Strike Witches OVA
In the 1930s, an unknown force invaded Earth, ravaging great swaths of mainland Europe. A group of young maidens of the world's nations, fitted magically with the engines and weapons of fighter aircraft, are the last hope of mankind: the 501st Joint Fighter Wing.
You aren't imagining this.
Yes, those are moe girls with piston engines for feet, with animal ears and tails, carrying big honking weapons into aerial combat.
To understand this series, one must delve into otaku culture and look at the phenomenon of "mecha musume" or "mecha shoujo", anthropomorphized (almost exclusively cute female) versions of tanks, aircraft, or other (almost exclusively military) hardware. To put it bluntly, it's combining two things that Japanese otaku want but can't have (military stuff and cute girls) into one convenient, fetishy package.
And now, we try to rationalize the whole damn thing with a television show. Now, we can't exactly speak for that yet (it hasn't begun as of this writing), but if this promo OVA is any indication, then I'm in no particular hurry to see any of it.
Yes, each of the girls is based on both an actual World War II airplane and even named after a real life fighter ace. I can understand this show's geeky obsession with name-checks. (Holy heck, that makes at least two Lydia Litvyak references in anime now.) I even appreciate how they actually incorporate real air combat tactics into the mock dogfight in the promo.
That doesn't make the whole concept any less ludicrous or surreal to watch. The creators may handwave the entire thing by saying, "It's magic," but this version of Strike Witches is really anything but magical. Gonzo has done such good material in the past that it almost pains me to see their animation budgets wasted on such a stupid idea.
Maybe the TV series might change my mind, but as a promotional engine, this OVA has seriously backfired.
Yet again, I'll concede that mecha and moe otaku are going to get way more out of this than me and add a star or two. However, this one avoids a bottom rating solely by virtue of solid animation. — Carlos Ross
Recommended Audience: Mild violence in the form of moe girls in mock aerial combat.
Version(s) Viewed: Prerelease fansub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
Strike Witches OVA © 2007 501st Joint Fighter Wing Production Committee
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