Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
What’s In This Post
In Finé, the eleventh episode of Izetta: The Last Witch, the Germanians close in on Finé and her circle of advisors. Sieghard Müller offers Izetta half of the witch’s stone; it had been passed down through his family. Lieutenant Colonel Belkman tries to save himself from Emperor Otto’s displeasure. Izetta slaps some sense into the Archduchess. Sophie prepares to release her vengeance on Landsbruck.
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- Sieghard’s family handed down a diary explaining the family’s role in Sophie’s betrayal. It also handed down half of the witch’s stone. He reluctantly offers it to Izetta with the warning that it will shorten her life — just as it’s shortening Sophie’s life. Bianca objects, but Izetta shows that her resolve is unshaken. She accepts the stone, though Sieghard clearly struggled with his role — and his family’s guilt.
- Belkman visits the witch’s secret room with a Germanian SS officer who makes no attempt to hide his hatred for Belkman. But Belkman is less interested in Sophie’s old shrine. He wants to visit Rickert’s grave. Satisfied his old friend had an honorable burial, he asks to accompany the SS to Finé’s hiding place, which they had just discovered. The SS quickly overrun the hidden base, massacre most of the soldiers, and trap the survivors in a room. The SS officer begins shooting Finé’s soldiers one at a time until she surrenders. She quickly capitulates, only to find that the officer intends to take her back to Germania and burn the rest of her people alive. Just as he’s about to make good on his promise, Izetta, glowing in a red flames, drives them off. Belkman, having divined the SS’s orders, shoots the SS officer. Finé and Izetta arrive as Belkman surrenders to Bianca. He voices his surprise that Izetta would use the stone, given how much it would shorten her life. Finé is aghast.
- Sieghard interrogates Belkman. The captured Germanian offers smuggled film to Sieghard — film showing the successful test of a bomb based on Exenium.* The weapon will destroy an entire city in a single strike, and it’s loaded in a magical missile aimed at Landsbruck. It’ll be launched while the world leaders meet with Otto to learn of his demand for unconditional surrender. Belkman’s offer? His personal safety in exchange for helping defeat Sophie. He reasons that if Izetta can kill Sophie, Izetta is the strongest person in the world, and he’s likely to be safest on her side.
At the news of the magical bomb, Finé almost gives up. She gives in to self-recrimination, saying that because she asked Izetta to help them in the war, she’s as bad as Otto using Sophie. Izetta snaps. She slaps Finé to get her attention and explains how much they’ve spent in defense of their people. She begs Finé to let her keep fighting. Reluctantly, Finé agrees. With Belkman’s help, they fashion a plan for Izetta to prevent the new missile from being launched while Finé, Sieghard, Bianca, and Belkman crash Otto’s party and stop the other world leaders from surrendering.
- That night, as she’s preparing for bed, Finé notices magical light outside. Ostensibly to apologize for slapping her princess, Izetta takes Finé on a magical nighttime flight. Finé insists that Izetta start calling her by her name instead of Archduchess. After a few tries, Izetta finally manages to comply. The two fly to a bit of greenery at the very top of a mountain overlooking the clouds below. There, they watch the stars and discuss an idea that came to Izetta as she used her half of the stone.
- Belkman’s forged documents get them through many checkpoints on their way to the meeting of world leaders. At the same time, Izetta says goodbye to Lotte, Elvira, and the Imperial Guard. With her weapons in tow, she takes off to confront Sophie and the magical bomb. At the last checkpoint between Finé and the world leaders, they find Captain Basler is waiting for them.
* It’s the equivalent of an atomic bomb in our world.
What I Liked
I had to admire Sieghard’s hesitancy to ask Izetta to take the stone. Seeing someone with his credentials and capabilities for violence feeling shame for his family’s treatment of Sophie gives me hope in humanity.
Bianca’s tearful objection to giving Izetta half of the red stone showed how desparate the situation had become. Bianca understands their tactical situation with clarity. She knows what the Germanians will do to her and the rest of Finé’s people when they’re found. Yet, given what Izetta’s already done for them, given them damage she’s taken, Bianca just can’t bear to let the stone’s offer pass without objection.
Otto ordered the SS to murder Belkman, and Belkman saw it coming. So it was particularly satisfying when he beat the officer to the punch, so to speak. I also have to say that Belkman’s nonchalant answer to the SS officer’s plea of “Why me?” was perfect: “Couldn’t say.” Dry, to the point, and delivered as he pulled the trigger. I know much of the disaster befalling Izetta is attributable to Belkman, but I find myself not hating him.
I can understand Belkman’s reasoning for defecting. He’s disloyal to his country, but his country put out a hit contract on him first. A good leader provides ways for his followers to align themselves with him; Otto’s not a good leader. Of course, Sieghard would react with indignation, but he’s coming from a completely different frame of reference. Though he knows what betrayal looks and feels like, the leadership he’s served, including the current Archduchess, have treated him very differently than Otto treats his subjects. Seeing Belkman and Sieghard’s different perspective play out was fascinating.
Izetta finally slapped some sense into Finé! The Archduchess is well-meaning, but she’s completely naive. Does she really think her surrendering will in any way save her country? Does she honestly think that there’s anything short of force that will stop Otto and the slaughter happening in his name? Of all the people in that meeting, only Izetta could help her understand; and it took Izetta literally slapping her Princess to make the lesson stick. I think her wounds and struggles to this point have made Izetta a bit more assertive, and I say good for her!
Seeing Izetta practice saying “Finé” until she got it right was a welcome bit of warmth in an otherwise cold episode. War’s all around them, but if only for a moment, the two were able to steal away and spend some time together. I thought that scene was both affective and tasteful. Dramatically, I think it made a clear statement: dark times are coming, but these moments are worth fighting for.
What I Liked Less
This was a competently-delivered, well-paced episode. I have no complaints this week!
It’s a good thing regimes like those in the fictional Germania (and in the real Nazi-fueled 1930s Germany in our world) make stupid decisions like murdering people with promise, drive, talent, and ambition — like Belkman. Those regimes collapse partly because of the consequences of their own self-limiting decisions, and the world has benefited from that arrangement. One of my biggest worries is what happens when we get a regime bent on killing or rampaging over people or their rights that doesn’t make such self-defeating decisions. What’ll we do then? Will we even know when it happens?
Did Belkman really, really defect? Or, is he trying to play Sophie and Izetta off each other so he can claim to have helped either in their eventual victory — therefore securing a place of safety for himself? Or will he simply do what he needs to do to survive — and conventional thinking about loyalty and “sides” be damned?
Deplete the ley lines — draw their power into the stones — or leave them for future generations? This question reminds me of the central conflict from one of my favorite fantasy trilogies, The Lord of the Rings. You probably know the story: Sauron, a fallen Maia, puts his power into a single ring so he could control the rings of power, first made by the Elves. Sauron also gave rings to Dwarves and Men so he can control them, too. The heroes in the novels have to destroy the ring, because its power was too great for anyone to wield without it being corrupted.
At its heart, this is a very Luddite idea. The ring was a technology; just as Aragon wrested control of the Palantír from Sauron and used that tool for good purposes, I don’t see a reason that, with the proper controls, the One Ring could have been similarly tamed. Of course, there’s the whole idea that Sauron’s will was also present in the ring, and that it was not just a tool but a sentient tool. But the idea that a technology is too dangerous to allow to exist is questionable at best. After all, what’s created can be created again. The motif from The Lord of the Rings that Dwarves and Elves are in decline, losing technology instead of advancing it, doesn’t work in real life. Once something’s invented, it’s invented, and even if lost, can be invented again. The Jinn, once released, won’t fit back in the bottle.
With that in mind, what will become of magic in Finé’s world? It can be used to create the equivalent to our atomic bomb. Finé certainly seemed willing to drop the tools of magic and retreat, though I think it’s clear she’s the only one. Now that Izetta has performed in front of the world’s cameras, and now that Sophie has spread her fame, all of humanity knows of the witch’s powers. And given human’s lust for power and the tools of destruction, it’s unlikely any of the political actors would simply walk away from the promise of Exenium.
If either witch survives this conflict, they will be alternately courted and attacked by humans wanting that power. Regardless of how well they defend themselves, they can’t maintain their defense forever, and in fighting an entire planet, they will eventually stumble and fall.
So what to do about their magic? Deplete the ley lines so that once it’s used, the magic’s gone? That’d be the equivalent of strip mining magic; it’s certainly something humans would do. Does magic regenerate? What processes created it? Once absorbed into the stones, is it gone forever? Or will it grow back? The series hasn’t given us any clues about this yet. Only that Sophie was able to at least temporarily drain the magic from an area and trap Izetta.
The point’s probably moot. Like the dwindling Elves from The Lord of the Rings, the witches are apparently a dead evolutionary end. Sophie is a clone, and Izetta is the last natural witch. So it looks like that whether or not the ley lines contain any energy, there will be no one around who can harness it.
Though Germania has many talented scientists who fear for their lives without making discoveries for the regime…
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Other Posts of Interest
- Cooler Nights — That Means It’s Time for the Fall 2016 Anime Preview (Part 1) (discusses Izetta: The Last Witch)
- Izetta Eps 1 and 2: A Nazi By Any Other Name…
- Izetta Ep 3: The Sword in the Heavens
- Izetta Ep 4: The Secret of the Witch
- Izetta Ep 5: A False Miracle
- Izetta Ep 6: On a Quiet Day
- Izetta Ep 7: The Battle of Sognefjord
- Izetta Ep 8: A Cruel Fairy Tale
- Izetta Ep 9: The Sellun Corridor Burns
- Izetta Ep 10: The Iron Hammer of the Witch