「かたい、はやい、ものすご～い」 (Katai, Hayai, Monosugo~i)
“Hard, Fast, Earth-Shattering~”
With a title along the lines of season one’s episode five, Shirley’s thirst for speed is back this week, but against Gertrud equipped with Karlsland’s prototype “Jet Striker”. In reality, it was more akin to an energy-sapping device that takes all the strength from a girl’s legs and leaves her shaky in the knees for the next while. Funny how that is, because I can think of something that doesn’t involve rocket science and can achieve the same results. >_> Mankind’s been all over it since the dawn of time in fact, and it gives you bags under your eyes all the same by keeping you up all night. <_< Some may even say it even gives you “wings” just like the Jet Striker does. Where the “Me 262 V1” seems to excel though is that it gets the job done quickly, and with the desired outcome. (Can’t… stop… poking fun…) So um, we had a race here (yeah a RACE!) to test the capabilities of this new unit, which Lucchini deemed dangerous business and caused Shirley to give up on being the one to test it out. Gertrud subsequently hops on the opportunity like she originally wanted, leading to a Karlsland versus Liberion showdown against Shirley in her usual Striker Unit with its Merlin engine. It’s Germany versus USA!
Up against the Jet Striker’s theoretical top speed of 950 km/h, Shirley seemed to have no chance of winning whatsoever; however, some of you may recall back in season one that she actually reached Mach 1 speeds and caused her clothes to disintegrate, which is roughly 1225 km/h in the Earth’s atmosphere (dependent on temperature). Here, she couldn’t compete with Gertrud climbing altitudes though, since she doesn’t have the propulsion found in jet engines that help achieve escape velocity. The test to see who could carry the most load at such speeds was somewhat foolish as well, since the Jet Striker looked more than capable of outputting enough power to offset the difference in mass. As such, it wasn’t the least bit surprising that the end result was the same. What was impressive was how Gertrud managed to carry a massive 50mm cannon on her back and 30mm ones in each hand. The shells for that huge cannon must have weighed a ton too, yet carrying extra rounds didn’t faze her one bit. She’s definitely the Strike Witch that packs all the heavy artillery, and this only went on to reiterate how much she kicks ass doing so.
Before it was all said and done, the two of them did have a normal race, except that acceleration is generally the deciding factor more so than top speed. I guess Shirley really didn’t stand a chance after all, but at least she has no problems getting out of bed in the morning! Physics aside, the drum can bath scene was funny to see, since Lucchini is a bucket of groping fun when tossed into the same pot as Yoshika. I think the real fan-service came from Gertrud working out in her white tank top however, as those one-armed pull-ups were quite the spectacle whether viewed from the front, side, or behind. Behind undoubtedly gets my vote, but only because of the ridiculous amount of screen time her butt crack had to mesmerize me by going up and down. Up… and down. Up… and down. Anyway, the appearance of an actual Neuroi at the end came on cue as part of the “Neuroi of the week” progression this series tends to follow, but did give us a taste of the Jet Striker in action before it got wrecked. It also gave Shirley a moment to shine after losing to Gertrud the entire episode, as she kicked her Striker Unit into overdrive and broke the sound barrier again to catch Gertrud’s out of control one after the latter passed out. Unfortunately, nothing was shown of Mio kicking some ass samurai style just prior, but I must say that Seto Saori has filled in wonderfully for Chiba Saeko in that role. If I didn’t know any better, I would probably mistake her for Saeko at times.
Overall, this was a fun episode that gave us a taste of some new Witch technology, plus introduced us to Erica’s younger twin sister Ursula (also voiced by Nogawa Sakura). Now I can understand the reason for using young girls in combat with the whole magic power deteriorating as they get older bit, but I fail to see the justification behind a 16-year-old researcher. It’s probably the cheap cop-out explanation of child genius, but Erica is one of my favorite characters, so it’s a bonus that she comes in two flavors now. Erica sleeps in a dump and has her half of the room with Gertrud clearly sectioned off, while Ursula actually has her act together as a meganekko. In any case, with a new rivalry between the Liberion and Karlsland captains, it wouldn’t be right without an “Over Sky” version by the two of them. The seiyuu groupings for the various versions of the ending theme are generally dependent on what happens each episode, so it wasn’t too hard to see this one coming. For this particular version, Koshimizu Ami is CODE GEASS Kallen Stadfeld win, and Sonozaki Mie is Final Fantasy XII Ashe B’nargin Dalmasca win, so ’nuff said about that.
* I think Amakusa Shino‘s perverted jokes in Seitokai Yakuindomo are rubbing off on me, but it’s not like this episode didn’t ask for it with the “Hard, Fast, Earth-Shattering” title. Seriously, am I not supposed to think **beep beep beeeeeep beep beep**!?