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Strike Witches 2

July 9, 2010

The witches are back! Picking up where the first season left off, “Strike Witches” returns with the usual magical girl aerial combat extravaganza.

Although oft criticized for its excessive fanservice premise of magical girls prancing around in their underwear -in the “Strike Witches” universe women do not wear pants- the fanservice ultimately remains benign enough compared to other series like “Kanokon”, “Seikon No Qwaser” or “Ladies versus butlers!”.

E_SW2_01_01

Previously shared my thoughts on the first season, that “Strike Witches” at its core is a solid series successfully combining true and tried elements into an entertaining show.

Although the main arc of the story was satisfactory concluded in the first season’s final episode, the series’ success quickly suggested a a sequel was in the works. However, the studio that brought us the first season, Gonzo, passed the torch to AIC Spirits.

Luckily this really noticeably, in fact if one were not told this new season is done by a different studio, most likely no viewers would notice, the animation is just as terrific and the character animation style is spot on.

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In fact nearly everything from the previous season is continued upon in this sequel, even details like the commercial break eye catch featuring illustrations by Shimada Humikane, the original artist who created the Strike Witches concept. You can catch some of his terrific art in the ‘Shimada Humikane Artworks’ book which contains quite a selection of art featuring the witches.

This first eye catch illustration actually showcased the 504st squadron witches. Characters from the second manga, Takei and her wingmates even had a cameo at the start of the episode, when the Neuroi resurface.

Amaki, a witch from first manga who appeared in the final episode of the first season reprises her cameo too, as the first season’s closing scene is here built upon to mark Yoshika’s starting point to seek out her former mentor Sakamoto and once more don a striker unit.

What struck me was that out of all the characters, only Shirley sported a different look, her uniform suddenly changed from an American WWII uniform styled jacket to a more plain dark red jacket. Puzzling, since in most promotional art for this sequel or even the official website, she’s still shown in her original outfit.

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So far it looks like only Mio Sakamoto is voiced by a different seiyuu, namely Saori Seto, though she makes good effort to sound the same and deliver the role close to the performance of Saeko Chiba, making it a smooth transition.

Gather this series can be labeled as a ‘guilty pleasure’, although no doubt silly in many ways it is mindlessly fun to watch and an enjoyable weekly rendezvous.

Undoubtedly there are those who will not understand “Strike Witches” as such a show does not appeal to them, can only advise them to steer clear of it then as it will only be exasperating for them to watch. Nonetheless, don’t write it off lightly, as its a decent series that surpasses many others.

Personally, I loved this first episode which was quite the Easter egg in itself as it followed the first season’s starting episode in some key scenes. Am looking forward to the rest of “Strike Witches 2”!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2010 10:11 pm

    Didn’t really notice much of a difference between Sakamoto’s seiyuus.

    I’ve always liked this kind of shounen-ish theme of drawing parallels between the beginning and now, when the main character has become stronger/more determined

    You’re quick on the uptake, noticing her change in uniform. I have several books on WWII uniforms (which I haven’t checked in ages), I think I should keep them to hand when watching Strike Witches!

  2. July 9, 2010 10:13 pm

    By the way, whilst expensive I’m definitively getting that art book for my birthday! (which is this month)

  3. July 10, 2010 12:01 am

    It’s not a guilty pleasure for me, I’ll admit it’s the show of the Summer for me XD Feels so good to have Strike Witches back, can’t wait for the next episode.

  4. July 10, 2010 7:36 am

    I like the parts with no pants 😛

  5. July 10, 2010 9:09 am

    @Sergio
    Indeed, I only noticed it a few times because I was paying attention to it and had recently watched parts of season one again.
    The ‘Shimada Humikane Artworks’ book indeed isn’t cheap but I found it well worth the price, lovely artist and style.
    @Persocom
    Yes, it’s great to have this fun show back. Tend to call it a guilty pleasure since all things considering, the premise is silly, but it’s so hilarious. ^^
    @Fabrice
    Don’t tell anyone but… so do I. ^_~

  6. July 17, 2010 8:08 am

    The animation looks even more pristine than the first season. I didn’t realize that there was a studio change though.

    I’m really excited for this series, and its fanservice is one of the most fun among fanservicey anime.

  7. July 17, 2010 10:11 am

    @Yi
    Second episode surprised me though since they blatantly re-used some shots from the first episode.
    Am looking forward to the rest of the show, it’s such a hilarious series. As the fanservice goes, have always liked the English R1 version tagline ‘Declaring the war on pants’! XD

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