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STRIKE WITCHES – 09

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「守りたいもの」 (Mamoritai Mono)
“Defend At All Costs” (lit. Thing I Want to Protect)

Episode at a Glance:
With her gun pointed at Mio, Minna asks her to promise never to wear a Striker Unit again, since her powers as a Witch have weakened; however, Mio claims she still has to fly and Minna finds herself unable to stop her. The next morning, Sanya collapses in Eila’s bed after her night patrol, so Eila says she’ll make an exception for her today… again. During this time, Mio and Yoshika meet with Minna to discuss some data on the recent Neuroi that mimicked Sanya’s behavior. After deciding to expand the investigation on the matter, Mio wants to inform Getrud and Erica about it, but finds out that they’ve gone off to visit Gertrud’s sister in London, who has woken up from her coma. At the hospital, Gertrud tries to maintain a tough exterior in front of Chris, but Erica informs her sister of how reckless she’s been lately. Chris senses that Gertrud’s having fun though and hears it’s thanks to Yoshika, making her want to become friends with the newest Witch. As the two of them leave, they find a letter on their car’s windshield addressed to Minna.

Back at the base, Perrine wonders why she has to snoop around Mio ever since Yoshika arrived and upon seeing the Major enter Yoshika’s room, eavesdrop on them. Inside, Mio commends Yoshika on her first war achievement and hears how it’s thanks to her training, so she gets motivated to train Yoshika even harder starting tomorrow. Hearing this, Perrine becomes even more envious, when Lynne comes by to get Yoshika for training and startles her. In the subsequent training, Yoshika surprises everyone when she single-handedly takes out Francesca and Shirley using Mio’s left twist maneuver, causing them to compliment Yoshika’s growth in skills, but not without pointing out her lack of growth in bust size. Perrine on the other hand is more concerned about when Yoshika learned that technique and after everyone has a chance to bathe, is frustrated to learn that she merely mimicked Mio when she can’t perform it herself. Meanwhile, Getrud and Erica approach Minna and Mio after having read the letter addressed to her and question what the meaning is behind the warning inside about getting in too deep. Feeling that they don’t have anything to hide, Minna and Mio reveal that their research on Neuroi has drawn the unfavorable attention of others in the military and is probably from a General in the Air Force, Trevor Maloney, who Mio suspects is involved with the root of this war.

In the hanger, Perrine convinces Yoshika to use live weaponry for the duel she challenged her to, which she agrees to do so after some protesting. Stating that it’s only to set the mood, Perrine then informs Yoshika that the winner is whoever can tail the other for ten seconds, so Yoshika decides to leave the safety on her gun. During this time, Minna detects an incoming Neuroi and sounds the alarm, forcing the two of them to halt their duel and stay on standby for further orders. Yoshika decides to go on ahead to stall the enemy though, who proves to be unhostile towards her and even assumes the form of a Strike Witch. Minna on the other hand tries to stop Mio from heading out, but eventually lets her go after hearing how determined she is to continue flying and to see Yoshika’s growth. Due to some jamming, the others are unable to communicate with Yoshika, but Sanya is able to confirm that she’s made contact with the Neuroi. After playfully flying around with the Neuroi, Yoshika starts to question if they’re really their enemy, when Mio arrives with the others and tells Yoshika to shoot it down. Intrigued by the Neuroi’s actions though, Yoshika tries to protect it and explain the situation, but Mio’s aggressive actions cause the Neuroi to fire on her, piercing her shield and sending her plummeting towards the ground. Learning of this, Minna breaks down in tears and orders Gertrud to pursue and shoot down the Neuroi, while Yoshika desperately tries to heal Mio’s wounds on the ground.

 

Next Episode:
「信じてほしい」 (Shinjite Hoshii)
“Trust and Friendship” (lit. I Want You to Believe Me)

STRIKE WITCHES   09   Preview 01 STRIKE WITCHES   09   Preview 02 STRIKE WITCHES   09   Preview 03
STRIKE WITCHES   09   Preview 04 STRIKE WITCHES   09   Preview 05 STRIKE WITCHES   09   Preview 06

Impressions:
Well, kudos to those who foresaw Mio’s weakened magical powers as the reason why Minna drew a gun on her. As some people suspected, a Witch’s powers reduce when they pass their prime, which happens to be their teenage years. With Mio being twenty now, her shield isn’t able to repel Neuroi attacks anymore as seen last time. What I don’t quite understand though is why she continues to want to fly in spite of this. While I understand her sentiments for wanting to see Yoshika grow, she can still help her do that without going into battle herself. As for flying with everyone after they’ve grown, she could always do that in non-life threatening situations. Logic aside, I figured they set up Mio’s stern and stubborn attitude this way for dramatic effect, so the question is whether or not she’ll really end up as a casualty of war. Personally, I’d say it’s unlikely that one of the main characters in a generally lighthearted series such as this will be killed off, even though they’ve tried to show us the darker side of things recently. They’ve also given off a couple of death flags for her (e.g. elevator going down), so there’s a slim chance that I’ll be unpleasantly surprised next time. If STRIKE WITCHES is able to tug on my emotional strings in that way though, it’ll definitely be a memorable series. Also, I don’t know what Mio was on, but Minna was more persuasive to me in that revealing red dress.

Comedy-wise, I still can’t get enough of Perrine’s jealous antics, because listening to her flustered outbursts is just golden. Also, all the CG flying scenes shown this time around made me wonder what STRIKE WITCHES would be like if they made a shooting game out of it. Aside from that, the most surprising thing this week is the direction the story’s taken, which appears to involve a conspiracy from within. We all love conspiracies don’t we? Well I do, so it’s a welcome revelation to see that a General of the Air Force is concealing information about the Neuroi. From what I gathered from Yoshika’s interaction with one, the Neuroi don’t seem to be a hostile species by nature. If this assumption is correct, it would explain why the one back in episode six mimicked Sanya’s singing and the one here mimicked Yoshika’s figure. One of the possibilities that I’m suspecting is that humans started the war with the Neuroi, not the other way around, and now they’re paying the price for it. Mankind always seems to be the cause of its own suffering, so perhaps this series is trying to teach us a lesson about ourselves. For that, I really like where this is going and feel that those who were turned away by this series early on are missing out now. Cute characters, exceptional cast, beautiful animation, mecha battles, historic references, mysterious aliens, witty comedy, tasteful fan-service, and an unexpectedly profound story; what more can you ask for?

Anyway, first peaceful contact thanks to Yoshika! I still don’t see it as the trap that Minna and Mio made it out to be, but due to further misunderstandings, the flames of war burn brighter yet again now that Mio has been shot down. Because of this, it reiterates my sentiment that the series is trying to depict just how easily (and stupidly) war can break out in order to let us reflect on our own history. Next time, it looks like Minna’s going to take things into her own hands, having (seemingly) lost the person she wanted to protect.

Tidbits: Ending this week was sung by Yoshika and Perrine, which is fitting since the two having shown that they make a good team in spite of all the one-sided jealousy. Gonzo’s title translations seem to be quite liberal lately, so I’ve included literal translations as well.

 

Cast:
- Miyafuji Yoshika (宮藤 芳佳) / Fukuen Misato (福圓 美里)
- Sakamoto Mio (坂本 美緒) / Chiba Saeko (千葉 紗子)
- Minna-Dietlinde Wilke (ミーナ・ディートリンデ・ヴィルケ) / Tanaka Rie (田中 理恵)
- Perrine-H. Clostermann (ぺリーヌ・クロステルマン) / Sawashiro Miyuki (沢城 みゆき)
- Lynette Bishop (リネット・ビショップ) / Nadzuka Kaori (名塚 佳織)
- Erica Hartmann (エーリカ・ハルトマン) / Nogawa Sakura (野川 さくら)
- Gertrud Barkhorn (ゲルトルート・バルクホルン) / Sonozaki Mie (園崎 未恵)
- Francesca Lucchini (フランチェスカ・ルッキーニ) / Saitou Chiwa (斎藤 千和)
- Charlotte E Yeager (シャーロット・E・イェーガー) / Koshimizu Ami (小清水 亜美)
- Sanya V. Litvyak (サーニャ・V・リトヴャク) / Kadowaki Mai (門脇 舞以)
- Eila Ilmatar Juutilainen (エイラ・イルマタル・ユーティライネン) / Nakai Erika (仲井 絵里香)
- Chris (クリス) / Sanada Asami (真田 アサミ)
- Female nurse (看護婦) / Yasui Eri (安井 絵里)

August 29, 2008 at 2:25 am
23 comments »
  • August 29, 2008 at 2:39 amChicle

    The supposed duel between Perrine and Yoshika looked fantastic.

    And I agree with your theory on the Neuroi. Looking back on the previous episodes, the Neuroi never actually fired at the Witches until they started spitting bullets onto the shell.

    Loving the developing story. Needs more explosions like the Worms from Sky Girls, though. Lasers and magic signs balance it out, at least.

  • August 29, 2008 at 2:43 amxcswmboy

    my theory is that neuroi are actually just simple aliens. however they try to communicate by mimicing others. so they mimic humans’ acts of war because they think that is how we communicate (which has some basis). so when confronted with kind-hearted souls like yoshika they act the same way she does.

  • August 29, 2008 at 2:46 amxcswmboy

    oh yeah and “tasteful fan service” gave me a laugh. i notice the nurse outfit still revealed her panties. i still can’t really accept this world of non-existant female pants (since men seem to wear pants as normal).

  • August 29, 2008 at 2:48 amAnonymous

    Awesome nurse is awesome

  • August 29, 2008 at 2:50 amanonymous

    >As some people suspected, a Witch’s powers reduce when they pass their prime, which happens to be their teenage years

    It wasn’t really “suspected,” it was in the novels.

    This episode was so awesome. STRIKE WITCHES IS NOW A DEEP AND INTELLIGENT COMMENTARY ON THE CURRENT POLITICAL SITUATION WITH IRAN, amirite?

  • August 29, 2008 at 2:54 amanonymous

    One thing I’ve always imagined is that the nueroi literally talk with lasers…you know, like light beams. Neuroi all fly, after all, so maybe on their home planet they just shine their lasers onto the ground in order to communicate.

  • August 29, 2008 at 3:01 amdivine

    xcswmboy:
    Looking beyond the pants thing of course. I was thinking more along the lines of this when I said “tasteful fan-service”. =)

    anonymous:
    Yeah, but we can’t assume that everyone who suspected that read the novels.

  • August 29, 2008 at 4:06 amshadowblack

    There’s a small mistake in the “Episode at a Glance”:
    In the subsequent training, Mio surprises everyone when she single-handedly takes out Francesca and Shirley using Mio’s left twist maneuver

    “Mio” should be “Yoshika”.

    Anyway, nice ep. Lol at Sanya “accidentally” ending up in Eila’s bed again. And some nice plot development in the second half of the ep.

  • August 29, 2008 at 4:52 amdivine

    shadowblack:
    Thanks for the correction. This is what happens when I have too many names in my head at the same time. -_-;

  • August 29, 2008 at 8:50 amWanderer

    Keep in mind, a captured witch would also probably be very useful to the Neuroi. Right now, we don’t have enough evidence to conclusively rule one way or the other as to whether this one was really peaceful, or just trying to lure Yoshika in where she could be caught. Given that the novels are still ongoing, the Neuroi in THEM can’t have proven to be nonhostile yet…

    But still, Yoshika had to try communicating with it, given the way it was acting. With how little they really know about the Neuroi, and how badly it seems the war has gone for mankind, the chance to understand them better is invaluable, even if it doesn’t lead to peace.

  • August 29, 2008 at 11:33 amWererat42

    I’m more inclined to believe that the Neuroi was trying to trick Yoshika, since after all it WAS leading her into enemy territory, and it DID fire on Mio.

  • August 29, 2008 at 1:13 pmthenightsshadow

    I thought the Neuroi took the form of Yoshika because it locked onto her weapon…or maybe the vantage point’s off.

  • August 29, 2008 at 2:56 pmdisgradius

    If the neuroi are actually trying to lure yoshika in, then they are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. It would be beyond the level of just mimicking humans but they would also have to be capable of fairly complex thought patterns to take advantage of yoshika’s unwillingness to hurt others. It would also indicate that they understand far more about humans than we do about them. That said, I won’t rule out the possibility of yoshika being captured: the neuroi might fight back in retaliation of mio shooting at them. Somehow, I can’t see the neuroi as being so intelligent to trick humans into their lair though, in which case humanity would have been long since wiped out.

    On a side note, I’m loving minna more and more now that her character is getting deeper and deeper <3 glad she didn’t get brushed off into the background for the last few eps

    Also, is that yoshika flying out to meet the neuroi in the preview for next ep with minna looking at a trail of smoke?

  • August 29, 2008 at 3:07 pmshadowblack

    I’ve got a better question: In the last shot from the preview is that Yoshika INSIDE a Neuroi? That’s the feeling I get…

  • August 29, 2008 at 3:44 pmshezaei_neko

    I really do hope that Mio survives. (Which I feel she will but she won’t be out of bed ’til the end)
    I think that the Neuroi are manipulated or are simply bad. ‘Cause if Yoshika is gentle and that stuff so that the Neuroi tried to ‘communicate’ with her, then I think that Yoshika’s father was a good guy too and would have stopped or at least try to stop the war and never create the Strike Unit….Or maybe the strike Unit wasn’t created for fighting purposes?
    Also if the Neuroi aren’t bad, why they’ve taken over most of the globe?

    I must say that probably Mio now feels disappointed of Yoshika. And the rest might feel betrayed. Since most of them have lost someone important due to the Neuroi, and seeing Yoshika protect one of them doesn’t help.

    Also I must say that the last scenes of the episode were very dramatic; to see Mio’s Strike Unit destroyed laying on the sand. And I’ll hate Yoshika if she can’t heal Mio’s wounds when she could with Gertrud…

  • August 29, 2008 at 5:48 pmSolaris

    Oh yessssh! Finally some plot alas!!

    this is my personal speculation. Don’t read if you didn’t watch to Sky Girls
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • August 29, 2008 at 7:59 pmdivine

    Solaris:
    Hmm, that’s an interesting idea. I’m sure they can write in what happened to him to make that fit. His past is still relatively unclear at this point, so anything’s possible.

  • August 29, 2008 at 8:54 pmxcswmboy

    this world is set in a reality where WWII never happened rite? so, i think the neuroi are acting like the Germany of world war 1 or 2 but better cuz all of europe except britain got taken over. im sure since they accomplished this already, they have more than enough complex brain processes to plan traps and subterfuge. i wouldnt be surprised if someone brings up the idea of nuking the neuroi territory.

  • August 30, 2008 at 6:12 amAsteroth

    http://randomc.net/image/STRIKE%20WITCHES/STRIKE%20WITCHES%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2028.jpg

    Pantsu wearing Neuroi is just plain weird to look at

  • August 30, 2008 at 6:22 amnekotails

    Awesome episode… I would prefer Yoshika would be just remain as the medic of the squad instead of making her the ultimate weapon or aces like Barkhorn or Hartman.

  • August 30, 2008 at 9:46 amLucy

    This is a lovely episode indeed.

    I couldn’t agree more with the fallacy in Mio’s logic. Behind the scenes could work just as well, and, in some cases prove to be even more effective. Does she want to break the commander Minna’s heart or something?

    On the subject, I was thinking, could it be that the Neuroi were brainwashed by whoever is leading Trevor and co.?

  • August 30, 2008 at 11:39 pmFlareKnight

    Well in the end I guess Mio was just a warrior. If you can’t fight hard to find a place for yourself. Maybe deep down she preferred to go out in combat then just sit around and watch the war from the sidelines. Just couldn’t step away from the battlefield even if she was past her limit. Either way losing her in combat is a major hit. That eye made battles a whole lot easier.

    Seemed pretty clear the Neuroi was trying to trick Yoshika. They just happened to be flying back to Neuroi HQ? From mimicking Sanya its clear they are trying to adjust their tactics and learn more. Capturing a live witch with a striker unit would be invaluable. Could run tests on it and her to find out better ways to kill the witches. Let’s not forget how many countries have been conquered and people killed. Whatever the situation this is kill or be killed, not fly around laughing with the enemy that has ruined the lives of many of your comrades.

    Major thing is just Yoshika’s incredible stupidity. Has gotten too much praise and her head is too big. Just ignore orders and fly off then get cocky enough to think you can defeat a Neuroi all by yourself. Ignore orders and people get hurt. Sadly Mio paid the price for it.

    The loss may anger Minna but plans for a counter attack were already well in the planning. They aren’t just going to sit tight in England fighting defensive battles. Need to get back into Europe and start taking back their homes. I would like to see how the human race managed to start a war when we can’t leave the planet. If the Neuroi got bothered when they arrived should have walked away rather than start conquering things.

    Am curious about what is at the core of this. What does that military guy have that he doesn’t want Minna digging into? I really hope its not something like humanity being at fault here or that they captured some innocent Neuroi and experimented on it which caused reinforcements to come in and invade. For once lets have the invaders actually be at fault.

    Anyways since there are novels on this can’t see the war ending in the next few episodes.

  • September 1, 2008 at 6:19 ammoondoggiebuiscuit

    MAN I CAN’T WAIT WINTER COMIKET!