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.
What happens in Shuumatsu no Izetta when you take out the two ingredients that made the first three episodes great? This happens. Take out the war and magic and the only thing you get is a terrible story flow and incredibly bad character dynamics. We were all fooled by the tanks and the planes.
Japanese Title: 魔女の秘密 Das Geheimnis der Hexe
The King is dead. Long live the King. Princess Fine is going to become Queen Fine and Izetta is going to be introduced to the world as the reincarnation of the White Witch who will protect Eylstadt from all harm. And while all this is happening the episode tried, unsuccessfully, to bring some plot and some new characters to the scene. Here they are:
The emperor of Germania: An arrogant and stiff royal who is as uninteresting as the flower pot standing next to him. Probably an advisor. Maybe his son. I didn’t care.
Lotte the Maid: An instrument of fan-service. Someone had to be a little too joyful, undress Izetta, take her to a bath, and then have the jug of a bare-breasted statue fall on the witch’s head.
Bianca the Loyal: Her character can be summarized in the next phrase, ‘I am super serious and I have to know that you can be trusted. Tell me the rest of the story of how the princess saved your life. Ah, nice. Now we are comrades.’
Elvira Friedman the Grappler: I wanted to say the journalist, but she was more of an image maker than a wordsmith. A true marketer who grabbed Izetta’s boobs and ass to get her measurements. In another review I said that all anime have a bit of fan-service. While that’s true, this was the wrong type of fan-service for this series. Her purpose is to ‘sell’ the myth of the White Witch to the world.
We were then introduced to the secret beneath the castle; we were told that fey lines are the juice of magic power; a flashback mentioned that the white witch was a traitor. All perfectly good plot points that could have mattered if they were part of a better narrative flow that actually made us care.
Fan Service: I am ashamed to admit that the most interesting part of the episode was the one that felt it belonged the least to the series. If it weren’t for the boob-grapping and the sudden undressing, this episode would have nothing of interest.
Quotes: There were a couple of interesting quotes at the military meeting. My favorite:
A weak point isn’t a weak point if your enemy doesn’t know about it
I don’t know if I am the enemy, but after this episode I know all the weak points of this series.
Ley Lines: The notion that the Earth is home to immense spiritual energy that can be used in magic is very common in anime and videogames. But Ley Lines in particular is a phrase that was coined in 1921 by amateur archaeologist Alfred Watkins. He used the term to refer to supposed alignments of places of geographical and historical interest. His theory was that these alignments were created for ease of travel by line-of-sight navigation in ancient times. Many associate these lines to resemble the Chinese concept of feng shui and attribute to them mystical and spiritual powers.
The episode was one long goofy fan-servicing introduction to a few new characters and a failure to use the no-war quiet time to build on the plot and the character dynamics. Izetta and Fine are exactly the same as when they were children: Fine was probably never a child because even in the flashback she behaves like a grown woman and Izetta will probably remain one forever since is as irresponsible and aloof as ever. And I don’t even want to get started on the rest of the characters. They were overshadowed by the unneeded fan-service that wasn’t even that good.
Let’s go back to the battles, please.
I hope that the next episode is going back to the boom boom and the hocus pocus. At least they know how to do that right.
What did you think of the episode? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments below.
NEXT TIME: The False Miracle (偽りの奇跡 / Das falsche Wunder)