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.
After the latest episode of Shuumatsu no Izetta, I recalled a conversation I had with a friend who likes war movies. ‘If we lived in times of conflict, we wouldn’t have time for movies or for anime.’ He is right, of course, but what he really wanted to say is that there is no fictional representation that even comes close to the real thing, and thankfully I can’t talk from experience.
Shuumatsu no Izetta, in its third episode, tries to portray war as realistically as possible in its first half, and I think that for an anime it did pretty good.
Japanese Title: 天翔る剣 Das Schwert des Himmels
Shuumatsu no Izetta is trying very hard to give its World War Two setting a certain realism. Eylstadt’s a small country. It probably took part in the Great War (we have no reason to believe it hasn’t happened in this reality) and its arsenal hasn’t been updated since. Germania on the other hand uses the latest in military tech to advance its Blitzkrieg tactics. Eylstadt’s soldiers are waiting inside old-fashioned trenches when the last of their tanks is destroyed. As a lone eagle takes on a tour of this beautiful Alpine country from above, it’s shrills are overshadowed by the engines of Germanian fighter bombers. This combination of air and ground troops forces Eylstadt to subsequent withdraws.
The series doesn’t hold back in showing the horrors of war. People bleed and die. Jonas, the young soldiers who we meet in the beginning is terrified. In multiple instances in the episode we see him trembling as he tries to load his gun. His superiors are trying to motivate him as they die on him one after the other. All around him, bombs are falling and machine-guns are tearing the air. He tries to remain sane by repeating the names of the people he is trying to protect. The fact that he is alive is a combination of luck and circumstances.
The second part abandons realism for Izetta. I was wondering when she was going to get back on her gun, and the episode didn’t disappoint me. Not only did she get a new gun, but she also used medieval lances and swords to destroy the Germanian planes and tanks. She was able to counterattack and drive the invading forces back, but she is just one and the Germanian Empire is now going to send its full force against the tiny state. Or more likely, they are going to send their spies to assassinate her.
Sword Shield: The entire battle was amazing, but this particular moment had me cheering. Izetta used a battalion of medieval longswords to create a shield to block a tank projectile. Someone should make a GIF out of that.
Eylstadt National Anthem: Jonas not only managed to remain alive, but at the end of the episode he was the one that started singing their national anthem. I can’t say that I know the feeling, but I can understand how an anthem can instill national pride. I’m sure that the anthem was made for the series, but its composition resembled the way most national anthems sound.
Unrealistic Victory: Izetta is powerful, no doubt about that. She overwhelmed the enemy forces and managed to win against overwhelming odds. I hope that the series doesn’t make a habit out of this. There is no good story without a good struggle and this battle seemed a little too easy. I am sure that the purpose of the writers was to show Izetta’s powers. Now it’s time to show her weaknesses.
Vehicle Models: If you still doubt how accurate the vehicles in the series are, know that Hasegawa, the famous military model company, is creating models based on those shown in Shuumatsu no Izetta.
Leader Qualities: The royal family of Eylstadt is revered by the people because of their engagement with the war. The princess is not standing idly inside her castle. She is there in the front lines (ok, a couple of lines behind) trying to remind her soldiers what they are fighting for.
Alternate History: Even though this is an alternate history, the differences are subtle except for the names of the countries and the existence of witches.
Germany Ban: Did you know that the swastika is illegal in Germany? If the writers used that symbol for their Nazi interpretation, the anime would probably be illegal in the European country.
Renault: The light tank Eylstadt is using is the Renault FT. It was the first effective tank, built by the same company you probably know for its cars.
The music of the series is amazing. It really contributes to the overall feeling of the action, properly placed in every scene. I was amazed by the insert song during Izetta’s battle. The animation was amazing, from the war scenes of the first half to the magic battle of the second half. Shuumatsu no Izetta is a pleasant surprise.
Eylstadt has a protector with magical powers. Germania wants to conquer the world. Magic is now a reality for everyone and Izetta went directly against her grandmother’s wish. I wonder if Izetta is really the last witch or not…
NEXT TIME: The Secret of the Witch (魔女の秘密, Das Geheimnis der Hexe)