「君を忘れない」 (Kimi wo Wasurenai)
“Forget You Not”
Episode at a Glance:
When Yoshika tries to bring some tea and sweets to the maintenance crew as a form of thanks, she discovers that they’ve been ordered by Minna not to associate with the Strike Witches. Discussing this with Lynne later, Yoshika finds out that she knew about the order, but never found it weird, having rarely socialized with any men before. The Akagi battleship then arrives at the port, repaired from the previous battle, and the captain later presents Yoshika with a gift from the crew for saving everyone that time. The captain also invites Yoshika to the ship, but Minna informs him that they’re commencing their counterattack against the Neuroi tomorrow. Outside, a young naval soldier thanks Yoshika for her bravery in the last battle and tries to give her what Lynne thinks is a love letter. However, the wind proves uncooperative and the letter winds up in the hands of Minna, who returns it to the young boy and reminds him that unnecessary contact with Witches is prohibited. Mio later approaches Minna about what happened and figures that she still hasn’t forgotten about before. Meanwhile, Yoshika opens the gift to find a Fuso figurine of a Strike Witch and feels that she needs to thank everyone properly.
The next day, Minna and Mio convey everyone’s assignments, before they disembark to engage the incoming enemy. When they make contact, the Neuroi separates into hundreds of cubes, so Minna orders everyone to keep it busy while Mio locates its core. With the battle dragging on and the Neuroi approaching the coastline, Mio finally manages to locate the core away from the pack and Yoshika ends up shooting it down. Afterward, Minna heads on down to the now Neuroi territory, Pas-de-Calais, where she discovers a package in a car. Reminded of how she fled from Gallia when they were forced to fall back and how her musician boyfriend was left behind to die, Minna breaks down in tears but takes the package back with her. The next day, the Akagi is about to depart for their own counterattack, when Yoshika, Mio, and Lynne fly by to thank everyone on board. The communication officers then picks up a broadcast of singing over the radio, so the captain tells him to put it through to all the ships. Upon heading back to the base, Yoshika finds Minna in a red dress and singing to Sanya’s piano accompaniment and tells her what a beautiful song it was. Later that night, Mio thanks Minna for allowing them to see everyone off, after which the commander says she was mistaken about forsaking love after losing him, but says she’ll give it her all to never lose anyone again and draws a gun on Mio.
「守りたいもの」 (Mamoritai Mono)
“Defend At All Costs” (lit. Thing I Want to Protect)
For the most part, it was a Minna-centric episode this week, which featured Tanaka Rie‘s singing as a bonus. The song she sang was a Japanese version of Lili Marlene, a famous German love song that was popular during on both sides during World War II. While the glimpse into Minna’s past was brief, I appreciate how they tried to depict the pain of loss, which is an aspect of war that some viewers felt the series was neglecting. Seeing as the reality of war could have been easily ignored in a series about a group of magical girls fighting against aliens, I’m really starting to find the series much more profound than it will ever seem on the surface. As for the cliffhanger at the end with Minna holding a gun up to Mio, I suspect that it’s a feint because Minna’s gun sounded like it was loaded with water and Mio doesn’t look any worse for wear in the preview. In fact, the two of them are seen together, so perhaps it’ll end up being a figurative way of depicting her change in attitude towards falling in love.
Overall, I found the episode pretty entertaining and a bit nostalgic with the battleship crew from episode two making an appearance again. It’s also been a while since we’ve seen the Strike Witches come into contact with any other members of the military, even though we know they’ve always been around somewhere. The battle in the sky with the cube Neuroi was pretty entertaining to watch with the pace set by the action and music, but I couldn’t help but think how fast Strike Freedom‘s ridiculously overpowered HiMAT would’ve taken them all out. i.e. Play some T.M. Revolution vestige music, snap your fingers, and the fight would be over. Also, I saw Gertrud and Erica as the Legolas and Gimli of Strike Witches, when the two of them were competing on the battlefield by counting their kills.
In what can easily be overlooked, the series’ ending song, “Bookmark Ahead”, is sung by two of the eleven Strike Witches, but the pairing actually changes each week. The opening/ending single that was recently released features a Yoshika-only version, but a character album is coming out later on. I wouldn’t be surprised if they made a version that features all 11 seiyuus singing together, seeing as Negima! has songs with 31 seiyuus doing the same.
In any case, the specific breakdown thus far is the following:
– Episodes 1-2: Yoshika and Mio
– Episode 3: Yoshika and Lynette
– Episode 4: Yoshika and Gertrud
– Episode 5: Francesca and Charlotte
– Episode 6: Sanya and Eila
– Episode 7: Perrine and Erica
– Episode 8: Minna and Mio
(It’s a bit weird to see that Gertrud wasn’t paired up with Erica, but the rest seem to make sense from a story point of view.)
– 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)
– Captain Sugita (杉田艦長) / Mugihito (麦人)
– Maintenance soldier (整備兵) / Koizumi Yutaka (小泉 豊)
– Boy soldier (少年兵) / Nomura Katsuhito (野村 勝人)
– Young man (青年) / Katou Yasuyuki (加藤 康之)