With this, I conclude the Two Theatres of War posts. I’m not dropping either from regular blogging, but I will be blogging about them separately from now on. It was a nice three weeks, though now I can earnestly write about the shows within a day of their airing with more specific commentary. I hope those who read this will continue to do so.
Izetta: The Last Witch – Episode 3:
As the battle of Coenenberg starts in earnest, the viewpoint focuses on an idealistic young soldier, Jonas, who answered the call to arms to defend his homeland. The battle starts with He-111 bombers softening up the Elystadtian lines. Jonas is protected from the bombings by his platoon sergeant who had thrown him down when he was in shock, giving his life and body for him.
Elsewhere, Izetta was told to not get involved by Finé just as Coenenberg is being bombed. At town of Kiltfel, the military command comes to grips with reality that they can only hold them off long enough to get the civilians out-of-the-way. At Ruden Lake, the site of the Germanian headquarters, it would seem that the Army and Air Force commanders are having a bet over champagne on whose side will make the fortress fall. With the failure of the Air Force to dislodge the defenders, he sends in his tank platoons.
As the tanks advance, artillery from behind Coenenberg shell the onrushing enemy as Finé is told that lives are being lost just to buy time. Back in the trenches, Jonas, now getting his baptism of fire, becomes the assistant gunner to another senior NCO who helps him fight off the advancing Germanians from one defense line to another.
With the effectiveness of the Elystadtian artillery slowing the armored offensive, the Germanian army commander has no choice but to relinquish the champagne bottle back to the air force officer who sends in a flight of Ju-87 Stukas to take out the forward observers. Back at the abandoned manor, Finé can only watch as Coenenberg seems close to falling, while Izetta can only look on in worry, but it seems she has an idea when soldiers start pulling out heavy cavalry lances from storage, probably trying to find a way to use them. The soldiers that are with her are restless, but she can’t let them waste their lives in a futile effort to try to support Coenenberg.
As the Germanian forces advance within range of the mountain fortress’ observation posts, Panzer IVs with short 75mms start to bombard them in an effort to stave off the artillery fire, as Germanian Stukas arrive on scene. With the fall of the fortress close at hand, the commanders at Kiltfel are ordered to retreat to a new defensive line.
Back in the trenches, Jonas had lost yet another senior NCO who had saved him, and is alone in fighting back the Germanians. Watching as a Stuka start diving to bomb his position, the Stuka and its bomb explodes as Izetta, flying on a lance and followed by others, shred the attacking planes. Both sides are dumbstruck with the Germanians in retreat from this new threat.
Finishing off the squadron, Izetta crash lands in friendly lines and asks dumbstruck Elystadtian soldiers where old swords and the like are kept. Pointing at the old Coenenberg castle, she commandeers an anti-tank rifle and uses that as her new broom, and goes after the panzers. Arriving in the midst of the Germanian soldiers, she uses her powers to manipulate objects to launch swords at tanks and soldiers, as well as turning those swords into a lattice-work shield that when angled, stops the round from a 37mm gun from a Panzer III and as smaller shields from its machine guns, before flipping tanks upside down and smashing them into each other.
Back at the old manor, Finé is shown Izetta’s actions and realizes what she’s doing, and with the help of Major Hans, signals to Coenenberg that she is Ortfiné. She explains that Izetta is her dear friend and the second coming of the White Witch that protects Elystadt. Rallied, the troops join in driving back the Germanian forces, much to the shock of the Germanian commanders as reports flow in.
At the end of the battle, IZetta returns to Finé, apologizing for striking out on her own, only for Finé to call her a fool, but be glad she’s safe and thanks her. Back at the capital, the heads of the Army and civilian agencies are informed, with the Army commander just glad they won, while the civilian advisor seeking to know more of what has happened. Back at Coenenberg, Izetta and Finé arrive to the victorious Elystadtian troops. Jonas starts singing with others joining in, the Elystadtians strike up a patriotic rendition of their national anthem in light of the victory.
Informed by the two advisors of the return of Finé as well as the White Witch and the victory of Coenenberg, the Archduke passes away from his illness, no doubt relieved at the safety of his daughter and possibly, his Dukedom.
Brave Witches – Episode 3: The 502nd Joint Fighter Wing
Hikari is introduced to the rest of the 502nd over dinner, with Naoe still huffing and puffing over this unexpected development. Due to the action of the day though, she’s fallen asleep in the table. She would wake up the next day in her room, after dreaming of being able to see the Neuroi core. Waking up, she smiles and tells her sister in a picture of the two of them together that she’ll do her best, and goes out for a run.
There she meets Naoe and Nipa, and the three have a race, where Hikari’s stamina is plain to both her fellow pilots, as well as Rall and Roβmann, who had been observing the trio. Naoe won’t have anything to do with Hikari and storms off, though Nipa befriends her.
After breakfast where other witches open up to Hikari, they are given a briefing on the new nest codenamed Grigori, which threatens their supply lines. If they are cut they will have to abandon Petersburg. While the 501st has defeated a hive, the details are still Top Secret. Concluding this, Rall has Nipa take Hikari around the base, after Georgette declines.
Showing her around, Nipa and Hikari end up on the top of the fortification serving as their base. Petersburg is largely abandoned minus the base and only soldiers and support personnel needed to maintain the base remains. They would spot Naoe training, Nipa commenting to herself that Naoe probably can’t believe Hikari beat her.
Later, Roβmann and Porkyrskin evaluate Hikari, only to find that she isn’t suited for combat duties. Naoe also makes it clear that if anyone is to use Takami’s unit, the newest model Fuso created, it should be her. In an effort to prove her capabilities, she explains that she saw the Neuroi core, a possibility due to Takami’s ability that does the same. The appearance of the enemy allows a chance for this to proven, with Rall allowing Hikari to join the sortie.
In combat though, Hikari couldn’t get her ability to manifest, and proves to be more of a liability than an asset in combat, needing to be saved by Naoe. Rall and Roβmann review her performance, but before Rall can talk to Hikari, it seems Nipa has once again come under her unlucky streak and has had a locust sucked into her striker unit, downing her. Hikari volunteers to help, and she is sent to search for the downed witch with Naoe.
Naoe is less than pleased than this when she arrives in the search area, but as the afternoon drags on, she begrudgingly acknowledges Hikari’s stamina. Finding Nipa resting on top of a tree, they help bring her home before they are ambushed by Neuroi.
Naoe distracts the Neuroi, trying to have Hikari and Nipa escape, but is caught in the high altitudes where her striker unit’s performance is decreased. Barely holding off the Neuroi which is not letting her descend, Hikari and Nipa come to her rescue, distracting the Neuroi and allowing Naoe to destroy it with her ability.
As Hikari carries both magic-exhausted witches back home, possibly the same locust lands on Hikari’s face as they close to the base, making them all crash into the lake/moat where the fortress is located on and to the great displeasure of Alexandra Porkyrskin, the witch-mechanic, who has them kneel in atonement for three striker units written off for repairs.
Naoe admits to Hikari’s determination and stamina, though stops shy of a full apology before being summoned to Rall’s office. Getting the details of the engagement from Naoe, she has before her orders for Hikari to be sent back home, but shelves it as she is willing to give Hikari more chances to get better, having proved herself already to her.
Well, Izetta was great fun. The majority of the episode was of the battle of Coenenberg, and emphasizes the reality of early war German Blitzkreig, with the combined arms approach of aircraft, armor, and infantry. I absolutely loved the inclusion of the Panzer IV and its short 75mm guns for infantry support, and the Panzer III with its 37mm guns for anti-armor. I did feel sorry for the two-man crew of the Elystadtian Renault F1. That was a nasty way to go, but to be fair, Izetta returned the favor in spades. First by clipping the wings and impaling the Stukas of the second bomber force, before levitating and magically flipping the tanks of the armored force, let alone magically enhancing the round in the anti-tank rifle she commandeered to propel it to pierce through the poor Panzer III, resulting in an engine and ammo-rack explosion.
Izetta pulled out the stops in this episode, seeing the deaths of the defending Elystadtian soldiers and her best friend’s pain, as well as remembering the brutality of the Germanian forces, she was not taking ‘no’ for an answer. It seems now though Princess Finé is now Duchess Ortfiné with her father’s passing. The public appearance of the White Witch just means it is more imperative for Germania to capture her and destroy Elystatdt. Regardless if she had helped or not, it seems Elystadt is in for a harsh time.
In Brave Witches, I listed the following as my thoughts as I watched: I had always seen Naoe as a bit of a pain in the arse, but having her animated removed all doubt. Then we have poor Porkyrskin, the resident engineer and Nipa’s everpresent mechanic. There was also a bit of a shock in seeing actual male soldiers in the base. They were manning the Flak 88s, cleaning weaponry, manning the watch towers; and also shown a bit of the working support staff, especially the kitchen crew.
There also seems to be an explaination on how the witches are organized into Joint Fighter Wings. It seems that while there are still national air forces, it seems all of them are under the command of a central overseeing body in the form of the “League of Nations Air Forces”. It would explain how each JFW is made of mixed witches from around the world rather than a regional or national formation. If/when it evolves into the United Nations is a question that may never be answered. Also, a Mercator projection map of the Mediterranean countries is shown during the briefing. Persia stays Persia, and Switzerland is Helvetia.
Hikari is easily a more relatable character compared to Yoshika. Was on the edge of my seat and felt her ups and downs the entire time, Brave Witches has clearly put more thought in Hikari’s inclusion into the 502nd than Yoshika. Granted different series release nearly a decade apart. I always thought that Yoshika seems to be the usual Gundam protagonist of ‘fall into gundam, pilot gundam, become uber-ace in an episode or less’. Hikari is clearly not even cut out to be a witch with her performance, only her drive and stamina wins her Rall’s continued interventions to have her prove herself.
In all, both series have done well in their three episode rules. Hell, I thought of watching both series regardless.