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Strike Witches
Strike Witches
Strike Witches
Anime DVD Review

I don't want to say this anime series is rife with fanservice, but seriously, less than 30 seconds into the first episode, we're treated to in-your-face panty shots, and even camel-toe. Taking place in an alternate version of Earth circa 1944, where apparently, pants and skirts were never invented (but the Bikini, which wasn't actually invented until the 1950's, was), World War Two hasn't happened, instead, Earth is united against a superior foe from outer space, and Earth's best hope against these invaders is a group of magic weilding women known as the Strike Witches.

Now maybe you're fine with loli-pantsu-flying-mecha-girls-with-guns anime — in fact, if you are, clearly you're the target audience! I was fine with it, as the girls were cute and plenty of stuff blew-up, but when they sprouted cat-ears and a tail as well, I thought things were going a little too far; maybe there's just too many fetishes going on here at once. Regardless, from the surface the show "feels" like mindless fanservice, but when you scratch deeper (i.e., watch more than one episode), you'll soon discover that there's a rather compelling war story combined with your typical "coming of age" plot as our protagonist grows from a clueless newbie to an experienced, battle-hardened warrior.

Strike WitchesEarth, ravaged by the Neuroi bears little resemblance to our own world. The weapons of the Neuroi mostly take on forms similar to aircraft, but their most troubling tactic is the spreading of a corrosive miasma. Not only do normal humans have no defense against this miasma, but the remnants of the land affected by it are processed by the Neuroi into new weapons, crumbling huge sections of former nations into the sea. As the miasma seems to be unable to spread across large bodies of water, humanity has designated such areas as their main lines of defense. Strike Witches (to me anyhow) seems to borrow this bit of storyline from the 80's animated TV series "Sprial Zone" (which for its time was a rather brilliant show).

All the characters seem to be based off of real WW-II era pilots (Charlotte Yeager being the most notable, as everyone knows (I hope) who Chuck Yeager is), and the flying, magic plane-legs they adorn while fighting all seem to be based off of actual WW-II fighter aircraft, although you will need to work hard to recognize them.

Strike WitchesAnd as the series progresses, the show takes itself very seriously. Once you're over the initial shock that no-one wears pants, and therefore every frame is a fanservice shot, you start to ignore it after a while and concentrate on the plot and action sequences.

But still, Strike Witches comes across as designed by committee to combine as many otaku fetishes into one as possible. I mean, can you imagine the planning meeting? "Loli+huge-guns+no-pants+magic+cat-girl+transformers+military-planes = instant hit!". But then again, the girls are incredibly cute, and believe it or not there *is* a plotline, so, I might be totally wrong and this'll be an enormous anime sensation, but I'm betting that fetish overload will eventually kill any uniqueness this series has.

Nevertheless, if you've always wondered what the world would look like if it were only populated by cute, underage witches not wearing pants, have we got a show for you!

Reviewed by Brian Cirulnick, May 2010

Below: Scenes from Strike Witches.

Strike Witches

Strike Witches

Strike Witches

Strike Witches

Strike Witches

Strike Witches

Strike Witches

Strike Witches

Strike Witches Website Links:

Strike Witches Official Website (Japanese)

Strike Witches Official Video Game Homesite (Japanese)

Funimation's official Strike Witches Homepage

Strike Witches (TV) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

Strike Witches (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia

TV Tropes page for Strike Witches (hysterical!)

Wikipedia entry for Strike Witches

Below: The American trailer for Strike Witches.

Below: The Japanese opening for Strike Witches.

Below: A panel from the Strike Witches manga.

A panel from the Strike Witches manga.

Below: A cover illustration from the Strike Witches DS game.

A cover illustration from the Strike Witches DS game.

Below: An promotional illustration from of Strike Witches.

An promotional illustration from of Strike Witches

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