The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Strike Witches

Title: Strike Witches
Genre: Action
Company: Gonzo
Format: 12 episodes
Dates: 3 Jul 2008 – 18 Sep 2008

Synopsis: In 1939, a mysterious being known as the Neuroi began attacking various nations throughout the globe without any known cause or reason. In order to combat this menace, the world’s superpowers have developed “Striker Units” which gives flight and power to various magic-endowed females. Under siege by the Neuroi, the nation of Britannia has collected a group of young females to form an elite group of anti-Neuroi personnel, the “Strike Witches.”

The Highlights
Panty shots: These girls don’t wear pants… ever – do the math.
Characters: Tropes with raison d’êtres.
Action: Quite enjoyable to watch.
Music: Campy but works with the show.

For some of you, I’m sure the statement “I am not a pedo” loses meaning the moment anyone says they watched and enjoyed something like Strike Witches. Though the characters are technically as old as those in any other fan-service anime, the female character designs leave age somewhat ambiguous, which somehow becomes the grounds for some unnecessary burnings at the stake. So, if you despise anything remotely touching on the topic of underdeveloped girls, skip this anime. For everyone else, Strike Witches is a passive action/fan-service anime that breaks no molds but somehow rounds up to a watchable piece for its genre, nonetheless.

I probably could conjure up some heavy criticism on the topic of fan-service in Strike Witches, but that would be like a conservative Christian walking to a strip club and getting pissed off because there are so many topless women. Cute, pant-less chicks shooting 13mm Type99 machine guns is the main draw of the Strike Witches, and there’s not enough of anything else to seriously claim otherwise. Compared to some of the more flamboyant fanboy fixes, the fan-service is a tad more benign, but expect to see so many panty shots at so many different angles that you may become forever numb to this convention.

The best way to describe the substance of this series is probably “it exists”. The show has more meat than one would normally expect, but there’s not enough of it to praise it, and there’s just enough to avoid bashing. Between the fan-service and the monster-of-the-week action, the show spends its time telling the various back stories of the many girls in the cast. Most of the stories and their accompanying moé attachment are cliché and don’t amount to much, but some of them are charming nonetheless. As for the overall story, it is predictable and somewhat insipid, but it’s coherent and cohesive enough not to be insulting.

Outside the fan-service, the main problem with Strike Witches is simply its inability to let go of mediocrity. While the show is technically sound on many levels, there’s an underlying sense that Gonzo is simply pandering to loli, moé and military freaks without any greater ambition for their work. The story is really a meaningless exercise of tropes about cute girls frolicking in the day while killing faceless enemies at night; the characters are copy-paste figures; and the drama feels artificial and ends up nowhere by the end of the series.

If you want consistently drawn fan-service about young girls with guns, then Strike Witches is for you. If you want plot and character development, it’s here as well but in limited quantities. As for me, I’ve completed this show to see if Gonzo has the balls to pull a Mai-HiME with this concept. In short, it doesn’t. Strike Witches is just one of those anime that breaks no conventions and treads no ground that hasn’t already been trodden, bulldozed and asphalted.

The Rating: 4

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

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