Monday, 13 December 2010

Anime Review - Strike Witches TV

Wind resistance was of no concern to Charlotte..

In my time as a reviewer, I have taken much sick pleasure in making my friend Therik watch numerous certain titles because of his “natural aversion to all things underage”. So, when he suggested I watch Strike Witches, my moe-toddler radar started flashing in alarm, especially after regular screenshots furnished by ISSUP’s (International Society of Something Umm.... Perverted) resident lolicon.

One of the many perfectly crafted derrières.

Telling the story of a military arm called the “Strike Witches”, the narrative follows a group of young girls who are the last bastion of hope against a black invading ship called the Neuroi. Donning some interesting leg braces that allow them to fly, the girls take to the air using various guns and magic to destroy the waves of enemies. What this brief synopsis doesn’t explain is that this show should be codenamed “NoPants”; this show is a cacophony a various panty shots from the first episode, and literally no angle is taboo.
Turn your head - you'll soon realise what this is.
Maybe I’ve been a little more critical of the story because I am currently watching Zipang, a show firmly rooted in World War 2. The fantastical twist applied by Strike Witches is the polar opposite to what turns into a very serious and gritty drama. That said it is this lighter hearted, jovial approach to war that makes the story work. Although the attack strategy may involve the same pattern of distract the enemy, locate its core then go in for the kill, the rotation of the team with different players showing their strengths and weaknesses keeps each battle feeling fresh.

Mmmm.... squishy....
Devising various excuses to place the innocent Miyafuji and her co-witches in numerous precarious perverted situations, the fantasy action takes a back seat to boob groping and up-skirt flashes (well, it would be if they were wearing something on their bottom half). And that is pretty much all there is to the “story”. Well, that and a chance to give each of the girls a background that helps garner viewer empathy with their situation. If anything, this mild development is predictable, but it makes the witches stand out as a likeable character in their own right.
Definitely opting for the full Brazilian when on duty. 
A welcome break comes during episode seven, entitled “Nice and Breezy”. Each of the girls finds themselves as the victim of a panty snatcher, only to rectify their commando situation by “borrowing” a pair of cotton briefs from a friend. Those easily offended need to find the censored version, as the DVD cut shows much more than a casual viewer may have bargained for.

Rocket legs mean no pants!
I should really have known, but where there is money to be made from otaku perverts, it can be reinvested in impressive graphics and gorgeous CG. Impressive looking naval vessels sweep past seamlessly as the adorable looking girls jet past the decks before casting phenomenal magical barriers to protect themselves from the attacking Neuroi. The stars of the show are also satisfyingly sexy and varied; Sakamoto’s character design oozes seduction whilst keeping an appropriate level of military morals and the adorable Sanya is delicate and beautiful. What really makes the entire cast stand out is the appearance of ears and a tail during spell-casting or times of embarrassment – a definite pandering to the horny fan-base.

Cute AND deadly.
As you would expect from this kind of title, the opening and closing tracks are cutesy, upbeat J-pop tracks that feature the cast bopping about happily on screen. Whilst not to my personal taste, I have been assured by the lolicon-brigade that this is “the shit” and I should be appreciative of such musical nectar. I remain unconvinced. The vocal cast also sees some top stars wheeled out for the occasion; Saeko Chiba brings a gruff side to Sakamoto, whilst Ami Koshimizu gives Charlotte enough attitude to rival her breast size. The entire seiyuu list matches the stereotyped look of their assigned character, making the whole experience just that little bit more immersive.

As the main protagonist, Miyafuji is occasionally annoying, frequently loveable and always unpredictable. Initially made out to be a naive, boyish country bumpkin, her developing obsession with breasts is rather amusing. The grin that spreads across her face as she finds herself nuzzling against a heavenly pair of mammary mountains is contagious and often turns out to be a highlight of each episode. Acting like a magnifying glass, she brings out and emphasises the good qualities in each of her co-stars, overall giving the cast an extra bit of va-va-voom.

Night-time pants!
Perrine is a typical tsundere who is grumpy towards most people but shows a definite soft side towards their leader Sakamoto. Those who love the quieter, innocent loli-types need look no further than the adorable pairing of Sanya and Eila. For those with tastes tending towards something more vivaciously bouncy, Charlotte most definitely fits the bill. As you can probably tell by their names, the girls are based on famous pilots from the era; however the fun spin on the series does not require an everyday otaku to be a historical expert to enjoy the show.

And finally... one of the many camel-toes!
The story may not break any boundaries and the characters may not be unique, but there is something charming about Strike Witches that will keep you coming back for more. Though not emotionally or mentally challenging in any way, shape or form, it is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, especially the seventh episode with someone who blushes very easily. I will certainly be looking out for the two OVA and the second season for the franchise and hope it is as impressive as this bundle of fun.

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