Izetta: The Last Witch – Preview
Izetta: The Last Witch:
Original Air Dates: October 1st, 2016 – ???
Synopsis: Europe is on the brink of World War. As the forces of Germania lay waste to the rest of the region, conquering it with few to stand in their way, the country of Elystadt struggles to hold out. But without a strong military force to combat the enemy’s advance, there’s little hope they can hold out for long. Finé, princess of Elystadt, sets about securing aid for her country in their great time of need. As the Princess sneaks out across Europe, she finds herself hunted by Germania’s intelligence forces, bent on capturing her and bringing about an end to Elystadt’s defiance. But perhaps there is another savior of Elystadt, a magical little girl Finé once met as a child. Whatever happened to that witch she met on that fateful day?
1st Episode Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Princess Finé is awesome, a strong female character you can root for and who doesn’t feel like she’s set up to be little more than fan bait, pandering to a crowd who wants to merely see her as a waifu. She feels like a real individual, with drive and ambition in her efforts to secure safety for her people during this great time of crisis. She’s someone you can root for, but she isn’t infalliable and is perhaps too eager and ready to give up her life in vein hope that such a sacrifice would protect her people.
Linny: Finé is potentially one of the better female protagonists we’ve had in anime of recent. She’s strong and proactive, charging ahead to do what’s right and necessary for the sake of the kingdom and her role as a member of royalty. She’s not afraid to get dirty and most certainly isn’t one of those princess that’s breaking down constantly instead of taking action. The men in the episode, especially her enemies, keep mentioning how it’s no surprise that she’s called a tomboy which almost felt unnecessary… as if insinuating that any girl who’s a bit active is automatically more of a boy than a girl. However, keeping in mind the time period and setting of the story, it does make sense that people would have been labeling her as a tomboy for not being the typical timid and dainty princess. When it comes to the titular character Izetta, not much is known about her yet other than the fact that she and Finé knew each other in the past and that Finé might have saved Izetta’s life previously.
Tom: Since Izetta only appears briefly we really don’t get any real sense of what her character is like, or how she plays off Finé. The dynamic there isn’t defined and that means it’s hard to get a good sense of where Izetta: The Last Witch is headed. It doesn’t help that every other character introduced here is either a bit player, a one off who won’t have much effect beyond this episode, or antagonists waiting for their true introduction further down the line. This first episode was instead all about exploring Finé and, I think, that gamble paid off as she’s come across as an extremely likable and engaging character.
Linny: It’s pretty evident early on that the universe of Izetta is a re-imagining of the events surrounding World War II with countries like Germanium and Brittania, both clear and blatant references to Germany and Britain. In fact, this whole setting might even remind some viewers of a similar anime named Maria the Virgin Witch that had a witch dealing with war among humans. However, these two shows are obviously worlds apart, with Izetta being a much more sombre and serious story so far and having none of the sexual comedy and content that was one of Maria’s main draws.
Tom: Izetta does a solid job of setting up its world, although that’s partly aided by how easily understood World War II is for anyone who took a few history classes back in school. The series does work in its more fictional elements quite well however, and gets the story moving with enough detail that audiences shouldn’t find themselves confused by the end of the episode.
Linny: The show makes sure to give us a lot of information about the current political and social condition of the in-story world, which is especially appreciated if you have been watching some of the more obtuse shows this season that completely neglect to and leave viewers confused. However the downside to all the narration, especially about a historic and war time period, is that it starts to feel like you’re listening to a history lecture at times. The show moves quickly though before it gets too boring and it was definitely interesting to watch how negotiations between nations can happen with high risks and often with high sacrifices on the part of one nation.
Tom: We, unfortunately, don’t get a lot of time with the more fantastical elements of Izetta. The show teases them in the opening, mostly to let the viewer know they exist, and they appear again at the end of the episode just as things hit a climax, but it’s unclear exactly how they’ll play with the setting going forward. How powerful is Izetta? Is her magic tide turning for the war or are her powers a little less impressive than that?
Linny: The show might be heading for a ‘yuri’ angle as evidenced by the intimate poses of Izetta and Finé during the ending credit scenes. Given that so far, both main characters are female, it wouldn’t be surprising if the show decided to exploit that angle subtly given how anime fandom tends to ship characters all the time anyway. If the show does decide to be more blatant and have the girls romance each other, here’s to hoping it’s done tastefully and in a mature and intelligent manner rather than turning out to be just another explicit and exploitative cash grab.
Tom: When it comes to the presentation Izetta has some solid animation that dips in longer shots, but otherwise maintains a generally impressive quality. The Blending of the CGI during the big train sequence mostly works, but is terribly obvious and is bound to irk more hardened anime fans less accepting of CGI. Capping all this off is a wonderful orchestral, more classic soundtrack that helped to set the tone for both the time period and the introduction of Izetta’s fantasy and magical elements.
Linny: So far, Izetta is one of the stronger offerings this season but keep in mind that the season’s barely started. With a strong female protagonist and competent animation, it has enough appeal for the average anime viewer. It’s still unclear exactly where the story is headed, most likely it will be focused on Finé and Izetta working together to free their beloved country from invaders and given how likable Finé is so far, it should be an interesting watch.
Tom: The fall season is still in its early stages, but as one of the six first anime that launched on October 1st Izetta is already one of my preferred titles. While the series focused on setting up Finé as a character, and a bit of world building/backstory, leaving the rest of the cast on the back burner, it excelled at what it set out to do and made for a perfect introductory episode. I have high hopes for Izetta and recommend it to anyone who enjoys World War era and fantasy content, even if it doesn’t carry a fantasy tag for some strange reason.
Izetta: The Last Witch is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com