STRIKE WITCHES 2 – 02
「伝説の魔女達」 (Densetsu no Majo-tachi)
“The Legendary Witches”
For an episode about the witches meeting up again and reforming the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, I don’t think it could have played out any better than having it happen on the battlefield. With Yoshika doing her best to protect the helpless naval fleet against the new variant of Neuroi before them, I was almost giddy when I saw the other witches start showing up in waves to lend a hand. None of the witches’ identities are a secret at this point, but I love the way they tried to give them a bit of a mysterious entrance by not showing their faces right away. The music played during all their entrances added to the heroic feel of it too, making all the subsequent battle scenes pretty cool to watch. In fact, the music added a lot to all of the scenes and really helped give off a sense of urgency when Yoshika was frantically trying destroy the moving core after the Neuroi started regenerating from Mio’s Striker Unit-less attack. It also helped add to the heartwarming reunions, especially Yoshika and Lynne’s. When I first watched this episode, it didn’t even occur to me that the music was what was getting me all excited about seeing all the girls join up again and kicking some alien ass. Only a quick skim through a second time made me realize how unassuming all the tracks were but how much they added to the presentation. In short, it was great screenplay throughout. I loved every minute of this episode.
Story-wise, I thought it was pretty awesome how Mio’s magic-infused katana “Reppumaru” became her new shield. Who needs to block beams when she can dance her way through a barrage of them using the mind’s eye and cut through the large ones that she can’t. Turning twenty years-old may have degraded her magic abilities to the point that she can’t even stop a bullet effectively, but her offensive power with that katana seems to be by far the most powerful out of the group. She looked pretty slick in the white school swimsuit she’s switched to this season, and pretty damn badass when she went free falling and unleashed her “Reppuzan” technique for the first time. As the battle against this Neuroi was the same one we saw last episode during the cold open, there weren’t any new scenes during that part of the battle; however, Mio’s spectacular finish after the Neuroi core was exposed made the whole sequence pretty entertaining to watch again. For now, it looks like Mio’s more or less abandoned the use of guns since all of her magical power rests in her eye and katana, but it never hurts to have a melee specialist in the group that can do that kind of damage and locate Neuroi cores as well.
Seeing as it’s been a while since we’ve seen these characters, it was kind of nice how Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke (Tanaka Rie) reintroduced everyone again by reading orders to have the “legendary” Strike Witches reformed. I didn’t really have any problem remembering who’s who along with their seiyuu, but it’s still cool hearing their full names called out one by one to give each of them a moment in the spotlight. In addition to Lynette and Lucchini whom I made mention of last week, we have Charlotte E. Yeager (Koshimizu Ami), Perrine-H. Clostermann (Sawashiro Miyuki), Gertrud Barkhorn (Sonozaki Mie), Erica Hartmann (Nogawa Sakura), Eila Ilmatar Juutilainen (Oohashi Ayuru), and Sanya V. Litvyak (Kadokawa Mai) on board now. Perrine and Erica are two of my favorites, so I’ll be keeping my eye on the humor they bring this sequel. Next episode looks like a training one, that has Yoshika, Lynette, and Perrine on broom sticks like stereotypical witches. I thought they were going to intercept the new Neuroi invading Romagna from the Adriatic Sea next, but it doesn’t look like things are headed that way just yet.