Izetta’s latest offering is slightly more satisfactory. While pacing issues remain present, the conclusions drawn by some of the characters give a real sense of payoff.
The first part is dedicated to the meeting announced last episode. Germania have gotten an aircraft carrier out; worried as the leaders may be that it’s a mere trap, they must react to Otto’s latest move. And this is where Finé offers a solution: after proving Izetta’s power to everyone present, she trades the help of the other nations in Elystadt’s defense for the destruction of the carrier. They work the details of the plan together.
This is followed by a moment of intimacy between Finé and Izetta. We mentioned the show’s many contrasts before, and this is another example. Their room is worthy of any palace, the prominence of purple symbolizing opulence. Yet the music that plays is a simple, amusing one worthy of the small talk one may have with their doctor. In the middle of this stark contrast is the behavior of the two girls – they’re very much conscious of their role in the current situation, yet have fun, share a bed where they hold hands… their intimacy is a deeply humane one.
Similarly, in the next scene, we see the members of the German carrier enjoying a game of poker, sharing banter. We even see Ricelt’s weakness, his tendency to let his emotions overflow. How can he make his ambitions reality? The last scene has him take on a mission, the last confirmation Berckmann needs before moving on to the next step of his plan – but then, in the preview, we hear him asking “are these the people I’m warring against?”, an indication his emotiveness may influence his future choices in big ways.
All these elements – the Finé-Izetta scene as well as the moments dedicated to Germania’s soldiers – do one great thing for the show: avoid a basic black-white dichotomy. Instead of rarely showing the Germans, or only doing so in an ominous way to show how evil they are, Shuumatsu no Izetta shows everyone’s humane side. Not everyone in Germania is evil; meanwhile, the ally politicians, with their palace lives and lack of belief in the witch, also have their shortcomings.
And this is very much a choice, because while we see the soldiers, Otto is nowhere to be seen. This evasiveness points to one thing: the carrier is just a decoy. And it really is; while Izetta fights the Germania army, Berckmann observes and grasps the witch’s weakness. He even orders everyone to retreat after the ship is sank. This is why he can move on with his plan. The issue with this development is that it prompts the “finally!” reaction; it’s been a long time coming, from the moment Berckmann convinced himself that the witch had a weakness to now. This is a concrete and satisfying payoff, but the process has been regrettably slow.
The desire to demystify all the characters except Otto (the only one who believed in the witch from the start) certainly raises fears about his plan. Once again, Izetta knows what to show and what not to; while avoiding any basic clichés, it manages to keep an aura of mystery where needed. A reality improved by one scary frame which seems to hint at… another witch. It seems the White Witch is supposed to be somewhere, and Otto may very well be looking to retrieve her.
Let’s mention the fight scene. This is nothing new in Izetta; one may say the show has given too much time to such aspects. But let’s appreciate the show’s merits where they are. The battle is dynamic. This one happens in the air, and the “sense of flight” is certainly there; jarring angles show the fight and its movements from both sides. The feelings of instability and high speed are always there as the camera follows Izetta and shows the pilot’s anxiousness. Having said that, some wide angles are also present to always place the fight within the greater landscape; we’re immersed but still aware of what is happening and how. The pacing (number of cuts and speed of movement) also follows the varying intensity; calmer moments show us just what is going on, helping our understanding of the fight’s different “chapters” (it is quite well-structured, as indicated by the music changes) while getting us to the heart of the matters. There is pleasant balance to the way this scene was handled, never losing its flair without hindering our comprehension.
The soundtrack helps that. It’s generally rather classical and expected given the historical context, but there are some gritty electric guitars that render the machinal aspect of the fight.
And with this another episode of Izetta ends. Yes, the show does have its merits, and this time the story seems to be properly moving forward, but one can’t help but feel it should go faster. The first half and its lengthy depiction of an official meeting is uninspiring at best, and the wait for Berckmann to grasp Izetta’s weakness (a development which was sure to happen) had been far too long. There is some enjoyment to be found in the show, but its fundamental shortcomings have held back until now. However, the latest development may inspire the show to move forward, and hopefully bring satisfactory progress along with it.
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