Thursday, 8 July 2010

Strike Witches 2 - Episode 1

The original series of Strike Witches has always been something of a figure of fun for me to poke and prod at from time to time, on account of its incredibly cynical use of as many moe database elements as it can muster melded with a hefty topping of fan service to create what can only be described as some kind of dragnet for otaku. That said however, I also have to confess that beyond those occasionally eye-rollingly blatant elements, the original series was a pretty fun and entertaining one to watch, which is exactly why I'm all signed up for the return of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing.

This second series wastes no time in setting up a couple of its core elements, first introducing a larger, even more powerful Neuroi threat to eclipse that of the first season, and then throwing us into a stylish, fast paced and panty-shot laden action scene that suggests that AIC's 2010 take on Strike Witches has learned not only what to keep in place to make the fans happy, but also what to improve upon.

With this new threat introduced, we return to the world of Yoshika Miyafuji, just in time to see her graduated from middle school. This episode makes a clear attempt to show how Yoshika has matured in the six months or so between this series and the first, as we see her use her magical powers to heal wounded animals with near-perfect control, while later in this opener we also note that her magical power has increased quite substantially over time as well. This isn't the clumsy but well-meaning Miyafuji of the first series, that's for sure.

With Yoshika back in the show's driving seat as protagonist, we get a plot that involves an incomprehensible letter delivered from her dead father which in turn sets her off to be reunited with Sakamoto, while her concern for the new Neuroi threat and the danger it poses to her fellow Witch friends soon leads her to follow Sakamoto into battle once again, thus setting the scene for the rest of the series no doubt.

The first thing that really stands out from this first episode of Strike Witches 2 is the more polished feel that it has over its predecessor. All of the base elements are the same, but there can be little doubt that AIC kicked things up a notch for that opening action sequence, and the whole thing feels a little "cleaner" in terms of animation quality - This is hopefully something that they can keep up throughout the season. That aside, it looks likes this show is set to gain the approval of anyone who enjoyed the original, as it's effectively been set up to give us more of the same but with some ramped up action and peril.

If it can keep things as entertaining as the first season then this certainly isn't a a bad thing; provided you can sit through this show without puzzling over imponderables such as "why don't they wear pants exactly?" and "why do they need to grow animals ears and tails when they use magic?" you could well find it to work reasonably well as an uncomplicated and mindless bit of fun.


Rob said...

A dragnet for Otaku! Brilliant. I instantly pictured a bunch of slithering, pale nerds being unceremoniously dumped onto the deck of a trawler having been fished up from the depths.

I might give this series a try!

Anonymous said...

why don't they wear pants exactly?" and "why do they need to grow animals ears and tails when they use magic?"

I asked those question before watching the first season, after I finished it, I just didn't car.