Written by Bananaowns
Images courtesy of Ajia-do Animation Works
I’ve already mentioned in past reviews that I am a sucker for any period pieces. World War II is one of my favorite periods to explore in any medium. The show I am reviewing today takes place in a fictional world heavily inspired by the events of WWII, but with a magical twist. Of course, I’m talking about Izetta: The Last Witch. I’m Bananaowns and this is an Otaku Youth anime review.
Story and Characters
The story starts with the Germanian empire, this world’s Nazi Germany, conquering the entire continent. In order to have a better route, the Germanians seek to control the small country of Elystadt. Elystadt is ruled by a monarch that is loved by the people. However, during peace talks, Princess Finé is kidnapped by the Germanians. On this same plane, the Germanians are transporting a witch named Izetta, who happens to be a figure from Princess Finé’s past. The pair manages to escape and Izetta vows to protect Elystadt from the Germanians.
Despite the presence of magic, this anime is mostly focused about war efforts. The series places a significant amount of time on dealing with a wide variety of issues ranging from dealing with refugees to acts of espionage. Izetta and the overall magical presence merely serve to aid in this total war effort. While the use of magic was entertaining, I actually enjoyed the more subdued moments immensely. For instance, a couple of episodes focus on the topic of propaganda and how to present Izetta to the rest of the world. I also enjoyed the moments of espionage that saw agents going undercover to deal with foreign spies. Details like this give the series a more weighted feel. It was not only about the magical elements, but about the fate of a war.
The strength of the story is bolstered by the great cast of characters. Princess Finé is one of the most impressive female leads in recent memory. She is kind and caring, but also tough when the situation calls for it. She is actually a great leader and is more than willing to put herself in danger for her kingdom. For example, in the first episode alone, she resists every effort of Germania to kidnap her. Finé never stops fighting even when the situation is at its most dire. I also loved Izetta’s character. She actually has a lot of doubts about her ability to protect Elystadt, but will do anything for the kingdom. Izetta is also conflicted about using her powers for war, but her love of Finé triumphs all of this. Speaking of love, there is an actually hint of a relationship here between Izetta and Finé. It’s not just yuri-baiting like in Sound Euphonium; it goes a little bit deeper. It was really refreshing because it felt genuine based on the interactions and history between Izetta and Finé. Overall, this series had a solid story with a great cast of characters.
Animation and Sound Design
Izetta: The Last Witch features a surprisingly high quality of action animation. It is an absolute treat to watch a scene in which Izetta fights with her magical powers. The animation captures the aerial dogfights to perfection. It’s so great that it manages to overcome the absurdity that Izetta uses a sniper rifle as her witches’ broom. The first major sequence that showcases Izetta’s powers gives a great example of how the action animation is. Izetta sweeps across the battlefield with enchanted objects, taking out tanks and infantry. It was and still is highly impressive to watch.
Outside of the action, the animation can look a bit mediocre. However, it is saved by the excellent stylistic design of the characters and the environments. The country of Elystadt is breathtaking to behold. The animation really brings the bright cities and the countryside to life. The characters also possess striking designs. Princess Finé comes across as royal in any one of her outfits. Izetta’s red mages outfit is also one of my favorite designs of the season. The red outfit is a stereotypical witches outfit, but with a regal flair to it.
The sound design is of a similar quality as the animation. There are high points, but for the most part it is fairly average. The sounds of the machine guns, planes, and bombs are excellent. In fact, the audio is great during any of the larger action scenes. The opening song is actually quite good as well. I also really enjoyed the use of choir-like music for the more fantastical and heartfelt moments. Besides these moments though, the music didn’t really catch me. The voice acting was excellent. Princess Finé comes across as a proper, but loving monarch would. The voice actors for the more clandestine characters also possess that mysterious edge as well. The presentation and sound design of this series has excellent moments, but has a lot of mediocrity too.
Izetta: The Last Witch is a solid show with very some exquisite high points. The main issue is that the series was fairly average during every other time. However, the story is very strong and has a great cast of characters. I believe this can carry the weaker points of the animation and sound design. I give Izetta: The Last Witch my Watch rating. It’s highly entertaining and worth the watch. Thanks for checking this piece out and I’ll be back next week for another review.