Shūmatsu no Izetta

Title:Shūmatsu no Izetta
Izetta the Last Witch
Izetta, Die Letzte Hexe
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: AKANEYA Himika
Animation - Ajiado
In 1939, the imperialist nation of Germania launched a sudden invasion of its neighboring countries. This conflagration engulfed all of Europe in one fell swoop, and the era was dragged into the maelstrom of war. Then in 1940, Germania set its sights on Elystadt, a tiny principality blessed with breathtaking greenery and water in the Alps. Izetta is a descendant of a clan of witches who had passed down mysterious powers for generations. Since she was little, she and her grandmother lived their lives on the road, traveling between European countries in order to hide these powers. Fiine is the sole daughter in line to succeed Rudolph III, the ruler of the Principality of Elystadt. Since her father has been stricken by illness, she has been busy preparing for Germania's invasion in his stead.
(Summary Courtesy of Anime News Network)

12-episode TV anime that premiered on October 1, 2016.
Animated by Ajiado.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 9 8 7 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:3252#1552]
Izetta the Last Witch is set in an alternate World War II timeline where the princess of Eylstadt, Fine, finds herself having to rely on the magical powers of close friend and witch, Izetta, against the imperialistic nation of Germania.

There is quite a bit of this series that is a bit of a mixed bag, but I'll tackle what issues the show has later as I will instead concentrate on the positives to the series. The show's strongest strength is that it does a great job at establishing the bond between Fine and Izetta. The series storyline explores our two heroines having a past relationship with one another shown through several flashbacks throughout the series and this bond also gets explored often throughout the series as Izetta feels obligated to protect Fine and her kingdom from the princess accepting her despite her origins as a witch, while Fine shows hesitance at points of exploiting her friend's powers to protect her home country.

Also for the most part, the series does a solid job with exploring the rules of magic and witches in the world of Izetta. While Izetta's magic allows her to dominate over enemy armies, there are limitations and conditions in which she can apply her powers which prevents her from being too insurmountable a threat. As a result, there are points in the series where Fine and the Eylstadt armies have to be creative in exploiting Izetta's reputation as a witch to drive off Germania threats and even have to silence Germanian spies that attempt to learn Izetta's weaknesses.

The use of magic makes for one of the animated highlights of the series as Izetta makes use of a heavy assault rifle to fly in the air and can levitate various objects like tanks, missiles, and lances for both attacking and to fend off enemy attacks. Action scenes have fluid movement on regular display throughout the series. Settings are animated faithfully to depict World War II era Europe with the fictional nations of the series being based off actual nations and governments who were in power during the period, and character designs are nice on the eyes despite not being as detailed.

Setting aside praises, Izetta's quality does take a hit in its second half and a good chunk of this has to do with the series attempting to cram in too much for its 12-episode run. The series makes efforts to expand its story to introduce additional elements such as a story concerning Izetta's predecessor to her title of the White Witch, trying to flesh out some among the Germanian Empire, and weaving in a third side in the form of Izetta's equivalent of the USA. Unfortunately, the series lacks the time to be able to properly flesh out or integrate these additional story elements into the series which leads to said elements being greatly simplified in their storytelling purpose or getting little relevance within the series as a whole. The attempts at storyline expansion don't hurt the series too significantly as Izetta's storyline does escalate in the second half when the Germanians learn how to counteract Izetta's powers, leading to some effective escalation of drama. But it still cripples the anime's storytelling and prevents it from being one of the year's best quality titles that it showed glimmers of in its first half, and the rather anticlimactic ending does not help matters either.

While I am not too sore from Izetta's second half taking a hit in quality, its attempts to try being bigger than what it could be in only 12 episodes crippled a good deal of the storytelling potential that the first half of it demonstrated. The use of magic in the series and the bond between Fine and Izetta contribute to the show's greatest strengths. But it could have been one of 2016's best anime titles if it learned to scale back a bit on the scope of its story.

Last updated Saturday, December 17 2016. Created Saturday, December 17 2016.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:3252#628]
(One episode watched):

Eh, this show was never able to generate much interest from within me. Maybe I didn't like the way it was so historically accurate--right down to the date the war begins, the map of Europe with 1939 borders, Stuka dive bombers--and then tried to insert magic into it. WWII is about the most serious subject there is, and magic is about the least serious one, and they mixed like oil and water. I couldn't help thinking that surely the Emperor of 'Germania' that Princess Fine is being taken to meet is Adolf Hitler, right? That was kind of creepy. Maybe I wasn't interested because the absolute-good-versus-absolute-evil format was so simplistic. So much historical detail (it might as well have been WWII breaking out in an alternate universe), yet the absurdity of distilling it all down to a case of good guys versus bad ones. That's about as sophisticated as what we were taught about the war in elementary school. It felt like 'WWII Lite'. Also, there were no monarchs with real power left then, so this Princess-trying-to-save-her-country business made little sense. We never really get to know her, and as a result can't care all that much what becomes of her and Eylstadt. I got one serious laugh when Izetta reveals what she uses as a broomstick, but I'm not sure that was meant as a joke. I struggled through the episode, and finished it confident that I wouldn't be missing much if I declined to watch the series. The history of the actual war was more interesting than this anime was.

Last updated Monday, October 03 2016. Created Monday, October 03 2016.

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