FEATURE: What's in an Animation? "Izetta, the Last Witch"

Get ready to see some amazing animation this fall!

I hope you’re all looking forward to Izetta, the Last Witch! It’s an original anime featuring the work of some of the best talent in the anime industry at the moment, so there’s plenty to be hyped about. Personally speaking, it’s one of my most anticipated series this fall.


So who was involved in making the Izetta anime? The controversial screenwriter Hiroyuki Yoshino appears to have attracted a lot of commentary so far, but there’s more to making an anime than writing a script. For now, let’s have a closer look at the key names involved with the visual side of the Izetta production.




The Series Director


Izetta is Masaya Fujimori’s debut as a full-length TV anime director, but he has worked extensively in the anime industry before taking up this role. Much of his work has been with films; he worked as a key animator and storyboarder on a handful of Doraemon films, and his directorial debut was on the critically acclaimed children’s film You Are Umasou.


Don’t assume that children’s anime is Fujimori’s only specialty, however. He also directed the Fairy Tail: Phoenix Priestess film, which was packed with exciting action scenes. Fujimori has evoked a sense of grandiosity and cinematic scope in the Izetta trailers, which I hope that the TV series itself will share.


The Character Designs


Izetta’s character designs are varied and attractive, which is always a plus when it comes to anime. BUNBUN (the creator of the original character designs) is clearly the same person as abec, the artist of the Sword Art Online novels. You might be able to spot the SAO influence, especially when it comes to the female character designs.


Izetta characters


The SAO connection does not end there. The veteran animator Yuu Yamashita adapted BUNBUN’s designs for animation. Yamashita also worked on Sword Art Online II as a chief animation director and designer for the sub-characters. As the chief animation director, he is largely responsible for making the characters look consistently on-model throughout the production. He did this very well with SAO II, so it’s no surprise to see him working with BUNBUN/abec’s characters again.


The Action Animation


You thought I was done with the SAO comparisons? Ha! Don’t make me laugh! The action animation director of Izetta is none other than Tetsuya Takeuchi, the star of Sword Art Online II’s action scenes.



Takeuchi’s experience working on the Gun Gale Online arc should prove useful when it comes to bring the military scenes in Izetta to life. He’s extremely skilled at handling smoke effects, debris, and guns, all of which appear to be key components of Izetta’s action scenes as well. I suppose you could say that Izetta is SAO III—at least when it comes to the visuals.


Incidentally, Tetsuya Takeuchi and Yuu Yamashita also recently worked together on the key animation for the Saekano -How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend- OP. The subtle yet expressive character movements conveyed the emotions of the characters without any need for dialogue, so I expect the quieter scenes in Izetta to pack some punch as well.


The Military Direction


Mechanical designs are hugely important to the world of Izetta. Although the story is based on a purely fictionalized version of Europe during World War II, there’s been some clear commitment toward making the military weaponry look authentic and historically accurate. 


Izetta military


The credits list features the somewhat unusual role of “military direction,” which probably refers to consultants who assist with the weaponry designs and other military-related things. Takashi Izumi and Yusuke Tsuge from the Monthly Magazine PANZER are credited with this role. According to its website, the PANZER magazine is aimed at “men in their 20-40s, who have an interest in land-based war machines, computer games, scale models, and researching history.” It looks like the anime staff is taking the military components very seriously. If you consider yourself a military geek, you shouldn’t miss this.


To Sum Up…


Judging from the talent involved, there’s every indication that Izetta, The Last Witch will be a visually stunning piece of work. The action scenes in particular will probably look amazing. Are you as hyped about this anime as I am? Share your thoughts in the comments!




Kim Morrissy is a freelance writer and translator. He writes about anime, light novels, and Japanese culture on his personal blog. You can also follow him on Twitter at @frog_kun.

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