「それでも私は守りたい」 (Sore de mo Watashi wa Mamoritai)
“I Still Want to Protect”

Christmas might officially be only two sleeps away, but I dare say it came early for Strike Witches this week. Crazy flying; serious ups and downs; explosions all around; and the saving grace that you knew was coming – oh yes, we got it all and then some, because it couldn’t be any other way.

Of course, I might be slightly chagrin of Shizuka coming within moments of death (mostly because the fallout of such a thing in Strike Witches would be interesting to see), but honestly, there’s no real complaints because this series always makes it hard for fans to hate what it’s doing, especially in its final moments. For good (or bad) Strike Witches will never change, and I for one couldn’t be more satisfied. Anyway, onto those impressions!

Final Impressions

If there’s one way to effectively sum up the latest Strike Witches, it’s that audience opinions won’t be changing. Much like its previous two seasons and movie and similar to the spin-off Brave Witches, the formula practiced from the start remains and is fully exploited from the word go. Pants? A figment of the imagination. Mecha musume? Front and centre. Magical girls doing their best to help save the world? Always there to cheer along. Anyone not already in love with concept won’t be converted anytime soon, but fans certainly got everything they could’ve hoped for.

Probably the main thing I liked about this season compared to previous World Witches iterations was its clear transitory nature. The first Strike Witches was very much about building a team around a bunch of varied characters who often had reasons (whether rational or not) to distrust and confront one another. It’s what helped the series take off, but playing it up for a third time would’ve likely felt “off” and a simple retread of earlier experiences – which for me is partly why Brave Witches never really clicked. Instead, however, we got the change of key girls—i.e. Minna and Gertrude—openly reaching the end of their combat lives (similar to Mio before) and opening the door to a major team shakeup in the near future. This shift in atmosphere injected an appreciable degree of tension, for while we don’t know the exact future of the 501st, we know it won’t be continuing in its current form, which in turn helps up the satisfaction of seeing these girls complete the mission this season was based around. The 501st will soon never be the same—but it also won’t be lacking any of that spirit which first made it.

The converse of course is that things for some could arguably have stayed too much the same. Yoshika after all was the key to winning this latest battle, much like before in Strike Witches’ Venice and the Rhine. This season took considerable and well thought out steps to building up for Yoshika’s grand finale mind you, but could the climax have been handled by someone else? Certainly up for debate. Likewise is the rest of the cast—particularly Lynette I felt—largely being sidelined after getting their re-introductory episode, which for some fans could be irksome. None of this breaks with the Strike Witches formula obviously, but after all this time (and with a major shakeup on the horizon) one might expect the rest to get something more for the sake of diversity. Honestly probably just me nitpicking and seeking out negatives for the sake of review balance (besides a love of Perrine and Lynette tilting opinions :P), but as Strike Witches continues I really hope we see the series continue to spread its slowly growing narrative wings.

In the end though, Strike Witches did as Strike Witches always does, and while it may not be the absolute best show when compared to anime brethren, damn did I have a fun time covering it from start to finish. This really is a show that knows how to entertain for those with any sort of military interest or love of cutie pies doing their best, and I for one am certainly looking forward to seeing just what happens next for this cast of witches.


  1. Road to Berlin is indeed more of the same, but it’s also a marked improvement, spending more time on the smaller military details and character interactions over its predecessors, which in the end, made things work out.

    It was also interesting to see Yoshika’s influence on Shizuka: she’d always been about following orders, but as the finale drew nearer, she looked closer towards disobeying an order. Here in the 12th episode, we got to see that, which was a nice bit of character development.

    I have no idea what the future entails, but I do know that whatever lies ahead, will be fun, and that you weren’t the only person who had fun writing about this one.

  2. Happy VE Day guys.

    Berlin is finally liberated and we can start post war rebuilding.

    Even at the finale, they still continue to surprise. I really never EVER thought that Germania would be on screen. Sure it appeared in Youjo Senki but never in Strike Witches. We have our wunderwaffen but Germania… Never…

    I had to replay the scene where Minna mad a passing comment about Germania being designed by the previous Kaiser before he was “forced to step down” I really want to know what that means and how things would have been if the Neuroi did not attack. Season 1’s line by Minna about them going to war with each other feels like a definite certainty.

    Credits to Humikane sensei and David Productions on Hitler’s Moving Castle.

    I am most certainly happy that they had the flag raising over the Reichstag even if it’s just a still frame.

    Though I really wanted to also see the other squadrons and the land units pushing through the Berlin streets and also them stopping Steiner’s attack

    Henrietta Brix
  3. Despite the nitpicks of the season, that final battle was something. We knew it was coming but Yoshika really stepped up her combat when she got her magic back again.

    If there are future episodes of Strike Witches, it will be interesting to see how the dynamic changes with Mina, and others soon to be stepping away from combat.

  4. The Problem with Yoshika’s Power where, she was forcing it. But it was there all along inside her, like breathing

    “When you drank Cola and want to Burp because of the gas, but your Stomach is locked and it begins to hurt!”, but if you begin to relax it happen

    Yoshika’s power explained

    1. and yes. If they plan for another “Strike Witches” Anime Season then they should not forget the “Ageing is Human” and can not be stopped with Magic or Deus Ex. So our lovely Captain and Commanders here are to old for being Witches anymore. Perhaps Shizuka can still fly because of here Raw Power, but also Time take tool on her. She is not anymore the unstopped Force

      Perhaps Brave Witches should merge with the ones in Strike Witches that are capable to fly. But Strike Witches are the Senpais

        1. Also, Shizuka’s new Striker Unit for this Fight gave her an resonable idea to catch up with the “Glocke” into the Sky. it is fast and she used an Sonic Boom Shield for herself. It’s okay

          Well done

          This End Episode was full of Adrenalin

          Thank you for this Season of Strike Withes, mina-san

          (Glocke) for me an early Alpha Prototype of these Turbines faced down to earth to have an similar effect like the Helicopters today, like these other last futile Rocket Engines Suicide Planes they planed.. Because these ME-262 Turbines was like the Holy Grail for them, until Fuel run out

          Okay, last Post. I promise

          1. +Glocke adding

            Like an WW1 Tank with an Turbine faced down to get Helicopter or using the “new” Coanda Effect

            Yes, similar of today’s “Gunships” or Flak Batteries in the Sky

            Sounds reasonable

      1. Aside from the Strike Witches and Brave Witches, there are still SIX other strike groups, four of which we haven’t seen at all in anime form, let alone all the non-strike witch units like the tanks units and the witch-universe equivalent of the USO. The later will be getting its own anime as “Luminous Witches” and hopefully will give us a chance to meet all, or at least some, of the many other witch units.

  5. “I now wonder if Yoshika’s awesome moment in the finale episode will involve somehow getting her powers back, or a still-amazing feat that doesn’t involve magic.”

    Well, wasn’t surprised that Yoshika got her powers back (not that I mind), though it took the sight of a nearly dead Shizuka to bring her bottled up emotions (and her actually deep reserve of magic) to the surface. But what’s awesome is what Yoshika does once she gets her powers back: Save Shizuka from certain death, then kick the collective Neuroi asses of Hive Wolf. I dunno if part of that is due to her training or part of that is down to pure instinct, but Yoshika using her magical abilities to their fullest here was definitely a huge leap from her previous feat of saving Kiel. And once she’s reunited with the rest of the 501st, Berlin’s liberation was a foregone conclusion.

    Random thoughts:
    – Probably my last nitpick (of amusement) for this season of Strike Witches: The SFX used for the MP40 brought a smile to my face. It’s the same SFX used for the MP40s used by Millennium’s Nazi vampiresLetztes Battalion in Hellsing Ultimate. Now I can’t say if the MP40’s rate of fire can be adjusted IRL (had to consult some firearms-related videos/channels on YouTube where they shoot the MP40 to hear how it sounds IRL–infinitezenith, if you’re reading this, perhaps you can enlighten us with that technical aspect), but the SFX used in both shows sounds like it has a fast rate of fire. (Justified for the Letztes Battalion since they have superhuman strength and can handle the recoil–not that they’d compare to TheCrimsonF**kerAlucard himself.) That being said, instead of being used for wanton killing, the MP40 is used for self-defense here, leading to an awesome moment for a regular soldier.
    – Germania. I remember seeing the model of the Volkshalle in an episode of Apocalypse: The Second World War. That scene and the tone of the narration summed up Nazi Germany–their megalomania knew no bounds, and were willing to snuff out people’s lives to achieve their twisted “utopia” of a “thousand-year Reich.” Had they prevailed over the Allies and the Soviets, I only dread to think of how much slave labor would be used and “spent” to build that…so it’s creepy that Neuroi Hive Wolf would base itself on that megalomaniacal monument. And on a somewhat related tangent, I really should get around to watching The Man in the High Castle (an alternate history series where the Axis powers prevailed) since it also features (a CGI version of) the Volkshalle.
    – While I compared the tunnel flying to Ace Combat, seeing the Berlin subway also reminded me of the second to the last(?) Soviet mission in CoD: World at War.
    – Seeing Karlsland forces do their own version of raising the flag over the Reichstag made me wonder if Karlsland’s supreme commander made a speech similar to Charles de Gaulle upon the liberation of Paris IRL (translated from French and shown in Apocalypse: The Second World War):

    “Paris has been offended, Paris has been shattered, Paris has been tortured, but Paris has been liberated!” (Replace “Paris” with “Berlin”, and translate that into GermanKarlslandian.)

    – With Berlin’s liberation, at least the city’s citizens won’t have to deal with a(nother) wall dividing East and West Berlin. (Or leaders squabbling over the spoils at the conference table–I hope.) And with mentions that there are still active Neuroi hives in South Karlsland (Berchtesgaden?) and Ostmark, humanity (at least in the Strike Witches universe) will stay united for a little longer.
    – For the Karlsland witches, this is certainly the highlight and payoff of their years-long campaign to take back their homeland. I’m also glad that the series didn’t end with Minna, Gertrude and Erica’s retirement, instead opting to have them fly off with the 501st to presumably liberate the rest of their country.

    Final thoughts:
    Nitpicks (albeit some misguided ones) and toned-down pantsu shots aside, Strike Witches manages to stay true to its themes–optimism, overcoming adversity, teamwork, bonds of friendship, and emphasis on the people (whether they be the main characters, the unsung, unnamed regular soldiers fighting to free humanity from the threat of the Neuroi, or even the simple civilians cheering on the witches). While the series remains open to continuation, I’d honestly rather focus on other fronts (like the Brave Witches and Hanna-Justina Marseille’s squadron) since the Liberation of Berlin is already the high point for the 501st. As for the possibility of future Human-Neuroi conflicts paralleling the (real-world) Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf wars…fanart and fanfiction should be fine for now until the show’s creators are ready to tackle that.

  6. I was happy with Road to Berlin. While it didn’t shakeup the formula (Not that I think it should have) I thought increasing the danger presented by the Neuroi helped show how big the task of taking back Berlin was. Plus the Karlsland trio are my favorites so I loved the extra focus they received. While it wasn’t a perfect show for sidelining some girls (Poor Lynette) and predictability, Road to Berlin gets full marks for bringing me back to watching SW2 10 years ago

  7. It certainly was a great finale. Certainly exciting. Since I’ve heard rave reviews of the first from friends, more of the same is probably a good thing. Make small changes here and there, but keep the good stuff.

    Even though I liked the art style, only started watching the world witches series from Brave Witches (cause it looked like most of them wear pants). Probably got desensitized by that series and am able to fully enjoy this one. Though I did take notice that none of the women wear anything but underwear below the waist. Really thought it was just the witches.

    Story wise, the reduction in Minna’s magic and possibly Barkhorn is an interesting change for the 501st. Looking at the current dynamics, it’s very hard to see who can replace them.


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