Disclaimer: this is my first review ever on MAL, so please be gentle...
The Strike Witches series is a true oddball. Most people see it only as a "pants in yo face" anime, but in depth it's a well thought series, chock full with historical references and memorable characters.
Fuso Sea Incident tells us about a period long before the TV anime. It's 1937 and Mio Sakamoto, a witch that will become one of the most revered fighters from her country, enrolls into the Imperial Fuso Navy. We witness her struggles to become a fully-fledged witch, along with the stories of her friends - Waka and
Junko, her sensei, and a slew of other notheworthy witches. It's a very enjoyable story, set in a rather serious tone, but with some glimmers of needed humor, and a rather satisfying ending. My only gripes with it are that it's slowly paced and short.
Ningen really outdid himself drawing this manga. All the details on the equipment of the witches, the battleships, and the Neuroi themselves are breathtaking.
The characters themselves are also well drawn, and you can see all their emotions at first glance.
Each witch is different, but they all share one goal - to get rid of the Neuroi. Each character is thought through and not there just to fill up space in the frame, with Mio being the shining gem.
Once you immerse yourselves into a chapter, you're stuck until you finish. The battles are well planned, and when the girls kill an enemy, you can feel a sense of accomplishment gleaming from reading the scene.
This is by far the best Strike Witches manga. A gritty story of personal growth and sacrifice that might catch you off-guard if you came here just for the panties.
Strike Witches Zero: 1937 Fuso Sea Incident is the first manga series I've finished. I've been watching anime for like a year and a half, but I didn't really get into reading manga until recently. As a huge fan of Strike Witches, it being my favorite anime, I was really happy while I was reading this and it provided a lot of good background information for characters.
I wish I could tell you more about the story than what myanimelist already summarizes, but it's all there. The first volume (chapters 1-6) focuses on the events that lead to Mio Sakamoto deciding to become
a full fledged witch. It later gets into the detail concerning the Fuso Sea neuroi invasion, or the Fuso Sea incident if I copy the title again. This manga does an amazing job of incorporating both these aspects and the overall result, is very satisfying.
Surprisingly, the art was great too. You tend to think that somewhere the artwork will misrepresent a scene or there won't be a balance of action and calm shots, but this wasn't the case here. The person who drew the art did an amazing job at balancing action scenes, dialogue moments, and the more calming background scenes like sky shots. The only major problem I noticed is that the sometimes it
s hard to tell the difference between certain characters; I think this is just due to my lack of knowledge about and experience with any characters who weren't shown at least a few times in any of the anime productions. I would've also liked to see more shots with the witches swinging their katanas at the neuroi; the scenes that were there didn't really show them actually swinging the sword, but I guess it would take up too much of the page to be showing the actual sword swing all the time so I won't complain.
I don't really think getting too involved in describing the characters will add much. As I said before, I wasn't familiar with anyone except Mio before reading this and it is the first Strike Witches manga I've read. I do think that there was amazing character interactions, which is one of the major reasons Strike Witches is my favorite anime. I feel like I really got to know more about Mio and how she became a witch. I also feel like there is enough information provided for the other characters that it either provides well done development or it at least makes you want to see if the characters are featured in other mangas and read them to learn more about them. I definitely want to read more Strike Witches mangas to get to know some of these characters better now.
It's obvious that I really enjoyed reading this. I know I read slower and trying to remember as many names as possible while reading with all the featured characters didn't speed it up at all, but the four hours or so I spent reading this series was well spent. I would highly recommend this to a Strike Witches fan.