Friday, 16 July 2010

Strike Witches 2 - Episode 2

After giving us our reintroduction to Yoshika Miyafuji, and in turn reuniting her with Mori Sakamoto, everything was left well and truly in place come the end of Strike Witches 2's opening episode to set them back into action against the new-look and even more powerful Neuroi.

Well, whaddya know, that's exactly what we get here. Despite Sakamoto's original plan being to lay low and outrun the attacking Neuroi craft which has them in its sights, it soon becomes clear that this won't be possible as the navy become involved and prove to be little more than sitting ducks in the face of this alien power. With the nearest known Witches half an hour away, it's up to Sakamoto and Miyafuji to save the day, although it soon transpires that even this is going to be decidedly difficult due to a malfunction with the former's Striker unit.

However, this means that we do get to see the new, improved Miyafuji in action - In particular her awesome defensive powers, which allows her to buy time for just long enough for Sakamoto to make her appearance and win the day with her newly forged sword in a series of scenes which bore more than a little resemblance to Asuka's victory against the first Angel to appear in Evangelion 2.22.

So, the day is one... or is it? Just as we congratulate ourselves on a job well done, so we see this Neuroi regenerating before our very eyes, complete with a mobile core just to make things all the more difficult. As Miyafuji goes into battle once again, it appears as though she's reached her limit... just in time for the rest of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing to crop up, joining forces with our intrepid duo to kick alien ass and save the day. Hurrah!

After a pretty decent introduction to the series last week, this second episode of the show really benefited from being able to ramp up the action side of things, with plenty of laser beams, big explosions, magical swords and so on the order of the day. This reliance on action even meant that we didn't find ourselves overly saturated with fan service... at least until near the end of the episode where AIC seemed to try to make up for lost time by piling in as many crotch shots as humanly possible. Still, all of the ingredients seem to be in place for a pretty good series - Its fun, the pacing is just about right so far, and the presentation in terms of both soundtrack and visuals are bang on the mark. My earlier comment will undoubtedly be the only time I ever mention Evangelion 2.22 and Strike Witches 2 in comparative terms, so make the most of it, but by the same token that doesn't stop this effort from being a pretty fun little series so far.

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