Strike Witches 2
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!”.
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.
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.
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”!