Shuumatsu no Izetta’s introduction was an interesting one. While the story’s direction remains a big unknown, the world’s charm is hard to deny.
The show is set during the Second World War, albeit in a parallel world which only has two differences with ours: the countries’ names and the existence of magic. And this is where this first episode’s charm rests: it makes the fantastical clash with the realistic, the wonderful with the mundane, the idealistic with the cynical. Here is a lush forest in the middle of which a beautiful young girl is running freely; in under two minutes, we switch to a scene of the same blonde stuck in a steam locomotive.
The episode revolves around such contrasts which the show’s direction brings out effectively. That much can’t be questioned; but it is really the story that leaves one wondering.
Our heroine, Finé, is the princess of the Elystadt, a country which Germania is looking to invade. Her response is to seek help with Britannia, a member of the allies. But the Germans, led by a certain Berckmann, are ready to bloody their hands in order to catch her. We never know why; there is only the vague idea of using her in their war game.
The opening scene showed Finé encountering a mysterious floating redhead named Izetta. She was free then, but now she’s in a lethargic state within a coffin carried by the Germans. It seems His Highness is highly interested in the legend of the Weisse Hexe: a white witch who once destroyed an entire company on her own. Izetta is none other than this legendary being.
So here’s what we have: our heroines are Finé and Izetta, who have an apparently close connection due to a legend. Enter the all-conquering Germans with a mysterious interest in Elystadt’s princess and legends. And… that is all. This is the episode’s core issue: it gives little concrete information, meaning little to go by if one wants to know where the story is headed.
Finé, having managed to survive until now, is in the Opera to negotiate Britannia’s help. She sprouts idealistic phrases and shows a great deal of personal and national pride, but she’s also a very skilled politician: and it’s such contrasting personas that make her a charismatic protagonist fit to carry this story.
But she can’t do much in this case, as the opera’s grandiose climax accompanies Germania’s generous bombings over Elystadt. What’s more, their spy network locates and takes Finé away at that same moment. The situation looks utterly desperate. But just as they pass above Elystadt, Izetta awakens, destroying the plane and turning a gun into a broomstick to save her princess.
During this encounter, we witness very contrasted emotions. While Finé seems happy to see the witch again, Izetta appears in great pain. Perhaps she knows what this situation implies? This is really the extent of what we know between the two of them. We do not know why Izetta was in a coffin, why Germania wants her so much, what is the extent of her link to the princess, or even what her awakening means.
“Mystery” would be the best word to define this first episode. While the world it sets up is very intriguing and can certainly sustain a beautiful story, and it is true that Finé seems an interesting character, it reveals so little beyond the general situation (which most of us already know of anyway) that we can’t tell if what lies beyond will be of any interest at all. While the charm is immediate and the potential present, there’s not much more to say from this first episode. At the very least, Shuumatsu no Izetta stands as an interesting unknown in this new season.
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