Izetta: The Last Witch takes place in an alternate world with an alternate World War II that has magic and witches. Aside from the aforementioned magic and witches, the world seems to be mostly identical to our own, which makes the antagonists’ creation of their ultimate weapon all the more amazing.
[Note: This article contains major spoilers for Izetta: The Last Witch.]
In the latter half of the series, we are introduced to the Germanian countermeasure to the witch, Izetta. The Germanians have resurrected Sophie, the original White Witch, from legend. However, it is soon revealed that Sophie is not in fact the original White Witch, but a clone. This brings up the question: In a world that has been established as technologically identical to our own, how could the Nazi– Er, Germanians have successfully created a clone in 1940, when the series takes place?
In order for the Germanian scientists to be able to successfully create a clone of the legendary White Witch, there are several hurdles they would have had to have cleared.
1: The Technology
By 1940, very basic cloning concepts were already well into development through the manipulation of dividing fertilized cells. It is likely that this was the same in the world of Izetta. Given the Germanian leader Emperor Otto’s obsession with the legend of the White Witch, we can easily assume that once his plan to bring the witch back from the dead was solidly formed in his mind–probably years if not decades before–he ordered his scientists to do everything in their power to find a way to do it.
That said, to do what the scientists did would require cloning technology beyond what exists in even in our world today. The Germanian research would have to have been accelerated to be able to catch up to and exceed 70+ years of research in a very short period of time. This seems unlikely. Even if they started earlier–like, say in 1920–Germania would still be recovering from a previous war and probably not have the resources or money to spare.
2: Finding Sophie
The discovery of Sophie’s remains is actually relatively easy to believe. Emperor Otto was obsessed with the Legend of the White Witch–very likely long before he even became emperor–and we already know that the legend itself was true. All it probably took was painstaking research into the lore and extensive searching to find where the body had been laid to rest. A well-disguised research team could probably have found wherever her killers had buried her, exhumed the body, and returned to Germania with nobody the wiser.
3: The DNA
Intact DNA is vital to the cloning process. While obtaining Sophie’s remains may not have been too much a problem, getting useful bits from it are where the real hurdle arises. Depending on how old the body is and how it was preserved, that can become a serious issue.
According to the series, the Legend of the White Witch took place back when witch hunts were still a thing. Judging from the fact that the soldiers in the legends do not carry firearms, we can theorize that the White Witch lived no later than around the late 15th century when handheld firearms came into regular use. That means some of Sophie’s DNA had to remain intact after her death for literal centuries. The best way to do that would be for her body to be frozen prior to decomposition to prevent the breakdown of the bonds in the DNA. Unfortunately, that is out of the Germanian scientists’ control and provably unlikely because:
4: Preservation of the remains
The true Legend of the White Witch as revealed in episode eight states that Sophie was handed over to the enemies of Eylstadt and faced an inquisition–it is unclear whether it is the Spanish inquisition–and was burned to death. This means that most of her cells were exposed to extreme temperatures, likely destroying most of the DNA. Whoops, there go any chances at cloning.
So the cloning of Sophie is basically impossible. Still, the story of Izetta: The Last Witch is so entertaining and compelling, I was able suspend any disbelief I had when watching it. In fact, it was my investment in the story that made me do research into whether it might be possible or not. Even after reaching the conclusion that there was no way it could be done, I continued to wrack my brain trying to figure out if there was a way that it could be.
As established in the series, witches gain their power from ley lines. Without access to ley lines, or the magic gem that Sophie uses, witches are powerless. This weakness was exploited in Sophie’s capture. Considering that her captors managed to kill her, perhaps they were informed of her weakness and opted to kill her on the spot, rather than risk taking her somewhere where she might be able to use her powers. That in turn suggests there may not have been a lot of proper preparation time in her execution. There is a minuscule chance that the fire, while strong enough to kill her, was not strong enough or did not burn long enough to completely destroy all DNA. Perhaps parts of her containing usable material were “removed” before she was put to the flames.
Next comes the preservation. While “unceremoniously dumped in a hole and forgotten” seems like the likely treatment for a victim of the inquisition, Sophie was the White Witch. She was able to singlehandedly turn the tide of battles. Rather than just bury her remains–which may have allowed any undamaged DNA to deteriorate over the centuries, rendering them useless–perhaps it is possible that her killers, out of fear, sealed her corpse away. Possibly in a cave or some other place where the temperatures managed to remain cooler year-round for several centuries.
But seriously, even tossing probability out the window and putting everything in favor of the Germanian scientists, considering the obstacles they still must have faced, the fact that they managed to get even one properly developed clone is nothing short of a scientific miracle. After the war is over, those Germanian scientists should get a Nobel prize for what they managed to pull off.
I wonder what Von Braun was doing in that world…
Izetta: The Last Witch can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.