「ミーナの空」 (Miina no Sora)
“Minna’s Sky”

How do you know when the endgame approaches? When the clothing melts off the tanks start moving of course! Or, you know, when key plot points start getting teased in earnest. Yes, Strike Witches has at last reached the moment where it all starts coming together, and in one way or another, the fireworks are bound to get a little explosive.

Following the warning bell that Gertrude and Minna were on their last legs as Witches last I did say it wouldn’t be long before we saw that actualized, and lo and behold the first real sign of it appeared this week. While I wouldn’t anticipate Minna totally losing her power before the end of the season—finales demand everyone play their part—her situation has undeniably lit a fire under everyone that’s bound to result in some more concerted efforts in the not too distant future. Gertrude after all is unlikely to simply let Minna keep going out and about for fear of actually losing her, while the other girls will want to ensure Minna has no reason to fly in the first place by going above and beyond. Not that Charlotte has any reason to work towards that end of course. It isn’t like that fancy new Striker Unit would need a new Witch.

As for what is in store for the big finale, well, I think ominous boss shots do a fine job of foreshadowing. Besides the fun which comes from Strike Witches paying homage to the V-1/-2 rocket strikes of London and the role of jets in combatting them (although the British Gloster Meteor and not the Messerschmitt 163 Komet was first used to intercept these attacks), it’s pretty much going to be season 2 electric boogaloo as Neuroi hive is attacked, surprise mechanics appear, and the Witches are forced to improvise to deal with it. Mind you, probably not the exact same as before (unless Shizuka finds herself absorption target numero uno), but methinks copious saturation bombing probably won’t have the same effect as special Witch powers catalyzed by friendship. Well, that or Ursula-designed weaponry, no one knows what that stuff’s efficacy is going to be like.

After all, we’ve seen how well it works in practice.

Random Tidbits

The clothing dissolution is not a random bit of fan service but a homage to the rocket propellant used in the Me 163 Komet. The fuel was significantly volatile and corrosive and was actually responsible for dissolving one Komet pilot while alive following the rupture of a fuel line.

Likewise the impromptu takeoff from the Autobahn this episode is a sly calling back to the original purpose the American interstate system was built during the Cold War. Cannot use your airfields because they’re a nuclear wasteland? Just use the highways instead!

 

Preview

13 Comments

      1. The idea that some US interstate roads were designed as emergency airstrips is probably false, but it’s definitely true for Europe, and especially Germany. Stretches of the A12 and A44 autobahn were designed for that purpose, and the Luftwaffe unit JV44 even flew their new jet fighters from autobahn at the end of WWII.

        Angelus
        1. From what I recall the interstate system usage is debated as there’s no hard evidence for it – i.e. built specifically for that – but there’s enough military documentation out to indicate it was a serious consideration in the event of war. Part of the fun of digging into this specific facet is that it was short-lived and effectively lost its reason to exist once ICBMs, SSBNs, and nuclear carriers came into use.

  1. SO. MANY. SHERMANS. (I wonder how many of them were loaned by Saunders?)
    Tiger Is and Sherman Calliopes… Oh my.
    – The only Ursula-designed weapon that’s actually practical is the Panzerfaust 250.
    – IIRC, didn’t Gertrude already fly a Jet Striker unit in a previous season? Was that the same model as the Komet? What happened to that?
    – The recon Neuroi resemble quad-rotor drones. (Wonder if that was intentional?)
    – Also, Neuroi Hive Wolf is basically a V2 launch facility…defended by that Neuroi that resembles the ADFX-02 Morgan… <>
    – Minna destroying that V2, only for the Neuroi hive to produce more…
    ♪ Salūtem omnibus
    Daemon requiēscēs
    Salūtem omnibus
    Daemon tū dēfugis… ♪

    Would include the YT link for the music (“Alicorn” from Ace Combat 7‘s DLC mission, “Ten Million Relief Plan”) if I hadn’t reached the “three-link limit.” And fortunately for Minna and company, no ominous Latin chanting accompanied that scene.
    – That scene at the end, though… *Cue FMP: Fumoffu final episode flashbacks*
    – Speaking of using highways as improvised runways, I’m also reminded of that unfinished highway in San Salvacion that was used by the Yellow Squadron as a makeshift base in Ace Combat 4 (seen in cutscenes), as well as the (real-life) Gripen being designed to take off from highways during wartime. I won’t say anything about the Interstate system doubling as a wartime runway, but that scene of Minna taking off from the Autobahn has some basis in reality.

    I’m sensing Road to Berlin will also be the curtain call for Minna and possibly Gertrud, and I won’t be surprised if they’ll retire (or take a background role) once Berlin is liberated (though the Human-Neuroi War is far from over). That being said, I’ll miss the feeling of the 501st’s camaraderie once this season is over.

    Incognito
  2. Frankly speaking… the episode ran longer for me

    I was practically pausing and appreciating at all the historical tidbits and references to it

    I was surprised that they really alluded to the incident where the Komet fuel dissolved the pilot alive. Definitely those pilots had balls of titanium to fly that rocket plane. I also do like the face that the Komet striker actually landed on the landing skids

    Speaking of Ursula… THAT RHEINBOTE SURFACE-AIR MISSILE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    https://randomc.net/image/STRIKE%20WITCHES/Strike%20Witches%20Road%20to%20Berlin%20-%2009%20-%20Large%2015.jpg
    I was practically jumping in my seat squalling like a rabid fangirl at 2am in the morning. Never I would have imagined that wunderwaffen gets into anime.

    Next week… B17 Flying Fortresses! I do think it’ll be the first time a B17 gets an anime appearance

    And damn… I kept reading the nest name as Wolfsschanze instead of Wolf

    Henrietta Brix
    1. You weren’t the only one haha, I loved all the tidbits they managed to squeeze into this week.

      Big one for me were the Tigers, just because they’re clearly represented as early Ausf. H1s given the turret design/layout, yet the hulls are very much Ausf. Es. Not sure where they got the 3D models for this episode, but it wasn’t from the usual sources (WoT, War Thunder, Graviteam Tactics) 😛

      Also might’ve missed a B17 appearance earlier, I’m pretty sure they were shown last week as well!

  3. – What if….

    – What if the Hive on Berlin has swallowed an Ancestor Witch of them in the beginning of the War? Well, before they found out their Magic Witch Powers?

    – But that do not explain all the new strategies of the Neroui . If it’s some kind of Crystal Virus, then it is capable to evolved their own strategies and adapting

    – As if an “Simulation test of Invasion” for testing purpose gone rouge and overthrow humanity

    Worldwidedepp

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