Sun 3 Oct 2010
1/2(out of 4)
Review: Strike Witches 2
Fans familiar with the original Strike Witches anime will know exactly what they are signing up for with season 2: a show with a cast of cute lolis that double as World War II-era fighter aircraft and fanservice enough to please the most battle-hardened fan. Despite the unstoppable force of constantly visible panties, somewhere along the way the franchise seems to have just run out of gas. And while Strike Witches’ formula can float one season, this season simply lacks the charm and appeal of its GONZO predecessor.
The Strike Witches franchise takes place in a fabulous universe where aliens invaded the Earth and laid waste to Europe, all the world’s nations united in a common goal of defeating the enemy, World War II never happened, and young girls are prohibited by law from wearing pants. Miyafuji Yoshika and the girls are back for another season of Strike Witches, produced by AIC taking over from GONZO. Right off the bat, I notice the clean animation quality and art. You can’t have good fanservice if the art isn’t well drawn, and Strike Witches has always had a good rep in the animation department. Fans of the first season will be hard pressed to find any major differences in drawing style.
Six months after the events of the first season, the Neuroi are back (for whatever reason) and stronger than ever. The mightiest militaries in the world do a great job of being a totally useless formation of ships sitting the the water for the Neuroi to blow up with lasers, while the only hope humanity has is a squad of magical flying girls without pants. Soon enough, the girls of the 501st are reunited, and now that they are together again, they… do exactly what they did in season 1. It’s not a bad thing if you think about it, why fix what isn’t broke? But between the predictable plot lines and 11 delectable characters spread a little thin, there is much left to be desired in this show.
Strike Witches is a generally lighthearted, laid back anime full of characters who are simple but functional. All the girls do have their own personalities (that can typically be summed up in one word) and are generally very likable. Any attempts at some kind of serious thematic element of character development are washed away in the plethora of bathing scenes in the show. And my do they love taking baths. I’m not exaggerating if I postulate that just about every episode has some kind of scene that involves high temperature water, steam, and partial nudity.
For a show only 12 episodes long, it sure seems to take the scenic route, especially earlier on. The show dilly-dallies around sub-plots that ultimately go nowhere, and there’s an inexcusably unnecessary training episode where Yoshika, Lynette, and Perrine apparently has forgotten how to fly and have to train the the back country with an old hag and learning how to fly brooms. At least now I know why they are called “witches”. The whiny dialogue is grating and I swear their voices have gotten 100 times more annoying than from last season.
As for technical aspects, the show scores decently. As I’ve already mentioned, the art and animation is good. The voice acting is fine, but underperforming considering its cast including Tanaka Rie, Sawashiro Miyuki, and Saito Chiwa. The music isn’t really notable, with a forgettable score and a bland OP. The cast ED is decent I guess. Overall, Strike Witches 2 never really got off the ground. It ends well, if by well you mean horribly predictable and cheesy. It’s episodic in structure, but the quality of some episodes wears on your patience as well as your tendency to care. Though the characters are likable as always, this is a show that has outstayed its welcome and wore off its polish.