Izetta is now a guest in the capital of Eldystat. Here she runs into the suspicion fueled bodyguard Bianca, the terrible tutor/fashion expert/journalist Elvira Freedman, and finds an old castle that hides a precious treasure for all witches. Due to the King of Eldystat’s passing, the wheels of war are moving as Finé’s coronation approaches and the country takes a massive gamble based on Izetta’s powers.
Shuumatsu jams a ton of information into Episode 4 and for better or worse moves the plot along very rapidly. A lot of pieces are moving here and I’m excited to see where the show is going to take us. Overall, I like this episode, but that being said there are some missteps here so the show needs to be careful in how it treads.
Some of the speed this episode has keeps it from dragging the plot down. When we run into Bianca she is suspicious of Izetta and before the end of the episode they are buddies. This short arc helps resolve Bianca’s would-have-been future of being “annoyingly loyal bodyguard girl” and gives us the full fleshed out backstory of how Finé got her scars protecting Izetta. It also serves a third, critical piece; the hint of the dark side of Izetta’s powers.
The dark side of Izetta’s powers aren’t the only limit here. There’s other pieces at play like the Ley Lines. Witches can only draw power from the earth via Ley Lines. These are like wells that naturally occur is some places and are completely non-existent in others. The show has done the one thing I knew it needed to. It’s put a cap and boundaries on Izetta’s abilities and I’m happy that she’s not a magical “fix-all” solution to the war.
While it’s amazing that the show could put all this stuff together and somehow weave it’s way to Finé’s coronation in the end, there are stumbles here. When we meet Finé’s tutor, it’s like the show jumps out of character. This woman is terrible and it’s like she stepped out of some weird fan-service flavored harem show to wreak havoc on my awesome magical girl war drama. Her interactions degrade Finé to an extent and had me rolling my eyes the whole way through. Japan I know you need to sell ‘dem Blurays so I’ll pretend this didn’t happen. Please don’t use this woman again…
The second misstep for me was the decision to use Izetta as propaganda to halt the Germanian forces. I liked that Finé and her council sat down to discuss how best to use Izetta. The painstaking way in which Finé talks about her like a person who has volunteered versus the military which talk about her like she’s an atom bomb, showcases an interesting dynamic. A final decision is made to tell the world that the White Witch is defending Edystat in hopes of causing a pause to further attacks.
Now…I don’t know about war nearly as much as my fellow Con Artists but this seems like a bad idea to me. You are fully aware Izetta’s power isn’t limitless and your country is basically the small man puffing his chest and ASKING for a fight?! With this knowledge why wouldn’t other countries come attack you, trying to claim the fabled White Witch? Why would you make the assumption someone won’t call your bluff. She’s won A SINGLE battle for you guys! Maybe you should keep her under wraps some more until you are sure if it’s safe to use her powers as a weapon. It sounds like some of my fears will be addressed in the next episode so I’ll stay hopeful.
Honestly…I’m not even sure what Eldystat is afraid of. Germania has Generals with such silly names….
As a last note I am most intrigued by Izetta’s hidden knowledge. When Izetta reveals the information about Ley Lines and the fact that her powers have limits she also lets it drop that if it was known by other witches that she let this out, she’d be dead. Since there are no other witches it is irrelevant but in this moment I got the impression that Izetta would tell Finé ANYTHING. Their relationship feels a lot like a girl and her puppy.
In this episode though, it is dropped that the legendary “White Witch” was potentially a traitor. This in addition to Izetta’s powers going out of control are something Finé doesn’t know and Izetta keeps close to the vest. It’s a choice and it shows powerful agency in Izetta for the first time. Here’s hoping this draws out a more interesting dynamic between her and Finé and carves a path to her having a personality beyond, “Anything for the Princess”.
Izetta has her signature outfit, we have a ton of new information and the news of the White Witch is about to be dropped. Onwards!!