Izetta: The Last Witch
by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Izetta: The Last Witch ?
For those curious about the odd title for this episode, I have a strong suspicion that it's meant to be a reference to the Malleus Maleficarum (i.e., “Hammer of Witches”) that was first published in 1487 and became a widely-distributed defining text on witches and how they should be prosecuted. The book's author, Heinrich Kramer, reputedly wrote it in response to being kicked out of Innsbruck (the real-world stand-in for Eylstadt's Landsbruck) over a mishandled witchcraft trial. Given that this episode opens with the vengeance of a witch who was previously cast out, I can't think that's a coincidence.
After what happened in episode 9, Finé's story could only have gone in one direction: escape via a secret path and set up shop in some equally secret mountain hideout to plan her next move. The Germanians fully exploiting Sophie's power was also fairly predictable, though I'm not sure that I expected them to immediately jump to a blitz of London's stand-in. With Izetta though, the story could have gone two ways: she's carted off by the Germans to be rescued later, or she is rescued immediately. The latter happens this week, which probably should have been expected. After all, it's not like the Eylstadt forces weren't tracking her moves, and given how much she had done for them, seeing them eager to rescue her on the spot, even to the point of self-sacrifice, isn't unreasonable. That means it's time for the Germanians to slip up this time. They should have anticipated that they weren't in a completely secure area with Izetta, especially when Sophie's off wreaking havoc elsewhere. But hey, hindsight is 20-20, right?
After a month of time-lapse, the goings-on in Eylstadt are mostly to be expected under the circumstances: Izetta is taking a long time to heal but still determined to fight, while Finé is trying to shoulder all of the blame and fretting over the danger she's put Izetta in. However, the story doesn't waste any time before delving into the truth of that half-stone: it's the same one that Sophie was depicted using in legend, allowing the wielder to absorb all of the magic in an area and crystallize it. (That's what knocked Izetta out of the sky last episode.) Sophie's past usage of the stone also may explain why it reacted to the blood in the flask (perhaps Sophie's) and not to Izetta's presence. A flashback shows that Izetta knew about the stone from what her grandmother told her, and also that the other reason that the witches regarded Sophie as a traitor is because she took it without permission and used it. There's an unsurprisingly nasty little catch in that its use depletes the witch too, but more surprising is the twist reveal that Sieg has the other half in his possession and knew about the real story because his family was involved. (Finé also knowing the real story is less surprising.) Guess that means that the Eylstadt forces aren't going to have to search for that other half after all.
Developments on the Germanian side are more interesting. The blitz of London goes splendidly, and a project is apparently in the works to use crystallized magic in place of uranium to make the equivalent of an atomic bomb, which is no doubt intended to obliterate Eylstadt. (This actually isn't so outlandish, as the Germans really were working on an atomic bomb during World War II but weren't anywhere near as far along at the end of the war as the Americans were.) The Germanian Emperor's plans for world conquest are also interesting, since a lot of them mirror Hitler's grand plans, but of special note is the figure mentioned for war reparations: 130 billion marks is the approximate equivalent of the amount that Germany had to pay the allies for war reparations after World War I. Not everything is going according to plan, though. Sophie clearly doesn't care about anything except destroying Eylstadt herself, the emperor's right-hand man seems to have reservations about the Emperor's plan, and even Berkman is now concerned about both his job stability and his life, as he has been successful enough to be a threat to the Emperor. That definitely puts more potential plot threads into play, especially if certain characters start valuing their own welfare over that of the state.
So the question at this point is whether or not the remaining two episodes are going to be enough to adequately resolve the story. It's going to have to move pretty fast to do so, but the endgame threat and the potential for another Sophie/Izetta showdown on more even terms has been established. My guess is that a climactic Sophie-Izetta battle will burn out enough magic to permanently take witches out of the picture, hence precluding Atlanta from getting involved. Regardless, now that we're over the hump of the whole cloning credibility issue, the story is back in better form.
Izetta: The Last Witch is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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