Izetta: The Last Witch was among the most promising anime when the fall season was announced due to its original premise, but its hype slowly died down as the weeks went by. Izetta was a disappointment for many, but it still had its good moments. At least that’s what I want to believe.
The concept behind Izetta: The Last Witch is the typical ridiculous idea that sounds both stupid and… actually pretty cool? The series has alternatively been named “Flying lesbians fighting nazis” by viewers, and that’s even more appealing. It’s one of those concepts you can only find in anime, and who are we to judge ridiculous ideas when this season had an anime about girls fighting with their butts?
No one is really expecting any anime based on World War II to be realistic at this point, and that’s OK. A series can take as many creative liberties as it needs to as long as it’s a good, believable story in the end. This actually seemed to be the case with Izetta in the beginning. The warlike aspects are quite well-done in the first half of (Episode 3 being the highlight), and it has an interesting use of war propaganda, something that is often overlooked in military anime. Furthermore, the way magic works in this universe is not only quite unique, but it also offers some challenges for the heroines for being limited by the battlegrounds.
Sadly, all these fantasy-military aspects started losing its credibility halfway through. The main cause of this, as it often is in many series, was the tonal shifts. Izetta doesn’t know how to handle light comedy (often idiotic excuses to offer fanservice) with the cruel, dark nature of war. One moment we are witnessing the last words of a wounded soldier, and in the next one we have boobs jokes. On top of that, as the episodes go by it becomes easier to find more contrived twists as a result of the writers not knowing how to wrap-up such a story in so little time.
This is a very common problem with overly ambitious concepts that are limited by a short number of episodes. Rushed endings can be justified when the series is adapting from an original series, but it’s inexcusable when we are talking about an original work meant to work as a stand-alone story. The final fight was anticlimatic, the magical stone came out of nowhere, and the character of Sophie was uninteresting. On top of that, Izetta somehow surviving at the end with no explanation made no sense, especially after setting it up as a heroine’s sacrifice. (But it’s not like we’re gonna complain about ambiguously lesbians surviving a series at this point).
One of the best things Izetta has going is their main characters, Finé and Izetta (which featured some of the most unique female character designs of the season), and the ambiguously homoerotic relationship they shared. Unfortunately, miracles like Yuri!!! On Ice don’t happen that often, and so the relationship between these two is left unresolved and could potentially be labeled as “yuri bait”. Oh well, we’re still entitled to our readings, so I’m just going to assume they were in love and call it a day.
The same cannot be said about every other character in the series. Everyone else is one-dimensional and not interesting in the least bit. No one other than Izetta and Finé have any significant impact in the advancement of the plot either. The only exception is Berckmann betraying his country at the end, but it’s not like there’s much to his character.
Something else that makes the series stand out in a good way is its music. The Opening and Ending are decent enough, but it’s the OST that brings the world to life, and it’s certainly one of the soundtrack releaes I’m awaiting the most.
Overall, Izetta: The Last Witch has an original concept, but the format the creators chose could not support it in a convincing way. At the end of the series, I’m left with the feeling that the series didn’t quite know what type of show it wanted to be, and while zetta has its good moments, the show doesn’t work as a whole. Watch it for the action scenes and the adorable main duo, but don’t expect what it promised.