「ソグネフィヨルド海戦」 (Sogunefiyorudo Kaisen)
“The Battle of Sognefjord | Die Seeschlacht im Sognefjord”
You can always tell when a big battle is about to go down in Shuumatsu no Izetta. Well, besides when the episode title doesn’t directly telegraph it. Technically challenging action sequence coming up? The art starts to tank. Evidently, Izetta has stretched itself rather thin, either because of limited resources or a production stumble (perhaps both at the same time). This is hardly a problem unique to Izetta, of course, and perhaps we should be positive about how it has managed to ration what it has to work with. It used to be common practice, and still is sometimes, that an anime would pull out the stops for its first episode and, having hemorrhaged its budget, be forced to rush out the rest of the show by the week and basically disappoint for the rest of the season. Izetta, on the other hand, managed to hang on for three episodes (mindful, perhaps, of the three episode rule), and as long as it still manages to deliver when it counts then doodle-quality far-shots and some awkwardness in the character animation can be forgiven. After, what’s everyone watching this anime for? Lesbians and explosions (perhaps both at the same time). If Izetta needs to save up for those, then it at least has its priorities straight. Well, not ‘straight’. Poor choice of words. You know what I mean.
And so in advancement of the more explosions agenda, Shuumatsu no Izetta plays ups its alternate history angle. You know what would have been nice for the Germans to have in 1940? An actual aircraft carrier, instead of just the sad and lonely and ultimately pitiful Graf Zeppelin. It makes me wonder about what manner of events lead us to this point to create a German(ian) empire that at is at once both comfortably wealthy (wealthy enough, at least, to sacrifice an entire aircraft carrier to maybe discover some information on the witch) and oddly prescient (in the ‘we read the history books and know to leave Russia alone’ sort of way). What’s been going on in Europe, including with WWI? Yeah, I know all that has nothing to do with the explosions, but context makes the fireworks better, in my opinion.
Well, I doubt we’re ever going to find out how Germany got to making aircraft carriers. The important part is that there’s one there, and it needs to be exploded, as an excuse for Izetta to get into more dogfights. More air combat is good, because that’s where I think that’s really where the most engaging action is going to be. Little else is going to be able to challenge Izetta in an interesting manner without taking to the third dimensions; sure, they could point some flak cannons at her, but where’s the fun in that? Sadly, this time around, Izetta mostly just gets chased around, because the operation didn’t seem to be very well thought out. They supposedly needed exactly four torpedoes to sink the thing, and so they brought exactly four. No spares, no plan B, not even Izetta’s swords just in case she needed something to fight with. They’ve gone all-in on the sneak attack. It’s like—and I’ll have to speak some nerd here—the Death Star trench run, but all the rebels brought were Y-wings. Also, if when you actually get there and the ship’s sailed, you don’t need Admiral Ackbar to tell you what’s up. Obviously, your intelligence has been compromised. You need to bail!
The question begged is, of course, where the leak is, but I don’t know if the ‘trustworthy source’ is actually going to be a big plot point or if it’s just a throwaway line. There’s plenty of big plot points already (look, science fiction!), and maybe we don’t really need another. If I had to take a wild guess? This chump. One other thing you can always tell with Shuumatsu no Izetta: who the enemy are. They’re the ones with facial hair. Don’t trust them.