond the dreamy idealism of her youth. Moreover, it was the bond between the two (coupled with her discovery of Woodward's role in her fallout with Croix) which led to her discovering what she lacked in her attempt to unlock the Final Word long ago and ultimately, becoming the hero her beloved student saw in her and to do the right thing, more than her own mentor can ever be. Towards the end of the series, Ursula continued to be the teacher of Luna Nova where this time, she embraced her true self by no longer magically altering her hair.
Abilities and Equipment
Born with a natural talent for magic, Chariot still faced difficulties in her youth but became great enough to acquire the magic power of the stars. Currently, she is an outstanding magic user, since as Shiny Chariot, she performed the greatest magical feats seen in the series. However, she actively chooses to limit how much she uses her magic to keep her identity a secret. Notably, her hair reverts to its natural red when she uses powerful magic spells.
She is a user of the Magic of Stars, a unique magic which has unknown yet powerful abilities. Although it is unknown if it is related to the former skill, Ursula is well-versed in magical astrology, which is used to see the future. By using her wand, Ursula can project powerful beams and explosions of destructive magical energy, create powerful energy barriers, large energy orbs suspended in the air and a large sword made of magical energy. She usually changed the form of her own body during her shows such as obtaining dazzling wings on her back or the half of a horse's body, apart of being able to reverse the effects of this magic as seen with Andrew Hanbridge. She is also able to repair a broken object in conjunction with a magic powder to improve its effectiveness, levitate objects or people and move them as she wishes, and knows several magic languages. Ursula is adept in communication with Spirits, is also shown to be able to transmit her voice over long distances with a magical megaphone and like other teachers, she can project images and scenes into thin air. In the past, she demonstrated great broom flying abilities, however, she lost her ability to fly when exposed to the Wagandea pollen. She is one of the few witches in the series shown to cast magic without a verbal spell.
In addition to magic, Ursula possesses an astonishing physical and acrobatic ability that is augmented by her magic. She can execute kicks that can break stones, knock over large statues and run on walls. She can also push back a monstrous version of the Noir Rod and survive falls from the midst of Wagandea albeit severely injured as a result. However, it is also implied that Ursula also had trained her body to peak level of human conditioning as over the course of her fight against Noir Rod's monster form, she was shown able to brush off otherwise crippling injuries, leaping to considerable height, and severely crippled the magitronic monster, all of which performed without magic.
Primarily used before she became known as Ursula, it is a powerful magical artifact that may very well the embodiment of the power of seven stars that make up Big Dipper itself and responds to the heart of its owner. She can transform it into a broom, as well as into a bow, and create an arrow from thin air with the Seven Words of Arcturus. It can also increase the power of spells when used.
She stopped wielding the Shiny Rod when she caused a disaster in her magic show, damaging the moon's surface with the Shiny Arc and taking away the magic of her audience, which caused the Shiny Rod to wither away in her hands. Akko Kagari had the Shiny Rod after her, but just like with Ursula, it faded away, though in the former's case, the staff returned to the stars where it came from.
She has a straw broom with a crescent moon-like design in one end. She would use it to fly until she lost the ability to in "Wagandea".
- In the Brazilian and Latin American dubs of the first film, Ursula and Shiny Chariot have different voice actresses. This could be due to the producers of the dub not realizing that they are indeed the same person.
- It is also possible that this was done to keep the truth of Ursula being Chariot a secret.
- Currently, in the Latin American dub of the anime, this was noticed and changed, and now both Chariot and Ursula are voiced by Gigliola Mariangel.
- In the Brazilian dub of the TV series, Chariot was voiced by Flávia Saddy in the first episode like in the first movie, but Woodward's illusion of Chariot in the 11th episode was voiced by Miriam Ficher, Ursula's voice actress, and so was the real Chariot in Croix's subsequent flashbacks.
- In order to remain a low profile, Ursula actively limited the amount of magic she utilizes and even bewitched her hair's color into blue where enchantment involved would temporarily undone should she use too much power. The manner such enchantment work is different between short film and TV Series, however; the former depicted her hair's transformation from blue to red being fiery as opposed of smoother, almost instant change in the latter.
- Ursula's Shiny Chariot stage costume bears a striking resemblance to Woodward's appearance in the ancient textbook, hinting Woodward's outfit at that time was the basis of her said costume.
- Though likely a coincidence (assuming it not intentional in Studio Trigger's part given to its tendency to include allusions and homages from other works), Ursula in her Shiny Chariot's appearance and status as a high-tier magic user could be inspired by Tabasa/Tessa, one of four playable heroes in the fantasy-themed 2D arcade game Red Earth.
- In terms of being the chosen wielder of an artefact of great power for a significant purpose until she lost it from using artefact in question to cause a catastrophic damage at some point in the past and had a best friend/comrade who turned against her out of both envy and uneventful circumstances beyond their control on the other hand, Ursula may also inspired by Gai Kurenai aka. Ultraman Orb from Ultra Series.
- "Ursula" means "little bear", derived from a diminutive form of the Latin word "ursa" (she-bear).
- As the show has so many connections with the Ursa minor/major (differs in the series and the movie) constellation, it is possible that this is where her name comes from. The Ursa minor/major is also called the Chariot in a lot of cultures which makes a connection between her names, the shiny rod, and the words of Arcturus.
- "Callistis" is a reference to the Greek myth of Callisto. From Wikipedia:
- "According to Ovid, it was Jupiter (Zeus) who took the form of Diana (Artemis) so that he might evade his wife Juno's detection, forcing himself upon Callisto while she was separated from Diana and the other nymphs. Callisto's subsequent pregnancy was discovered several months later while she was bathing with Diana and her fellow nymphs. Diana became enraged when she saw that Callisto was pregnant and expelled her from the group. Callisto later gave birth to Arcas. Juno then took the opportunity to avenge her wounded pride and transformed the nymph into a bear. Sixteen years later Callisto, still a bear, encountered her son Arcas hunting in the forest. Just as Arcas was about to kill his own mother with his javelin, Jupiter averted the tragedy by placing mother and son amongst the stars as Ursa Major and Ursa Minor, respectively."
- "Chariot du Nord" literally means "Northern Chariot" in French, referring to the constellation Ursa Major.