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.
Shuumatsu no Izetta’s protagonist is slowly becoming the weakest link of the alternate history anime that started strong but diminished in power as the episodes became duller by the week. There is still value to be found, since the episode is heavy on references, but its educational worth is leagues ahead the joy it offers as an animated story.
Japanese Title: 魔女の鉄槌 Der eiserne Hammer der Hexe
I really can’t put my finger on what’s wrong with this anime. It probably has something to do with the Slowpoke of a story, the uninteresting dialogues that 80% of the time state the obvious (and the rest 20% is Izetta crying or nodding), the awkward character development, and the lack of a protagonist that has the balls to take the role and live by it. I know that this is an anime (‘IT’S NOT REAL’ and stuff), but the thing is that I’m not assigning fault here. I’m just annoyed and I try to figure out why. At some point, I probably have to write a whole article analyzing my views on reviews: every article I write is not an objective critique of the title; actually, I don’t believe in objective critiques. Instead, what I write is stained by the mood of the day, the music I put when I think about the episode, the damn weather, and the color of my mood ring.
This is why I felt that I was watching a recap of the previous episode with a few extra bits of information thrown here and there in moments I least expected them. Of course, we were fortunate to have the random maid and the ‘who-the-hell-is-that’ (ahh, now I remember) Germanian scientist narrate their thoughts as though they had to explain to a confused viewer they don’t know exists about the plot. And then we were equally fortunate to have Sieg with a connection to the legend and the other half of the stone. These are just two of the many examples of forced and out-of-place narrative moments that made the episode seem confusing.
Those witches have destroyed all the rules of warfare
Counting out the overzealous Eylstadt soldiers, the without-any-reason eccentric Emperor and his manwhore, the uninteresting Basler who was thrown in the mix for a few lines, the out-of-character Bianca who had no objection hearing the story of the White Witch from Fine, the I-am-here-to-show-my-boobs Elvira, and the other characters I mentioned above, the only two personalities who had something to add to the episode were the White Witch and Bergmann. At least the backstory (which was once again forced through a random dream) provided her with the necessary hate to turn against Eylstadt and scorch it. On the other hand, Izetta is motivated to get out of bed because she made Fine cry. Really?
Berkmann is awesome. I don’t need to say anything more. I hope he lives the assassination attempt on him that the Emperor is most probably going to order soon.
War: For someone like me, who places his attention more on the story and less on the visuals, it’s hard to find a highlight that doesn’t have to do with a quote or a facial expression, or maybe a twist that was so unexpected it made my head turn in astonishment. Shuumatsu no Izetta had none of these, but instead it probably spent the entirety of its episode budget on its war scenes. The tank models were amazing, the Blitz equivalent and the Londenium sights really well-drawn, and the air fights impressive.
The Blitz and Russia Invasion: In this episode we see the Germanians bombing Londenium and then start planning their attack on their version of the Russian Empire. During our World War II, the name used by the British press to describe the heavy air raids the island suffered in 1940 and 1941 was The Blitz, from the German word Blitzkrieg which means ‘lightning war’. The air raids were a precursor to the planned invasion of Britain, codenamed ‘Operation Sea Lion’. After the plan failed, Nazi Germany focused on ‘Operation Barbarossa’, their invasion of Russia.
Atomic Bomb: In the episode, the magical energy that the White Witch gathers from the fey lines is used to create a new weapon. The weapon hints to an atomic bomb, also called a nuclear weapon. This kind of weapon derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission (fission bomb) or a combination of fission and fusion (thermonuclear weapon). Nuclear weapons have only been used twice in times of war, both times by the USA during World War II. The first bomb, nicknamed Little Boy fell on Hiroshima, Japan, on August 6, 1945 with the second, nicknamed Fat Man, being dropped on Nagasaki three days later on August 9. In the alternate history novel The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, the Nazi managed to create the bomb before the Americans, and won the war by dropping the bomb on American soil.
The anime has a planned 12-episode cour that will end on December 17. To be honest, I don’t expect much from the story. I believe that there is one last big battle to see and that the story will probably end with the Allies winning and Germanian having to surrender, as a reminder that ‘good’ always triumphs over ‘evil’. After all, the writers made it quite clear that the Emperor is evil, with the mention of concentration camps and world domination and stuff.
And since Fine is crying, Izetta has no other choice but to win a war with half a Magic Stone that will allow her to go against ‘the traitor’! Ok, it sounds lame, I know, but I do expect a big battle coming in the next two episodes, and that’s why I will keep cheering for Izetta and her fantastic figure. I mean ‘magical powers’.
Did you like the episode? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to read the rest of our episodic reviews!
NEXT TIME: Fine (フィーネ Finé)