「魔女の鉄槌」 (Majo no Tettsui)
“The Iron Hammer of the Witch | Der eiserne Hammer der Hexe”
Something of a wonky episode this week, in that there’s a time skip in the middle. Usually you want your time skips in between weeks so that the audience can actually experience the passage of, y’know, time. At least put the OP or the ED or even just the ad break in between the time skip. When it’s just a character narrating that an entire month has passed, some effort needs to be put into illustrating on-screen that some actual change has occurred. When a character wakes up from their coma and their hair still retains perfect shape, one starts to wonder if there’s someone wasting a lot of time grooming an unconscious person while there’s a war going on.
The general thrust of the episode, though, is clear. In war movie terms, this is the blitz episode, where London burns and we’re prompted to shake our fists at those darn Nazis, except in this case we’re, of course, supposed to feel more for the Elystadt capital and the all those nice folks who live around there than the Poms. In every drama there comes a point when our protagonists hit rock bottom, and I guess this is it. Which, I guess, is about time for the minor cast to start dying. That’s what they’re around for, right? Sacrificing the main cast is a big step, and should be saved for a climactic moment, but if you’ve had less than 10 lines then I’m afraid you’re drama fuel. They don’t even have their own action-music (we seem to be running out of soundtrack, unfortunately), and can only borrow from Izetta’s. Poor saps. Which is why I’m surprised that Blondie actually made it out of there without having to so much as take a bullet for her lady. That guy is going places. A place where he can pull off a tear-jerking death scene, at any rate.
So a lot of mooks have bled and died for Izetta, but somehow I feel somewhat less engaged in the plot then I was back in, say, episode 03. For one, the villains almost seem to be getting less interesting as they go. Sophia doesn’t have much going for her except RAWR VENGEANCE MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA and while her story is sad and hell hath no fury, I suppose, she’s starting to make the Inquisition in this timeline look completely justified. As for the emperor, Shuumatsu no Izetta apparently has nothing to say about him other than the constant reminders of what a douche he is (oh, he throws all those who opposed him into concentration camps? What a card!). So we’re left with Berkman, who’s definitely the kind of character to have his own agenda, but we don’t really know of it yet. For what is he exercising his ruthless and preternatural competence? Certainly, if Germania has toys like mass cloning technology, whether it’s flawed or not, and jet engines, whether it’s magic-powered or not, then this war is something of a waste of time, no? Maybe Berkman will do something more interesting. If you have magical nukes in 1941, I think you can dream bigger.
Mostly, though, I think I’m getting a bit tired of secrets. Every single person in this story is up to their eyeballs in secrets that they can break out as the plot desires. Germania, of course, has an economy driven entirely by secret weapons projects, but they’re sci-fi Nazis, so I’ll forgive them. The Elystadt royal family apparently has secret everythings all the everywhere, but they’re entrenched and paranoid autocrats, so I’ll forgive them. The rest of you lot, though. There’s this secret about the magic stone (imaginatively named the Magic Stone) that nobody managed to remember until now. Muller has his secret connection to the witch mythology which he secretly never told anyone while he secretly snooped around. So I guess Berkman must have a secret past, too. And Old Muttonchops is probably secretly a woman. Come on, what else has everybody never told anybody? Let’s just lay it all out here.
In the meantime, Germania prepares to invade their version of the USSR, which is never a good idea in any timeline. You’ve been enjoying the power of your witch? If I remember my folklore right, Eastern Europe has all the witches. I don’t think this will end well for anybody, if it should happen. I hope they do it.
Full-length images: 27.