Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
The final episode of Shuumatsu no Izetta was titled after the witch, and rightly so. After a dramatic battle, we finally saw the conclusion to a story that wasn’t the best we saw this season, but had all the necessary elements to make it enjoyable enough, and the background setting to make it interesting.
In the end, Shuumatsu no Izetta was more about the war than it was about Izetta.
Japanese Title: Izetta
For the first time in a while, the action of Shuumatsu no Izetta was confined into two parallel scenes: the battle of Izetta and Sophie, and the meeting of the Allied Nations with Germania. As the threat of (magic) nuclear disaster is eminent, the witches engage in an all-out battle that drains their life energy, rapidly. Tanks fly here and there, trains become whips, clones are resurrected to make the nuclear missile fly, and in the end the only thing that was left to do was to go all Dragon Ball. At first they become angry and turn into Super Saiyan witches. Sophie is furious that she was betrayed, not by the princess as we thought, but by the prince himself:
Her love has become a power that is too great. None of us can be safe as long as magic exists
Izetta on the other hand is angry because she wants to protect Eylstadt and she is ready to sacrifice herself to make it happen. In the must-have flashback to the night they spent together with Fine, Izetta says to Fine that she plans to sacrifice herself. In contrast to Sophie who expected the loyalty of the prince, Izetta understands that Fine’s loyalty is first to the people and then to her. History repeats itself, but never in the exact same way.
If my life can grant her wish, I’m sure I’ll go smiling to the stake
Izetta expects the ‘betrayal.’ And accepts the sacrifice. And what a sacrifice! In a very convenient plot twist, the plan she agreed with Fine was to absorb the Fey lines into a huge Ki Ball, and in the process rid the world of both magic and witches. And that’s why Izetta is the Last Witch! Or so we thought. After creating the ball of magic, we are left to believe that she sacrificed herself for the greater good, a fitting end for a heroine. Happy endings, though, dictate that the heroine survives, and so we see Izetta alive and well, albeit stuck in a wheelchair. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. I would prefer she stayed dead.
Izetta’s wasn’t the only sacrifice. Sieg, in a scene that seemed too forced to be true, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress at the wrong moment. As he runs away from Germanian soldiers in his attempt to act as a decoy for Fine and Bianca he encounters an enemy soldier who he mistakes for Lars, the blonde boy he killed to protect Izetta’s secret. Berkman defects to the United States of Atlanta, in a scene with the Statue of Liberty stand proud in the background. For an alternate universe anime, the similarities are too many to go unnoticed.
Is there anything more important than oneself?
In the end, magic is gone and the history takes a course quite similar to our own Word War II. The war is won by the allied without the atomic bombs dropping in Japan. Maybe that was one of the themes that the writers wanted to express: that good triumphed again, but without the horrors caused by nuclear power.
Ending Theme: The piano of the ending theme was introduced at just the right moment, as Izetta was ready to sacrifice herself to destroy the atomic bomb and rid the world of magic. The soundtrack of the series was both amazing and used appropriately.
Eiffel Tower: This must be the first anime scene ever where the Eiffel Tower is used as a weapon.
Impressive Battle: One of the most impressive battles of the series, the skirmish between Sophie and Izetta should have ended in their mutual destruction. Quite impressive, though.
PTSD: What Sieg experienced is most commonly known as ‘guilt’, but some may argue that the guilt was a direct result of posttraumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person’s life. In Sieg’s situation, it cost him his life.
Normandy Landings: The invasion to Europe mentioned in the episode refers to the Normandy Landings. They were codenamed Operation Neptune and took place on Tuesday June 6, 1944 (termed D-Day). The Allies invaded Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe from Nazi control, and contributed to the Allied victory on the Western Front.
Alternate History: After the battle between Izetta and Sophie, the events of the war took the same course as in our own World War II. Replace with in-anime names: The United States of America entered the war and helped the Allies land in Normandy while Russia started its invasion from the east. Hitler commits suicide and two days later Berlin surrenders to the Allies.
Emperor: The Emperor of Germania is the alternate history equivalent of Adolf Hitler, leader of Nazi Germany. On April 30, 1945, when Soviet troops were within a block or two of the Reich Chancellery, Hitler shot himself while his wife, Braun bit into a cyanide capsule. The Emperor was single as it seems, even though I still believe that the blind guy was his man-whore.
The story made its circle. Even though the writers experimented with time with their non-linear narrative and the uninteresting fillers, the story was concise: the plot was clear; a witch will rid the world of magic in her quest to save the world from nuclear magic power and the tyranny of a fascist nation. The themes were clear; history repeats itself in different ways, sacrifice is necessary for change, war is cruel. The protagonists were also in the spotlight; Fine and Izetta. The background mythos had a few plot holes that are not worth mentioning, because generally speaking they didn’t affect the main story that much. Most of them had to do with the need to answer questions that needed immediate answers so that the plot could move forward, like the clones, or a certain character reaction needed justifying, like the plot twist in Sophie’s story.
Izetta’s last episode was satisfying. Even though it was not the ending I would have wanted, it was an ending that made sense and wrapped the story in a way that leaves no unanswered questions. Do we care how Izetta survived? Not really. Has Sophie survived as well? It doesn’t matter. She is a clone and the Fey Lines are a thing of the past. Izetta was the Last Witch.
Did you like the final episode of Shuumatsu no Izetta? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check the rest of our episodic reviews.
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