Izetta: The Last Witch Series Review

Overview:

In a world torn apart by totally not WW2, soon to be Archduchess of a small European nation Fine travels to find allies for her country against Germania but instead finds an old friend of hers who happens to be a witch. I reviewed this week to week here.

Review:

Here’s the thing, after episode 1 I genuinely expected Izetta to be one of my must watch shows for the season. The first episode was dramatic, interesting, tiny bit of fan service but mostly a spunky young girl in a horrible situation and then we threw some magic in because who doesn’t want a world war with magic in it. It was perfect. Or at least as close as you expect from a first episode of an anime really.

So imagine by disappointment when by episode 4 any sense of tension or drama and been leached out of this flat story about a witch and her friend playing at war (and dress up and politics). Izetta has a fantastic setting and a great premise that it utterly fails to utilise to create anything of note.

Midway through a character is sacrificed. He’s kind of shown up a couple of times. He’s sweet. He’s loyal. He conveniently overhears something he shouldn’t, hints this to a friend who turns out to be a spy, is attacked by said spy, saved by his own people and then mercilessly shot through the head to preserve a secret that is found out less than two episodes later anyway. Sure it makes us realise lives are lost during a war and it paints a bleak picture but the execution (no pun intended) is dreadful.

We don’t care enough about this character for this to have that kind of desired impact. He’s a background, face of the common soldier kind of character who raises that many death flags for himself you are just wondering who will pull the trigger and when. The way in which he ‘overhears’ the conversation is the usual contrived nonsense that is really just plot convenience and his blurting this out to the one spy in his unit is ridiculous. Yep, he’s naive but he isn’t painted as a moron so why? The shooting itself is pretty dramatic. We get a nice lingering show of his face as he realises what is about to happen and that’s probably the most affective moment of this sequence. And as a positive, they use this later in the final episode where his killer faces another soldier who he sees with the same face. Then the aftermath of this drama is entirely washed under the bridge and we move on because there are more important things than actually building an emotional connection apparently.

Actually, my biggest issue isn’t the wasted potential of every possible dramatic moment but the introduction of Sophie. Seriously? Let’s just throw a clone of another witch at Izetta and they can fling things at each other while screaming about their personal philosophies. That will be fascinating. Not.

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Pretty much from the minute Sophie arrives the story falls apart. No more care for the soldiers, the spies, the alliances, the technological differences, or anything else. Just two overpowered juggernauts having at it while a few of the other characters scramble around trying to maintain relevance. It’s all just very trite. Plus, Sophie is a crazy lady with nothing but revenge on her mind so even if they wanted to go this way, she doesn’t carry her weight in the story. She’s boring and predictable.

Okay, positives. It is pretty. Very pretty. Good music. Some great action pieces scattered throughout. It just could have been better so while what is here isn’t broken you’ll just feel cheated of the better story you could have had.

Recommendation is to watch if you watch more or less anything or are just mildly curious but I’m not going to seriously recommend this to anyone is you haven’t watched it yet. Let it disappear into the vast vat of forgotten mediocre series.

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Izetta: The Last Witch Episode 6

Review (spoiler heavy for the episode – don’t read if you haven’t watched yet):

I said on my Twitter feed at the 30 second mark of Izetta that I really wanted Jonas to get shot. Here’s the problem with Izetta as a show. It started out serious and did that just fine for a few episodes. Then it became two girls on a road trip with one of them so overpowered there was no threat. Then we became cute girls running around a castle with a war backdrop. A little bit more serious and now we spend most of episode 6 with the cute girls again. Only… The start and end of this episode beg us to take them seriously and go back to being all about the dark things that happen during war. Not to mention, the writers clearly felt that they had been too soft and sweet for a number of episodes because that final shot of Jonas was definitely a retaliation against all the pie eating that had happened earlier in the episode.

I’d seriously stop now if you haven’t watched the episode.

Killing Jonas at the start of the episode would have made sense. He overheard something he wasn’t supposed to and he was clearly a danger as it was obvious he could have blurted it out at any moment. But instead of that, we get that moment where he rushes back to camp and blurts out just enough to draw attention to himself (raise your own death flag much) and then we watch Izetta and Fine eat pie.

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At the end of the episode, his death is meaningless. They already know about the Germanian spy and either Jonas has already spilled the beans (in which case killing him is pointless) or he kept his silence (in which case killing him is pointless though you might want to put him under closer supervision).

I don’t mind killing off characters when it serves a purpose but Jonas’ death only tries to recapture some of the drama from earlier in the series but ultimately does nothing except make you wonder if the fates of these characters are being decided by lottery.  If they wanted us to think Sieg was cold and calculating, we already knew that. Ultimately his death only works if thematically this show is going for a no-one wins in war message and that doesn’t actually seem to be the case.

Okay, totally blew my 100 words but I kind of feel that this is the episode where I finally put my hopes for this series aside and now I’m just going to watch it to the end and hope if remains decent. The shiny first and second episode have passed us by and we are left with events that are either generic or lacking in emotional punch.

Izetta: The Last Witch is available on Crunchyroll.