7/05/2008

Strike Witches


Strike Witches from Gonzo

I don't even know where to begin. The level of ecchi-ness in this show is off the scale. At first glance it appears that there's a bunch of girls (very young looking, though some are probably older than they're drawn, which tends to happen in these sorts of shows for...various reasons) running around in very, very short skirts. But in fact, many of them seem to be wearing shirts, and no pants at all. Although in the case of the really young girls, they appear to be wearing a sort of swim suit type thing under their school uniforms. In other words, there are an unnecessarily ridiculous amount of pantie shots during the show.

Now that that's out of the way....

A Strike Witch is a witch (they're all female, it seems) that the Britannian government uses to fight the war against the Neuroi. The witches' magical powers combined with a machine called a Striker Unit (that attaches to their legs like boots) allow them to fly and wield weapons ordinary humans cannot. But it's not all big guns and destruction (although there's plenty of that) - whenever the girls activate their magical powers, they sprout a pair of fuzzy ears and a tail.

Yoshika Miyafuji is a young witch and a powerful healer. Her scientist father disappeared some time ago after going abroad to Britannia, where he invented the Striker Unit. Major Mio Sakamoto arrives to recruit Miyafuji for the Strike Witches, but she resolutely refuses to participate in war. She would much rather serve in her family's clinic and heal people. However, soon after their meeting, Miyafuji receives a letter from her father that includes a picture of him and (a younger) Sakamoto standing next to a Striker Unit. Believing her father to have been dead, Miyafuji rushes off to find Sakamoto and insists she be allowed to travel to Britannia to look for her father, but still refuses to fight in the war (though she does express a desire to be useful on board the ship). Unfortunately, on their sea voyage to Britannia, the fleet is attacked by Neuroi units.

Watching the opening animation for the show gives you a pretty good estimation of just what sort of show this will be. The Strike Witches are shown flying around shooting down large planes with equally large weapons, their shirts flying open and their skirts blowing up to reveal pantsu and more pantsu. I don't know; perhaps their lack of pants allows them to jump into and use the Strike Unit easier? Maybe there simply isn't a realistic reason, but it certainly makes me feel a little better to think otherwise. The animation is good at least.

Miyafuji (center), Mio (left) and Perrine (I think) in the image above.

23 comments:

unit-1978 said...

real life pantsu = :) pantsu in anime...I could do without, lol. The anime sounds interesting enough though. This might sound weird, but I was at a used bookstore today and they had manga so Im flipping thru and blamo... I found i think it was vol. 3 of Gunslinger Girls. I was almost going to pick it up, but I thought its volume 3...If im going to get into it I'll do it from the start.

Kris said...

Honestly, the anime just didn't seem all that interesting to me. But I may have been blinded by frustration with the ecchi-ness. I was ~really~ turned off by it. Listening to a couple other people talk about it, it sounds like an ascetic choice, to make the boot attachments look better. They just...use it everywhere and all the time. I don't be watching it. Though strangely enough, I will be watching Sekirei. Probably helps that the Sekirei girls don't look like they're 12.

And yeah, start at volume one! Hope you can find a copy. If you really want to snag it, order from Amazon.

Kris said...

Er, I meant I won't be watching it. Stupid typos.

unit-1978 said...

I can agree with you. I have never heard of it, but yeah as I said the loli theme including the pantsu stuff as I said I could do without. Move on to the next series.

Kris said...

Aw, what you're not interested in the gay-boy-run bakery? ^_^

I'm sitting on two I downloaded this morning: a science fiction show called Birdy the Mighty Decode and something very interesting (at least animation wise) called Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto Natsu no Sora (man that's a mouthful). We';re running to Gamestop here in a bit though (Apollo Justice Hooray!), and Munich came in the mail, plus there's a family grilling thing tonight, and Venture Brothers...so I won't get around to them until tomorrow, probably.

unit-1978 said...

lol, yeah the whole gay-boy-run bakery...nothing against it, but its not for me,lol. Well sounds like you have a busy day/night. I look foward to reading anything else you write.

xJAYMANx said...

When I read this, sounded a bit like "Sky Girls" (I gave it 5 of 5 stars!) And lo and behold, "Strike Witches" is also "Mecha Musume"-styled by Humikane Shimada, albeit a more fantastical than futuristic approach.

For me, I can overlook the "ecchi" and "pantsu" elements, because oftentimes, these humorous superficial "emotional hooks" yield a more-intense more-dramatic pay-off when the storyline takes a darker more-sinister direction. "Kiddy Grade" (5 stars), "Negima!" (5 stars) and "Kodomo no Jikan" (4 stars, only due to shorter season) are a few other "dramedy" examples I can name right now.

So maybe I should give this series a shot. To see how dramatically it develops... But I wonder if its use of "Brittania" is a way to cash in on the success of "Code Geass", haha. ^_^;

unit-1978 said...

yeah it seems like the whole "Brinttania" theme is the new hip way to go for anime. At least it seems like that.

unit-1978 said...

dont mind my typos sorry

xJAYMANx said...

Unit: That's okay. ^_^;

Actually, while the "Britannia" name might seem to pop up more lately, I don't think the "Britannia" theme is anything new. The Japanese have been just as fascinated with European history and mythology, just as the West is intrigued by Asian philosophy and martial arts.

We can probably name tons of anime with European-type maids, knights, witches, wizards, priests, nuns, etc... "Fate Stay Night", "Petitte Cosette", "Le Chevalier D'Eon", "Rozen Maiden", and on and on...

Probably originated around WWI-to-WWII, when Japan was modernizing with a more Western school system~~ including Big Ben's school-bell tune and those irresistible European-sailor-style school uniforms, lol. ^_^;

unit-1978 said...

Yeah your right, I can think of a few early anime that sported the Knight theme and such. I guess it just really struck me as of lately.

Kris said...

Probably seems so because Code Geass is popular right now.

Anyway, posting may be slow this week. Everyone is home for vacation (my fiancee and his 9 year old son), so the main room is being hogged and I've been relegated into the back bedroom with my PS2.

I was reminded of Sky Girls as well, but I didn't get around to watching that one. I think I had planned to, but I got busy watching other things and by the time it was over, I decided just to delete it all instead. Wasn't super interested. I'm sure there's some lovely story hidden away in Strike Witches somewhere, but I'm not willing to to sit through all the pantsu to get to it. At least Sekirei is humorous; I wasn't really getting anything out of Strike Witches.

Didn't care for Negima, by the way. I adored Love Hina, but I sort of had to force myself to sit through Negima. It had its moments, but I was bored by it for the most part.

xJAYMANx said...

No worries, lol. Probably the male-female difference in preference... although I admit enjoying the more female-oriented "Escaflowne", "Fushigi Yuuji", "Pretear" and "Kaleido Star" (1 and 2) series too ^_^;

P.S. Don't worry, I'm way behind on Danny's posts and member posts too. Arghhh.

P.P.S. Btw, is there a way in Blogger to subscribe to a feed for *all* comments (like in WordPress), instead of having to set the "email follow-up" for *each* post?

Kris said...

That may be. But I've liked shows like Gosyosho-sama Ninomiya-kun. And like I said, I've been watching Kamen no Maid Guy. I can handle that stuff if the show is funny enough or has a good story. But it's also possible that I have a sort of pantsu tolerance level, and I can only handle so much at one time. ^_^ Strike Witches clearly goes overboard, so unless it has a mind blowing story, I'm just not interested.

I hate some of the purely female oriented stuff too, though. Like Someday's Dreamers, which I thought was awful.

And I'm not sure about subscribing to comments. I get an e-mail for every comment made, as it's my blog (even my own). So I really don't know, unless you set up an RSS feed (or whatever they're called), but I honestly know nothing about those.

xJAYMANx said...

Hmmm, intriguing... For "Someday's Dreamers", my speed review was: "WOW! Gently heart-breaking and heart-warming! Four (of five) stars!"

So clearly, it's not a male-female matter.

Perhaps you have a more competitive and rigorous set of tastes and standards (more picky, lol), while mine are more open and lenient (more forgiving, haha). Neither of which are wrong. But it does provide a tinted window into our contrasting personalities. O.o;

P.S. Thanx, I'll survive with the current email notifications. ^_^;

Kris said...

Haha, no it doesn't seem to be a male-female matter at all. I am very picky, and rather a snob. If I gave you a list of all the shows I loved and all the ones I hated, it would probably prove difficult to find a pattern. But out of everything I've seen (which is quite a bit), I've liked more shows that I disliked. In fact, it's rare that I see something I truly disdain (of course I tend to gravitate toward shows I'm more likely to enjoy, thus avoiding all together shows I might hate, which is normal).

For the record, you will never see anything here involving Dragon Ball, One Piece or Naruto - three shows I have the utmost disdain for. Bleach, on the other hand, is a show I never miss. So you see, there isn't much logic there. :)

xJAYMANx said...

Heyyy! We agree on "Dragon Ball" and "One Piece"!

But you'll love (cough-cough) my speed review of "Naruto" (only Season 1): DOUBLE WOW! Unexpectedly engaging and heartbreaking! 5 of 5 stars! Original post.

As for "Bleach", I never got past the first few episodes of Season 1. Don't know exactly why... But when I learn that a series has like 100+ episodes ("Naruto", "Bleach", "Inuyasha", "Gundam", etc.), there's this inexplicable force that pushes me away, and directs my attention towards shorter but more-numerous series...

Same reason why I liked "Sailor Moon", but stopped at Series 1 (only 46 episodes): WOW! Older, but surprisingly funny, energetic and lovable! 4 of 5 stars! Original post.

unit-1978 said...

Its funny cause I consider myself a anime snob also. I only watch certain shows and am trying to open up to other shows. I just cant get into certain animes knowing theres 100+ episodes out there.
Even Gundam...as much as a fan I am for the mecha designs...it usually stops there. The stories are just to long and drawn out and so much techno babble/political commentary that I usually cant make it thru.Excluding the Gundam MS 08th Team great stuff and Chars Counter Attack, but again I tell everyone, Gundam in general is just acquired taste totally. As I said even for me. Im more a fan of the Mechs than the show. Ive heard good about Bleach, but never seen it. Naruto...I watched episode 1, thought it was pretty good,but again knowing theres eleventeen million episodes out there didnt bother to even go on. Dragon Ball Z...well good story but again, I couldnt make it past 10 episodes. I usually try to find the movies now, so I can get the whole story in one shot, unless I just love the anime so much that I have to see the more indepth episodes.
I have to say from reading various blogs and visiting Danny's site, Ive been opened up to alot more anime. Some I like and some I dont. To each his own.

Kris said...

I tend to shy away from overly long series as well, but if they're really good, or I take an exceptional liking to them, I try to stick it out. I liked Inu Yasha for the most part, though I did get pretty tired of it at the end; I don't think I've seen the last bit of the series. I love Yu Yu Hakusho, but have not had the opportunity to see all of it. And then there's, for example, Case Closed/Detective Conan, which I enjoyed, but there are over 500 episodes (and it's still going, I think) and I just can't handle that no matter how much I liked it.

As far as Gundam goes, I mentioned before I'm not a fan of Mech shows. But I did enjoy G-Gundam, though that seems to be the series everyone else hated. :)

xJAYMANx said...

Unit: I definitely agree, to each his/her own. Having said that, films can obviously hit or miss when compressing 20+ episodes into 2 hours. Argh, I hate when it *misses* for lack of time or development...

But just within the last week, I finally saw the 2006 anime film "Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society", and I must say it's the finest of the "GitS" films. Not only b/c it's co-written/directed by Kenji Kamiyama, who directed the "GitS: Stand Alone Complex" Seasons 1 and 2, but ALSO b/c it scraps the over-philosophizing quotage in Mamoru Oshii's previous two "GitS" films, lol.

Probably the best representation of an anime series in film format. ^_^

unit-1978 said...

While I like G Gundam, some of the mech designs in that one are over the top, but still decent to watch.

As for the movies as Jay stated, I agree, thats the one thing the movies dont do that the single episodes do. If its a good movie it sums it up and ends it well, if not your left wondering about plot holes and certain characters and just plain background info, which usually the single episodes give you caues they can just continue to shoot them out.

Ive been meaning to catch that GITS movie as well.

xJAYMANx said...

Hey guys, 10 days after the last comment, I finally made time to watch the subject of this post. Yup, "Strike Witches" episode 1, and wow, as expected, I'm already impressed!

Overlooking the level of very-close-up pantsu-ecchi-ness (which isn't so overwhelming if you've seen "Najica Blitz Tactics", haha), the aerial-military-gun action is soaring and engaging, the orchestral music is gripping and amazing on a level reminiscent of "Escaflowne", and even the introduction of the central girl's family story was moving (in fact, almost tearful; just several more introspective episodes should bring the real tears) which are always great signs for an action-drama.

After just one blood-spilling episode, it's an easy 3-of-5 stars, with lots of room to go and grow into a likely 4 or even 5 stars. Moreover, having so many more characters than "Sky Girls", the possibility of a girl's tragic death or despair increases, along with the greater potential to overcome it, amidst heart-stopping twists and awe-inspiring triumphs. Let's go, Strike Witches!

Kris said...

Haha, well, I never denied that it was well animated! I at least gave it that much. :)