「ストライクウィッチーズ 劇場版」 (Sutoraiku Wicchīzu Gekijouban)

STRIKE WITCHES is surprisingly high up on my list of thoroughly enjoyable anime series which always makes it rather depressing to see how many people dismiss it with but a single glance. The general levels of fanservice seem to be something of a deterrent to many of the people to whom it might appeal – the people who are incapable of seeing beyond the panty shots and (admittedly frequent) nudity throughout the first two seasons. While the movie may continue in the STRIKE WITCHES tradition for the former, it’s somehow completely devoid of the latter. Whether that means more people will be interested in watching the movie, I don’t know… but we can hope!

Takamura Kazuhiro, I would argue, is damn good at his job. It never ceases to amaze (and amuse) me just how natural he manages to make the pant-less look seem – just look at the upcoming Vividred Operation for more of the same. On the whole, the first two seasons of STRIKE WITCHES had excellent art and animation, so it should come as no surprise that the movie would keep up that trend. My only issues in that department were the semi-frequent occasions where some of the CG looked a little bit out of place – it’s possible it could’ve been handled better. But on the whole, it was a visual treat. And I’m not just referring to the compromising angles!

I’ve always felt that the Neuroi were perfect representations of the ultimate terrifying foe. They have all the characteristics required to be extremely demoralising to those who have to face them. Their inhuman appearances (including spiders at the start of the movie!) coupled with their otherworldly shrieking make for a good base, but the true fear comes from their regeneration and seemingly endless numbers. There are few things more demoralising than a foe that cannot be reasoned with, attacks in large numbers, and gets up every time you knock it down. Few things inspire more fear than an adversary you can repeatedly riddle with holes only for the damage to be regenerated in seconds. It’s something that plays a large part in horror movies where zombies keep advancing, showing no signs of pain or fatigue. When you add to this their ability to adopt new tactics and adapt to different situations, it’s hard to imagine that humanity would have managed to put up a fight were it not for the Witches.

And thus we’re back with our beloved Witches as a new threat – a new type of Neuroi – emerges. I’ve always liked the characters of STRIKE WITCHES – they’re all interesting individuals with their own quirks, hopes and dreams. As you would expect from the movie, all members of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing make their return, though some have far less screen-time than others. Lynette (Nazuka Kaori) and Perrine (Sawashiro Miyuki) are the same as ever, the former working hard to support her friend’s dreams and the latter working tirelessly to restore Gallia to its former glory by way of her own estate. Barkhorn (Sonozaki Mie) and Erica (Nogawa Sakura) continue their brilliant dynamic, a hardworking and strict Flight Lieutenant contrasting with the lazy and reckless Flying Officer. Lucchini (Saito Chiwa) and Charlotte (Koshimizu Ami) haven’t changed either – Lucchini is still as hyperactive as ever and Charlotte has certainly not lost her love for speed. Of course, we can’t forget about the duo who give off the most yuri vibes: Eila (Ohashi Ayuru) and Sanya (Kadowaki Mai). These two seem to have the least screen-time of the duos, only eclipsed by Mio (Seto Saori) who gets barely any screen-time at all. Minna (Tanaka Rie) is still around too, remataining her position as a high ranking officer. And then, of course, we have Yoshika (Fukuen Misato.)

When we left at the end of the second season, Yoshika had ostensibly burnt out her magic and was no longer a Witch. Of all the returning characters, she seems to be the one to have changed the most. She may have gone from saving the world to rescuing trapped puppies, but it’s amazing how accepting she is of the whole situation – how much she’s grown since we last saw her. There’s no hesitancy whatsoever. She may still be a little ditzy, but she’s more sure of herself and still willing to do whatever it takes to save others. Around her is built one of the biggest themes present through both series and once again in this movie: strength in the face of adversity and never giving up hope. They’re basic themes, but ones that appeal to something in all of us who have ever struggled for anything. STRIKE WITCHES uses the themes well, from Yoshika’s rescue of the trapped crewmember, to her willingness to face off against a Neuroi with no magic or support. All in all, she manages to be pretty fucking badass.

In addition to the Witches we’re familiar with, the movie adds something I’ve wanted for a long time – inter-squad rivalries and a slew of other Witches. Most of these are nothing more than short cameos, but it was still highly enjoyable to meet the members of the 504th: Luciana Mazzei (Hirohashi Ryou), Martina Crespi (Mizuhashi Kaori), and Fernandia Malvezzi (Morinaga Rika). Watching them race against the Charlotte/Lucchini duo and later use their own special combo against a Neuroi was a lot of fun! There were other cameos too, including Heinrike Prinzessin zu Sayn-Wittgenstein (Kawasumi Ayako), Amelie Planchard (Yahagi Sayuri), and Nikka Edvardine Katajainen (Takamori Natsumi) to name a few.

Of these new Witches, two had greater importance to the story: Heidemarie W. Schnaufer (Ueda Kana) and Hattori Shizuka (Uchida Aya.) The former seems to have taken up a role alongside Minna while the latter acts as a foil to Yoshika for the duration of the movie. Were it not for the fact that we’ve had two series before this movie, I would consider Hattori the window through which we look in on the rest of the cast and learn more about them. It’s a little funny to see her treat Yoshika as a role model and war hero only to be ultimately disappointed. She’s the polar opposite of her idol – always following orders and acting on logic where Yoshika will dive in to save people no matter what. When the squad begins to come back together, she’s the one who’s left on the outskirts – the one who doesn’t quite seem to fit in. Watching her develop over the course of the movie, watching her begin to accept Yoshika’s way of doing things, growing as a person through meeting the other members of the 501st, and discovering the value of human life over protocol… it’s an amazing experience.

One of the things I always enjoy is watching the Witches fight. There’s a beauty in the small details – the flying shells, the collateral damage, the quick changes in equipment. Their co-ordination, their fleetness and the freedom they exercise in flight are all enjoyable to behold. This experience was only slightly marred by the frequent use of CG I mentioned earlier. It was not all bad, but some of the CG just seemed poorly implemented at times.

Overall, it was fairly standard fare for an anime movie – the reintroduction of all the characters, the harks back to the original series, and the final send off… or so it seemed for the majority of the movie. I was always a little worried about Yoshika getting her magic back – STRIKE WITCHES previously emphasised how there are no free resets and no easy fixes. Things happen, you deal with them, and you move on. There were many ways they could have handled it, including leaving her powerless, but I feel a little disappointed with the route they chose to take. As much as I enjoyed the whole ‘cast gathered for the final climax‘ move, I feel as though it was a bit of a cop-out to give her back her magic based on ‘the power of friendship‘. It’s an extremely simplistic theme from an anime that has proven its ability to handle something more mature in the past. This aside, it was an enjoyable movie, with the promise of a new beginning. That ‘To Be Continued’ had better signify plans for a third season!

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – The cast and themes return for another round. Here’s to hoping for a third season! #StrikeWitches

Random thoughts:

  • There may be no nudity this round, but the camera angles certainly haven’t changed!
  • As always, the music was awesome, managing to capture the mood and the climaxes perfectly.
  • Barkhorn has the best reactions!
  • I never doubted for even a minute that Charlotte would win against the 504th. No-one can defeat her when it comes to speed!
  • Burrowing Neuroi were an interesting concept – they must’ve been wreaking havoc on the land though!

Full-length images: 006, 010, 026, 027, 047, 052, 057, 059, 064, 065, 072, 074, 081, 082, 089, 092, 094.


ED Sequence

ED: 「約束の空へ ~私のいた場所~」 (Yakusoku no Sora e ~Watashi no Ita Basho~) by 田燿子&第501統合戦闘航空団 (Ishida Youko & 501st Joint Fighter Wing)


  1. “the people who are incapable of seeing beyond the panty shots and (admittedly frequent) nudity throughout the first two seasons”

    You mean my fellow Anime Fans and Otakus aren’t also fellow perverts?! T_T

    Forever Alone.

    Need to finish watching Strike Witches!

    Kurisu Vi Britannia
  2. The movie was good and the hint of more to follow in the future with the “to be continued at the end” is exciting. Overall, it captured the elements that have made this series a fun watch. It did leave me wondering if this is meant to be a Battle of the Bulge with a temporarily reversal of the front lines or something far more serious.

    However, having watched this series since the first season was airing, I have always had problem with the setting of the plot in regards to the lack of pants/skirs on the girls. Was it a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes and the vanity of women who can’t admit that they are being taken advantage of by the women’s clothing manufactuerers? A sexist society that believes that women should be remain pant/skirtless when they are unmarried since Yoshika’s grandma wears something? Or something far more sinister since they have to remained uncovered even when its cold outside. Its not like them wearing micro-mini skirts while flying around in the air wouldn’t have provided amble fanservice. So I would love a canon reason for such a developement in society since it always struck me as being a bit too over the top and requires an even larger suspension of common sense then is normally required in anime.

    A Plot Device Too Far
    1. If you take in considaration the military point of view it totaly makes sense. In the army you don’t wear cusual clothes, you wear efficient clothes, something that doesn’t hinder you movements and doesn´t get hooked everywhere. When you have to put on something like strikers, that go up to your thighs in an emergency, you don’t want to lose time fighting with your clothes. Therefore you don’t wear any.
      If everybody is aware of this, it becomes natural.

      And remember the moto of the serie: It’s not panties so it’s not embarassing

      1. Well, someones of them using Pants 🙂 But trust me, if you Like Strike Witches for the Atmosphere and Story. Then you “overlook” this “Pantsu” Shoots. Well, they have to cath the Viewers to earn Money to keep Anime rolling. So, dont look to “hard” on them

  3. A great movie.

    The spider Neuroi at the beginning reminded me a bit of the BETA from muv-luv. Just with less teeth.

    I liked how differently Trude and Erica handled their weapons in the same situation. When they jammed, Trude simply switched parts and Erica threw hers away and took out another.

    Yoshika totally took a level in badass while not having her powers. Makes me kind of wish she didn’t get them back in the end.

    Third Season with Heidemarie and/or Shizuka as new members of 501st please.

  4. I saw the series (season 1 and a couple of episodes for season 2) and it just shameless. The series is just your generic ecchi and sorta lesbian anime there is nothing to see in this series except constant shots of girls in panty’s having shots focused on their butts and lower half of their body, it was made knowing its target audience perverted Otaku’s (people that like heavy fan service anime).If you are that kind of person more power to ya, but trust me there is nothing to see beyond the endless camel toe and butt shots. We all know why this anime did well enough to get a second season and movie and its not because of its plot.

      1. Trust I have watched enough anime(A lot!) to spot a worthwhile plot. In my opinion this anime does not have one, I rank it up there with fan service animes like the To Love Ru series.

    1. Well even in the main series, she is the hard-headed “no-kill-like-overkill” character. What makes her more charming are the rare points in the series where she smile: she’s a tsundere afterall….

      The Moondoggie
    2. I love that part:

      Minna: We must investigate!
      Barkhorn: I don’t think it’s necessary to investigate!
      Hartmann: Oh look! Miyafuji is there!
      Barkhorn: *Activates Rambo mode!* What are you waiting for!? Let’s go!

      Oh Barkhorn, she’s so caring for her cute little sister and Hartmann knows how to
      pull her strings well.

  5. The BD has sold more than 33,000 copies so far, which is certainly enough to make it profitable. I suspect we will see more of the series.

    I think Heidemarie is a permanent addition. She is the unit exec, now that Sakamoto can’t do that job. I think Shizuka is not, though.

    I was happy to learn that they had given Yoshika a commission. She deserved it.

    1. Heidemarie better stay on. She was already a very popular witch beyond the series. I’m very disappointed at the lack of ground combat witches ala Major C.G. Miles, the Patton girls, and Porsche, etc.

      Now, I quickly caught on to the Battle of the Bulge references. And C2710 has commented on ze blog that the Yamato’s support-fire at the Carrier Neuroi is similar to the famous picture of the USS Iowa’s broadside. Radio interference and whatnot were utilized in the Ardennes offensive, and may be serving as the ‘cloud cover’ in this instance that denied effective Allied counterattack during the Ardennes offensive.

      An interesting note on Neuroi. It would seem Neuroi has taken on the forms of the things humans had feared the most throughout the ages. We see ancient evil dieties, snakes, dragons, spiders, and whatnot. And certainly the regenerative effects of the Neuroi can give rise to say, the labor of Hercules (assuming Hercules has been gender-swapped and a ancient Greece Witch) in which it’s a snake-type Neuroi that had many cores, etc…

      I’m loving the music, and Heidemarie and Hattori is a welcome mechanic. I loved how Perrine had softened considerably, and still jealous at Yoshika x Lynette.

      Anyone else notice that Hattori got ‘Ace in a Day’ status in about 2 minutes? Maybe the ‘Ace’ status changed with witches compared to standard fighters (which we see still existed as far into the universe with Operation Trajanous (sp?/iirc?) in the second season (some were escorting Flight Lieutenant Takei Junko).

      Regardless, minus the multiude of pantsu shots, am liking the series, and Yoshika can be seen as something as the top level RPG c haracter. We’ve seen her growth from an uncommitted pacifist in season one to a sort of protector in season two and in the movie. I mean hell, she took out the tower/periscope Neuroi with only a Jeep, an modified 20mm cannon (holy Christ) and her pure rage and need to protect innocents.

      Speaking of the new Neuroi, we’ve already confirmed that Neuroi cannot cross bodies of water, which made Brittannia ‘safe’. We saw that too when Yoshika was fighting the tower/periscope Neuroi as well as Trude and Hartmann’s skirmish on the Rhine. And actually makes perfect sense. The Neuroi adapt to the tactics of the enemy as well, we saw this with the introduction of the Witch-type Neuroi in S1 and S2, and Gertrude did mention that the underground route was utilized by the Allies in Malta. No doubt talking about episode 10 in Season 2, where the Neuroi had a domed hive that was rather well protected.

      Anyways, that’s all my tired brain can think of.

  6. For having watched many anime adaptation I know it’s very easy to fail a movie. You have to take in considaration the pace, the plot, the scenes… a lot a stuff. This movie was successfull in every point. It totaly respected the spirit of the serie.

    1. Yeah, i agree with you. But…

      The Only Flaw i “found” is near the End. When The “Plane” take the Strike Unit to her. As if She knew, she regain Her Powers… That was a Bit “to much” out of the Blue. Something like… “What, She regain her Powers?”. “Taicho, We have Her Only “rebuild” Strikers with us. You should go there and Give them to her!”… Or something along this Lines 🙂

      But that just a “little” Flaw for me. I enjoyed the Movie. I can not wait for the “continue”. I bet it “Main plot” is about “Freeing” Karlsland

      (And thank you for not using these “SS Monsters Black” uniforms)

      1. Well, i dont have nothing against The Design, and that is surly the most part of “Draw” them or “Cosplay” them. But you must know what was “behind” these ones that worn them…

      1. If they do make season 3, I think St. Tronde will be their HQ, which would make them in close proximity to the 506th (Noble Witches) and a few distances to the 502nd (Brave Witches) and 504th (Ardor Witches). If they make Yamato their HQ, they could go almost anywhere and even meet the 507th (Silent Witches), The Afrika Corps, and by a long shot the 508th (Mighty Witches)

        Arashi Yamato
  7. Ah, good ole Strike Witches! Nice little topping to Girls und Panzer this season, lol.

    I do find the overall lack of Mio disturbing though ._.

    And I do have to agree on Yoshika getting her magic back that way does feel a bit cheap (be like if the “power of friendship” were suddenly able to infect the Neuroi and make them self-destruct because they can’t understand what it is, thus unable to adapt to it, lol). Then again, if there’s going to be a Season 3, perhaps that can mean Mio can get her magic back too somehow (in a more believable way hopefully) if not at least be able to fight in some sort of alternative way.

    1. No.

      Yoshika is one rule breaker enough.

      I want to see Sakamoto flying a A6M Zero (or it’s Sea-Plane counterpart).

      Or donning an impressive naval uniform and the 501st’s new base is the Yamato with Sakamoto as the captain of that particularly fine vessel. We already saw how the Yamato can use it’s sea-plane launchers to launch Ellia and Sanya, so rapid deployment of ALL witches. Can you imagine?!

      THAT would be more badass.

      Also. Sakamoto x Hijikata. I support this pairing and want it to be canon damn it.

      Haters, I’m ready. >D

    2. Now, i know where they go to make a “recap” of “Girls und Panzer”. I bet they helped in the Movie out. The “German & US” Tanks looked like them. The Ships was other “League”, but still well done

  8. FINALLY ITS OUT FOR VIEWING! Been waiting for this since the end of season 2.

    I must say that I thoroughly enjoy the movie and yes Moomba… Strike Witches franchise is one that people should look past the bottomless-ness of things. Thanks to this movie, I finally manage to get my sister to watch the series.

    Anyway, back to the movie… One thing that personally draws me in to the series is not so much of the bottomless-ness of things, but the characters themselves and the amount of detail that the production company has put in. I’m not sure why but its the German, Nordic and Russian characters that captures my attention the most.

    Among the 501st yuri pairing, I must say that top spot goes to Sanya x Elia. Second goes to Erica x Trude. Additionally, I’m surprised that the “new characters” grew onto me the moment they went on screen. More so for Schnaufer and Heinrike.

    Now that’s out of the way, now onto the finer things in the movie:

    Opening scene with Saunders and Black Forest Peak advancing and the naval bombardment – Enjoyed it
    Schnaufer’s dogfight – Loved it
    Antics of Trude x Erica – Priceless
    Reference to Battle of the Bulge – It was OK bt could’ve showed more of it… From the complete breakdown of the frontline troops to the Red Ball Express to the final defeat
    Yamato in the Rhine – Seemed ridiculous at first but after looking up the river in wiki, seems possible though she’d be restricted in ability to manoeuvre and constrained by draft

    Now… We all know what the next movie or series might be… It would be interesting to see the ongoings in the Fuhrer-hive when the allied forces close in on Berlin

  9. I liked how Sakamoto explained that Miyafuji got her magic back due to the power of friendship – that is, the other Strike Witches loved her so much that it reversed her burnout. Implying, of course, that the other Strike Witches DON’T love Sakamoto as much, since she never got her magic back. She’s a pretty good sport about it.

    I’m not sure that it eclipses season 2’s Sweet Duet scene, but Miyafuji’s solo take down of that one Neuroi at the end has to come darn close to being the single highlight of the entire franchise. The TV series had done a fine job establishing her as this insane badass, but taking away her magic took it to the next level. Wonderful lack of music during the scene, too.

    1. The fact is that Sakamoto’s magic was already declining by the end of season one (remember that only girls on their teens to twenties have magic strong enough to operate the striker unit), so even should she manages to recover it, she would not be strong enough to battle as a witch. As for Yoshika, I think it was just needed some sort of emotional kick for her to regain her magic.

      Anyways, the 501th is back together and next time we may see them pushing forward until Berlin.

    2. I don’t remember the reference to “the power of friendship.”
      I thought that yoshika got her power back because of herself, kind of like when zoro from one piece is about to die and then he becomes able to cut steel and win the match.
      So when she was about to die, her hidden power awakened and that allowed her to regain her magic. That makes more sense to me than the power of friendship which makes no sense to me unless they are magicians that can transfer their power like in dragon ball.

  10. I enjoyed season 1 of this, but the series just didn’t have enough pull to make me bother to watch season 2. I probably would enjoy season 2, but I just never felt any compelling need to watch it.

    Now you’re making me want to. Bleh. Way to make things harder for me. 😛

    1. Truth be told, I actually had the second season on hold for quite a long time before I actually got around to watching it. In the end I wasn’t disappointed! There was a lot of spectacular stuff towards the end!

      1. Have now acquired season 2 and the movie. I’ll watch them some time when I’m not running a fever. Watching anime while fevered tends to be a very surreal, and not exactly enjoyable, experience. I have done it before. I don’t recommend it.

  11. Long Live the 501st Joint Fighter Wing – Strike Witches!!!!!

    We , the fans , will never forget the wonderful journey, especially the fanservice,of the girls in this movie. Thank you for bringing us the joy that we have witnessed with you for the past two seasons.

    We will definitely remember the only army squadron who wears panties during their missions as they soar the sky to save the day.

    Thank you once again, girls of Strike Witches…..

    Ken Sanders
  12. I don’t get why you do not want Yoshika to get her magic back.
    She is the main character and without her magic she would pretty much disappear from the story and strike witches would become another show. It is like mariasamagamiteru without yumi or dragonball without goku. It just would be different.
    Also without her magic she would have died, (in the movie or later on) because of her personality, fighting against the neroi.

    1. It’s not so much that I didn’t want her to get her magic back at all as it is that I didn’t want her to get her magic back in such a convenient manner. There were many other ways they could’ve handled it including giving us a deeper look into how magic actually works, but instead they chose a rather simplistic approach which didn’t feel quite right given how things sit with Mio.

      Besides, we saw just how awesome she can be even without her magic! I imagine she would’ve made a brilliant doctor.

    1. She might not be a witch anymore but there are two things that will prevent her from wearing pants.

      1. Fan expectations
      2. She’s used to not wearing pants. Why wear them now?
      3. She likes not wearing pants. Hell, she seems to like wearing swimsuit all the time.

  13. A movie?! Somehow I nearly missed this. Anyway even though it was cliche with Yoshika getting her magic powers back, it was still a really fun 1:30. I can’t believe while watching it that and hour and a half went by so fast. Now hoping for a new TV series!


    Was busy with some assignment IRL when the subs came out so I didn’t get to watch it till here.

    I know I said back then that the ending of Season 2 was a good place to close the chapter on Yoshika as she supposedly lost her powers there, but yet, I found myself cheering that she got her powers back despite knowing this to be a complete and utter cop out for a potential Season 3.

    If she’s badass enough to break the rules regarding how a Witch keeps and loses her power, than I very much welcome her to star in any upcoming third season. Ideally, as a wiser senior to Shizuka, who for the duration of this one and a half hour, has grown on me a lot.

    Not to mention potential for more fun yuri undertones. I’m what people call a “multi-shipper” if the characters are reasonably likable. And Yoshika is amazingly compatible with many from the 501st. Shizuka should make a good addition to her “yuri harem”. XD

    Kinny Riddle

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