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Strike Witches – The Complete 1st Season (A J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

April 9, 2010 by  



Humorous, action-packed, girl-power anime series with a lot of fan service.  “Strike Witches” has its share of ups and downs but overall, an enjoyable series.

Image courtesy of © 2010 FUNimation Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Strike Witches – The Complete 1st Season

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 (300 Minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Japanese 2.0 Stereo, English Subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: 17+

Released on March 30, 2010

Originally created by Humikane Shimada

Directed by Kazuhiro Takamura

Series Composition by Tsuyoshi Tamai

Music by Seikou Nagaoka

Character Design by Kazuhiro Takamura

Art Director: Hiromasa Ogura

Anime Production by GONZO

Featuring the following voice talent:

Misato Fukuen/Cherami Leigh as Yoshika Miyafuji

Ami Koshimizu as Charlotte E Yeager (Shirley Yeager)

Chiwa Saito/Trina Nishimura as Francesca Lucchini

Erika Nakai/Caitling Glass as Eila Ilmatar Juutilainen

Kaori Nazuka/Kate Bristol as Lynette Bishop

Mai Kadowaki/Jennifer Forester as Sanya V. Litvyak

Mie Sonozaki/Stephanie Sheh as Gertrud Barkhorn

Miyuki Sawashiro/Jad Saxton as Perrine-H. Clostermann

Rie Tanaka/Anastasia Munoz as Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke

Saeko Chiba/Kira Vincent-Davis as Mio Sakamoto

Sakura Nogawa/Luci Christian as Erica Hartmann

The year is 1944 and the world lives in fear of unidentified flying objects called Neuroi. With the old-boy old guard unable to thwart this deadly menace, humanity turns its desperate eyes to an aerial attack force with much nicer legs. Meet the girls of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, better known as the Strike Witches. These darlings of the great blue yonder may not have standard issue uniforms, but they do have all the right stuff. Where the average flyboy falters, these dolls blast aliens to bits in the bat of an eyelash. With a little magic and a whole lot of leg, the girls of the 501st are winning the war on pants, and aliens!

In 2006, Humikane Shimada (“Sky Girls”) began his “Strike Witches” illustrated columns. The popularity of the columns led to a light novel series, a manga series an anime OVA and a 12-episode TV anime series which is now available on DVD via “Strike Witches – The Complete Series” courtesy of FUNimation Entertainment.

The TV series is directed by Kazuhiro Takamura (“He is My Master”, “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”, “Mahoromatic”, “This Ugly Yet Beautiful World”) and also was responsible for character designs, series composition by Tsuyoshi Tamai (“Galaxy Angel”, “Chobits”, “Azumanga Daioh”), art direction is by Hiromasa Ogura (“Patlabor”, “Nadia – Secret of Blue Water”, “Ghost Hound”) and music by Seikou Nagaoka (“El Hazard” series, “Tenchi Muyou” series”).

“Strike Witches” is a series that takes place in 1939 in an alternate universe of Earth.  During this year, the Earth was attacked by an alien force known as Neuroi.  The Neuroi has shown up sporadically but various military around the planet have fought back with the use of Strike Witches, a female witch gifted with powerful magic and technology.  And thus, the war between Earth vs. the Neuroi but it’s up to the 501st division to train the Strike Witches from all over the world and prepare them for battle.

The main characters of “Strike Witches” are:

  • Yoshika Miyafuji – The main character of the series from the Fuso Empire (alternate version of Japan).  She has the power of healing and her father was responsible for designing the Striker Units for Strike Witches.  Because of her father’s death, Miyafuji hates the war but because people are in need of help, she joins the 501st.
  • Mio Sakamoto – The first Strike Witch and is the squadron leader.  Also from the Fuso Empire, she trains the new recruits and is responsible for scouting Miyafuji.  Has the magical ability to fight Neuroi with a magical katana.
  • Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke – The ranking officer of the 501st and takes care of her subordinates.  Because of the death of her boyfriend, she fears of losing people.  Also, is a very good singer.  She has the power of spatial awareness.
  • Lynette Bishop – A Strike Witch from the Britannian Commonwealth.  Can be clumsy but an excellent sharpshooter.
  • Perrine-H. Clostermann – The wealthy Perrine is a Strike Witch very attached to Mio and dislikes Miyafuji because of the attention she gets from Mio and is constantly jealous of her.  Has the power of using lightning.
  • Erica Hartmann – Quite sloppy and disorganized, Erica is a Strike Witch from Karsland and is an ace Strike Witch known for her victories.  Her skill is her ability to barrel storm.
  • Gertrud Barkhorn – A Strike Witch from Karsland known for her shot tally.  Has the magic power of strength.
  • Francesca Lucchini – A Strike Witch from the Duchy of Romagna and the youngest soldier and most childish member of the Strike Witches.
  • Charlotte E. Yeager – A Strike Witch from the United States of Liberion who is known for her buxom body and her enjoyment of speeding through the air.

The following 12-episodes are featured on two DVD’s. Here is a spoiler-less summary of each episode of “Strike Witches – The Complete Series”:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1 – Mio Sakamoto tries to recruit Yoshika Miyafuji to join the 501st.
  • EPISODE 2 – The Neuroi attack an aircraft carrier that Akagi, Mio and Miyafuji are riding.
  • EPISODE 3 – Miyafuji is introduced to the other Strike Witches.
  • EPISODE 4 – Perrine becomes jealous of Miyafuji.
  • EPISODE 5 – The Strike Witches train in the Britannian Coast.
  • EPISODE 6 – Miyafuji trains with Sanya and Eila on night patrol and fight against the Neuroi.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 7 – When Erica misplaces her panties, everyone thinks their is a panty thief nearby.
  • EPISODE 8 – Akagi starts to become overprotective of Miyafuji when people start to show their praise to Miyafuji.
  • EPISODE 9 – Perrine’s jealousy gets out of control and  thus she challenges Miyafuji and challenges her to an aerial duel.
  • EPISODE 10 –  After contact with a new type of Neuroi, Mio is injured and Miyafuji is confined in her quarters.
  • EPISODE 11 – The 501st is disbanded and a new anti-Neuroi unit known as Warlock is created.
  • EPISODE 12 – Warlock is now out-of-control and Miyafuji goes against it alone.

VIDEO:

“Strike Witches” is presented on DVD with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen.  For a television series, “Strike Witches” focuses on the battles over sea and in the skies.  So, there is a not a whole lot of detail going on in the series.  If anything, more emphasis is put on the special effects and characters up-close especially showcasing the Strike Witches and their weapons.   Also, a good amount of detail for the mechanical designs especially the Neuroi and the vehicles.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Audio for “Strike Witches” is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Stereo 2.0.  Dialogue is clear and understandable.  Voice acting for both English and Japanese are done well.   The series doesn’t really showcase an immersive soundtrack but overall, dialogue is clear and understandable.  Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Strike Witches – The Complete Series” comes with the following special features on disc 2:

  • Episode 12 Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Scott Sager, Kate Bristol (voice actress of Lynette Bishop) and Cherami Leigh (voice actress of Yoshika Miyafuji).
  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs
  • Trailers – Trailers for upcoming FUNimation Entertainment releases.

In some way, “Strike Witches” can be seen as an anime series that looks as if it’s been overused, you’ve seen this kind of anime before but there are a few things that makes “Strike Witches” quite different from the others and that is a focus on character development, introducing many characters but yet fleshing them out throughout the series and last, the series has its share of naughty bits.  There is nudity, there is plenty of fan service and lesbian-teases.

Here are a group of teenagers who are star pilots and responsible on taking on the Neuroid and defending the planet but at the same time, these girls have teen impulses and curiosities.  So, needless to say, this is the kind of series that will appeal to the anime action fans by the aerial dogfights and mecha usage and then of course the number of pantie shots, face in boobies and more will appeal to the perverted otaku.  But seeing the younger characters in their underwear is going a bit far in anime series and for me, it definitely lessened the series appeal.

Overall, “Strike Witches – The Complete 1st Season” is an  action anime series that has its moments of enjoyability but also has its share of problems.  If anything, this series is a girl-power, fun, action-packed anime series but in the end, it’s an average anime at best.

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