I am not sure what I was expecting from this show. Maybe I was fooled by the World War II setting. After all, Shuumatsu No Izetta started a few days after I re-watched The Man in the High Castle. War is cruel, no doubt about that, but stories about war are fascinating if only to serve as an example and a reminder of the horrors that come with armed conflict.
Izetta forgot the horrors and stopped being fascinating. Last episode had a few fan-serving scenes that tried to save the situation. This episode had nothing.
Japanese Title: 偽りの奇跡 Das falsche Wunder
I have never seen a real life coronation. I always preferred those that happen in fantasy and science fiction tales, not even those fictional coronations that are based in real stories. Fine’s coronation to the Arch-Duchess of Eylstadt was every bit as conventional as any real coronation, which is not a bad thing. At least the sword she swore to was incredible, a medieval longsword beautifully crafted. The event was both a coronation and a press conference. Izetta and her powers were revealed to the public, and the cameras kept on flashing. It was more of an exhibition of Izetta’s powers to the press and subsequently to the world. An exhibition that was followed with a surprise attack to the Germanian forces for the press to record. Was the only one who was disturbed by that scene? A plane full of journalists witnessed a witch killing dozens of Germanian soldiers in cold blood as a warning to the rest of their army. It feels so wrong that the soldiers of the enemy are mere pawns to be sacrificed while the soldiers of Eylstadt are unique individuals inspired by Fine. I could read more into it and maybe find a potential ‘the soldiers are the mirror of their leaders’ meaning, but to my naïve eyes, Izetta was just a cold-blooded murderer with big boo…with big complex issues regarding her relationship with Fine. If this was about shades of a particular color and not about tanks and planes, Fine would have already tied Izetta on a bed, teaching her a thing or two.
The Emperor of Germania is just smirking all the time. Heck, everyone in Germania seems to be smirking all the time. The only time we’ve seen one of the enemy being at least a bit interesting was when Bergmann uses his super detective skills (he is a secret agent after all) to deduct that there is something wrong with Izetta and her powers. That guy asks all the right questions. It’s almost as if he read the script or something. And while Bergmann just keeps on with his ‘we’ll get the bitch’ attitude, Zeke conveniently decides to spill the beans on Izetta’s weakness out in the open and at the same place where Jonas (who is again at the front lines) conveniently loses his photograph of his family, after of course he conveniently runs away because, you know, Zete and the General would have certainly have killed him if they found him eavesdropping. Unless that spy from Germania got him first. Oh my god, no. That whole scene made no sense, and it wasn’t the only one.
The second scene that made no sense was that whole plan on Veile Pass. The Germanian army is again conveniently attacking the only place in the borders with a fey line for Izetta to draw power from. But, conveniently enough, the royal guard, which is an all-female high-powered SEAL-like special forces team with incredible sniper skills, is employed along with a conveniently placed ancient Roman tunnel to place some explosives so that Izetta can fake a landslide as magic during a conveniently dark weather that conveniently shed rays of light when Izetta played the big bad witch. And of course, EVERYONE could mistake the voice that comes through speakers for a witch amplifying it through magic.
Ok, I am not going to use the word ‘conveniently’ again. But I was frustrated by the fact that not only was the episode full of Izetta’s whines, Fine’s leadership qualities, and Germania’s evil plans, but it was also hard to believe and actually quite uninteresting.
You can tell how bad things are for the show by the next episode’s preview. It just said ‘Oh no, Lady Izetta’s Breasts!!’ That will definitely save the show, boobs.
Era Details: That was the only highlight of this episode. The details are amazing. From the flashbulbs of the photographers to the chandelier of the bar where the Germanian agents are sitting, every little detail is according to the era. We have black and white photos and newsreels that are accompanied by typewriter sounds. Even during the black & white film you can hear the sound of the reel machine working.
Themes & Trivia
Propaganda Posters: Posters were used in both World Wars as a means of propaganda. They were 905 of the time deceitful and manipulative and twisted the truth for a particular purpose. Propaganda posters have been used to change the way the population thinks and behaves during times of war and distress. The method was used by both sides of the war.
Fun Trivia: The famous ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ slogan was first used as a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for the Second World War.
Flashbulbs: Did you see all those bulbs falling when the photographers where taking pictures of Izetta? These were flashbulbs. Magnesium filaments were contained in bulbs filled with oxygen gas, and electrically ignited by a contact in the camera shutter. They were first produced in Germany in 1929 for the general public and they could be used only once. The bulb was too hot to handle immediately after use and that’s why photographers just threw them down so they could install a new one.
I was a little rough on the show during the plot analysis, I know. But that’s how I get when I’m disappointed. Since my reviews are not reviews in the strict sense of the word. I am not actually reviewing but instead I am telling my opinion of the episode as an anime fan. Like we are sitting together with a coffee in hand and discussing the episode.
So if you ask me, ‘But Thanasis, was the whole episode that bad?’ Well, no. It wasn’t that bad. The enjoyed the moments I mentioned in the Episode Highlights and the random Trivia. I loved the details here and there, and the black & white photographs and videos. The plot might suck big time, but the visuals are good and there is a certain attention to detail that makes everything else bearable. There was a small drop in the character quality, but nothing too noticeable.
Big Bad Witch
The next episode’s title is the hint that tells us that we are going to watch an episode with no fights. I’m not sure if Izetta’s boobs are going to save the show, but I’m certainly looking forward to them. She might be a whining little witch, but she is a cute whining little witch; there is no doubt about that.
What did you think of the episode? Are you enjoying Shuumatsu no Izetta? Let me know in the comments below.
Don’t forget to check all our reviews for Fall 2016!
NEXT TIME: On a Quiet Day (穏やかな日に An einem ruhigen Tag…)
Shuumatsu no Izetta