Strike Witches is set in an alternate version of 1944, where the events of World War II are very different than what we know to be true. Alien invaders known as the Neuroi came to Earth in 1939. This is not the first appearance of the Neuroi as they have appeared at seemingly random intervals throughout human history. While the Neuroi primarily attack humanity using aircrafts, their mothership is able to produce a deadly miasma, a chemical that is fatally poisonous to humans, forcing the populations of affected areas to flee their homes. The Neuroi then use the poisoned areas to plunder Earth's natural resources to use against humanity. Luckily the miasma cannot spread across water, making the ocean humanity's main line of defense against the Neuroi.
With normal humans unable to fight in the miasma, witches have become the forefront of military defense against the Neuroi. Each witch is able to deploy a defensive field around themselves that not only blocks the miasma but protects them from physical attacks as well. Utilizing leg mounted machines called Striker Units to fly into combat, the witches use their magical abilities to wield devastating weapons too large and ungainly for a normal person. The series follows the battles fought by the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, who battle on the front lines to defend the British Isles from the Neuroi. Will humanity be able to take back Earth and bring peace to their home? Find out in Strike Witches!
#01: "Bookmark A Head" by Misato Fukuen and Saeko Chiba (eps 1-2) #02: "Bookmark A Head" by Misato Fukuen and Kaori Nazuka (ep 3) #03: "Bookmark A Head" by Misato Fukuen and Mie Sonozaki (ep 4) #04: "Bookmark A Head" by Chiwa Saitō and Ami Koshimizu (ep 5) #05: "Bookmark A Head" by Mai Kadowaki and Erika Nakai (ep 6) #06: "Bookmark A Head" by Miyuki Sawashiro and Sakura Nogawa (ep 7) #07: "Bookmark A Head" by Rie Tanaka and Saeko Chiba (ep 8) #08: "Bookmark A Head" by Misato Fukuen and Miyuki Sawashiro (ep 9) #09: "Bookmark A Head" by Misato Fukuen and Rie Tanaka (ep 10) #10: "Bookmark A Head" by Saeko Chiba and Miyuki Sawashiro (ep 11)
#11: "Bookmark A Head" by Misato Fukuen, Saeko Chiba, Rie Tanaka, Miyuki Sawashiro, Kaori Nazuka, Sakura Nogawa, Mie Sonozaki, Chiwa Saitō, Ami Koshimizu, Mai Kadowaki, and Erika Nakai (ep 12)
*A Japanese government endorsed loli-pantsu anime.*
Please don't say it is bad just because you find girls in panties horrifying. I admit it is lousy for the director to claim that girls in panties = fashion in the Strike Witches' world, but that alone is no reason to give a bad rating to an anime (if you do, I am sorry, you don't know how to rate at all). Strike Witches is MUCH deeper than one may expect to find from a fanservice-oriented series.
--Updated on February 12, 2009--
The Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs has recently openly endorsed Strike Witches as an example of cultural excellence.
The world of Strike Witches is pretty much parallel to our world up to 1939 (before World War II). At that time, mysterious beings known as Neuroi invaded Europe. Thus rather than the real WWII, this resulted in a war between Human VS Neuroi. The story revolves around a group of girls with special magical powers that allow them to equip the "Striker Units" to combat the Neuroi. The story proceeds nicely with these magical girls fighting Neuroi, but sadly the ending seem to be a bit "wishy-washy".
The art and animation quality is great for the most part. The battle scenes, in particular, are extremely well made. In short, we see a nice blending effects from the battle animation with the regular drama scenes. All episodes seem to have highly consistent animation and of course, the DVD includes polished artwork and fanservice.
The OP and ED are both good although not particularly outstanding and there's a good chance you'll forget about them after a few days. However, the melody of the songs suit the theme of the anime quite nicely. In addition, the battle themes and the Japanese version of Lili Marlene (a famous German love song that was popular during World War II) all contributed nicely to the series and are valuable assets to the show.
The production group did a nice job at introducing the main/supporting characters and then slowly further develop them. Actually, the character introductions might explain why the story started out slowly (after all there are 11 girls to talk about). If there is one thing I find the characters disappointing it is that some of the witches' specialty were not revealed until the end (most were never mentioned).
Though I didn't like to see girls showing off their panties the way they are done in this anime, but putting that aside, the show itself (from story to art to sound to character) is very well planned out and the fact that they include references to the real WWII is just that much more interesting to watch. (*edit* The ending was really surprising, hope you'll enjoy the show just as much as I did)read more
I don't know what it was that intrigued me about this show when I first saw it but I was very interested in seeing it after the first episode. In the end it was a bit disappointing though because early on I thought it had the potential to be something very special.
As others have said, Strike Witches is automatically going to appeal to a certain group of people, and you probably already know who you are. Basically SW is the battle of Britain with Loli witches riding mechanical brooms fighting mysterious aliens and carrying huge guns... without pants. Yes I don't understand the last part either. If you love cute girls in their panties and LOTS of highly detailed shots of those girls in said panties, this is definitely your show! Also judging from the amount of bath scenes there is surely to be a lot of boobs for those who watch the DVD release.
Not that any of the above really offends me, because it doesn’t. But I hate to see the story suffer because of excessive fan service, and in Strike Witches case it does. In a 12 episode series there is very little time to develop the characters and storyline, and SW wastes at least 2 full episodes catering to fan service. One episode is devoted entirely to the girls walking around without their panties on and stealing each others.
The story which started with a lot of promise really loses steam as it winds down. So much is left unexplained and the motives of the Neuroi are never explained. A very significant plot hole remains unexplained in the final story arc and it just felt like a downer when you don’t get a very satisfying conclusion.
You might think because of the above comments that I hated this show, but I really didn't. The show does do a number of things right. First the animation is really good. The girls are really cute and I fell in love with all of them. The show does manage to develop all their personalities pretty well. There is a lot of action too, the air battles with the Neuroi are pretty fun. The OP and EN songs are pretty good but aren’t really anything special.
In the end the show was fun to watch but I am left feeling a bit let down. It just didn't live up to the potential it had early on. Some people are going to like this show a lot though. If you’re looking for some mindless fun for several hours with the bonus of pantsu then you should check this show out. read more
Though Strike Witches isn't nearly as generic as the first few eps would lead you to believe, it's still nothing to get all in a tizzy about. Moe cliches and fetishism abound, you already know the audience with one glance, and if you're in that audience it's not half-bad.
Strike Witches is about young girls fighting faceless enemies in an alternate WWII era. Inexplicably, they sprout animal ears and tails when they use magic and pants don't seem to exist anymore. As you can probably guess, this isn't a show heavy in plot. What makes it relatively enjoyable is that the plot (and use that word very loosely) is often negated in favor of servicey hijinks and yuri subtext. Well, at least the show knows it's audience.
This 1940s farce is headed by a gaggle of 16-year-old girls who look half that age, but somehow have boobs. The girls' personalities are relegated to such archetypes as tsundere, big-boobed klutz, brat, etc. etc. They're somewhat redeemed by being reverse-gender caricatures of famous WWII leaders. Go figure.
The art, though GONZO, is relatively subdued. It's aesthetically pleasing outside of the Neuroi and flows smoothly. Best of all, there's no CG glut commonly associated with anime of this studio.
The soundtrack is just a hair's breadth above mediocre, and the OP and ED are patchwork themes in music and lyrics. Hardly inspiring.
If you like cute girls showing their panties, then I don't see why you'd turn this down. But don't expect anything even remotely serious from Strike Witches. It's a 100% guilty pleasure.
Overall, Strike Witches gets a 6 out of 10.read more
“Never in the animated medium has a cast of so many, worn clothes so few.”
Strike Witches is perhaps the most elaborate method to showcase girls in their underwear that has ever been contrived; while other series make use of upward camera angles or ‘hillarious’ accidental groping to provide the viewer with their ration of sexual titillation, Gonzo decided that it was time to stop beating about the bush and start being candid. And what could be more candid than a five second close up of an adolescent girl’s camel toe?
Admittedly it’s not exactly the most cultured form of entertainment around, and certainly not one you’ll ever find yourself recommending to your parents, co-workers, prospective sexual partners or any Federal Agents that happen to be paying you a visit. However, for those of you who only need to worry about the last item on that list, Strike Witches is the perfect anime for you!
But you don’t need your picture on the side of a Milk Carton in order to enjoy Strike Witches; if you just want to watch one of the most creative, action packed and entertaining anime series out there, then all you need to do is swallow your pride and take your first flight with the guys and girls of the 501st Joint Fighter Squadron.
Just kidding- there aren’t any guys in Strike Witches. Honestly, who on earth would want to see men flying around in their underwear? No, that would just be silly. Yup, they’re all girls. All eleven of them. With each one representing every country in the world that matters- Japan, Britain, The United States of America, Germany, France, Japan, The Soviet Union, Finland, Italy, Germany and Germany. If you’re feeling a little disappointed with that list, you needn’t worry too much—there are more German characters introduced later on in the show.
Of course, with a main character to episode ratio of almost 1:1, you might expect a few issues with character development. And you’d be right- almost half of the cast spend three quarters of the series effectively as background scenery- though the problem is alleviated to a certain degree by the fact that the whole cast has only a quarter of a personality between them.
It sounds terrible, and it probably is- a cast made up entirely of stereotypes is certainly not an artistic statement- but at the same time it’s what allows Strike Witches to work. We don’t need to know about each character, because we already know everything there is to know about them- because we’ve seen them a thousand times before. It sounds a bit illogical, but what’s the use of applying logic to a show about a group of teenage girls flying through the air with aeroplane propellers strapped to their ankles?
And it’s not as if they’re unlikable characters. Quite the opposite, in fact- among the cast of eleven, you’ll end up liking at least eight of them. If nothing else, they certainly are an entertaining bunch to watch.
Now we’ve covered all the key points, let’s delve a little deeper and look at the less important elements of the story, like the story itself: Post World War 2, Alien invasion, Aircraft powered by magic. Got that? Good.
There is an overarching storyline here, but if you hadn’t already realised, Strike Witches isn’t exactly a work of literary genius. What does matter though are the individual episode stories, which are excellent- great fun to watch and reasonably original, which believe me is saying a lot for an ecchi anime. There’s a good mix of action packed battles, low brow humour and some melodrama that makes for some lowest common denominator entertainment of the highest calibre.
On the subject of melodrama, one unintentionally amusing aspect of the show is the use of overly dramatic orchestral music during the battle sequences. When juxtaposed to the high pitched, middle of the road J-pop of the opening sequence, it’s hard not to let out a snobbish little chuckle. Talk about delusions of grandeur...
Of course, when it comes to presentation, there are no delusions... just sweet, sweet grandeur.
Whatever you may think of Gonzo Entertainment, of CGI visuals or of the moe aesthetic, there’s no getting around the fact that Strike Witches is quality animation at its finest. Particularly the battle sequences, which were fast paced, well choreographed and smooth. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it was so well animated that I get a hard on just thinking about it, and not just because of those panty shots I mentioned earlier.
The integration of CGI with traditional animation (by which I mean digital animation) has long been a burning issue for anime fans, without any clear resolution -should those responsible for it be burned at the stake, or would tarring-and-feathering them be justifiable- where you stand on the issue is entirely up to you; but even the most unreasonable of lynch mobs should be willing to consider letting Strike Witches off the hook, because it has actually made it work. That’s right; no obvious shade-free surfaces or objects that look out of place- everything is well done and kept in the backdrop, where it should be when it can’t be where it really ought to be (off screen).
This review has attempted to justify the unjustifiable. It has struggled desperately to sing the praises of a show that is little more than a cacophony of the worst vices in anime- thirty year old single men, thirteen year old girls and, worst of all, three dimensional animation. Cynics will say that Strike Witches is a show that was made with only one goal; to sell to as many depressing and possibly slightly gullible single middle aged men as possible, and the fact that it’s hugely entertaining is a mere co-incidence -and maybe they’re right. But perhaps they can take a little comfort from the fact that it didn’t quite work out.
“A single sale is a tragedy; but even a million sales won’t save Gonzo from Bankruptcy”
-Josef Stalin read more
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