The year is 1940. The tiny country of Eylstadt is struggling to resist the impending arrival of the powerful Germanian empire in an alternate telling of World War II. The princess of Eylstadt, Ortfiné Fredericka (known as Finé), is on a mission of critical importance to meet up with an ambassador from Britannia (no, not Code Geass Britannia) to help secure more military strength in their attempts to fight back the invaders. This is where episode 1 picks up, and the thrill of their mission makes for a captivating open to what’s sure to be one of the breakaway stars of the fall season.
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.
The first episode’s 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 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.
Which takes us back to the central character. Can I just say that she does a damn good job in the first episode? She understands her role as princess and demonstrates political savvy during her negotiation session with Britannia. She knows when to mourn and when to buck up and move on. In what seems to be a running theme, Finé strikes an excellent balance of strength, vulnerability, wits, and heart. Still, we can’t forget the inspiration for the title: Izetta. Dramatically revealed at the end of the episode, Izetta strikes me as the result of what would happen if we got a follow up movie on Kiki’s Delivery Service during her rebellious teen years.
I’m very excited for next week to see Izetta in action, and I’m thrilled to watch this show evolve over the coming weeks and months. A fantastic start to what’s sure to be one of my standbys for the season!
You can watch Izetta: The Last Witch on Crunchyroll every Saturday!