In September 1944, allied forces led by the 501st Joint Fighter Wing "Strike Witches" successfully eliminate the Neuroi threat from the skies of the Republic of Gallia, thus ensuring the security of western Europe. Taking advantage of this victory, allied forces begin a full-fledged push toward central and eastern Europe. From a base in Petersburg in the Empire of Orussia, the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing "Brave Witches," upon whom mankind has placed its hopes, flies with courage in the cold skies of eastern Europe.
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.