3 out of 3 people found this review helpful:
Genre: Magic/Science Fiction.
First aired: OVA Jan 2007. Anime series July to Sept 2008, on Fukui TV
TV Anime series written by Tsuyoshi Tamai. Directed by Kazuhiro Takamura. Animation by Gonzo
Music: Opening theme “Strike Witches, To Do What I Can” performed by Yoko Ishida.
Closing theme “Bookmark A Head” performed by varying members of the cast.
A single, and album of music from the series, was released by Columbia Music International August and October 2008. (All of the above sourced from Wikipedia)
Adapted from the Magazine strip and Light novels illustrated by Humikane Shimada.
Duration: OVA + 12 episodes.
It is the early 1940’s and the world is at war, but this is not the conflict we now call WW2. Instead the world has been invaded by an alien race we call the Neuroi! Europe has fallen to them, and the island nation of Britannia is the front line of defence against their dreadful incursions. Nations from all over the world are sending soldiers, equipment and scientists to aid in the defence.
Spear-heading this defence is the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, based on a small island/peninsular in the Straits of Dover. This is a very special unit.
It comprises personnel from all over the world.
They are all teenage/young adult girls.
They are witches!
Their magical ability enables them to use the Striker Unit! A pair of magically powered engines that fit onto the girls legs, enabling them to fly at speeds close to the speed of sound, and carry heavy weapons. Thus, the girls are known as the “Strike Witches”
The inventor of the Striker Units was thought to have been killed in an explosion at his lab. However, at the start of our story, his young daughter, the latest in a line of witches with powerful healing magic, receives a letter from him. At the same time, she is visited by one of the 501st Officers, who is touring the world looking for new recruits. She agrees to go to Britannia with the officer in order to find out the truth about her father. On the way, their battleship is attacked by the Neuroi!
Miyafuji, Yoshika. (Voiced by Fukuen, Misato)
Her father invented the Striker Units. Her mother, and Grandmother are both healing witches, and she herself has considerable, but untrained, healing powers. This background has given her a natural aversion to fighting, and she initially rejects the recruitment to the Strike Witches. She goes to Britannia to seek knowledge of her father, who left when she was very young. Her arrival at the Base causes some resentment amongst the established squadron members.
Sakamoto, Mio. (Voiced by Chiba, Saiko)
The oldest serving member of the squadron, she was the first witch ever to use a Striker Unit, and she worked closely with Yoshika’s father. She has been sent to Fuso on a recruitment drive, and Yoshika was her principal target. She has a magical eye, which she conceals under an eye-patch, which is able to spot the enemy control units (cores). Destroying a core is the only way to bring down an enemy vehicle. She fights using a traditional Katana as well as other, more modern weapons.
There are 9 other members of the 501st Fighter Wing.
Perrine Clostermann - Hero worships Sakamoto, and as very jealous of Yoshika.
Lynette Bishop - A bit clumsy, but is the first to befriend Yoshika. They train together, with Sakamoto as their instructor.
Charlotte Yeager - A speed freak, who holds the land speed record, her dream is to break the sound barrier.
Minna-Dietlinde Wilke - The Commanding Officer of the squadron. Caring and considerate, there is considerable sadness in her past.
Erica Hartman - The member with the highest confirmed “kills” of Neuroi vehicles.
Gertrude Barkhorn - Another high kill pilot, she fights to protect her young sister, in a coma after a Neuroi attack.
Francesca Lucchini - Always goofing off, she is most often found asleep in unusual places.
Eila Juutilainen - Likes to play tricks, and tells fortunes using Tarot cards.
Sanya Litvyak - The night patrol specialist. Sleeps all day, often in other peoples rooms. Needs holding up and guiding about if required to be out of bed during the day.
What did I think?
My first thought was that this is a series produced almost entirely with a fan service in mind. The girls are all young and very pretty, and spend the entire series without any trousers or skirts on! This presents some very odd pictures at times, especially when they are in military uniform. From the waist up, with their smart jackets and caps, they are the very picture of military efficiency. Then, all they have on are their knickers (panties), or bikinis. Coupled with the appearance of animal ears and tails when they use their magical powers, you have “something for everyone” appeal.
The story is very watch-able. There are the usual breast comparison scenes, and on a few occasions we see the girls sharing a bed, but the expected yuri romance didn’t materialise, although it was always lurking just underneath the surface. One of the most enjoyable episodes is where Hartman can’t find her panties. She goes down to the bath house, and “borrows” a pair from a locker. This of course means that somebody else now doesn’t have any, so they also “borrow” some from another locker, and so on! We are treated to a scene where all thoughts of war are dispelled as the girls race around trying to catch the panty thief.
There is just enough character development for you to identify with most of the members of the squadron, and their reasons for fighting, but we never get to examine any in depth , and some not at all. The dogfight scenes are enjoyable, and don’t dominate the episodes, which is good.
It was obvious that Yoshika was going to provide some pivotal role to ending the war right from the outset. Her drive to get to know the Nueroi better results in her being placed under house arrest, and eventually to the unit being disbanded. When the new mechanised replacement for them goes rogue, it is down to her to save the day.
I do recommend that you watch it, as long as your not expecting to much. At 12 episodes, it is just long enough for some light hearted relief.
Season 2 is due out later this year (or so it said somewhere), and I will certainly be watching it!
-Review by emored13
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful:
An anime show that features lolis without pants already sounds like a show I would avoid outright. But to my utmost astonishment, I actually liked it. And no, it’s not because of the loli characters’ charming smiles, panties, revealing outfits, fanservice shots, etc. While these aspects of the show don’t sit too well with me, the show turned out better than I expected.
Like Sky Girls, Strike Witches just proves that you really shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But unlike its loli counterpart, the show is actually filled with lots of those panty/breast-bounce fanservice shots you would expect. Despite all that, everything else Strike Witches has to offer is worth watching. Trust me, you’ll find tons of more fanservice in shows like Kampfer, Rosario + Vampire, Sekirei, and others. With some pretty memorable characters and a decent storyline, I was surprised that I found it rather enjoyable to watch, despite me cringing because of the girls’ lack of pant wear. If you can get past the pants-less world of Strike Witches, the show is better than you might otherwise think.
Strike Witches takes place in an alternate timeline set between the 1930’s and 1940’s. Mysterious beings called ‘Neuroi’ have come to invade the planet and destroy everything in their path. The world takes action and these special female humans use the Striker technology to combat the Neuroi. Strike Witches’ story is quite engaging, but I was bummed that it left some trivial plot holes here and there. This especially factors in the fate of the Neuroi and their reason of existence; that question was never fully explained when the season ended. But fans can rejoice that the second season has been announced, and hopefully the mystery behind the Neuroi will be cleared up when it finally airs.
There are plenty of character favorites to choose from, and you'll find some of their personalities quite interesting. Some of the characters have their little arcs thrown within the main storyline, and it's hard not to be concerned about them as well. The show also brings up morals, and the main protagonists have their own valid reasons for fighting; whether they're fighting for someone they love, or fighting to take back the homes they've lost.
Despite Strike Witches being an alternate history of the World War II era, the show could indirectly be paying homage to the real-life pilots who fought in the war with their comrades, and their reasons for doing what they do. It probably also helps with the fact that the main characters of Strike Witches are based on real-life ace pilots who fought during that time.
Strike Witches also values teamwork and the bonds of friendship above all else. Throughout the show, you’ll see as Yoshika Miyafuji makes new friends and comes to hold them very dear to her heart. She strives to be on good terms with everyone she meets and even goes so far in saying that she would sacrifice her own life for her teammates. And it’s not just Miyafuji; even the rest of the Strike Witches team discards any hostility they somehow project towards her and come to view her as a very important comrade. Those aspects are what I found most impressive about Strike Witches, and the one important factor that stood out the most in my mind.
For the animation, the character designs look presentable, and the ships and Neuroi designs are well-detailed. The only problem I had watching this show is just the fact that the women don’t have any pants. I mean come on, put some pants on g*damnit! I found myself cringing and looking away most of the time because the panty shots aren't exactly a very pleasant sight to see. Don’t get me wrong though; I can tolerate with the fanservice, but if the girls look like 5 year-olds, it’s not really helping much at all. If the women actually looked like they’re in their 20’s--and actually had some pants on, Strike Witches would have been a much better show in my book.
Despite my tortured eyesight, the action sequences are pretty amazing. My attention level was always high whenever our loli Witches engage in combat against the ever-persistent Neuroi. I mean, women flying around with cat ears and tail, wielding katanas, big guns and such, while fighting giant alien beings…why not? All that stuff is really neat to see, and more than enough to make up for the not-so-great sight of our pants-less heroines.
There’s nothing really special about the show’s background music, but the opening theme “STRIKE WITCHES” by Yoko Ishida is fairly decent. I did enjoy the ending theme, “Bukkumaaku A Heddo” more than the opening though, and hearing the entire main voice cast of Strike Witches sing the song is pretty neat. The show has also done the dialogue well, and the voice acting is impressive. Overall Strike Witches’ audio presentation is entertaining, and I didn’t have major qualms with anything in particular.
In the end Strike Witches is a well-made action/mecha anime, but to me it’s more guilty pleasure than pure enjoyment. Its storyline may not be the best, but enough to appreciate by a handful of people. It’s hard not to find some of its characters actually pretty cute, despite their loli appearance, and the action sequences are definitely worth watching. So if the second season comes around, I hope that the Strike Witches crew will finally remember to put some much-needed pants on before they fight the Neuroi. If they can do this simple task, then the second season of Strike Witches will be a more worthwhile show to watch.
As I read the synopsis, the series looked incredibly original, complex and intriguing. But right from the very first episode, there were more panty shots than actual interesting bits of the show. I feel like they were trying to go for a Code Geass/Hetalia/NGE feel but ended up with this weird, fanservice, flying cat-girl anime. The whole magic + technology thing hasn't been explained very properly but then again, I only made it to the 3rd episode. If this series does genuinely get better afterwards, please let me know.