What better time than now to release an absurd show? And how much more absurd does it get than Strike Witches, a show about pantsless magical schoolgirls who put on robot parts and nekomimi to fight for their countries?
Accepting absurdity is not easy. Some people may complain that, for instance, a blacksmith should wear some pants. But this is the old way of thinking. These standards of believability have already been dealt a mortal blow! In fact, anime has already visited the topic of magical blacksmithing in great detail, and not only is it OK to smith without pants, it is OK to do so without hammer, anvil, quenching liquid, or even fire! Magic has supplanted all of these. The Strike Witches already engage in life-and-death combat without pants; compared to that, why should the entirely controllable rigor of blacksmithing compel them to don pants?
Do not hesitate: he who hesitates is lost. Do not fear: we have nothing to fear but fear itself, and recursion is utterly passe. Stride forth boldly, and embrace the future! Dare to dream of a pants-free world!
Of course, it’s possible – just possible – that I’m biased in my assessment. I mean, I’m not wearing any pants.
…is actually pretty amusing, I have to admit. This is how you sell a show that might encounter a skeptical audience here for various reasons. Including characters not wearing any pants. Moe anime tends to be popular in the blogosphere but less so when it comes to actual DVD sales and so it’s understandable that they’ll have to take a different tack.
I can only imagine what an English ad for Queen’s Blade might have to be like.
In our roundtable discussion on whether or not anime is art, Ray brought up an excellent point about that infamous scifi-fantasy-loli-pantsu fanservice vehicle, Strike Witches. To wit, though the show has actual fodder for intellectual discussion, the mere fact that it shows school girls in a permanent pantyshot state renders this moot for the vast majority of viewers. You cannot rehabilitate such a thing, the argument goes. No amount of light will overpower this darkness.
And with Tanaka Rie’s performance, it just look so much better.
(I’ve been doing summary, but there are other blogs that review raw, so go look them up. I ain’t gonna waste my time for no reward.)
In any event, the high ups in the military is hiding something about the neoroids, and at this point, it’s quite clear that these may be just alien creatures trying to reach out to people, or even have something to do with the existence of witches.
What’s commendable is Tanaka Rie’s performance as Mina. She’s strong and together on the outside and vulnerable on the inside with a great range of emotions. She makes a silly moe show sounding like a serious drama.
Miyafuji discovers that the “enemy” may not be so enemy like after all, but like any classic drama shows, her comrades clearly don’t think that way.
However, it is obvious that the higher ups in the military knows something about these supposedly savages that these poor girls don’t.
Perhaps the humans attacked them first? That’d be an old plot, but it’s probable.
I obviously don’t recommend this show to sensitive people who hates moe with a passion, but for people who are open minded and love great seiyuu performance, I definitely recommend episodes 8 and 9.
Perhaps I’ve been too lenient and just not cynical enough, I mean, why should I give these 2 shows – Nogisaka Haruka no Himitsu and Strike Witches – a specific review for each? So, I’ve decided to combine their reviews into one.
Where is the running/training on the beach? Where is the oneesama running up the stairs wearing iron geta (sandals)? Where is the necessary dead first love to inspire our heroine? Where is the atmosphere? Where is the powerful drum music? Where are the stand out characters?
Do you remember that episode early on in Welcome to the NHK where Satou and Yamazaki are sitting in a cafe in Akibhabara, trying to come up with a main character for their eroge? Remember after being immersed in the Otaku Holy Land, Satou basically threw every single gal-game cliche at Yamazaki, who’s furiously sketching as Satou suggests a half-alien maid-robot with cat ears who is a childhood friend and is possessed of a spirit of a fox and…
Well: take that idea. Give them a high budget–a very high one. Give it a genuine classical music soundtrack (Rachmaninov’s 18th Variation on a Theme by Paganini in this case), a serious war story, and add WWII-style dogfight sequences. Add fan service.
What you get is what you see above–Strike Witches, an upcoming OAV. Every single moe convention seems to be thrown into this one, as well as mecha drama, and even more–it works. It’s beautiful to look at and even, at the end, a little stirring, which is far beyond anything I expect from this genre. This is an 8.5 minute triumph. It shouldn’t work, but it dang it, it does. I watched slack-jawed at the sheer audacity, ridiculousness, and delight that went into this production.
I must watch the full length episodes of this when it comes out. Now.
HT to my friend moritheil for introducing this to me.