OP: 「空が呼ぶほうへ」 (Sora ga Yobu Hou e) by Ishida Yoko
「501発進します？」 (501 Hasshin Shimasu?)
“501st, Take Off?”
Strike Witches is a series about … look. If you don’t know what Strike Witches is, this ain’t the place to be getting into the series. The characters might be the same, the seiyuu might be the same, and the setting might be the same, but this is a full slice-of-life comedy pivot to the goofy everyday lives of the 501st crew, so if you’re watching this without having at least watched the first season (because this first episode at least takes place during that time period), I don’t know what you’re doing here. Go back and watch that!
Also, those previous seasons were better than this. So there’s that too.
The ugly truth is that the animation here is, well, ugly. It’s cheap in that way that doesn’t look like bad initially, until you notice how jerky everyone’s movements are, how thick the character lines, and how cartoonish and exaggerated everyone has become. I’ve seen worst, but I’ve also seen a lot better. This is a sin that would be made forgivable if the comedy was on, but it wasn’t rocking my world. There were moments, but mostly this is a 15-minute comedy short about flattening all the characters until they have only one or two traits, and making them less interesting thereby. Pure comedy series can be fantastic, but I think Strike Witches always benefited from interspersing the comedy with the action/drama, and here it’s stripped of that strength. It’s gotta punch above its weight all on its own, or depend upon nostalgia. No points for guessing which it’s trading on.
That said, here’s your friendly reminder that comedy is the most subjective of art forms, so if this had you rolling on the floor, more power to you! Wish I could say the same. And in fact I personally find that I don’t enjoy pure comedies much when I’m blogging them, so that could be a major factor. If you can get past the low animation quality, and the occasional character who’s so flanderized that their seiyuu’s performance sounds off, then here’s the Strike Witches nostalgia comedy for you.
My second novel, Freelance Heroics, is available! (Also available: Firesign #1 Wage Slave Rebellion.) Third book in progress now! Sign up for my email list for updates, or follow me at stephenwgee.com for miscellaneous blogging.
ED: 「Treasure of life」 by Dai 501 Sougou Sentou Kuukoudan