In an alternative reality, the year is 1939 and a mysterious alien race known as the Neuroi have invaded the Earth. Their advanced technology has allowed them to wage destruction upon the land nearly unopposed, and Europe is currently under the Neuroi control. The powers of the world have banded together to fight them, however the only effective weapon against them is magic. Witches from around the world have been sent to Britannia to hold the line, and in time hopefully take back occupied lands. This is the story of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing: the Strike Witches, and their newest recruit from Fuso, a young girl named Yoshika Miyafuji.
Separateing my hatred towards Strike Witches and maintaining a level of unbiased opinion is going to be tough. I really don't know if I hate this show because it's bad, or if because I simply hate it. Strike Witches is honestly the dumbest thing I've seen in anime in years. Possibly ever. It's been a long time since I had such a reaction of hatred towards a show.
I have to get this part off my chest. Why Japan, WHY?! How can you screw up something with so much potential? Witches are supposed to be SEXY. Sexy women flying around on broom sticks with machine guns; it doesn't matter what they're fighting, the story practically writes itself! Instead it gets turned into fetish material for people obsessed with girl's gym (bloomer style) uniforms. This alternate reality seems to ban girls from wearing pants (and skirts). And the girls are like what, 12 years old? I don't care how old they say they are, they look freaking 12. That cripples the appeal of fan service right there.
The time period doesn't matter, so I'm not sure why they bothered with the 1939 thing. Actually it's so they could graft in airplane engine sounds into the show. Whee. Then there's the "striker units". These are metal leggings with propellers attached to the witches' legs so they can fly. This is the dumbest uncool idea I've seen in all of anime. Then to further pander for points, the girls get ears and tails from various animals when using their powers. I'm already reaching for the barf bag by this point, but can it get any worse? Yes it can.
There's the stock anime girl collection. Aside from the fact that there are way too many characters, none of them has any notable personality, nor are they worth remembering. Hell I can't even recall their names right now. The stories are generally dumb, but any level of depth shouldn't be expected so that's fine. The girls do .. "stuff" during the day that allows them to show off their underwear (not hard considering they have no pants), then "shocking drama" when the aliens appear yet again and they have to defeat it. The occasional attempt at war drama is very lame. Strike Witches makes it a point to sanitize the environment by showing no real killing, only eluding to destruction of Europe, and fighting a faceless non human enemy. When Strike Witches does try to pull on the heart strings with "danger" and "drama" it fails miserably and in fact goes out of its way to make sure it doesn't work. At one point Yoshika feels terrible that she almost got her mentor and superior officer killed, and faces court martial for her actions. Not 5 seconds after stepping out of the office after disciplinary action, one of the girls says "I know what will make you feel better, lets take a bath together!". Yoshika then tries to explain what happened during the conflict. The girls start getting upset, so feeling this was too serious, it concludes this chapter of drama with the giggling naked girls chasing each other around in the bath house.
As for the other aspects, the animation is fair, and the soundtrack is well suited towards the show (period wise). Aside from that uh, yeah nothing. So my end verdict is that Strike Witches is a miserable failure of an anime. Not only does it take a potentially good concept and screw it up, it goes beyond that to inject a bunch of stuff which is totally stupid and only exists for pandering fan service. Huge failure, over and out.
They actually made a second season of Strike Witches and I can't say I'm that interested in watching it. This series can be fixed though, if they were to pull a School Days finale. Make the mysterious Neuroi aliens create a fleet of evil black SEXY witches to go up against the strike witches and have total carnage everywhere. Everyone dies a horrific death and sexiness wins over stupid moe pandering. Hell if they do this I'll buy the extreme platinum edition for $1000 and put a picture of me buying it on the front page of my website. No joke. I dare the sissies at animation studio Gonzo, DARE them to make this happen.
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