Let us all agree right now: Berkman is dead. He’s deceased. There’s no way he survived his time underground. Ignore Izetta’s dramatic entry for a moment, and let’s just pretend he manages to survive that. But even if he did, look, Sieg has a gun. Look Bianca has a gun. If they were even half as competent at their jobs as they’re supposed to be, they would have shot him. Shoot the Nazis! Is that so hard? Instead, Izetta manages to kill all the mooks, but not anybody actually worth offing e.g. the straw-Nazi who was executing prisoners of war, manhandling her Hime-sama, and, y’know, shooting at her. And Berkman, even if it’s just as collateral damage. So yeah, every scene from now on with Berkman in it is actually an illusion. He’s not there. He’s demised. He’s passed on. He’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible. He’s an ex-Berkman.
Shuumatsu no Izetta is unlikely to agree with me, though, so I guess we’ve got to talk about Berkman, and characters in this show in general. I was actually sort of afraid that, when Berkman visited Rickert’s grave, he would actually show some sort of sadness or remorse. Nope, still a sociopathic jackass. And that’s good; stick to your guns and don’t shy away from your villainy. But while Berkman is nice and consistent, I don’t actually find him particularly interesting. The fact that he’s a sociopathic jackass is just trivia. The interesting part, what actually makes for a story, is how he got that way. But Shuumatsu no Izetta has a tendency to gloss over the how and the why. Things just kinda happen, and characters just kinda are. The Germanians are always one step ahead because they’re required by the plot to be. Otto is obsessed with witches and world domination because he’s required by the plot to be. The only antagonist who really has any complex motivation is arguably Sophia, but we never really do get to see how she was before her crazy spite phase, so there’s also a limit on how much depth she can have.
Of course, the protagonists are also altogether a boring bunch. Somehow, Sieg is the only one who does any real introspection, and Bianca ended up being the most developed character (relatively speaking). The rest of the minor cast are for the most part inconsequential, and the main duo fairly uninspiring. Izetta is a bit too much messiah and not enough human, and Finé somehow manages to be more asinine as we go, having sacrificed plenty of blood and treasure in this war yet still making a big deal about the ambiguous glowing rock. Together, they don’t seem to have much driving them except for their burning yuri love. But it’s sort of (sort of) okay for protagonists to be boring. The onus is really on the antagonists to make them interesting. As the saying goes, villains act, heroes react. The protagonists stand for peace and status quo. It’s up to the antagonists to stir things up, be their foils, and bring out the interesting in the protagonists. But, with the villains as they are, it’s not really happening.
Well, we still have an episode to go, so it’s a bit early to judge the entire series. If anything, Shuumatsu no Izetta has been fairly adept at delivering spectacle, so the finale should at least see us off with a bang. In fact, it does many things quite competently, but the writing does sag at times. That’s somewhat of a big deal, sure, but not enough to sink the show entirely.
If it all turns out to be a morality tale about nuclear power, though, I quit.
Full-length images: 11.