Despite a few issues, and while it doesn’t manage to fix our general impression of the show, Shuumatsu no Izetta’s finale is a beautiful spectacle.
In such episodes that everyone knows are headed for a tragic conclusion, timing is crucial. The first few minutes alternate between the witches dancing among tanks and Finé’s group trying to reach the meeting. There’s no direct confrontation between Izetta and the White Witch, and the infiltration moments (complete with Berckmann fleeing Germania) break off the tension; a good starter makes you hungrier for the main dish, after all.
Yet soon the two witches fly off into the skies and battle far from humans (though they still manage to destroy the Eiffel Tower). At this point, the two stories are brought closer as they point toward the same conclusion. On the one hand, Izetta and her peaceful state of mind as she prepares to die for the promise made with Finé, and on the other hand, the latter’s Sorrow as she explains the imminent crumbling of Germania’s plan at the cost of the witches’ lives.
Much of the episode’s quality relies on its production values. Sora Amamiya’s role as Sophie is impressively powerful, always full of palpable rage; the directing is also compelling, with the lingering on Izetta’s facial expressions as she heart-wrenchingly accepts her fate surrounded by strikingly bright colors… it’s these elements that make the fight sequence such an enjoyable one.
There is also the attempt to launch the bomb with the help of another Sophie; although Izetta’s final action naturally annihilates this plan, it does well to raise the tension. The show had always played on its tragic nature, so when it comes out, it’s hard to contain the fear of the worst-case scenario indeed happening.
Now, this doesn’t mean everything was perfect, either. The ending is a bit of a mixed bag. Although senselessly sad conclusions aren’t good, something definite is always better than the vague “Izetta is alive but could be in any vegetable-like state” we got. We’d expected her to die, and it’d have frankly been better, especially in this context; her sacrifice had meaning in that the disappearance of all witches marked the start of a peaceful era. She’ll never be able to use her magic again, but still, the symbolic value of her death was brushed aside.
And so ends Shuumatsu no Izetta. It was, frankly, far from the best anime; despite showing early potential and managing to retain an undeniable charm, the time it wasted in launching its tragic machine was fatal. We needed fewer pies and endless fight scenes (nice as they were to watch), and more political games and dramatic developments instead. The show reached a relatively satisfying conclusion, but the ride was not consistently fulfilling. Furthermore, the Izetta-Finé relationship was treated imperfectly; while their most sincere moments (such as their date in the air) were beautiful, too many came down to Izetta saying she’d do anything for her princess. We wanted more of them talking on an equal footing.
Yet, in spite of these imperfections, Izetta was a nice show: the tale it ultimately told was a touching one, and the good animation moments as well as voice acting certainly helped make this a respectable experience, albeit one that won’t have fulfilled its whole potential.
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