Izetta’s penultimate episode is as a summary of everything the show has been in the build-up to next Saturday’s grand finale.
The show relies on three main aspects: war, politics, and the Finé – Izetta relationship. Its downfall, for the most part, has been down to its difficulties in balancing all three: dragged out battle sequences, irregular diplomatic games, and repetitive interactions between our two heroines. Yet, as this episode displays, when all three are correctly packed together, the result is quite engaging.
On war, our characters experience the despair of being cornered with no prospect other than surrendering. Their secret base is attacked by the SS, a moment which shows that battles don’t always need a grand scale to work; the cruelty and despair, the sight of a usually strong-willed character (Finé) being reduced to begging are all enough to make this engaging. And, of course, the episode ends with the promise of a fight to death between the two witches. The sense of height is enough to convey excitement: grand battles seem meant to take place high up above the clouds. And there is, of course, the survival of Elystadt and its people at stake, a notion that was unfortunately often lost in the desire to show the witch’s power.
The politics offer a hopeful contrast. Berckmann, with nowhere else to run, offers his help to Finé; he unveils Otto’s plan to launch a bomb to destroy the capital and threaten European forces into surrender that way. Thanks to this information and the man’s connection, they can devise a plan to attend Otto’s meeting and send Izetta to fight against the White Witch and her bomb. We have a grave betrayal, a trade between people who clearly don’t get along nor trust each other, and in the end, the prospect of a grand, decisive meeting between world forces.
And then… we have Finé and Izetta. The two finally drop the politeness and call each other by their names! We also have a beautiful death flag for our witch in the form of a fly through the night sky with her friend (?). The two wear white dresses and embrace one another fully – for the first time we go beyond the usual “I’ll do anything for my princess!” antics, as the two are on equal standing and feel in complete harmony.
In the end what we have is a very satisfying entry. The plot progresses fast, with some crucial twists even this late on, and more than that, it feels like, finally, the series has achieved the kind of product it had failed to deliver before. We felt the despair of war and invasion, found a glimmer of hope within a betrayal and the resolve of some characters, and appreciated a moment of peace and love between two young girls; all tightly packed within a single episode, and within the frame of tragedy. We are reminded that Izetta won’t come out of this unharmed, and that she is fifteen – an age far too young to be carrying such responsibilities. It is this context that makes this episode all the more satisfying: it truly displays everything Shuumatsu no Izetta is about: the story of two young girls and their feelings as they face responsibilities far too great for them.
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