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STRIKE WITCHES – 12 (END)

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「ストライクウィッチーズ」 (Sutoraiku Uicchiizu)
“Strike Witches”

Episode at a Glance:
With the Akagi sinking, Yoshika takes to the skies in Mio’s Striker Unit to buy some time for everyone to escape. Spotting Yoshika’s battle from afar, Shirley and Francesca decide to come and help, but realize that they don’t have any weapons. Meanwhile, Minna, Gertrud, and Erica take over Maloney’s command center and discover that he’s been plotting to replace the Witches by using Neuroi technology. Realizing that Yoshika’s contact with the Neuroi caused him to blunder, Gertrud wishes they believed Yoshika earlier. The three of them then notice Yoshika fighting the Warlock outside in Mio’s Striker Unit, so they head to the hanger to retrieve their own units. In the skies, Yoshika hesitates to fire on the Warlock, which even attempts to deceive her by revealing its core, but soon realizes that this isn’t the same unhostile Neuroi she met before. With the Warlock attacking the sinking Akagi further, Mio and Perrine find themselves in quite a pinch, but luckily Shirley and Francesca swoop by in the nick of time to save them both.

Back at the base, Gertrud and the others find Sanya and Eila already there, with Lynne arriving shortly afterwards. Together they head out to help Yoshika and bring her Striker Unit along so that Mio can have hers back. After Lynne lands a direct hit on the Warlock sending it crashing into the Akagi, the battle looks over, but the battleship emerges from the ocean after being fused with the Neuroi-ridden Warlock. Having located the core, Mio volunteers to go inside to destroy it, but Yoshika, Lynne, and Perrine undertake the task instead, thus commencing their counterattack. With the other witches giving them an opening to break through, Yoshika and her team make their way to the engine room where they discover the massive Neuroi core. Having lost all their weapons while breaking in, Yoshika decides to destroy the core with her Striker Unit. Following its destruction, the witches are surprised to see the Neuroi hive over Gallia disappear as well. With the Gallia region free, the Strike Witches are officially disbanded and sent home.

Some time later back in Fuso, Yoshika looks back on the photograph mysteriously sent by her father, thinking that everything started with it. After helping Micchan heal a wounded bird, they run into Suwa Amaki outside, who claims to be member of the Army Air Force’s 47th Squadron and delivers a new letter to Yoshika from her father.

 

ED Sequence:

STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 01 STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 02 STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 03
STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 04 STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 05 STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 06
STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 07 STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 08 STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 09
STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 10 STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 11 STRIKE WITCHES   12   Ending 12

Impressions:
You’ll have to bear with me here while I go through some initial reactions to this finale. Don’t take this as me hating the series though, as I really do love it. I promise.

First off, what the hell kind of cop out ending was that? I would’ve been content with just the defeat of the Neuroi-possessed Warlock and leaving the war ongoing, but they decided to magically have the hive disappear afterwards too… FOR NO APPARENT REASON. It was basically, “Oh hey look, we won the war too. Woohoo!” They might as well have flashed the following across the screen while they were at it:

“You have defeated the last boss. All the enemies have died along with him. The world is safe again. Congratulations.”

Granted, one could assume that the Warlock transported the hive core over to the Akagi after fusing with it, but even if that were the case, it comes off as awfully convenient. Anyway, what’s even more questionable is that instead of leaving the issue with the Neuroi understandably open-ended, GONZO decided to reveal to us that Yoshika’s father is still alive. Given how the war just magically ended, I doubt they’ll make a sequel solely based on Yoshika’s pursuit of the truth behind her father, so I can’t really see what the point of revealing that he’s still alive at the end was for. If all they were going for was the “OMG” reaction, fair enough, but it prompted a “WTF, why even bother mentioning this now?” kind of reaction from me.

My last “complaint” (if you will), is that they choose to have the girls explaining the reasons behind Maloney’s action to each other in layman’s terms. While I’m grateful that the writers decided to clear things up for us so that there’s no confusion, I couldn’t help but feel that my intelligence was belittled there and that there must’ve been a better way to get that information across. In fact, Erica’s reaction to Gertrud’s explanation pretty much sums up my thoughts on this.

With that said, there was a lot to like about this finale, with the beginning feeling like the climax of a movie after Yoshika took off. With the music playing to pump you up and Mio directing all of Yoshika’s valiant actions, I couldn’t help but get goosebumps there. GO STRIKE WITCHES! Also, I feel they worked in the reassembling of the witches well, since it gave off that sense of hope that protagonists should exude, without coming off as overly cheesy. On that note, I found it a bit strange how they “sealed” the Strike Witches hanger with a wall of I-beams, but it was amusing watching Gertrud dislodge one with her brute strength. Quite befitting of the tsundere in her.

As for the battle itself, I found it suspenseful even though the whole fusion thing with the Akagi was admittedly random. I guess this is why I couldn’t help but make the “last boss” comment above, since the Neuroi-ridden Akagi really did look like one you’d see in a shooting game. Watching the black battleship ascend above the clouds and coast along the in skies proved to be an awesome setting for the final battle though. Inside the ship, I found it silly how Perrine’s gun couldn’t even destroy a hatch, making you wonder what kind of damage it’s supposed to do to a Neuroi, but very appropriate for Yoshika to destroy the core with her Striker Unit—the device that her father invented to battle them in the first place.

Lastly, they included the all witches version of “Bookmark Ahead” that I was hoping for a while back, so I was quite happy to see them play that version during the credits scroll.

 

Final Impressions:
While this series has been met with the obvious harsh criticisms due to its young-looking character designs and pantless dress code world, it has never bothered me in the least. In fact, I love the character designs in STRIKE WITCHES and find them absolutely adorable with all their little nuances. This includes Yoshika’s persistent nature, Mio’s semi-fake laugh, Minna’s assertiveness, Lynne’s big breasts, Erica’s nonchalant attitude with the occasional “well done!” (yaru na!) comment, Gertrud’s dishonest tsundere personality, Francesca’s fiestiness, Charlotte’s fiestiness AND big breasts, Sanya’s sleepyhead self, and Eila’s “saying it like it is” sarcasm. Throw in an all-star cast to play all these cute girls, good animation quality (something that GONZO used to be attributed for on a regular basis), mecha action, and the usual fan-service, and you have a recipe that’s perfect for me.

In retrospect, I found this series more enjoyable than Sky Girls, which I liked a lot as well. Being only twelve episodes long, it didn’t feel nearly as stretched out as Sky Girls either; however, I wish they left things open for a sequel instead of ending it the way they did. That way, I could’ve possibly got a dose of STRIKE WITCHES again some time later when it’s a distant but not forgotten memory. Regardless, the series does work well as a standalone production in spite of my qualms with its sudden conclusion, so it’s been fun watching and covering it.

 

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)
- General Maloney (マロニー大将) / Akimoto Yousuke (秋元 羊介)
- Adjutant (副官) / Uo Ken (魚 建)
- Captain Sugita (杉田艦長) / Mugihito (麦人)
- Micchan (みっちゃん) / Satou Arise (佐藤 有世)
- Suwa Amaki (諏訪 天姫) / Hanazawa Kana (花澤 香菜)
- Announcer (アナウンス) / Oobayashi Youhei (大林 洋平)
- Driver (運転手) / Ichinowatari Hiroaki (一ノ渡 宏昭)
- Soldier (兵士) / Kobayashi Kousuke (小林 康介)
- Soldier (兵士) / Kamino Yuuki (神野 祐希)
- Soldier (兵士) / Seki Kouji (関 幸司)

September 18, 2008 at 10:55 pm
48 comments »
  • September 18, 2008 at 11:02 pmsikvod00

    Gotta go watch Sky Girls now…

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:08 pmExia

    aww the pantsu parade is over.

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:09 pmkaminakun

    I think the war is not really over…they just said that particular hive is gone…and they did mention another division of strike witches in the States at the end…

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:11 pmChicle

    Looks as if they’ll be releasing some new episodes on DVD or something.

    Either that, just another READ THE MANGA LOL ending. Oh well. At least I enjoyed the series.

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:30 pmlunchbox

    Totally have to watch this now seeing as how i liked sky girls a lot…..so many animes so little time @_@ lol

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:31 pmMoondoggiebuiscuit

    WAH! And just when I was enjoying the Gundam-feel of it…

    There is still hope for a second season! We might still see jet-strikers yet…. or even better, armoured arsenals!

    …no and I’m not here just for the pants-less girls…

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:47 pmOMFGROFLLMAOWTF !?

    YOU MADE A MISTAKE IN SCREENIES DIVINE =)

    SCREENSHOT #8 in ED Sequence leads to screenshot #8 from episodes when you try to view it in full size

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:49 pmOMFGROFLLMAOWTF !?

    same with #3 and #7 in ED Sequence
    or did you do it on purpose ?

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:55 pmAGear2Ax

  • September 18, 2008 at 11:57 pmAGear2Ax

    No wait, the wrong images are uploaded but they aren’t linked and some small shots are equal in the post but different in the large ver.(2 and 3)

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:11 amdivine

    Interesting… Find and Replace failed me badly there.

    Thanks for pointing it out though. Things should be fixed now. (Press Ctrl+F5 for a Force Refresh if you don’t see the changes.)

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:12 amcutemi2

    what…. finished already, that raps out for all lolicon fanatics out there…

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:21 ammiles

    lolicons are so sad

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:23 amSailor Enlil

    My take on how this whole thing came to an abrupt end
    Show Spoiler ▼

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:26 amJusuchin

    Your impression sums up mine. Although, a word about Perrine’s gun being ineffective against the bulkhead. It could be that that area is more reinforced, now being a fusion of aircraft carrier and neuroi. I mean, the bulkheads in vital areas are armoured against attack, add the fact the neuroi seem to have learned more and more every battle, fusiong with the Akagi might’ve led some insight on human weaponry, which led it to properly reinforce all avenues of approach to its core.

    Don’t mind me. I’m just sad that such a good series ended on such a rushed ending, but, I can;t complain, it was only 12 episodes long…

    Now I got nothing to look forward to other than Macross Frontier…and that really isn’t as exiting as flying lolis with guns. :/

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:28 amAnonymous

    Awesome ending is awesome.

    And even if France is won, Germany is still occupied by the neuroi, as well as much more of Europe.

  • September 19, 2008 at 12:31 am65yr

    Kyouran Kazoku Nikki needs to re introduced here :)

  • September 19, 2008 at 1:18 amtlephone

    one word can summarize this series

    IRRELEVENT

  • September 19, 2008 at 1:19 amAnonymous

    Strike Witches was a parade of jail bait girls with an allergy to pants with plot elements added in. Sage for raising the pedobear alarm.

  • September 19, 2008 at 1:32 amDuran

    Weird… I think there’s alot more story in the light novel (not to mention more characters), but in short

    Lol Gonzo

  • September 19, 2008 at 1:46 amzaeris

    I’m still under the impression that the war is not over and only one part of the world is liberated. Hopefully my assumption are correct and the battle is still not over while some of the plot ended abruptly the action sequences and the final boss made it entertaining as a final conclusion.

    As for the finally, one word “SUWA AMAKI” there’s hope for a second season.

  • September 19, 2008 at 2:53 amQuen

    They didn’t completely close off the ending as there’s some material left for a continuation (Gallia’s hive was mentioned, the surprise letter, the arrival of a new Strike Witch), but it does seem as though they wanted to give a sense of closure. Guessing plans for a sequel are up in the air and this is a safe route they took in case there isn’t a sequel.

    Here’s hoping we can get one one day, kemono-mimi WW2-era mecha musume is just too good an idea to let go ^_^

  • September 19, 2008 at 3:59 amRyan

    Hehe daddy was alive in the end. Sorta saw that coming.

  • September 19, 2008 at 4:20 amdeadguy

    I thought Pierrine’s hair was supposedly disheveled after using Tonnere?

  • September 19, 2008 at 5:59 amGuppy

    The “new” witch, Suwa Amaki, is actually a character from the first Strike Witches manga which came out back in 2006. Her younger sister Suwa Goshiki is a friend and fellow Witch trainee of Yoshika’s in the second manga, which covers the same events as the TV series.

    For those who want more and can read Japanese, the Strike Witches light novels (three volumes, with a fourth scheduled for next year) are actually quite good. There are more and better air combat scenes, and you don’t get the feeling that the heroines’ unit is the only one fighting – even in a little airbase in backwater Suomus (Eila’s home country), there are 2-3 squadrons operating at once.

    Oh, and the novels are by the “Zero no Tsukaima” author, Yamaguchi Noboru. And they obviously told him that anything short of explicit H scenes would be fine. ^_~

  • September 19, 2008 at 9:42 amSeedStriker

    With all said and done, the fact that the Neuroi hive dissapeared from Gallia’s skies is mostly because is completely empty. The Warlock destroyed all the Neuroi stationed there, but the hive itself took the Warlock as its last resort (and kinda ultimate weapon)
    As if, it was the Neuroi hive from Gallia. There are the ones in Karlsland, Ostrund, Orussia, Africa and the border with Suomus to deal with. As the fact that Yoshika’s father is alive, the reading here is “stay tuned for a second season”, something I’m glad.

    Overall, and awesome ending for an awesome series. Hopefully, GONZO will give us more SW eventually.

  • September 19, 2008 at 4:10 pmSteven Den Beste

    My guess about why the ending is like it is: I think the director was trying to pace the series to set up a second half, another 12 episodes. And near the end, top management told him no way, and ordered him to finish it after a single series.

    The warlock battle was supposed to be a climax that didn’t really resolve anything, like the ending of the first Vandread series. But at the last minute they had to make it into a full series ender, and that’s why it doesn’t make any sense.

  • September 19, 2008 at 6:55 pmvesper_nova

    I don’t know… for me there’s too much story left to just finish it there. I mean we still don’t know what the Neuroi really are. Is Yoshika’s father really alive and what about the other lands under Neuroi control.

  • September 19, 2008 at 7:52 pmdurian

    hate the character arts

    no complain about other thing (story, music, etc), just the character arts are ugly

  • September 19, 2008 at 8:09 pmmymyselfandi

    I hate this crap, all the series i watch are coming to an end, the only hope i have is future sekirei, im sad now, what the hell am i going to watch???/ American idol??????? lost????? bones????? this are sad times for me :(

  • September 19, 2008 at 9:47 pmdivine

    mymyselfandi:
    There are 30+ new series airing next season (not counting OVAs), which start the first week of October, so there’s no need to fret about not having anything to watch.

    I’m however fretting at the sheer volume of shows in terms of blogging. -__-;

  • September 19, 2008 at 10:19 pmmoondoggiebuiscuit

    @divine
    don’t fret! It’s not like we expect you to blog every anime that comes out next season…

  • September 19, 2008 at 11:13 pmmymyselfandi

    you sir/madam have a cookie for the info about the list, having that said, i would like to know as much as possible of this future Anime list, many thanks in advance.

  • September 20, 2008 at 12:25 amdivine

    mymyselfandi:
    This isn’t a complete list as I left out various kid shows and the OVAs, but it should give you a pretty good idea of the shows airing this Fall.

    moondoggiebuiscuit:
    Given how this season has been pretty taxing on me, I may need a bit of a break actually… Anyway, more on this later. =)

  • September 20, 2008 at 2:15 amDarkenedjib

    Hope there’ll be another season, or at least an OVA or something. On ANN there’s a 13th episode listed with a “?”.

  • September 20, 2008 at 3:44 amParasama

    Maybe the “hidden” episode 13 is dvd extra.

  • September 20, 2008 at 9:23 ammemyselfandi

    @divine Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • September 20, 2008 at 9:23 amSolaris

    So it ended. Solved Warlock issue and Gallia’s Nest as a bonus. Many hints thrown for a second season…

    Too bad this show was just a fanservice fest with a hint of “what it could have been unless” at the end. I’m kinda sad they didn’t trust the Mecha Musume subject enough to give us ane entertaining and gorgeous war fight show ad it definitevly deserved to be.
    Anti-loli supporters were so right :(

  • September 20, 2008 at 9:20 pmHudson

    This was by far the best series of the entire season. even better than Macross F.

    On that note I just want to say that it’s NOT a cop out. If you haven’t cough all the WWII references then let me remind you. This 1season was was take on “The Battle or Brittan”. Next season will deal with them finally starting their counter attack and reclaiming Europe. There is also a “cloud” of Neuroi in the Pacific, in Africa, and is Asia. So there is still battles to be fought and won.

  • September 21, 2008 at 1:44 amAvisch

    Good job blogging this Divine. Your impressions were fun to read (I laughed at that Last Boss thing).

    It was a simple series. And that made it enjoyable. There wasn’t much of a story to focus on, much more it was just funny and nice character interactions.

    But yeah just wow. Gonzo just loves to make people mad. They’re giving 2nd season implications despite the fact that they might not last long enough to make a second season (or am I wrong, and them going out of business will take alot longer than expected?)

  • September 21, 2008 at 6:50 amSolaris

    @Avisch & all the others.
    If it’s true Gonzo is dying why not hurrying to their streaming site and buy a copy of Strike Witches or some other of their series?
    Strike Witches costs about 25€. I know it’s quite still a lot of money for an average quality serie, but Gonzo need support so badly, and we cannot let their innovative anime distribution experiment fail.
    I supported it, despite i value this serie so low. What about you all?

  • September 22, 2008 at 7:21 amzaeris

    @Avisch

    I suppose many anime fan don’t pay much attention to news/article relating to anime.
    Here’s is a link for you, it’s from ANN.
    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-09-17/iwakaze-capital-takeover-of-gonzo-parent-proceeds
    Well for now you’re wrong, until otherwise stated.

    @Solaris
    I salute your support of the anime industry, while I can’t say for some but if they wanted to support the industry they would have already. What’s left are people who treat watching anime as a given right and not a privilege. After 3 series of anime release on streams Gonzo might rethink about their strategy. Hopefully Kurogane no Linebarrel stream we be stream following the current trend release by them.

  • September 22, 2008 at 12:42 pmSolaris

    Damn there are 2-3 titles i wished not to be canceled! Hope new direction won’t cut them down! (expecially any new SW series if any will be made)

    @More about support:
    mine was only an exhortation to support Gonzo new distruibution system, i don’t want to imply any moral or anything, k?

  • September 22, 2008 at 6:01 pmMASK

    This show is EPIC, I don’t mind if someone tells me it’s brainless, IT’S AWESOME, I loved all the characters, and no, not for the loli-pats-side, but because they were all epic asd. I watched this from the star to the end in one run, and this is a miracle for me, so, very nice show, if you don’t like that… simply don’t watch it.

  • September 28, 2008 at 6:34 amAnon

    I think it’s pretty logical that the hive dissolved.
    The Warlock destroyed EVERY Neuroi in it, so no Neuroi was left.
    We also can presume, that the Neuroi core in the Warlock was from that hive since it’s the nearest hive to Britannia, where the Warlock was developed. So after this core was destroyed, too, the hive dissolved, since no Neuroi connected to that hive was left.

  • April 12, 2009 at 8:07 amJustinLee

    Season 2 expected

  • April 12, 2009 at 8:07 amJustinLee

    Season 2 confirmed

  • April 10, 2011 at 1:52 pmRhi

    Good review. I think I get why the hive was gone though.

    The warlock in a previous episode prettymuch obliterated all the neuroi. I think all the neuroi put forth everything they had in that fight. After they died, the only neuroi left – the only core – was the worlock.

    Once the warlock died, it was over.

    As for that dad thing, for the love of GOD the least they coulda done is shown us the letter. D< Wth. Second season, please. I do not like that. I was ready for it to end, and happy, and then it's like "HEY GUESS WHAT IT'S NOT OVE-… yes it is."