「私のロマーニャ」 (Watashi no Romaanya)
After the crazy start to the season with the new strain of Neuroi taking over Venezia airspace bordering Romagna, the urgency of the impending alien invasion sure has gone southward as of late. With the reformation of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, I thought the stage was set for the girls to head to the front lines right after episode two, realize they’re no match for the new Neuroi, and be forced to retreat and devise a new countermeasure. Instead, we got old school training on a broom the very next week and now shopping for supplies. I did enjoy the episode based on the Messerschmitt Me 262 due to the historical parallels it drew upon, but overall the action-packed start of this sequel has dwindled down to a mere afterthought. I don’t mind this downtime in the story, but I feel the pacing came to a crashing halt far too early. Not only were they pushing the return of the legendary Strike Witches in the first two episodes, but they also hinted a new Striker Unit of sorts from the blueprints that Yoshika’s father left behind. There were also Mio’s struggles remaining in active service with her magical powers waning and the sudden surge of awesomeness with her magic-infused Reppumaru, making this resupplying one feel like a huge downer in comparison.
On the plus side, there was the addition of Yonezawa Madoka as the Romagna Princess Maria, whom K-ON fans will affectionately know as Hirasawa Ui. Madoka doesn’t have very many roles as a seiyuu, so I honestly had no idea who was playing Maria until I saw the credits. In any case, the focus was more or less on her interactions with Lucchini during a shopping errand in her home country of Romagna, which Neuroi were supposed to be invading yet is surprisingly peaceful. Naturally, Lucchini managed to impress the princess with her sense of duty towards protecting Romagna as a witch without any idea who she is — a script not all that uncommon when it comes to royalty. What was surprising though is that not a lot else happened leading up to their inevitable Neuroi tally of the week, yet the episode went by fairly quickly for me. It could have just be that I was holding onto hope that something big was going to happen aside from Yoshika taking special requests from everyone and Shirley drifting a six-wheel double tire truck on a mountain side, before things turned into a sightseeing tour though. Still I found it odd when the episode ended not too long after a brief battle with the Neuroi that showed up.
To the episode’s credit, the battle was pretty cool with Lucchini breaking out the drill attack after Shirley acted as a diversion, and things did end on a semi-sweet note with everyone getting what they asked for. Erica probably could have done without the alarm clock that Gertrud asked Yoshika to get her, but they did get supplies from Maria in the end. Incidentally, there was mention of the saying “Noblesse oblige” by Maria, which just so happens to coincide with the DVD/BD release of the second Eden of the East movie today. (I may or may not cover it seeing as Omni never covered the first one.) As for Strike Witches, another episode means another new seiyuu combination for the ending theme. Since Lynne was smart enough to pass on going on the errand knowing what a crazy driver Shirley is, we have Yoshika, Francesca, and Shirley this week. The next episode looks like it’s going to be about Eila and Sanya, so we can probably expect their version coming up. It looks like the Neuroi conflict might come into play more as well.