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 12

Review:

I’ll give Izetta this, it at least resolves. It may be rushed, the final villain nonsensical, and the final battle may be completely boring to watch but I can’t argue that the story did not finish. I’m annoyed that they seemed unable to commit to Izetta actually sacrificing herself. I’m also annoyed that essentially they allowed the war to end exactly the way the real world war ended rather than allowing the magical sacrifice play a significant role (what is the point of alternative history that isn’t). However, I kind of liked Sieg’s fate as I felt it made that earlier death slightly more meaningful.

Come on, Sophie was throwing trains and they broke the Eiffel Tower for no reason other that because the could. That fight was over-extended rubbish full of action set pieces with no tension just stretching out the conclusion that actually could have been the opening move. Frustrating.

Izetta is available on Crunchyroll.

Izetta: The Last Witch Episode 11

Review:

Looks like we are going to try to bring the war to an end before the end of the series. Basically this episode Izetta uses the stone, Fine has a whole bunch of doubts, Izetta slaps her, they have a heart to heart, and now Izetta is off to face Sophie while Fine is attempting to stay relevant to the story by engaging in further political intrigue. Oh, and Berkman has decided that given Germania are trying to kill him he’ll jump ship to join forces with Fine and company and he knows that since they are the ‘good’ guys of the story that he’ll probably not be killed by them even though he is technically the one who unleashed Sophie on their kingdom.

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Despite the sarcasm there, this actually wasn’t a bad episode. It kind of reminded me of the first few episodes where we had intrigue, chases, and a whole range of possibilities for how things could go. Okay, the moonlight flight with Izetta and Fine was definitely just there for people who want to see the two main characters get together, but otherwise most of this episode was pretty functional.

Izetta is available on Crunchyroll.

Izetta: The Last Witch Episode 10

Review:

Well, they didn’t commit to actually having Izetta stay captured by the enemy but at least she didn’t get out of last week’s predicament unharmed (because that would have pushed it way too far). Unconscious for a period of time and then without the use of her legs (for reasons unexplained), Izetta’s condition pushes Fine over the edge and for the first time in this entire war themed anime it seems like Fine is actually devastated by the results of war. Maybe she’s been playing the stoic leader because its expected, but as a young girl caught up in these events her reactions have been pretty much nothing up until now so seeing her all but break down this episode was a nice human touch.

My biggest criticism of this part of the show is Sophie. She’s evil because she is. She’s sworn revenge and doesn’t care if she’ll die or her body will wear out because she was dead anyway. A villain with nothing to lose, no allegiances, and giving no room for reason might seem like they’d be a good match for the overpowered Izetta but it doesn’t make for compelling writing as you can only listen to so many evil cackles over burning cities before you just want to roll your eyes.

Izetta is available on Crunchyroll.

Izetta: The Last Witch Episode 9

Review:

Finally a second witch shows up and finally Izetta gets an actual taste of defeat. It would be nice if this meant that some of her naiveté will now wear off and she will actually deal with the reality of being pretty much the only line of defence for a country at war. Of course, only next episode will tell us what they will actually do with this development. My only complaint about this episode is the white witch and the fact that she’s clearly a psycho. We get it, you were betrayed and the legend they tell has been given a nice happy ending that didn’t exist. However, introducing a second witch who just wants to burn down the kingdom Izetta wants to save isn’t exactly the most innovative or interesting thing they could have done and possibly it would be nice to see a bit more to this new character’s personality than revenge against the descendants of people who did her wrong.

Izetta is available on Crunchyroll.

Izetta: The Last Witch Episode 8

Review:

Well, at least someone in Izetta remembered that Jonas died and for half-a-moment that became an actual significant plot point and then we move on because now we have to create a sympathetic Germanian character before knocking him off (sorry, should have prefaced that with a spoiler alert but if you’ve been watching the show you probably saw it coming from the parachute drop). Izetta and Fine are still seeking an alliance and as predicted that is going to be as pleasant as expected. Fine really is a little too idealistic to be running a country and Izetta is completely clueless about politics. The only interesting development on that front was the run in with I’m guessing the pod girl and even that is clearly just set up for future events. The real action happened back at the old castle and while it was pleasant enough to watch, the only unexpected thing was the return of the cart driver at the end of the episode.

Okay, my love for this show died out a while ago and while I’m still hoping for a half-decent finish I’m getting more critical of it by the episode.

Izetta is available on Crunchyroll.

Izetta: The Last Witch Episode 7

Review:

Izetta is still performing propaganda tasks but this time for the representatives of the allies because Fine still thinks they’ll offer help if she has something valuable enough. That said, it is obvious early on that there must be a traitor in the group because otherwise things are going to go too smoothly and sure enough their battle plan gets derailed when the Germanians know Izetta is coming. What I particularly liked about the Germanian plan is that they didn’t actually need to stop Izetta and accepted that she would probably succeed in her mission, but they would still succeed in theirs if they learned something about her power which (given the nature of how this show has introduced an exploitable point and then exploited it at every turn) they did. It’s a fairly fun episode to watch with only a very limited amount of down time where Izetta and Fine engage in a tickle fight and it kind of makes you want to see what the Germanians will try next.

Izetta: The Last Witch is available on Crunchyroll.