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Brave Witches

October 21, 2016

The witches are back! This new anime from the well known “Strike Witches” franchise doesn’t feature the girls of the 501st joint fighter wing whose adventures we have seen in three series and a movie. Instead, this series focuses on the witches of the 502nd joint fighter wing stationed in north-eastern Europe.

Similar to last season’s “Love Live! Sunshine!!”, a spin-off from the original “Love Live!”, “Brave Witches” takes place in the same world and timeline as “Strike Witches” and shows us another front of mankind’s desperate war against the neuroi.

Not unexpectedly, all the typical elements seen in the previous “Strike Witches” anime are present in “Brave Witches”, veteran viewers will instantly feel familiar with the show’s atmosphere. Luckily, the first episode starts with a brief exposition of the core plot so new viewers will be able to dive in and enjoy this series without having watched any of “Strike Witches”. That is, if they can see past the quirky gimmicks of the franchise, the most peculiar one being the fact none of the girls wear pants or skirts.

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These first few episodes of “Brave Witches” offered no real surprises, nor did they deviate from the formula used in “Strike Witches” although I do lament the rather disappointing animation quality. Noticed multiple poorly animated scenes, especially the flight or combat rendered with CGI were not at the level they could be. A shame as the original series did focus on occasion on dog fighting tactics and flying manoeuvres.

What I do appreciate in this new anime is that the main cast of witches from the 502nd thankfully do not seem to be bland copies of the original witches from the 501st, but instead have sufficiently different personalities. Especially lead character Hikari is nearly an opposite of Yoshika. While both share a strong conviction, Hikari is not as overpowered as Yoshika is in terms of magical abilities, but instead she is driven to join the war effort and actively desires to fight alongside her sister and vanquish the neuroi.

I’ve enjoyed “Brave Witches” so far, likely because I knew what to expect from this show as a “Strike Witches” spin-off and that is exactly what it has delivered so far, it shows us a new group of witches in the same world having similar adventures. If you enjoyed “Strike Witches”, then you will undoubtedly enjoy “Brave Witches” as well.

You can watch “Brave Witches” on Crunchyroll.

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