「ロード・トゥ・ベルリン」 (Roodo Tou Berurin)
“Road to Berlin”
Oh Strike Witches, you do make me smile. Big showdown with witches and witchy generals doing battle against strange alien beings? Sure—but let’s add Wunderwaffen because they look cool. Oh yes, this season has reached the climactic summit mark, and the good news is that there’s still one week left to go.
As fully expected from the events last week, Yoshika is indeed only drained of magic and currently in recovery phase. A serious problem to be sure (where’s mammoth magic shields when you need them?), but a season ending one? Not so much. Strike Witches has been subtle with its intentions over the weeks, yet Shizuka coming into her own alongside the known timers of Gertrude and Minna really highlight how this season is as much a transitory arc as it is a reintroduction to everyone’s favourite magical fliers. Berlin after all is just one stop among many; there’s plenty of Neuroi left to extirpate far to the east, and it’s a process which will assuredly need new witches as others grow up and lose their fighting effectiveness. Shizuka will be far from the only recruit joining the 501st in the not-too-distant future.
Outside of later team upheavals, however, the present was all about battle, and oh boy did we get what we signed up for. Besides the esoteric fun of watching allied militaries duke it out over first dibs exactly like the USSR and western Allies did in 1944/-45, no one can overlook the ridiculous hilarity of featuring the Landkreuzer P 1000 Ratte in all its nonsensical glory—and with Patton commanding the damned thing to boot. What’s that, famous flak towers also appearing on this latest tourist romp witch incursion through Berlin? That’s great—now let’s get back to enjoying 20th Century-infused Warhammer 40k commissar memes and 28 cm shells smacking alien walls. I honestly have no idea how Strike Witches plans on concluding this fight (even if Mio bringing the Striker Unit intended for Yoshika back to the front is a pretty good indication *looks at Shizuka*), but after getting the finest in napkin designs this week, I’m down for whatever comes next.
The girls now have their objective firmly in sight, and you can fully bet they’ll do whatever it takes to get that happy ending.
Beside the Ratte itself, I loved the sly mention of sloped armour which was a significant part of mid 1900s tank development. Not that armour can really bounce laser beams, but I like to think the red oxide primer paint (which itself is a reference to late war German tank colours – or lack of them) does the optical reflecting.
Also the Ratte has nothing on the P 1500 Monster, which is pretty much what happens when you ask why a railway gun even needs to be mounted on rails. Just in case you thought Strike Witches couldn’t get crazier.