「静夏応答せよ」 (Shizuka Outou Seyo)
“Shizuka, Come In!”
How do you know when you’re in the endgame? Why when the fire and explosions become plentiful of course! We still have two weeks of half clothed magical girl action left for Strike Witches’ latest entry, and while you can foresee the conclusion from a mile away, the path there is one of significant mystery.
Per the rule of all end bosses, if you think you’ve won after the music stops, best work on recalibrating your thought patterns. No matter how much Witchy Patton may wish it (and oh I’m getting a kick out of how they’re using his character here), the first strike at Berlin was never going to succeed, not when you’re dealing with an enemy which has proven repeatedly this past season that it knows all about the art of feints. Core in plain sight? You should damn well know that’s a trap. Major enemy has its core location found and abused? Best think that such a weakness will be fixed for next time (*chuckles in Death Star II*). For all the fun of Neuroi walls and artistic Ju-390 cameos, this was all about preparing for the real battle to come – and making sure it’s not further preparation for a round three.
Naturally though, no true defeat would be complete without a second wrench in the works, and Yoshika helps keep the tradition alive. Honestly I didn’t think we’d get this angle again; Yoshika stalling out mid-battle maybe given previous episodes, but full on loss of magic at the most inopportune time? That makes things interesting. While I doubt Yoshika’s situation is permanent (she’s too young and too central to the 501st right now to be written off so easily), I do expect Shizuka to wrongly beat herself up over it and try to atone for it with excessive effort, no matter what the rest of the group says or does in support. The girl is going to want to ensure that Yoshika doesn’t have to worry that she didn’t pull her weight and likely go all out – enough so to set up the inevitable miracle in the sky which comes from one witch or another doing the impossible. Anyone’s guess what exactly that will be and who will do the honours, but don’t think for a second there isn’t one last twist left in the cards for Road to Berlin.
One way or another, this season will be going out with a bang.