Reassessing Propaganda

While the Müller-led propaganda strategy provides a means for Eylstadt to advance their cause of freedom, there’s still something that feels sinister to it. It is as if both the Eylstadt leadership and Izetta are making a deal with the devil with each other in this sorcery. To Eylstadt’s leaders, in relying on a power they didn’t fully comprehend for the propaganda machinery; to Izetta, in giving up her magic and her self for the propaganda image, and bearing the burden of hope of millions on that image.

Too much success can raise the bar of expectation too high (© Izetta Production Committe)

This later results in a difficult situation for the Eylstadt’s side when the Germanians, through the efforts of their special agency officer Berkman, engineers counter strategies against Izetta. Having been a symbol of hope for many people, it puts a lot of risks on Izetta’s own being, and risks being turned to sow despair if it can be shown that she could be broken. That is the turn of events that the Eylstadt side increasingly struggles to prevent, and Müller is not above committing some dirty deeds to prevent it.

Taylor portrays propaganda as a neutral tool, only becoming “black” or “white” depending on the purpose of the person using it. But Izetta depicts propaganda in a rather “grey” manner. Rather than a neutral, “colorless” tool, propaganda may actually be closer to Jacques Derrida’s interpretation of the pharmakon as a substance that both heals and poisons. Through the situations faced by the characters and their actions, the anime has propaganda to provide both salvation and harm for Eylstadt and Izetta. This is a view that might need to be taken into account to fully assess propaganda, not only in war, but also in our daily lives as the intensifying of information in the current era has made propaganda an inevitable certainty.

In portraying a World War-based tale with fantasy touch, Izetta, the Last Witch interestingly ends up highlighting how propaganda has become inseparable from war. Perhaps being made in an era concerned with the intensification of information technologies, it can not help but to look at that aspect of the war that’s concerned with the tactical and strategic use of information. Drawing attention to it is the anime’s important contribution to think historically and more thoroughly about the use of information for political purposes.

© Izetta Production Committe

But there’s still more to Izetta than just that, though. Director Masaya Fujimori (Fairy Tail: Phoenix Priestess) and crew also managed to portray some emotional moments in war. Even if scriptwriter Hiroyuki Yoshino (Sound of the Sky) occasionally produced cheesy dialogues and scenes, there are still some worthwhile exploration on the theme of sacrifice. Detailed depictions of battles, military technologies, and references to real life history may also become appealing points for military and history geeks.

Songs and music can also carry a lot of meanings in war (© Izetta Production Committe)


  • Lamarre, Thomas (2009), The Anime Machine: A Media Theory of Animation (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press), “Chapter 7: Only a Girl Can Save Us Now.”
  • Taylor, Philip M. (1997), Global Communications, International Affairs, and the Media Since 1945 (London and New York: Routledge), “Introduction – The Third Wave and the Fourth Dimension: Communications and the media in the information age.”
  • Collins, Jeff and Bill Mayblin, (2005) Introducing Derrida (Cambridge: Icon Books).
Alternative Title Shuumatsu no Izetta
Source Material Original anime series
Casts Aya Uchida as Bianca
Daisuke Hirakawa as Elliot
Himika Akaneya as Izetta
Hiroki Takahashi as Sieghart Müller
Junichi Suwabe as Berkman
Junji Majima as Tobias
Kana Hanazawa as Elvira
Kenn as Hans
Koji Yusa as Görtz
Kouichi Yamadera as Kaiser Otto
Nao Toyama as Lotte
Natsuki Hanae as Rickert
Ryotaro Okiayu as Helman
Saori Hayami as Finé
Toshiyuki Morikawa as Rudolph
Yoshimasa Hosoya as Bassler
Director Masaya Fujimori (Nintama Rantaro Movie: Ninjutsu Gakuen Zenin Shutsudou! no Dan, Fairy Tail Movie: Phoenix Priestess, Tribe Cool Crew)
Scriptwriter Hiroyuki Yoshino (Sound of the Sky, Magi, Vividred Operation, World Trigger)
Character Design Yuu Yamashita (Bunny Drop)
Opening Theme “cross the line” by AKINO with bless4
Ending Theme “Hikari Aru Basho e” (To Where the Light Is) by May’n
Studio Ajiado
Official Website
Broadcast Date 1 October 2016 (1400 GMT, 21.00 WIT, 2300 JST)

By Halimun Muhammad | The writer is a graduate from the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences of Universitas Indonesia

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