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STRIKE WITCHES The Movie »« STRIKE WITCHES 2 – 11

STRIKE WITCHES 2 – 12 (END)

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「天空(そら)より永遠(とわ)に」 (Sora yori Towa ni)
“To Eternity Beyond the Skies”

After the story picked up with the full-frontal assault on the Neuroi hive, the conclusion to the series was filled with so much good melodrama that I loved every minute of it. At times, it may have been a bit forced, but when Mio restarted the magical dynamo engine with everything she had and got the Yamato to fire its main cannons at the hive, the subsequent explosion and appearance of a gigantic Neuroi core made all the feelings of helplessness well warranted. Who says this series is only about mecha-girls without pants on? It was a desperate struggle with the future of the world on the line and the Strike Witches were completely tapped of their magical powers. To make matters worse, the Neuroi had assimilated the Yamato along with Mio to make use of her shield ability. Evidently, her inability to use shields doesn’t stop aliens from stealing that power from her and using it themselves, leading to a big, “Oh my god we’re all going to die” kind of situation. i.e. An excellent setup for a finale.

More so than the fate of the world and the rest of the fleet, all the witches had in mind was Mio first and foremost. The fate of a starring character in the balance makes for much better suspense than the nameless ones that have probably been dying left and right, so I really liked the inclusion of that last minute twist to the story. It also gave Yoshika an opportunity to shine again like she supposed to as the main character of the series by unleashing a Shin Reppuzan at the expense of all her magical powers. Talk about going out with a blast. While it doesn’t change the fact that Yoshika came in and stole Mio’s thunder by retrieving Reppumaru from the Yamato and just unleashing all of her powers in one fell swing, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t pretty damn cool to see it all play out the way it did. From Yoshika releasing her power to extract the Neuroi-tainted katana, to cleansing and infusing the blade with all her magic, and finally cutting through the red shield like butter, the remixed opening theme playing in the background as she was screamed “Reppuzan!” made the entire scene utterly awesome in my eyes. I’m admittedly a sucker for people diving in head first with no concern for themselves to try and save someone, and an even bigger one to backup showing up to help the crazy person who just did so. As much as I enjoyed seeing Yoshika take to the skies and take to the skies in her weakened state, the other witches following suit brought a bit of a tear to my eyes. What can I say? I have a soft spot for acts of chivalry.

Once the full cast version of “Over Sky” kicked in and the credits started to scroll, it was nothing short of a fulfilling ending from that point on. The alien threat over Venezia, Romagna is gone, Lucchini’s home country is safe again, and the 501st Joint Fighter Wing disbands again having completed their mission. In fact, I really liked all the individual focus that all the characters got in the epilogue, so I decided to include all eleven of them. It was also nice to see them touch upon some of the other characters, such as Hanna, Ursula, Amaki Suwa, and Takei Junko, while subtly introducing some new ones as well — Raisa Pöttgen (Kuzumi Aiko), Nakajima Nishiki (Sanpei Yuuko), Fernandia Malvezzi (Morinaga Rika), Luciana Mazzei (Hirohashi Ryou), and Martina Crespi (Mizuhashi Kaori), the last three of which are members of the 504th Joint Fighter Wing. Overall, a great ending to a very enjoyable series.

 

Epilogue

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Final Impressions:

Despite being the second most talked about show this season among Japanese viewers (only behind K-ON), STRIKE WITCHES and its similarly cute characters never seemed to take off in popularity the same way among English-speaking ones. The whole pantless fan-service seems to be a touchy subject of sorts, even though something more excessive isn’t a problem to most people as soon as zombies are thrown into the mix. Aliens in a less gory variety? Not good enough apparently. For me, this series took the slice of life genre and combined it with action, magic, mecha, and military to produce something unique, and I’ve enjoyed it for that very reason. While the Neuroi aspect is always a prevalent theme of the series, it’s generally not the focus until the very end of the season. Leading up to that, it provided the same type of quirky fun that K-ON did on a weekly basis, just in a different setting and premise. The cast of characters and their various nuances are just as amiable as the ones over there, with the most notable difference being that STRIKE WITCHES rocks it out in the skies rather than on instruments.

Produced by AIC Spirits, this sequel’s jump to high definition instantly made it better than GONZO’s original adaptation. In addition, the use of CG to supplement a lot of the distant shots worked well, and were never too distracting because they would change back to hand-drawn ones as soon as the characters got close enough. One particular aspect that I really liked was the screenplay, which the music supplemented very well in a lot of scenes. This finale was a prime example of that, as I could get a good sense of the emotions the characters were exuding and the tensions they were feeling. At times, it was even adrenaline-pumping, like when Yoshika used all her might to pull Reppumaru out of the Yamato’s deck. Quite frankly, I find it’s the little things such as that which make the series much better than one would probably believe after seeing some promo artwork. The bonus of course is that if someone doesn’t mind the more moe side of things (such as myself), this series will deliver beautifully in that regard with its large cast of characters played by notable female seiyuu. In this particular instance, Seto Saori deserves special praise for filling in for Chiba Saeko as well as she did. I never once found Mio’s voice out of place from the very moment I heard her speak in STRIKE WITCHES 2, aside from the fact that she didn’t quite have the same “Saeko laugh” that she’s notorious for. Even without it, I don’t think I could have asked for a better performance from someone who was trying to mimic the original seiyuu’s portrayal of the character.

Coming into this sequel, I was already convinced that I’d be watching it before I even read anything about it. With one of my favorite studios taking over, there was really no reason I not to watch this when I did the original. Be that as it may, it actually turned out much better than even I was expecting. Part that was likely due to the semi-nostalgic effect from seeing the same cast of character back in action again two years later, but a lot of it was due to the aforementioned production and screenplay reasons. The fan-service actually wasn’t too excessive either, aside from the premiere episode where they went all out to give fans a good reminder that the 501st Joint Fighter Wing is back. As such, I’d easily recommend this series to anyone who’s a fan of shows like K-ON, as well as anyone who’s looking for a cute, lighthearted, yet action-filled series. Given how things ended with Yoshika’s powers in question, I’m curious as to whether or not we’ll see another sequel. However, it goes without saying that if they release one next year or two years from now, I’ll be watching it.

September 23, 2010 at 12:25 am
31 comments »
  • September 23, 2010 at 12:41 amKyuusei

    That last shot of Reppumaru and the Shinden -subtle hinting of future screentime, or dramatic slam of door ending?

    Oh and since the 501st is called the Strike Witches and they’ve been decommissioned, that are we gonna call possible season 3 when its the 504th’s turn to shine?

    • September 23, 2010 at 12:42 amKyuusei

      Oops, that was supposed to be “what are we gonna call”.

      Oh first apparently. The trolls must be sleeping.

    • September 23, 2010 at 7:36 pmcenyth

      The 504th wing is called the “Ardor Witches”. http://strikewitches.wikia.com/wiki/Category:504th_Joint_Fighter_Wing

      That being said, I think there’s a whole bunch of places with Neuroi still, so there exists potential for any of the other JWFs to be shown as well. (So more please)

  • September 23, 2010 at 12:42 amexia

    They ended this show nicely after I thought it was going to be some cheap cop out like S1, even the epilogue was a nice touch and gave a sense of closure unlike most anime these days. The musical pieces were the highlight of season 2 as it got the viewer into the mood and especially helped build up the steam for the true reppuzan to end the series. On another note, I ended up being a Perrine fan throughout all of this :p she just grows on yah.

  • September 23, 2010 at 12:43 amSyaoran Li

    The funny thing for me this time is that I saw this coming, the way Mio was held by the Neuroi to take advantage of her Witch power, then Yoshika doing the True Reppuzan to defeat their enemy. I really enjoyed all the sequence and the series as a whole.

    I’ll miss it, that’s for sure, but once again, it was a nice ride.

    And thankfully, this time it wasn’t GONZO.

  • September 23, 2010 at 12:47 amMatter

    This is one of the shows I’ve been more interested in over the short period I have been watching anime.
    Bravo on the ending twist and lots of congrats to all cast who were involved in such a splendid show.
    The ending music was such a nice touch, it really bought out the fact that all was still and peaceful.
    Would have been interesting to see what would have happen if the witches stay together though.
    And likewise to Divine I’ll be watching any sequel that may happen to be unveiled!

  • September 23, 2010 at 12:56 amLordip

    Damn. now I need to finished the 1st season fast. I really have no idea why, but I just couldn’t finished it. I like K-On, but somehow I never could take SW seriously. Must be moe overload. oh well…

    • September 23, 2010 at 1:57 amAlec

      watching the 1st season is unnecessary IMO. The 1st and 2nd season are pretty much the same thing. the only difference is the video quality

  • September 23, 2010 at 2:38 amKinny Riddle

    Feeling a bit bittersweet that Yoshika has now retired as a witch together with Mio.

    With such a large world view, plus the slew of new characters seen at the credits, I have a feeling we won’t be seeing the end of the SW universe just yet, as not all the Neuroi have been taken cared of. Not to mention they never bothered explaining the origins and motives of these Neuroi (both the humanoid ones in S1 and the mega evolved ones this season).

    But for all intents and purposes, it’s probably safe to say that Yoshika’s story in the SW universe has now come to a satisfying, though bittersweet, conclusion.

    • September 23, 2010 at 5:48 amShinjiro

      You’re probably right, there’s so much more to the SW’s world. I’d love to see other strike force squadrons too.
      This episode with its ongoing action and acts of pure awesomeness was nothing short of a blast. I felt sad for Mio and Yoshika losing their magic but I guess the sacrifice of Yoshika’s magic power was better than losing one of the characters’ life.
      After watching this season’s first episode, I took the time to watch the first season (for some reason I never had the time to watch it) but with WWII’s airplanes idea being involved, it became a definite watch for me.
      I’m glad this series was blogged so thanks, D.

  • September 23, 2010 at 2:39 amKinny Riddle

    BTW, I half-expected Mio to rush up and kiss Minna here (again). :)

    http://randomc.net/image/STRIKE%20WITCHES/STRIKE%20WITCHES%202%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2001.jpg

    • September 25, 2010 at 10:33 pmDaniel

      I didn’t half-expect – I fully expected. And the lack of it crumbled me D:

  • September 23, 2010 at 3:25 amCroosboy

    Wow that was epic. maybe there is a 3rd season? i will he w8ing for the DVD release. ^,-,^.
    Good thing this anime is not very ecchi and not less ecchi. balancing the ecchi and the life story was great.
    I will really miss mio’s laugh and the swimsuit.
    I was wondering if the one who produced strike witches will be the one produce IS(infinity stratos). The PV animation looks kind of familiar .

  • September 23, 2010 at 4:00 amSelpheed

    OMG! New witches in the end credits! anyone know their names?

    • September 23, 2010 at 12:21 pmlonghaul

      If you read Divine’s post you would have seen he listed them.

  • September 23, 2010 at 4:04 amMika-chan

    I guess is not the end. Yoshika father still missing in action. :)

  • September 23, 2010 at 4:28 amStrike-San

    Nice review, written exactly how I thought of the series. All that’s left is to switch randomc’s banner from k-on to strike witches to commemorate =p

  • September 23, 2010 at 5:59 amBanana

    What a great end to the series, although Yoshika losing her magic was really depressing. Here’s hoping for another season of Pantsu Witches (502nd, anyone?).

  • September 23, 2010 at 6:01 amKarmafan

    Your review of this episode and this entire series was right on the mark. I loved this series (and season 1) and was simply amazed at the action and excitement. I would love to see a 3rd season. Yoshika was WAY TOO CUTE and I also really liked Luchini (sp).

  • September 23, 2010 at 8:48 amIsland Esper

    Kudos !!! All the witches non-sense and fun from episode 1 thru 10 were a terrific ride to this 2 part series conclusion. If the introduction of the 504 squadron along with new witches is not a huge hint of season 3; I can’t think of anything else as proof of it!!! Can’t wait to see the defense of Africa in the hands of Hanna. Yoshika and Mio can be elder witches to help in training ;) or they will think of something to bring them back. Best moment for me of the whole series was Minna 200th kill. I’ll treasure that forever until more witches make the their way to the sky.

  • September 23, 2010 at 10:58 amSilver

    Exactly! The slice-of-life combines with the other aspects made this show really appealing and relaxing to watch. Haha, it seems that when violence and fanservice goes together, it is perfect but when only fanservice, people get a bit touchy or something but really, even the fanservice here is tame compared to Highschool of the Dead and many others.

    Hmm… now I wish there was a third season…

    @ Selpheed
    Those new witches should be part of one of the game for the DS I remember.

  • September 23, 2010 at 12:26 pmlonghaul

    Overall it was a decent end. If I had to pick one thing to not be happy with it would be the ‘every gets their 5 second turn’, its probably just a preference thing but I have never liked those unless its everyone doing their flashy special on a boss.

    I wish they had shown the other 4 witches of the 504th, I would guess the ones that were shown were because they already had VA’s.

  • September 23, 2010 at 9:36 pmamado

    it ended nicely but I wanted minna and mio to kiss here
    http://randomc.net/image/STRIKE%20WITCHES/STRIKE%20WITCHES%202%20-%2012%20-%20Large%2001.jpg

    due to the epilogue showing the other witches not yet introduced, there is a chance for a 3rd season

  • September 24, 2010 at 4:55 amedru

    I wonder why minna didnt follow mio to the ship and help her power up Yamato
    even if she cant transfer her power to the core, she could have “linked” with mio to boost her powers like what she did last season

    other than that this was a good anime, hope for a possible 2nd season

    • September 24, 2010 at 4:56 amedru

      whoops, meant 3rd season

  • September 24, 2010 at 10:38 amDarth

    Overall, I thought this series was pretty “meh.” The only episodes I found to be noteworthy were the episode with the Jet Striker (as it featured Barkhorn being awesome and kicking copious amounts of ass) and the episode with the witch from Africa (her presence was new, and thus a welcome breath a fresh air).

    The finale was okay, but aside from Neuroi Battleship Yamato, I feel they could have done a lot more to make the ending more dynamic and interesting. But, I suppose that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

    I’ve heard that there’s going to be some sort of follow-up OVA in the coming future. Will definitely be around to check that out.

  • September 24, 2010 at 10:49 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    well…..i guess all’s well that end’s in loli pantsu!

  • September 27, 2010 at 6:08 amTerrylovesanime

    I think mostly there will be a OVA only and no season 3 as during the end of episode 12 miyafuji said that it is july 1945 which was when WW2 ended so i dont think there will be any more season 3 though i really hope there is == lets hope sea

  • September 27, 2010 at 6:09 amTerrylovesanime

    I think mostly there will be a OVA only and no season 3 as during the end of episode 12 miyafuji said that it is july 1945 which was when WW2 ended so i dont think there will be any more season 3 though i really hope there is == lets hope season 3 will come out lol maybe about things that happened after WW2

  • September 27, 2010 at 9:00 pmSteven Den Beste

    In terms of canon, there are two remaining nests. One is in western Orussia and the other hovers over Egypt. Each of them is faced by a witch squadron. The one facing the northern nest is unofficially known as the “Suomus Misfit Squadron”. The one in North Africa is the one that the idol witch came from.

    With the nest over Venezia now gone, that leaves the 504th without an assignment. Nonetheless, I expect there to be a third season, and I think it’s mainly going to be about the 504th, and the protagonist will be Amaki, the dojikko.

    And, of course, there’s no rule that says the Neuroi can’t deploy another new nest, for instance in China, or maybe Korea. If that happened, the 504th would be the natural choice to deploy against it, in Japan, and you’d have Junko and Amaki defending their homeland.

  • September 30, 2010 at 12:45 pmStrike

    I’d like to see action from the Soumus misfits. Mainly at the outbreak of the war when the novels started.