「羽ばたけチドリ」 (Habatake Chidori)
“Take Flight, Chidori”
Following the basic introductions to our MC last week, I seriously thought Brave Witches would continue the same pace, giving us some more characters with maybe a bit of sisterly bonding. Colour me surprised when all those assumptions were all but thrown out the window.
Sink or Swim
Knowing we were getting a battle this week, I couldn’t help thinking of the first season of Strike Witches once again. In that season’s second episode, Yoshika similarly assisted in defending against a Neuroi attack, donning a Striker Unit and (although the complete novice) successfully helping Mio fend off the assault. Although Brave Witches’ homage to the original here is undeniable, what is pleasantly surprising to me is how different it all felt amid the similarities.
Probably the standout point for me was the frenzied, hectic nature of the attack. Strike Witches (at least from my hazy memory) never felt like this a lot of the time, especially in the first season. A lighthearted veil then arguably covered up a lot of potential bloodshed and agony, something brought to the forefront this time around. The obvious indication of course is Takami, who I doubt anyone predicted to be offed this fast. Later in season yeah (the death flags were all there), but the second episode? It’s quite the shock. Although she’s still technically alive, Takami is effectively removed from the fight for the foreseeable future, simultaneously gut punching Hikari (can someone say character development?) and forcing her into a role she certainly wants, but is woefully unprepared for. I could think of worse ways to skip the rear line training.
Really intriguing, however, are some of the background bits brought up. Takami’s ability in particular stands out because none of the original Strike Witches (barring Sakamoto if I remember) had something remotely similar. The ability to perceive Neuroi cores is uncommon already (correct me if wrong), but Takami’s Absolute Eye is something else entirely. Hikari too appears to possess the same ability, although not currently as strong or controllable to the degree of Takami’s. Expect this power to become especially important later on given the 502nd leader Gundula is fully aware of it. Then there’s the bit about the Neuroi never congregating together for attacks before, which really screams out “prepare thyself, huge battle coming”. Hikari’s ability will become important you say? Well I think we just found when that prediction will come true.
Next Time: Let’s Meet the Gang
After this week’s impressive little bout of action, it looks like we will finally be introduced to the entire 502nd Squadron next episode. Don’t expect it to be all sunshine and roses either. Squadron Leader Rall (while certainly charmed by our gutsy MC) has already set a clear bar of performance for Hikari, which she is certain to run into the first few times. Then we have the hot-blooded Naoe who looks set to be the squadron’s main antagonist for Hikari. Guaranteed Naoe’s respect/infatuation with Takami will be Hikari’s primary obstacle here, and I fully expect some troubles to erupt between both soon over Hikari’s “failure” to fill her sister’s shoes. If Hikari has anything to say about it, however, such impressions will not last. Hikari has already shown the drive, and now thanks to Takami possesses a tangible reason to fight. If Brave Witches can give Hikari the development hinted at and keep on providing the action witnessed here, then this season will definitely be an entertaining one.
Yes, I do bet that flight deck attendant never tires of seeing Takami’s
wonderful ass flight performance during training.
Complementing our foray into Japanese naval architecture this week are cruisers, which are some form of Aoba, Myoko, or Mogami. Also Takami’s Striker Unit appears based on the Kawanishi N1K Shiden, specifically a carrier conversion prototype.
I severely doubt sailing in the Arctic Ocean is ever that warm and pleasant, especially in the autumn 😛