After discovering that Neuroi are capable of communication with humans and making peace with the nest above Gallia the Witches squads are now on a mission to re-establish communication when a sudden attack vanishes the Neuroi; they now discover a new and massive nest that just appeared covering almost all Europe. Ruthless and without mercy it annihilates allied forces along with Witches. Word of the attack reaches Fuso and a support battalion is deployed to rescue the survivors. Among the rescue team is the former Striker captain Mio Sakamoto and the now civilian Yoshika Miyafuji who want to save their dear friends.
Our favorite flying witches are back to liberate Europe from the Neuroi scourge! Without wearing any pants. For those of us who saw the original Strike Witches (or Pantsu Witches as I like to say) anime you had to know what you were going to be in store for. A lot of fan service, cute girls, and panty shots. But a funny thing happened with this over the top and gratuitous ecchi anime, it’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch!
Much like the original, Strike Witches 2 features a plot you could have written out on a cocktail napkin. The fight against the Neuroi continues, this time moving on to Romagna, which is the real world analog of Italy. The girls of the 501st Fighter wing are reformed to battle the Neuroi presence. Happily, especially early in the series the action is really ramped up. But what is likely to disappoint is the lack of any development of the enemy. None of the important events of the first series were carried over and the Neuroi returned to being a faceless and unthinking enemy. I was also disappointed that nothing new was explained about the disappearance of Miyafugi's father. The series does climax with an epic battle, culminating with the use of a special magical attack that is pretty much the only reoccurring plot element over the course of the show.
Despite the lack of any substantive plot however, the series does shine over each episode. Instead of a story, the episodes focus on building the characters of our various heroines. New witches are brought into the fold, the most interesting being Barkhorn's countryman and rival Mariselle. The episodes range from being the usual comedic silliness to light drama and quite a bit more yuri undertones than in the previous series. As expected the ecchi content is extremely high, so if that annoys you then this really isn’t your show. Much like the first season, the forthcoming DVDs will be featuring a bounty of boobs and booty, unblocked by the TV versions convenient sunbeams and steam clouds. Though as pervy as it is, for me it seemed much less exploitive and in your face as it did previously. So those who might be on the fence might be relieved to know that the series doesn’t revolve around seeing some underage girls panties, you just happened to see them a lot.
As with the original, SW2 features its unique mix of World War 2 history with all of the magic and witchcraft. Fans of military history will be delighted to see the attention to detail paid to the designs of all the various nations’ naval ships and right down to the aviation correlations with the witches Striker Units and the weapons they carry into battle. I am by no means an authority but I can tell the amount of research and attention to detail the production staff went to in order to have each of the girls use nation specific weaponry and unit names.
Because of the weakness of the main story, what really carries the series is its wonderful cast. While the cast is quite large and it’s really impossible to do justice to all of the girls, SW2 does a pretty good job at trying. Obviously you will get far more out of this series if you already have the familiarity with them that comes with seeing the first season. For the most part each girl or pairing gets their own episode to build on their characters. I found some characters that I didn’t particularly care for previously, such as Perrine, were much more fun and likable this time around. Though others like Lucchini remained annoying. As I mentioned earlier, more time was spent developing some yuri relationships between several of the characters. Though it’s nothing particularly significant, fans of that sort of thing are sure to be pleased.
Visually the art and animation is quite stunning. For me other than the pure fun I had watching it this was the best element of series. The girls are extremely cute and appealing and since we see so much of them in their birthday suits they are also realistically proportioned. The series combat scenes are exciting and chalk full of a combination of conventional battle and magical effects. The detail of the various backgrounds which feature many famous Italian landmarks and the countryside. Everything from the naval and military forces down to the ammo clips on the weapons has a very authentic feel to them.
The music really sets the tone for each episode. The upbeat OP performed by Youko Ishida pumped me up for the fun that proceeded after. The ED theme is similarly enthusiastic and changes up week by week as it is performed by different members of the cast. The background music also enhances the series many battle scenes. The seiyuu cast is strong and full of many of the industry’s top talents.
I loved this series enormously and I am going to be very sad to see it go away. Despite all the things about this show that should make every ounce of my feminist being burst into flames, Strike Witches was just really fun. Everything it lacks in substance (and clothing) is more than made up in sheer entertainment value. Turn off your brain and smile a little and I think you will enjoy it as much as I did. read more
Currently, we're two episodes in, and already the show has dived straight into the thick of things.
Naturally, this being a sequel to the original Strike Witches, it is pretty much a prerequisite that one has watched the first season before. However, in my opinion, this series may yet turn out to be better than its predecessor.
The story has as of yet not had time to develop, with the series still in the process of re-introducing the characters; however, the manner in which this has been done, including a first episode that parallels somewhat the manner in which the main protagonist was introduced in the first season, runs smooth as silk. Reintroduction episodes are normally rather snooze-worthy - Strike Witches Season 2 throws us into action right from the start with a dogfight within the first ten minutes of the first episode, hitting the ground already up and running. This sets up the rest of the show for more of the flygirl characters we know and love.
The art, no way else to put it, is amazing. AIC took over from Gonzo for this season, but the characters still look exactly the same - if not even better than before. The backgrounds, noticeably stiffer in Gonzo's animation, have been rendered in breathtaking quality. The vista-like skies add to the overall sense of freedom in flight that permeates the show, while the characters themselves appear to move unrestricted throughout the battle scenes. AIC's use of 3DCG characters is almost unnoticeable, with a very smooth transition between CG and frame-by-frame animation when the characters zoom toward and away from the viewer.
Naturally, this being Strike Witches, the pantsu shots fly freely. AIC has taken liberty with this, littering the show with perhaps one too many frames of female crotches. They're beautifully rendered crotches from a great many angles, no doubt, but toning down a little would greatly reduce the discomfiture of many (and greatly increase the chagrin of quite a few, I admit).
The sound is also rather mediocre. The OP and ED are instantly forgettable; the inserts, while nothing much, add greatly to the feel of the show, and in this way redeem themselves. The soundtrack is probably not something you'd listen to over and over again, but it does its job.
Nonetheless, the show is a step up from the previous series so far. The show seems to have gained a grander sense of things, a more "epic" feel, so to speak. Fitting for a show featuring golden-era fighter aces battling to save the world once again. The show has a long way yet to prove itself worthy of the original government-endorsed series of cultural excellence; but so far, it looks set to meet, and possibly even surpass, the original.read more
Strike Witches 2, the amazing sequel to Strike Witches
Much like the prequel the plot is really weak, we start off with the Strike Witches reforming after they disbanded at the end of the original series and through-out a number of the episodes nothing really develops, the Strike Witches would usually go on a little adventure and then go and defeat the Neuroi of the week. However just because an anime series doesn't have a strong plot doesn't mean it's bad, in fact it is quite the contrary. There are a number of great series out there with a weak or non-existing plot and this is one of them.
Every episode the Strike Witches would have it's own story which usually revolved around 1 or 2 certain characters. Every episode contained a different mood, it was always fun to watch and as bonus had some pantie shots (and a lot of ecchi too). There was a little bit yuri too (which I personally liked).
The characters, were amazing and more than made up for the weak plot. Since every episode would develop a different character (or different characters) you really feel for each of them. This entire series is carried by the lovable cast who are each very unique.
The art and animation was done really well. The battle scenes looked smooth and really detailed, the background was nicer this time around too. I really don't have much to say about this part other than AIC did a really good job.
The sound is pretty nice too with a catchy tune and a different character singing the ending song every week. The voice actors were good too, the voices fit each of their characters quite well.
In the end Strike Witches 2 was one of my favorites if not favorite series of the season. It's really sad that this series has come to an end but for the 100th anime series I've completed, I'm glad it was the memorable and very enjoyable Strike Witches 2. Thanks for reading.
I remember that Strike Witches ended with a sequel hook so I was eagerly awaiting the continuation of the 501st's war story as any simple minded lowest common denominator type of person that I am would. No surprises here when I went in expecting only more of the same as the first and not being disappointed.
Just to get us back in the groove, we are re-introduced as the war with the Neuroi takes a twist for the worse. Kicking off, we get straight to reassembling the team that led the fight starting with our friend to all living creatures protagonist and her mentor figure. But this is where the story lapses back to its slice of life mode and parallels the first season in how the story is presented. Its not saying that its bad, but the excitement built up is washed away, only to be replaced by the excitement you get for indulging in such a guilty pleasure. Thankfully, the series kicks back in to high gear once the pleasantries disperse. Its a great ride with a conclusive ending and there isn't much more satisfying than that.
Fanservice and the blatant lighting effects involved aside, the art is well done. Given that in-flight witches are sometimes rendered in 3-D, we are treated to more dogfights, and more action with little decrease in quality but say hello to uncanny valley. At least this time, there aren't any more plastic landscapes. Equipment is still as detailed as ever while the landscape looks as picturesque as could be, especially Rome (and I've been to Rome).
The sound holds up especially well, with the sound effects matching up well to the equipment used. However, it is once again, the soundtrack that does the score justice. It goes well with the scenes despite being a bit more prominent and adds to the series. In fact, there was this one track which serves as a prelude to an epic battle that should really have been named "Play this song and you will kick arse" and that serves as a triumphant example of what a soundtrack should do (in my opinion).
It is still more or less the same cast of characters so I was relieved when they were able to draw out more characterisation, how very little of it was left. Passable, and at least the side characters get some of their own little moments as well.
I can't say I didn't enjoy Strike Witches, guilty pleasure that it is, especially the Roman Holiday episode. Even if the plot is an excuse to see girls with a lack of pants fight aerial battles over the scenic Adriatic Sea, I find it hard to dislike. If you liked the first season, the second gives you more. And for those pining at the formal dissolution of the 501st, fear not, I suspect the 504th will pick up the sword and continue the fight.read more