Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious!
What’s In This Post
The 12th and final episode of Izetta: The Last Witch is simply titled Izetta. Captain Basler discovers Finé, Bianca, Sieghard Müller, and Lieutenant Colonel Belkman trying to crash the Emperor’s party. Izetta confronts Sophie with Landsbruck’s existence hanging in the balance. Sophie disclosures the final betrayal that for her, had sealed Eylstadt’s fate. Izetta reveals her final desparate plan.
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- In the skies above the magical nuclear missile site, Izetta confronts a mocking Sophie. The Germanian Anti-Aircraft emplacements open fire and unleash a maelstrom. They’re shocked as Izetta remains unscathed, protected by her modified lances. Sophie takes Izetta’s survival as a challenge and attacks, alone with a squadron of Germanian fighters. No matter how hard she tries, Izetta can’t get close enough to the missile to prevent its launch. So she changes tactics: she leads Sophie away from the site. Unfortunately, Izetta couldn’t know that the Germanians kept a “spare” Sophie for just such an emergency.
- Basler tries to apprehend Finé and her entourage. Sieghard has other ideas, though, and crashes through the barricade. They’re forced to abandon the car and ram it into a Germanian truck. Belkman excuses himself, saying that he can’t go farther with them. Finé reluctantly agrees to let Sieghard draw their pursuit away; he’s killed in the process.
- A Germanian officer begins to gloat over the allies assembled for the conference. The officer shows them a movie of the magical bomb’s test firing. To prove it’s not a fake, the officer tells them that Germania is about to launch the weapon on Landsbruck so Germania’s enemies can see an entire city vanish. Just as the officer is demanding that the representatives surrender, Finé and Bianca burst in. Finé shocks the participants by telling them that Izetta has gained power on part with Sophie and is even now fighting her. While most of the participants welcome Finé’s arrival, the ambassador from the United States of Atlanta voices his country’s concern: what’s to stop the winner of the witches’ battle from becoming the agency of expansion? How will Finé guarantee that she won’t follow Germania’s path — or that her successors won’t?
- Belkman makes his way to a stash that includes a fake passport and other material. Unfortunately, Basler tracked him. Unable to accept Belkman’s self-centered explanation, Basler fires his pistol.
- At the missile launch site, the Germanians use the “spare” Sophie to launch the missile. It begins its journey to Landsbruck.
- Izetta and Sophie now battle over this parallel world’s version of France. In an attempt to establish a rapport, Izetta says that she understand Sophie’s reaction to the Princess’ betrayal. Then Sophie shares her deepest pain: it wasn’t the Princess who betrayed her, it was King Matthias himself. The King feared the Vatican would declare Eylstadt a heretic state for allying with a witch, so he instructed his wife to hand Sophie over to the Inquisition. That’s when Izetta shows her maturity and the depth of her love for Finé: in the middle of their continuing battle, she says that the leader has to focus on all the people in the state, not just one; and that sometimes they must make painful decisions. She doesn’t condone the King’s betrayal; but Izetta champions a similar decision on the part of Finé.
- Finé tells the assembly that magic will die in the battle between Izetta and Sophie; that Izetta is willing to give her life to destroy not only Sophie, but magic itself, by absorbing the power in all of the ley lines into a final, victorious — and fatal — explosion.
- As Izetta absorbs all the power in the ley lines, the missile falls dead from the sky. The stockpiled Germanian magical nuclear bombs wither. Sophie tries to amass enough power to counter Izetta, but Izetta had too great a head start. The two spheres of magical energy touch and detonate. A single shaft of light extends skyward from the devastation. Those assembled see it from a balcony and know that it means the battle has ended. Seeing the cost of this victory, Finé weeps.
- Germania does not collapse overnight, but the entry of the United States of Atlanta changed the direction of the war. The Volga Federation (what we call Russia) enters the war against Germania, too. On December 1, 1941, the Germanian Emperor takes his own life, and Germania falls. Finé returns to governing Eylstadt, Bianca by her side, committed to making the world a more safe place, drawing strength from the photograph of her and Izetta on her table. During a brief interlude, she dresses in nondescript clothes and visits a cottage near a lake like the one she and Izetta had fallen into when they were young. That’s where she can visit an old friend, with vivid red hair, who’s confined to a wheel chair.
What I Liked
The battle scenes between Izetta and Sophie were among the best the series has given us. The intricacies of the airplanes as they tried to engage Izetta in dogfights and the clash between Izetta and Sophie were spectacular. It was particularly impressive when Sophie began hurtling dozens of tanks and other armored vehicles at our hero; it was even more impressive when she figured out how to counter.
I won’t even get try to describe when the battle got to the point where the two witches began hurtling trains at each other.
When she saw that she wasn’t getting any closer to the missile, Izetta changed her tactics and led Sophie away from the site. Izetta didn’t know the Germanians had a “spare” Sophie, so her plan was solid. It shows how much she has grown through the series. Before, she wouldn’t’ve thought that far ahead.
Apparently, having to shoot Jonas back in episode 6 really affected Sieghard. As he led the Germanian pursuit away from Finé and Bianca, a young Germanian soldier, about the same age as Jonas, confronted him. Sieghard’s memories of Jonas froze him, and he couldn’t fire his weapon. The young Germanian soldier gunned Sieghard down instead. That conscience is what separated him from Belkman; but then, Belkman survived.
Basler fought for the country he loved. He believed that fighting for something bigger than oneself lifted humans above the animals. And yet, there he was, supporting an emperor who was a murderous butcher and a people who unleashed war on their neighbors. That dichotomy and depth of characterization elevated this episode.
When he was in the boat unwrapping his stash, you can see Belkman bobbing a little as the boat moved in the waves. That’s another sign of how good the animation was in this episode.
The US ambassador voiced the concern that I’m pleasantly surprised I called in the Thoughts section of my review of the previous episode: namely, that as long as magic exists, the world will be in peril. The answer that Izetta had thought of and that Finé had approved was visionary and brave and tragic all at the same time: drain the ley lines and finish magic for good. That kind of creativity and drive is what happens when leaders empower their people. You’d never see one of Otto’s people think of something that like. If they tried, they’d end up like Belkman.
Though I still wonder if magic regenerates or not…
Another one of those “okay, that’s cool” moments was Izetta throwing the Eiffel Tower at Sophie. That’s just not something you see every day!
The thing that surprised and impressed me most in this episode, and in fact in the entire series, was Izetta’s speech (while she was holding the Eiffel Tower as a spear, no less!) explaining the responsibilities of state leadership. Even more, she explained that she was willing to do anything, even die at the hands of the Inquisition, if she could help Finé discharge her responsibilities. That was amazing.
When Finé explained the plan Izetta has conceived, Earl Redford asked if Izetta would be okay. I thought it was touching that even amid the discussion of a world-altering war, he was concerned for Izetta’s safety.
We last see Belkman, a patch on his eye, exchanging what appears to be a suitcase full of secrets with American agents in sight of the Statue of Liberty. So it looks like he survived the war, even if it cost him the sight in one eye.
The realist in me wants to reject the happy ending — where Finé can visit Izetta in hiding, even if Izetta’s confined to a wheel chair. Part of me wants to reject that she could survive that blast. Then I consider the chains falling from Sophie’s wrists as the blast discorporated her. Did that symbolize that she was now free of the pain of betrayal — maybe saved in part by Izetta’s dedication, and the reason for her dedication, to Finé? And did she maybe put forth the last of her power and push Izetta to safety? I don’t think there’s enough evidence to say for sure, but that’s my interpretation.
What I Liked Less
Sophie seemed to be somewhat, well, bigger in this episode. I’m not sure why she was animated that way, but it seemed like an inconsistency to me.
It’s a small detail, but it bothered me: how did Finé and Bianca get through what should have been deep security around the conference? They should have been apprehended as soon as they approached the building.
Disclosure and consent.
From the perspective of the governed, those are two of the major differences between a despot’s rule and the the rule of a wise ruler. That’s the difference between King Matthias and the Archduchess Finé. Both put their people above their own personal interests, at least in the abstract. But Matthias, on his deathbed, told his wife that Sophie would bring ruin, at least insofar as she was a witch in a Catholic country (under Vatican oversight). He told his wife to hand Sophie over to the Inquisition. He did not tell Sophie. He did not solicit her input. He did not give her the chance to understand the situation and make tough decisions with him. He signed her death warrant without her knowledge. In other words, he betrayed her.
Izetta, on the other hand, took the initiative. It looked like Finé was beginning to understand what had to be done, but she certainly wasn’t ready to accept it, much less order Izetta to offer up her own life. It took Izetta’s smiling common sense to put matter in perspective. Without Izetta’s acknowledging what had to be done and accepting the burden herself, I’m not sure Finé could have given the order. Like Sieghard, it makes Finé the good guy. It also put her in danger of extinction. Fortunately, Izetta was there to save her and her people — but just barely.
It goes without saying that our world needs more Finés and fewer despots.
The series sure had its ups and downs. From a solid and dramatic beginning, to stumbling a bit with jarring and inappropriate fanservice, to a more sure-handed dramatic second half, the series rewarded my investment of time with a satisfying conclusion. This finale? Good stuff! Well worth the investment.
What did you think of the finale? Did you find it rewarding? Let me know 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
- Izetta Ep 11: Finé