A nearby flight of fighter planes receives the mayday from the ill-fated craft that was transporting Finé & Izetta and investigates. Our heroines make a narrow escape, and join up with a group of Eylstadt soldiers on the retreat. Finé begins plotting her next move with the available officers, intending to send Izetta away from the conflict. Izetta, however, having drawn some parallels between her current situation and her first encounter with Finé, resolves to add her not-insignificant magical talents to the the war against Germania.
Dang, folks. This show is looking sharp – and not just the freakin’ sweet fighter-planes-vs.-witch-on-a-large-anti-materiel-rifle fight scene. The animation is pretty smooth and detailed all around, there’s a vibrant color palate, the pacing is well balanced, we’ve got some good drama, and the rich orchestral score is icing on the cake. Izetta’s reverence for Finé seems a little excessive, but, if we’re lucky, we’ll be seeing less of that as she comes into her own as a dispenser of vengeance.
The exposition delivered by Grandma Witch seemed a little rushed, but, other than that, the masterful execution of this show is so far making up for its premise, which seems to me like it could have used a little more time in the oven. I mean, it’s a step towards sanity from fighting aliens with magic and World-War-II-era technology *cough*strikewitches*cough* – to say nothing of whatever the heck is happening in KanColle – but something about the whole Not-WWII thing going on here doesn’t feel quite right to me. Part of it is that I don’t know where the line is drawn between fantasy and reality – was there a Not-World-War-One in this continuity, where a series of mind-boggling coincidences triggered the engagement of a continent’s worth of military alliances, ultimately leaving a young and powerful nation shackled with questionably reasonable sanctions that left it all the more resentful of its doddering neighbors? (For real – I highly recommend watching the Extra History series on the lead-up to the Great War) More likely, it seems like we’re just supposed to accept that Germania is a textbook evil empire that just happens to be shaped like Japan’s erstwhile ally instead of being an embittered populace led by a charismatic demagagoue to re-assert their sovereignty by lashing out at their neighbors. Not that I aim to defend the Third Reich – I just hope Germania as a whole has a deeper motivation than being a bunch of jerks.
We should re-visit this topic later, though – after all, it was, like, two thirds of the way into Escaflowne before we got any of Zaibach’s backstory. As far as I can reasonably expect Episode 2 to go, I’m still on board.
It’s possible to turn this premise into a joke *cough*STRIKEWITCHES*cough*cough*, but the level of maturity being displayed throughout this episode and the one before it give me hope that the creative team is really trying to craft something great here. Let’s see how it bears out.
Streaming on Crunchyroll