Anime's featuring girls with magic that fight against invaders are one of the most common and popular anime genres in japan and as a result is quite popular and common. What sets brave witches apart from this is that its set within an alternate world where the various powers that would have fought ww2 have united to defend against the threat of an invasion by an alien race called the Neuroi. As a result Brave witches which is a spin off that takes place between the the first and second seasons of the strike witches anime is a combo of a military and magical girls
The main story of Brave witches follows the adventures of of Hikari Karibuchi a young witch that lives on the island nation of Sasebo as she joins the 502nd Joint fighter squadron in Orussia as they fight in the war against the Neuroi. Just as it is in fighting the war a crucial point of the story also deals with Hikari's establishments of friendships with the members of the squadron and her quest to get strong as well.
As stated the story of the anime takes place within an alternate earth and in this case largely takes place within the country of Orussia which is the alternate alter ego of Russia. Being an international effort other nearby countries that existed in that time period also contributes personal to the squadron.
Hikari voiced by veteran seiyuu Ai Kakuma of Asterisk wars and Rokka of the six flowers fame is one of the main characters of the show. A young witch that lives in the country of Sasebo thats part of the island of Fusu thats also the alternate version of Japan. Hikari is the younger sister of Takami Karabuchi a veteran witch and a rather famous one that is known for her accomplishments in the war against the Neuroi. Hikari's relationship with her sister Takami is one of the central points of the story and a well executed one at that. Personality wise Hikari is brave, determined and kind with perhaps her determination being her most prominent trait. Hikari's skills as a witch is not as powerful as her sister and indeed not much use to the squadron that she joined due to her low magic but instead of feeling dejected she consistently trains herself with endurance runs that take place in any weather. It is especially comical seeing Hikari do her runs in just her uniforms and bloomers when the areas around her are frozen solid. Hikari's determination to get stronger both to be of use to her friends in the squadron and to make her sister proud is an enduring trait of hers and seeing her manage to beat every trial that was stopping her really is nice to see. It was also nice to see that her quest to get strong has also allowed her to bond with and make friends with her squad mates who had low opinions of her at the beginning and eventually join them as a full member. Hikai i felt was a pretty good character that showed that with determination and perseverance one can clear any hardship and trial thats stands in your way.
Takami played by new seiyuu Rie Suegara is one of the main characters of the show. The older sister of Hikari Takami is a veteran witch and a veteran of the Neuroi war that is well known for her accomplishments in many battles of the war. Due to her abilities she was reassigned to the Orussia front to take part in a major operation there at the start of the anime that turned out to be anything but. Takami is confident, friendly and professional person that has little ego in the way and gets on well with people. Takami's relationship with her sister is an interesting one in that she cares deeply for Hikari but at the same time she is very protective of her knowing the limits of her magic and tries to protect her by not having her on the field at all. This does clash against the wishes of both Hikari and her squad mates and form one of the sub arcs of the last part of the anime. This aspect of her personality is actually quite understandable as having seen the ravages of war anyone would try and prevent their friends and family from entering it and taking the risks that are inherent on the field.
Despite being a new seiyuu i felt that Rie Suegara did a great job portraying Takami.
Naoe Kanno that is better known by her family name Kanno is one of the main characters of the show and is voiced by veteran seiyuu Rie Murakawa of log horizon fame. An aggressive and somewhat arrogant witch that is also a bit of a tsundere Kanno is a part of the 502nd joint fighter squadron and is one of Hikari's squad mates. Kanno and Hikari had a rather cold start to their friendship as Kanno had expected Hikari's sister who Kanno admires to be the one that would join them only to see Hikari instead. As a result their relationship was a bit rocky at first and true to her tsundere personality it wasn't until Hikari started to prove herself to her and the others that Kanno herself started to warm to her. Despite that Kanno still acts like a typical Tsundere well after that fact despite being one of Hikari's eventual best friends.
Nika better known as Nippa to Hikari and co is one of the main characters of the show and is voiced by veteran seiyuu Natsumi Takamori of Orange fame. A witch from the country of Suomus Nippa is a carefree, honest and fun loving witch that also has a big heart and often tries to stop arguments from breaking out between Hikari and Kanno. Nippa is part of the break witches group a group of witches that consistently trashes their engine units accidentally while engaged in their duties with Nippa being the worst offender of this group. Nippa was one of the first members of the squadron to befriend and bond with Hikari as both share similar circumstances with both being posted to a place where they know no one. This shared bonding i felt was interesting and quite natural given the circumstances. Nippa cares a great deal about Hikari and is one of her closest friends and allies in the squadron.
Edytha Roffman known as Roffman sensei to Hikari and sensei to the others is one of the main characters of the show and is voiced by veteran seiyuu Hiromi Igarashi of high school fleet fame. A veteran witch from Karlsland which is the alter ego of Germany in this alternate earth Edytha is a calm, methodical and logical person that acts as the second in command to the squadron and specializing in tactics and instruction. Within the story Edytha was one of the members that did not place must faith in Hikari which is the reason why she decided to train her in the first place. Despite appearing to be somewhat unforgiving towards her students Edytha has a strong sense of responsibility and would like to see Hikari succeed under her care. Edytha actually has a strong personal reason for being strict that i thought was interesting and seeing Hikari struggle in her training actually reminded her of that. Edytha like the others eventually saw the good in Hikari's skills and become one of her strongest allies and friends in the squadron. I thought that Edytha was a pretty good character and that her seiyuu Hiromi Igarashi did a great job portraying her. Seeing Edytha actually be moved by Hikari's determination was a nice thing to see.
Aleksandra known as Sasha to her friends is one of the main characters of the show and is voiced by veteran seiyuu Yumi Hara of Log Horizon fame. A veteran witch and a captain within the Orussia air force Sasha is generally in charge of combat operations in the absence of Rall. As a captain Sasha is a capable commander and strategist and additionally serves as the squadrons mechanic as her ability as a witch is related to maintenance of equipment. A professional, by the book and somewhat up tight person Sasha tries to remain detached during operations and only look at missions from a objective point of view that can clash with the likes of Hikari. Ironically that her story arc had her revisiting her hometown that she has not been too for some time and revisiting buried memories that she never knew she had. One of her most prominent traits is perhaps her uniform in that she is the only one that wears a skirt that really stands her out among the cast. A running gag within the series is her arguments with Nippa over her breaking of her units which i found to be pretty funny.
Waltrud is one of the main characters of the show and is voiced by new seiyuu Kayo Ishida. A veteran witch of the Karlsland air force like Edytha Waltrud is a mature, funny and professional person that never less can be easily distracted and also be quite reckless in battle. She is part of the Break witches along with Kanno and Nippa. However despite appearing laid back and humorous Waltrud can get serious when she see's her friends in danger and when she does gets serious she's a far different person to her usual joking self. A recurring theme of Waltruds is her horrible cooking skills and her womanizing ways and indeed Edytha is always the one that keeps her in line.
Shinohara Sadako is one of the main characters of the show and is voiced by new seiyuu Marin Mizutani. Like Hikari and Takami Shinohara comes from the country of Fusu and is one of the flight leads of the squadron specializing in recon duty due to her special abilities of magic eyesight. Additionally Shinohara also serves as the squadrons cook being an accomplished chef of her own right. Seeing Shinohara manage to make the characters happy with her food alone is hearwarming to see. Personality wise Shinohara is more like a mother in that she is caring, motherly and compassionate towards other while at the same time caring of others as well. The story arc that allowed Hikari to befriend both Shinohara and Georgette was a great one that i quite liked due to its simplicity. For a new seiyuu i thought that Marin Mizutani did a great job portraying Shinohara.
Georgette portrayed by veteran seiyuu Haruka Terui of Haito gensou no grimgar fame is the combat medic of the squadron and one of the main characters of the show. A witch from Gallia which is the alter ego of France in this alternate earth. Within the squadron Georgette serves as both the combat medic charged with keeping the squad members operational and also the resident cleaner as well. Despite being a healer she also actively takes part in combat with the rest of the squadron and has some skill in defensive maneuvers. Personality wise Georgette is a rather shy and meek girl thats also very quiet as well. Georgette doesn't deal well with strangers which is the reason why she avoided Hikari in the first place. However as a result of the arc that she shared with Shinohara Georgette eventually become good friends with Hikari. Georgette is one of my favorite characters of the show in that she's a rather gentle character thats at the same time kind and caring towards other while not being a total klutz lol.
Haruka Terui i felt did a pretty good job portraying her.
Arts and animation
Art for the series i felt was pretty good with the character designs being especially detailed and impressive. The environments shown was also detailed and well colored. The designs of the flying units that the girls use as well as the guns that they fired i felt were pretty well designed and animated. The combat scenes within the anime i felt were well designed and animated and some of them were very impressive.
Music for the series was pretty good especially the opening and ending themes.
Voice acting as a whole was pretty good and i felt that the series had a well rounded and talented cast. The series had a number of new seiyuus whose role in this anime was their first main roles and i felt that these which in this case included Kayo Ishida, Rie Suegara and Marin Mizutani did a great job in portraying their characters here. It also helps that the series also featured a number of veteran seiyuu's like Yumi Hara who voiced Sasha and Ai Kakuma and Haruka Terui who played the characters of Hikari and Georgette respectively that were able to help them and support them.
In conclusion i felt that Brave witches was a great anime in that it had a great story that emphasized on duty and friendship and a great setting that allowed witches of different countries to come together to face a common threat together. The series had some great characters that were all unique in their own right and a great cast of seiyuu's to portray. The arts and animation i thought was pretty good and the combat scenes got better and more detailed as the series went on. In the end i really enjoyed the story and while i haven't seen the strike witches anime that Brave witches sits between i might give that a ago as i liked the concept of girls armed with magic fight against alien invaders.
i want to start by saying i love strike witches and that ever i typed below is not a rant of hate but more like a constructive review. (like the creators will ever see this lolz)
after finishing watching brave witches and had recently finished watching strike witches (season 1 and 2 with movie) it seems this series was more like a cash in on the franchise, first off why introduce a new main character if you are just going to copy the likeness of the previous one, if you have seen the strike witches the movie you know that the main character can still fight
soo why not just keep the chars we had?. i swear at first i really couldnt tell the diference if it wasnt for a lame segment where hikari sees a news paper about unit 501 and how they won their battle, the side chars are not nearly as close as beeing memorable as the previous chars, i think they realized this so the had some cameos in some of the episodes. if the hole world witches deal is true i hope they dont wait time making new chars, i would say maybe less chars so you can put more time on to the plot and not char development. other than that animation and sound efects where good.
Brave Witches it's a spin-off of Striker Witches, but unlike the main show, Brave Witches had less ecchi and it's focus more in the plot and the development of the characters.
When I saw Strike Witches I had a big problem with the main character. It feels that Yoshika it's introduce as a complete developed character for the first chapters...
With Hikari I hadn't that problem, when you saw her in the first scenes you could understand perfectly that she's trying to reach someone, this someone is her own sister, Takami. Here we have the perfect point to start the plot.
We have a reason to
follow Hikari's path. As I said with Yoshika I don't have this feeling until the end of the first season and all the second season.
The story. It has the same background, Witches fighting an alien race called Neuroi. But as I wrote in the previous paragraph, the plot it's about Hikari trying to reach her big sister, because surpass it's her goal.
Speaking about the art of the anime, Silver Link has its own type of Drawing and it's beautiful. In Brave Witches the color, is well defined and invites to continue watching the anime.
About the sound... well it's good, the think that you will remember it's the opening, the ost it's not a think that I would remember.
About Characters, the episodes are focused in introduce us the Witches that form the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing and give they more importance than the Striker Witches 501. I mean, in Brave Witches you will see how Hikari relates to her companion in the 502. In Strike Witches I remember that until the second season we didn't know what power had each one.
I really enjoy with this anime. The best it's that this anime doesn't have an excessive amount of fanservice.
Overall, I think that if you watch Strike Witcher and you didn't like it you should see Brave Witches.
Edit (8-6-17): I'm not changing my review a lot. I know I didn't write that good of reviews back when I wrote it, but it's been helpful to people, so I'm not completely changing it. Even when I'm trying to write better reviews now, they're aren't necessarily getting as many helpful replies as even older, kind of poorly written, reviews, so no sense changing one of the begging reviews if it's been more helpful than a good amount of the better written ones. Anyhow, I realized when watching the dub as it was airing, just how sub par the animation quality is
due to the use of so much 3d cgi and I'm changing my score just slightly because of it. Unless I give a number rating to the category, assume it's still a personal 10.
As you can tell from my profile I'm a huge Strike/ Brave Witches fan despite not reading the manga yet and not having a lot of merchandise. Both shows are just simple fun and have a bunch of characters that are easy to like and there's a lot of great character interactions.
Although, the story is pretty much the same, Brave Witches is different. To start, there's a lot less fan service. aka panty shots. All the characters are also new and Eila and Sanya actually appear in three different episodes, even though their appearances are brief; it was nice to see them since Strike Witches the movie showed that they are good friends with Nikka, aka Nipa. Character special abilities were different too. Since some differentiation was needed, these three bits worked.
The story is definitely weak, but I won't take points off because I don't care if the story is strong or weak, usually. It's just about a young Witch being recognized by a squadron and having to work harder than anyone else just to meet the minimal requirements. Just like Strike Witches, this story of growth has it's own flare with wonderful characters interactions, fun scenes, amazingly fun to watch yet simplistic battles, and so much more.
The art is very well done for the type of show it is, even though it wasn't always consistent, but a lot of show aren't and at least, the picture didn't seem to get really grainy for no reason. I'm taking a point off though because the sub par 3d cgi does ruin a look slightly and it affects the visual experience enough to deem a 1 point reduction, even though I love the memorable character designs and everything else., making my score a 9/10. The animation is sub par though, due to the 3d cgi so I'm only giving a 6 for this part.
I'd have to say that Brave Witches/ shows and things based on the Strike Witches world always shine with amazing theme songs, great character development, and amazing character interactions. Out of all the opening and ending themes, the only 1 I can take or leave is Fly Beyond from the Operation Victory Arrow episode for Francesca and Shirley. Connect Link, the Brave Witches opening, and Little Wing-Spirit of Lindberg (BW ending) are three of my favorite anime theme songs. The background music is amazingly done too and it stands out from other soundtracks even though some tracks seem to be repeated with different lengths, slightly modified sound, etc.
I've always loved the characters, character development, and the interactions between characters as well. My order of favorite characters goes: Takami, Edytha, Nipa, Gundula Rall, Geogette, Waltrud, Hikari, Sadako, Sasha, Naoe; I don't hate any of them, but they can't all get top spots. Almost every character gets their own episode to show their development, and of course Hikari's too. They still develop beyond what's seen in their episode, but the major highlights about the thoughts and feelings are shown in their episode.
Overall, I have no major complaints. I've always loved the Witches from this world, even though I definitely like some as much as others or even as much as characters from other shows. For me, the enjoyment was definitely there, but it is slightly lessened due to the 3d cgi messing up the visual aspect slighty; my enjoyment still ranks a 9.5/10 though. Brave Witches is one of three anime that I've watched from like September to now that have pretty much instantly made it into my top favorites; the other two being "The Future Diary" and "The Seven Deadly Sins". It's definitely an honor for an anime to be an instant favorite since it doesn't happen all that often. Well, that's all I got and thanks for reading. It would be a really time consuming task to list out all of the character development and such so I'm sorry that category doesn't have a lot of detail.
I forgot to add that you'll get to see a very funny scene with Nikka (Nipa) and Naoe towards the end of episode 12.
New last remark (from the edit): My final score is now a 9.4 instead of a perfect 10. It's not a huge switch in my score, but I felt that I should re-evaluate it a little, after I noticed the sub par use of the 3d cgi. My final scores are 10 for story, 10 for characters, 10 for sound, 7.5 for art and animation combined, and 9.5 for enjoyment. I hope you still really enjoy Brave Witches despite the cg problem.
Ten years ago "moe anthropomorphism" was a bit of a new thing. The shock that you could turn WWII fighter jets into small Japanese and British girls and pit them against literal space-nazis in a weird U.N. coalition alternate timeline that also featured superpowers granted only to the aforementioned pubescent girls was new. The final item in the mix? None of them are ever wearing pants. It was an ecchi-military-action-moe-comedy that catered to such an incredibly niche audience you couldn't help but be endeared. The question of who would watch this was overshadowed by how was this made. Of course, Strike Witches became a cult
Now after two seasons, a film, and some spin-off OVAs the second iteration of Strike Witches called Brave Witches is here. With the exception of cameos, none of the original cast of characters return. The original series seemed to be pretty concluded, so the existence of this third season is already a bit confounding. You could honestly watch this series as a standalone work and I'm pretty sure that was why this work involved a name change instead of a sequential numbering. It's formulaic to the original work down to the final battle, and Brave Witches greatest problem is that the shock value has completely worn off.
The reason why Strike Witches worked was because it was so bombastic and so unapologetic. There were episodes dedicated to dumb ecchi shenanigans in ways that made your jaw drop. These were never overtly sexual, they were just really really ridiculous. Episodes dedicated to one of the girls refusing to put on underwear to attend an award ceremony and another one involving how to pick up brooms with your ass. These thinly veiled attempts at keeping the viewer involved worked because they were so outrageous. The creators had come up with an insane and nonsensical setting, story line, and character backgrounds all for what? To show you panty shots. It sounds stupid and it is. But it's that overly-complex dedication that wooed me and others to this series.
The reason why Brave Witches doesn't work is because it is safe and repetitive. The characters still don't wear pants but it feels natural at this point. The shock of the new is gone, and the dedication to create insane new scenarios to perplex the viewer seems to have left the creators' minds. The narrative from episode one to twelve is an atypical shounen series. The main character decides to join the Brave Witches despite not having any talent for magic and then ends up attempting to save the world. The characters are more muted than they were in the previous series, with most of them barely receiving any characterization or memorable lines. The worst part is that each character seems to be a carbon copy of a character from Strike Witches. Even the visuals don't look like they have been updated since 2007. For a 2017 anime, Brave Witches feels like it's just punching the clock.
My parting words on this series is that I really didn't expect much from it and I was still let down. As a fan of Strike Witches the last thing I expected from Brave Witches was wholesome family content and that's what I got. If Brave Witches wanted to lecture me about camaraderie and familial bonds I genuinely wished these girls were wearing pants. And that is the saddest part of Brave Witches. I walked into a series that had a very unique feel to it and left feeling betrayed because that special spark the creators imbued into this universe was gone. What's left is a generic mess riding on the coattails of it's parent series former glory.
First of all, before I start my review, I want to explain that I am an avid fan of the World Witches and I went into this new anime with unbearable levels of excitement. I am very well versed in the franchise by reading the novels, manga, short storys, watching the anime, translating several works, and operating two Strike Witches fan communities with the intent of using the powerful fanbase to create new and exciting things. So... while I intend this review to be more of a constructive-criticism type... it may come off to some people as overhwelmingly negative. This doesn't mean that I didn't
like it... it just means that I went in with exceedingly high expectations, only to set myself up for disappointment when Brave Witches brought nothing new and exciting to the table. So if you want the brief review, here it is: Brave Witches is a stagnant installation to the series and is at best, a mediocre product that is the result of a careless cash-in opportunity.
So uhh.... if you wanna hear more misery like that, please read on! If not, I hope you will read my words and garner a better understanding of my critical perspectives. Enjoy!
SETTING – 7/10
For those familiar with the World Witches franchise, I don’t have to do a lot of explanation on the setting. Set in an alternate World War II situation where mankind is fighting a common alien threat, the Neuroi, Brave Witches is the third anime series produced in the World Witches franchise after a movie and 3 episode OVA series. It is the first animation project to adapt the story of the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing based in Petersburg, Orussia, A cold, desolate, and snow-covered territory being overrun by a Neuroi hive known as ‘Grigori.’ When the announcement for a new World Witches anime was made, I was incredibly excited that we’d be following a different squadron in a different location. The grittier and less luxurious nature of the Orussian base is in stark contrast to the posh and colorful Mediterranean setting of the Strike Witches anime. While more detail of the Orussian front could’ve been explored over the 12 episode TV run, it still offered a new perspective on the series that I think a lot of the fans stuck on the surface can dive into a little more. The producers’ decision to move on to another squadron is progressive and crucial to keeping the series alive.
The Neuroi enemy itself doesn’t shine quite as brightly in Brave Witches as they did before, feeling more like an episodic “Villain of the Day” type of antagonist rather than a looming, dangerous, and mysterious one with a solid backstory. In fact, Brave Witches did little in the way of explaining anything about the Neuroi or where they come from – something that has bothered Strike Witches fans for a very long time. Instead, there is a sense of detachment between the writers of the anime and the original works in that they are adding too many complexities and new concepts such as shape-shifting and ice-forming Neuroi into a setting that is already very complicated and not fully fleshed out. Magic has also been used in new ways, almost as a convenient plot device where it could've benefited the 501st JFW, had they been given the same skills in their anime. In this way, Brave Witches almost feels like a step back because they have essentially written themselves into a bigger hole to climb out of. Instead of getting the answers we wanted from this series, I believe it only raised more questions. Luckily a few hints of creativity and a refreshing snowy white battlefield was just what we needed to get the series rolling again and hopefully more anime features in new and unique locales will follow.
STORY – 7/10
Upon the initial announcement, fans could easily assume that the story would be a fairly close adaptation to the original short story written about the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing, but in fact it never even touched on the literature. Instead of Shimohara Sadako taking the lead role, we are set to follow the Karibuchi sisters in their life-changing experiences with the Orrusian unit. Brave Witches is nothing short of a predictable and old-fashioned story of triumph in the face of adversity as we watch the young and zealous Hikari take place of her elder sister Takami whose overconfidence put her in a life-threatening situation. The story of how Hikari joined the 502nd and her attempts to fit in are admittedly more brief and sincere than the Yoshika’s tale of the 501st JFW, but at times it does feel a bit rushed and hammered by clichés. All-in-all, there are points where the story feels genuine and likable.
Progression of the plot in Brave Witches is very slow but never really builds up to much. There is a shockingly long and unexplained absence of Takami through the middle of the series that made watching every new episode feel like she had been completely forgotten. However, a startling return later on shows that tension had been building between the sisters. This actually came as a surprise to me and many other viewers, but sadly I think that was only time I was caught off guard. The drama, while more scarce than it should be for a war story, was handled fairly well and I did find myself almost tearing up at one point. Thankfully, after the story teases us with a dreaded repeat of Strike Witches season 1 and 2 featuring “Neuroified weapons,” the story takes another more reasonable turn. Perhaps it’s a bit too reasonable because from start to finish, every moment of Brave Witches was being played safely. Nothing really new or exciting found its way into this plot, leaving it as just another anime pushed out the door for profits. It’s a shame really, considering the incredible amount of well-written source material at their disposal. In comparison to what could have been, Brave Witches fell disappointingly short.
CHARACTERS – 6/10
As previously mentioned, what most folks anticipated would be a story following the 9 members of the 502nd JFW turned out to be more with the addition of the Karibuchi Sisters. Fortunately, despite stealing the spotlight from Sadako, Hikari and Takami karibuchi turned out to be rather remarkable characters and held a strong lead in the entire anime. Character development in typical Strike Witches fashion, is strong for some, and weak for others. With 11 characters to develop and only 12 episodes to do so, time is very limited to learn about each character’s personalities, backstories, and their shortcomings. Brave Witches understandably spends most of its episodes focusing on Hikari’s growth and triumph, but the balance of character development for the rest of the 502nd JFW is quite troubling. Characters like Naoe Kanno and Nikka Edvardine-Katajainen, who some people have complained about are annoying, also spent a long time in the spotlight, detracting from other characters such as Gundula Rall, Edytha Rossman, and Shimohara Sadako mostly. With each character given an average of 1 episode to grow, it feels like most of them never had the chance to shine. Strike Witches solved this issue by adding a second season. Perhaps Brave Witches will endure the same treatment.
Characters are the stronghold for the World Witches Series. With well over 100+ witches to explore, it’s got more than enough content and lovable characters to keep coming back for more. Most of them even have incredible depth and uniqueness, without ever being adapted for the TV screen. and Brave Witches’ best quality is the expansion of anime characters that we have waited so long for. It does my heart good to see a new cast, taken mostly from existing witches of Humikane’s creation. The anime does have a few weird moments however, with the appearance of an unnamed Brittanian witch that was never even properly introduced. Also the acknowledgement of Land Witches and brief cameo by Aurora Juutilainen at the very end are a subtle nod to fans, but kind of unexpected. Brave Witches does miss out on a lot of chances however, to feature even more background characters. Especially that the entire time the anime was aired, the 507th JFW was consistently mentioned and shown on the map, but never played a role in the story. Nor did the Suomus witches who sent gifts for the Saturnus Festival episode. The producers decided instead to bring back Eila and Sanya from the previous anime. I cannot complain because this gave these characters the screen time they were robbed of when they were excluded from the Operation Victory Arrow shorts and even though I’m not a fan of either character, their presence was rather comforting in the otherwise unsettling new atmosphere.
ART & ANIMATION – 5/10
I don’t mean to sound like a meme here, but it’s 2016 and we really deserve better than this. I think fan reception is pretty unanimous in saying that Brave Witches’ weakest aspect is its sub-par artwork and animation. This new anime was their chance to refresh the series and give it a new tone, maybe even closer to Shimada Humikane’s fascinating artworks which are gritty and rich with earth tones that add to the war setting. But instead, what we got from SilverLink studios seems to be using Strike Witches season 2 as a starting point, and then regressing steadily to the point where it almost looks like a major downgrade. World Witches has jumped animation studios 3 times since its inception and although SilverLink showed consistency and promise with the Operation Victory Arrow series, Brave Witches is not quite on the same level.
The most notable issue with Brave Witches’ animation, apart from a few goofy and disproportionate characters and recycled or discolored frames, is the excessive use of CG. While CG has its place in animation, the liberal use in Brave Witches is really jarring and distracting. From one moment of typical hand-drawn expressions you could suddenly be looking at a lifeless potato flying though the sky and back again by the next scene. The lack of detail is utterly disturbing and furthermore the choreography and movement of the CG characters is very poorly planned, killing off all sense of danger and action that should’ve been present. Most of these issues can possibly be blamed on a rushed animation schedule, using CG only to as a quick placeholder for upgrading at a later date. We can only hope that by the time the BD/DVD is released, SilverLink will have been wise enough to reanimate large segments of the anime to bring it up to acceptable levels of quality. Sadly it looks like they have a lot of work to do if they want World Witches anime adaptations to continue to be taken seriously.
SOUND & MUSIC – 6
Music and sound has always been a rather prominent part of the original Strike Witches in my mind. I remember the astonishing quality of the sounds that the Striker Units and various weapons used. It was as if the sound engineers actually recorded each and every airplane and gun specifically for each character which added so much to the realism and immersive nature of the original series. Add in the wonderfully catchy and grandiose tune of the 501st JFW theme song, and it was a winner. Now while I may be in no position to judge because my surround sound system is currently broken, I felt as if Brave Witches did not make as much effort and is leagues behind competitive anime such as Girls und Panzer who dominate in the sound effects department.
The original compositions for background music are nice and pleasant, but lack the mystique and emotion of the Strike Witches soundtrack. It’s important that the music is indicative of the 1940s time period and honestly more could be done to enhance that atmosphere. OP and ED songs are par for the course and to me don’t fit the military theme very well, but there is nothing wrong with the otherwise well made into and outro songs. There is no memorable 502nd JFW theme to speak of. Guns and Strikers, while still loud and clattery as usual, felt a bit more generic this time around too and every gunshot and engine startup sounded the same. Had Brave Witches been a bit more ambitious in it sound and music, I think it would’ve done wonders for making the series more memorable and charming.
OVERALL SCORE – 6.2/10
Overall, despite my negative ramblings, Brave Witches has a bar minimum solid base to stand on. It’s not a “bad” anime by any means, but it’s certainly not anything new or special, especially compared to some of the rival anime being produced today. World Witches could’ve used this chance to revitalize and bring more people into the series but instead it rested on its laurels and is destined to let itself fade to mediocrity unless something can be changed soon. And I do think the high expectations of long-time Witch fans like myself do play into this disappointment factor, but underneath this mumbling I am truly happy that Brave Witches was made and I am glad I have had the opportunity to watch and analyze it. I hope they will continue to produce more anime adaptations and hopefully I will get to see my beloved 507th JFW in the form of a film or OVA in the near future. I’m just hoping that in the meantime, producers of the anime will look back and what they have created and start focusing on how they can improve the series to make it more satisfying for fans and more competitive in the ever-advancing and extremely cut-throat anime industry. I think all of us in some way could say "I would have differently," but we just have to play with the cards we are dealt.
Is Brave Witches worth watching? I will say quite readily that it is only right for people who are truly fans of the World Witches series. Outsiders might find it a little unwelcoming and hard to understand. They probably won’t find themselves latching onto the characters too well either. I never thought I’d actually say this because I’m not particularly fond of the 501st JFW, but I have looked at my given options and decided that I got far more enjoyment from Strike Witches than I did with Brave Witches. Let’s hope whatever comes next will blow our pants off in true Witches pantsless fashion!
I see no actual reason why people might enjoy this anime. It is a spinoff of "strike witches" but doesn't bring anything to the table whatsoever.
It focuses on a completely new group of witches but everything from character developemend to world developement is plain out idiotic. Now I have to make it clear that it doesn't focus on advancing the plot at all, since it focuses more on the slice of life part here which is made ridiculously clear since they are supposed to be in the front lines battling alien enemies and all of the front lines is managed by 7 girls that mostly,
don't even battle, but instead have "fun".
So if it's not about the story and it's about character developement, how does that hold up? Well, short answer is, it doesn't. They have choices where you can pick a good candidate for a fight or a complete klutz and they choose the worse person because they are the main character. They have moments where they literally state something concrete and then in the next episode, disregard it completely.
I have no problem with anime that is absurd but once it stops following its own logic, it has failed.
You can see more of my angry rant here:
I didn't bother to do a review on Strike Witches since it was a typical show without much to be addressed. Brave Witches however, is wrongfully underrated and unloved, hence this review. No major spoilers ahead.
Is it a masterpiece? Far from it. Personally I'd give it a "7". But an "8" on MAL is "very good" and if Strike Witches is considered a "7" here then I have no shame in giving Brave Witches an "8". Keep in mind that the rating system is flawed and numbers are meaningless without context. This review is tailored around the
comparison between Strike and Brave Witches. (Don't worry i'm not spoiling anything in Strike Witches either)
Hikari is a much better main character than Miyafuji from Strike. To start things off, Hikari does not have plot-given powers. In fact, she's considered weaker than your average witch by power level and had to fight tooth and nail just to get her spot in the 502 Brave Witches. Comparatively, Miyafuji possessed an abundant amount of inherent power, had a direct connection to the 501 Strike Witches and a mentor that literately sought her out. Just based off of this alone i found Hikari to be a much more realistic and relatable character. Hikari also got a much better development arc. From ep1, we see her deal with being weak and constantly overshadowed by her sister which fuels her desire. Miyafuji's character progression doesn't excel till much much later in the Strike franchise. I found it especially neat that Hikari doesn't flinch at insults thrown at her in the 502 since she's dealt with it her whole life. I found it a lot easier to root for and be inspired by Hikari than i initially did with Miyafuji.
This is where i argue that Strike Witches did a much better job... In two seasons + movie. I cannot deny that most side characters from Strike are more mainstream and recognizable than that of Brave Witches. That being said, Brave Witches played to its strength and didn't bother with giving equal screen time to each character, rather it focused more on the select few that really mattered. Instead of extensive use of flashbacks, flat exposition of a character's tragic past or lines like "That's ____ who did this amazing thing back in ____"; Brave Witches focused more on the present and chemistry between the characters. I'm not saying that Brave Witches is without bad character moments or that Strike Witches is filled with them. Comparatively, Brave Witches just had a lesser %composition of those cliche and poorly written parts, but Strike Witches as a whole has had more character developments overall.
I absolutely despise the CG used in Brave Witches. It's painfully obvious when the CG came on and it took a heavy toll on the battle-scenes. A few instances it was used well but the majority of the time it was flat out terrible. The normal animated parts are well done, and scenes that really mattered were at least not CG.
Brave Witches contains fewer of your typical anime-cliches which is nice, it also contain my most memorable(and favorite) episode in all of the World Witches anime universe. I especially enjoyed seeing the specialized/new enemy types introduced to the series. There are also less obvious Ex-Machina moments throughout Brave Witches. Aside from all that the story/writing quality is on par with Strike.
I suppose if you were someone that honestly watched 2 seasons and a movie just for fan service in "Strike Witches" you'd be truly disappointed with the dramatic decrease in fan service when it comes to Brave Witches. Sucks for you, but personally i'm kinda glad that Brave Witches focused less on fan service and more on the real plot. (There's not even a beach episode, the horror!) The characters are still always in their underwear/tights and there are some fan service shots so stay calm and keep in mind that something is better than nothing. The OVA does make up for some of it too.
I may be just speculating, but the nostalgia and attachment to characters in Strike Witches has resulted in a significant portion of the fan-base developing bias against Brave Witches. Actually, it's more than just speculation when a large portion of the comments everywhere are "Mio is still the strongest", "Where's my waifu Sanya?" and "I hope the 501 witches is in the next episode". In reality, Brave Witches is just as, if not much better than Strike Witches especially when it comes to story and character. In the context of the whole Strike Witches franchise, Brave Witches is an easy "8" and honestly "very good" compared to most animes out there.
This is more of a comparison to its parent story Strike Witches.
This anime is very similar to Strike witches and when I say similar, I mean very similar.
Character development and story progression were almost exactly the same with a few minor changes.
Art is similar to Strike witches despite being made by different studios. There are hints of 3D-CGI that slightly throw things off when it appears.
Animation here is an improvement, battles are no longer (how do i say this without spoiling/summarizing part of it) linear. Fight scenes are slightly more inspired is all i can really say without giving too much away.
MAL says this is
a side story of Strike witches but its also a sequel to it. they tie the 2 stories such that its almost necessary to watch the parent story Strike witches first to know whats going on.
This show illustrates the value of knowing clearly what path you want to take, persistence in pursuing that path, and seizing opportunity as it presents itself. Also touches on how others can be flexible, find ways to utilize such passionate spirit, and how those with "talent" can be inspired by those that show results through hard work.
The show, overall, was average at best. No part of the production quality really stood out. The main reason I rate it below average is because it was fairly emotionless, with tragic and suspenseful moments not registering. I tend to like military oriented shows for the mixture of various
backgrounds/cultures, and the eventual camaraderie, but this had none of those qualities other than one event involving members from a neighboring base. I can only call it cute, but it if you want cute girls + military, I'd recommend Girls und Panzer.
Suggestions to producers:
Story - kind of cheap to use intermission screens full of text to create story background, but I'll take it. The story needed a lot more individual purpose behind it. Attack on Titan did this and its story is at least 2x better. Needs some depth, regarding how people with different personal interests manage to unite under a cause.
Art - not going to suggest the liberal use of sakuga, but there were many times I wanted to *see* things in more detail, like just how close are the enemy shots are getting to witches closing distance on the target, or their perspective of aiming and firing at moving targets, or even how they reload. Show what makes the Brave Witches the only hope for humanity vs this threat. Other than from the results they produced, I really didn't get to see how characters were badass.
Sound - don't treat this as such a low priority, if you want drama, suspense, emotion, etc. to actually come across. I just watched Macross Delta and its sound carried it, while a show like Cross Game can evoke tearjerking moments with a simple soundtrack. Don't need to spend Yuki Kajiura or Hiroyuki Sawano money...
Character - you don't have to make them look like they're wearing totally different uniforms to give them individual style. In fact, giving them all something different devalued their individuality to simply showing their origin. Good to show the difference in culture when they were playing on a sled, but that scene seemed like a waste of airtime. How'd that girl forget a traumatic place she visited? Didn't get to learn much about the high ranked/veteran members, other than one having an old injury and another liking "grape juice"...
Enjoyability - this is subjective and personal, but I am apologetically interested in certain values in all shows I watch, primarily valuing lessons on life. The message I got from this show was quite cheesy. I like watching acts of bonding and comedy, but apart from scarf girl becoming less tsun towards genki girl, nothing of the sort really happened. I wasn't too eager to watch more, driven by more of an urge to finish the series than an urge to know what happens next.
Overall - this show was carried by the setting, story and the art design. Everything else seemed to be a compromise.