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Vlad: Izetta The Last Witch

Discussion in 'Anime Reviews' started by Vladnyx, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. Vladnyx Everyone is the main character of their own life.

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    izetta.jpg
    Just recently I finished "Izetta The Last Witch". I have to say my initial take jumping in was a skewed one. Given the era and setting of this story taking place in a semi-modern alternate universe of World War II I was expecting to be treading upon eggshells. The fact of how actual real world events transpired during WWII this really can make things uncomfortable. Somehow by namesake alone I was intrigued enough to watch this series. Now lets jump into the review shall we.

    !!!!!Spoiler Warning!!!!!

    Plot:

    Europe is on the brink of World War. As the forces of Germania lay waste to the rest of the region, conquering it with few to stand & oppose them, while the country of Elystadt struggles to hold out. But without a strong military force to combat the enemy’s advance, there’s little hope they can hold out for long. Finé, princess of Elystadt, sets about securing aid for her country in their time of need. As the Princess sneaks out across Europe, she finds herself hunted by Germania’s intelligence forces, bent on capturing her and bringing about an end to Elystadt’s defiance quickly. But perhaps there is another savior of Elystadt, a magical little girl Finé once met as a child. Whatever happened to that witch she met on that fateful day?

    Story:
    The story executes well, with plenty of urgency while still taking the time to clue viewers in with enough detail to remain engaged. Often with alternative history stories there’s either an overabundance of information to make sure viewers understand how things are different, or very little information under the assumption that viewers are familiar with the general history and can simply fill in the blanks. Izetta actually does a great job of striking a balance. It’s also not strictly about the princess escaping Germanian forces the whole time either – it’s divided into three distinct segments that help flesh out the persona of our fierce female lead as well as introduce a number of possible antagonists. This was handled beautifully early on, however it began to unravel and I personally felt if this were a 24 episode instead of 12 the series as a whole could have been much better. Given more time to develop and build upon character weaknesses could've done so much for this show.

    Characters:
    Most of the characters I felt were rather generic. You'll quickly realize who the main character's are in this tale. The first is Princess Finé. Headstrong she wants to serve her country and protect the people, and that philosophy isn’t challenged at all. This makes it difficult to sympathize with any of her hardships.

    The other main character as you have likely guessed is Izetta. The nominal main character who met Princess Finé when they were children. Prior to the beginning of the series, she attempted to keep her witch heritage a secret by traveling around different countries with her grandmother, which made her shy and self-conscious which is displayed several times through out the series. With the outbreak of the war she devotes herself to Finé's and Eylstadt's protection, thus breaking her taboo not to use her powers openly. She strongly believes in Finé that she'll be able to bring peace to the world. You can pretty much define Izetta by her devotion to Finé.

    Fine is pretty much the only person who’s in a position to lead the story, but because she doesn’t take much action nor does she have her actions challenged, she’s about as qualified to guide the viewer as she is to run the country in general. Just about the only thing she really cares about is risking her friends’ lives, specifically Izetta’s, on the battlefield. These elements make it hard to carry the story. What also hurts these otherwise likable characters is the fan service. It's awkwardly presented and rather unnecessary considering the series tone. It doesn’t help that other humorous offerings portray Finé or Izetta as far less composed and intelligent than before, making them seem far more inept and silly. There’s a way to do comedy right here, but Izetta takes the most pandering and basic approach which I felt didn't flow with this show.

    I'd like to talk about the other characters but honestly I chalk them up as pawns. You don't really gravitate towards them because there consistently overshadowed by Finé or Izetta. All the other characters have remained quite stereotypical and their influence on the story extends little beyond acting as pawns to drive the narrative forward. The maids are expectedly funny, the generals plotting and harsh. The villains of the piece were surprisingly ill-defined, with only a handful of scenes to even educate us on what they’re working towards to counter Izetta.

    Art & Animation:
    The animation for Izetta is spectacular. From the beautiful European-styled villages to the detailed machinery of bombers and tanks, the world of Izetta is brought to life with the same attention and care as many high-budget anime films. The quality isn’t preserved solely for large scale either; character details such as facial expressions and body language are sharpened to fine point.

    Final Thoughts:
    For starters, the animation just works. From the landscapes, the tanks, planes, and even the primitive air craft carrier, and everything else looked in the series. Great care was taken in modeling the machines of war after actual World War II vehicles and weapons. As such, scenes depicting fighters in the sky or tanks rumbling across the land look quite good.

    The premise of the story is rather good. I like the notion of alternate Earth stories where history plays out differently. Having done so many reports on World War II, having Izetta: The Last Witch set during World War II was a nice innovative direction to take.

    However this was as far as what I saw & felt worked for the show. What didn't work for me was with only twelve episodes, the writers do what they can in mirroring the real World War II while allowing us to explore the changes in this world. Despite this, I’m not sure it was handled correctly. By the time the series ended, I became disconnected from it. The final episode ended in a rather anti-climactic way, leaving me feeling unsatisfied.

     
    #1 Vladnyx, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    Dan Wolfear20 likes this.
  2. Dan Wolfear20

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    Wow, that was one of the best reviews I've seen for a while especially on this site, I agree with you to about the ending, it could have been more satisfying but still I'm glad she's alright in the end, what did annoy me a little is that they didn't what to show her face at the end for some rezone even though we know it's her, it just seemed like they were trying to annoy people with that and was very strange. But still, I loved the series as a hole.

     
  3. KnowMeFrom

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    I was with you until the part about the fan service hurting the characters. Gimmie a break. I thought this show was very boring after the initial couple episodes. I didn't care about the characters and I only kept watching for the fan service. The ending was horrible, I liked Izetta but she was supposed to be dead, don't bring her back to life just for a happy ending. Especially on a show about war.
     
  4. Vladnyx Everyone is the main character of their own life.

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    Thank you for the kind words @Dan Wolfear20. Like you I didn't particularly care for the ending. It's just my own personal taste & preference but I'd rather have seen or known Izetta passed away. It would have signified her willingness & self sacrifice to protect Finé and everyone in Elystadt as well as putting a end to the conflict of war. To further surmount my feelings towards this it would have left a deep history & legacy, the legacy being Finé would have to keep her promise to bring forth world peace & fulfill Izetta's dream. In the end though it was rather strange how we didn't get to see her face. Either due to the accident scaring her, the usage of magic, or just there no longer being magic as she drained it from the world. Many possibilities in which one can speculate which maybe isn't such a bad way to end it.

    @KnowMeFrom what can I say other than we all have are own opinions. Don't get me wrong the show to be honest was rather short-ended & grew tiresome. Many portions I found myself bored waiting for the conflict of the war to catch up. Most of the characters I couldn't form any connection with so I had very little attachment towards them. I know fan-service is something that has grown more abundant over recent years & that's fine. The thing that bothered me was just how awkwardly placed it was. The thing with fan-service is how it's presented.

    For starters it either attracts or repels the audience. The issue though is on how to identify the difference. For fan-service to be successful it has to deliver on expectations. In a series that portrays itself as sexy, you would expect to see some skin without it seeming exploitative or out of place. That means it's being employed in a consensual manner. This can dictate to the character in question taking part in a activity without being persuaded. I could list more examples but I think it's broad enough to understand.

    Now here is where it stumbles for Izetta. Izetta takes place in a fantastical historic setting reminiscent of the beloved romanticized visuals from Valkyria Chronicles, had a excellent production staff, and a great premise. I mean come on a witch flying on a gun was one of those rare “how could no one have thought of this yet?” ideas that still remained in anime. Putting fan service in what is supposed to be a serious representation of war, magic or no, was questionable by itself, but the major sticking point was the non-consensual nature of the fan service. This not only diminished Izetta, but was actively obstructing to the tale it was attempting to tell. For instance I'll use this scene directly from the show.

    They took the time to create suggestive shots of Izetta’s position mounted on her rifle while she is forced to send fighter pilots screaming into the sides of alpine mountains. This served no purpose but to pull the audience out of the scene. Izetta isn’t trying to be sexy, she’s trying not to get killed, so the camera’s focus on her sexual features is both ripping & jarring the audience from the sense of danger in combat. This was my issue with how it was presented & handled. I feel there is always a time & place for fan-service, unfortunately Izetta chose poor times & placement which leads me to how I wrote my narrative.

    In the end if it served as a medium to keep you invested to continue watching the series then it succeeded. For me though it took away from the overall experience. Well I hope my explanation helps you better understand my feelings towards my written review.​
     
  5. KnowMeFrom

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    But how does that hurt her character? Your reasons for not liking it are your reasons, I won't dismiss them, I think anyone not liking anything for any reason or even no reason at all is valid. I only take issue with you saying fan service somehow hurt the characters, as if they are somehow less likable because they take baths.
     
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  6. jmriz

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    Vladnyx said, "I feel there is always a time & place for fan-service, unfortunately, Izetta chose poor times & placement which leads me to how I wrote my narrative." He did not say that fan service hurt characters as much as he said that highlighting Izetta's sex appeal took away from the more serious moments where sensuality was not needed, like if Ryuk watched a girl take a shower before he wrote Light's name in the Death Note.
     
  7. KnowMeFrom

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    Read the first post

    Also the fan service was not in the serious moments, the only fan service the show had was a few bath scenes and a shower scene and a bit in the OP. It was not during the fighting or serious moments.
     
  8. Vladnyx Everyone is the main character of their own life.

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    It's very briefly displayed during some of the more serious moments. Iv'e only taken a portion of one of them. If you skip straight through this video to 3:48 you'll end up with Izetta's bottom planted right in the oppositions face. This was a poor choice of execution. Maybe it is light heartened fan-service, but to me it was demeaning towards her character. Even if it wasn't at the very least it took away from the sense of she was literally being shot at by infantry & tanks, yet a laughable moment such as this takes all that suspense and thrill away. In the end to simply put it I just viewed it as demeaning towards her. It wasn't necessary then or many other moments. Sure some placements were fine, like you said a few bath scenes which one would expect to see.

    Now what adds fuel to this fire is Izetta is already in lack of a better term a weakly written character. She's the last of her kind, goes against her taboo, and suffers zero physiological damage after taking human life or being shot at which could literally kill or maim her. After reflecting on what I previously wrote a better explanation from me should have been written & included as to what I meant. By no mean of the word do I consider myself a reviewer and I'm still new to the taking. A lot can be learned by getting others input & opinion which I'd love to have more of before writing said reviews. So in that regard I greatly appreciate your view & take on the show. Thus I'll take this as a learning experience for the next review I write in the future. And of course I never expect everyone to have the same view as I do.
     
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  9. jmriz

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    @KnowMeFrom Vladnyx stated pretty much what my response would be. I acknowledge after reading his first post that he did say that fan service hurt the characters, but that is because the tone and subject matter of the show is serious and not in any way supposed to be comical.
     
  10. KnowMeFrom

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    Well I somewhat see where your coming from. Anyway, what I read of the review was solid especially if your new to reviewing. Thanks for at least taking the time to explain further.
     
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  11. Vladnyx Everyone is the main character of their own life.

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    Thank you. I mean if you took the time to read it the least you deserve is a further explanation from me. Not sure yet what my next review will be of. Thinking it could be of Wolf's Rain as I know I'll be rewatching it once I get the Blu-ray or quite possibly Yuri On Ice! as I just recently finished watching it. Likely won't be anytime soon though. My job has picked up in work so I'm busy with a lot of overtime. When I get the down time if I get it I'll see about working on a review.​
     
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  12. jmriz

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    Please do Wolf's Rain!!!!
     
  13. Vladnyx Everyone is the main character of their own life.

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    Since you requested it that'll be the one I'll focus on doing next. I wouldn't expect to see it for quite a while. Still waiting on the Blu-ray to come in the mail. Should be here tomorrow or the day after. From there I just got to find the fine time to watch it. It may not be the longest series out there but with the heavy hours from my job I can't really binge watch it. Then to add to it still trying to wrap up this seasons shows before the Spring Season hits. There is a ton of great stuff for the Spring Season I want to take up watching. Those days I wish I were back in school and had all the time in the world :p
     
  14. Dan Wolfear20

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    Definitely do a review of Wolf's Rain. just saw it at the end of last year for the first time and in the end it was such a legend. What work do you do that has you so busy, I'm 21 now and have only really just started taking longer part time jobs.
     
  15. Vladnyx Everyone is the main character of their own life.

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    I work for a company that's a producer of LED safety lighting, forward lighting, wiring harnesses, mirrors, turn signal switches and safety among countless other such products such as after market. Were global so we get tons of orders from time to time depending on how the economy is doing. Back towards the later end of last year things slowed down so work wasn't that bad. Now the economy is picking back up and this is are heaviest time of the year so were getting hammered with hours. Currently working 7 10 hour days which may turn into 12 hour days. Really pray that it doesn't. At least were hiring workers to try to catch up on these crazy orders.

    Since Trumps Bushiness Tax Bill we got back a ton of are Mexico Plant parts due to not wanting to pay the tax on them. That alone increased my work lines hours by nearly 400 alone each week. Between how long I'm at work & commute time my actual time in which to do anything is quite limited. Been trying to get by on the 5-6 hours sleep regimen but you can only get by on that for so ever long until you need a full nights rest.

    Any who I'm sure I'll get around to writing a review for Wolf's Rain. It just may be a long while before you see it. Iv'e got to re-watch it and I may include the OVA's as part of the review since there were included with the Blu-ray. Sadly it's just going to take me so much needed time.​
     
  16. Dan Wolfear20

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    I totally understand, however I only work 2 hours right now from 5pm to 7pm but am looking for a more normal hours, less demeaning job, however I could never do the amount of hours you have to do and still have time to do these great messages, your amazing. Donald Trump must be a real pain over there in the States. Also you should definitely include the OVA's in your overall review, seeing as they are in fact the direct continuation of the series and I don't know why they are even OVA's in the first place, probably to create heightened tension and make everyone desperate to see it when the series first came out.

    Ow and quick suggestion, after that try checking out Maria the Virgin Witch, just finished the series for the second time, first time was when it first came out Dubbed week by week in 2015 and just couldn't wait so I imported the Blu-ray as soon as it was available from the USA, "because for some rezone there has been know sine of a UK distributer picking up the license yet even though they have done so for other show which came out at the same time", and it was great all over again. Although it doesn't have as much hardcore action it is definitely belter in my opinion then Izetta.
     

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