What’s it about? Wunderkind Iska was the youngest Saint Disciple to ever be enlisted by the Empire, but he quickly fell from grace and was jailed for freeing a witch in the dead of night. A year later, the Empire grants him an early release to track down and defeat the Ice Calamity Witch. Iska set out to fulfill his duties, holding fast to his personal dream of seeing an end to this war — a dream he happens to share with his target.
Content note: cishet male gaze-oriented fanservice
Two households, both alike in dignity
(In fair modern-fantasy Europe, where we lay our scene)
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean.
Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World (gosh, that’s a mouthful), is like Romeo+Juliet, in that it wants that old-timey feeling in setting, but also takes place in near-future or modern times where Tybalt has a Glock instead of a sword. Iska stands out, being the only Empire grunt to be charging into battle with a sword while his friends are using energy guns and missile launchers, and you just kind of have to accept it.
Perhaps he represents the idealized hybrid of the technologically advanced Empire, standing against the magical Nebulis Sovereignty. Or maybe it’s just that he’s the main character, and main characters always have cool swords.
Last Crusade strikes an okay balance in setting to make the world appear just real enough, but also land squarely in magical fantasy with robed figures casting fire balls and a Victorian maid summoning a massive earth golem to do battle. It’s kind of a hodgepodge, but it’s all a fantasy world anyway, and it’s not my place to say something is “unrealistic” when a humvee’s back door opens to unleash a barrage of missiles.
Or maybe I should, because — honestly — what is this world? The magical people have been at war with the techno people for a hundred years, but also they have a neutral city to hang out and watch the opera together and unironically present Romeo and Juliet plays. What is the point of this war, this genocide happening on both sides? Is there an actual war going on when folks can just mosey on down to the neutral city and hang out. This just feels more like an MMO world that refuses to admit it’s just the Light Novel author’s MMO fanfiction.
The hodgepodge setting aside, Last Crusade also suffers from a leery camera that is one of the worst I’ve ever seen in an anime in recent memory. Sure, you have shows like Monster Girl Doctor, but you kinda just come to expect some T&A for a show like that. What I don’t like about Last Crusade is that it plays coy with the viewer, trying to play the story straight while cutting in an uncomfortable amount of fanservice just to have it there.
The show opens with a shot of Aliceliese Lou Nebulis IX (gosh, that’s also a mouthful). You can see her bare back as the wind sweeps her long hair up. She turns to the camera to show off her ample cleavage covered by an improbable top. Later, you’re introduced to Nene, Iska’s friend and platoonmate, by first staring at her butt in short-shorts for no other reason than that the camera just lingers at that angle for a good 3-4 seconds. Iska’s platoon leader, Mismis, is like 5-feet tall and her boobs are casually huge; she assert that she is 22-years-old when you first meet her.
The show doesn’t make everything pointedly horny, as a T&A show usually does, and instead it tries to play the story for sincere drama, making the prolonged boob jiggle shots stand out even more in a show that otherwise would have just been a forgettable and benign story.
The story itself seems pretty straightforward. I’d honestly be surprised if the story didn’t end up going with #TheEmpireIsBadActually.
All that remains now for this story is seeing how Iska and Alice wind up kissing; and that’s not a question of if, but when, as the show seems dead-set on establishing these two are definitely gonna be star-crossed lovers.
Last Crusade wants to tell you they’ve got an epic story coming up, but I’m honestly tuned out at this point. It’s a hodgepodge of aesthetics trying to tell a story that’s honestly not that inspiring. If any of you watch it and want to tell me otherwise (or want to vehemently defend the light novel), the comment section is down there.