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[R1 DVD box art]
AKA: ストライクウィッチーズ2 (Japanese)
Genre: Sci-fi action/mecha musume.
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 23 minutes each
Distributor: Currently licensed by FUNimation, and also available on crunchyroll, even internationally.
Content Rating: 16+ (Fan service, nudity, mild warfare and death)
Related Series: Strike Witches TV, Strike Witches OAV, Strike Witches Movie
Also Recommended: Sora no Woto, Area 88
Notes: Sequel to the first Strike Witches, directly continuing where season one left off. Unlike season one, which was produced by GONZO, season two is done by AIC.
Rating: Two StarsTwo Stars

Strike Witches 2

Synopsis

Just as the forces of humanity are about to make peace with the Neuroi, a large Neuroi base appears right above the one the Strike Witches have been fighting up until now and completely obliterates it, and with it, any chance of peace. This forces the 501st Joint Fighter Wing to assemble and fight once more.


Review

Stig: When I saw the second season of this show available on Crunchyroll, I just knew I had to get Tim to synchro it with me. The whole premise sounded just too ludicrous to pass up. I had already seen the promo art, read Tim's review of the first season and also ANN's Summer 2010 Anime Preview Guide, where even Zac didn't really tear it a new asshole. And that was all the encouragement I really needed.

Tim: I had a weird relationship with Strike Witches' first season. While I enjoyed the series and liked the grand majority of its cast, I could never really "connect" to it. Nonetheless, I was excited when I heard a second season was made, even when I heard of the animation company shift from Gonzo to AIC. Fortunately, a few minutes in I barely noticed.

And no, they're still not wearing any pants. Panties, on the other hand...

But if you're reading this, you've probably already seen the first season and are either eagerly awaiting the next to be released on DVD, or you might be wondering whether the second season can uphold the... *cough* ...quality of the first. To that we both say... not quite.

Oh, don't worry; the sheer amount of eye-candy is still present. The show is animated easily as spectacularly as the first season, with great fly-by's and some truly spectacular aerial battles. Even if you find the premise of teenage girls with propellers for legs completely and utterly ridiculous, those scenes are going to at least make you open your eyes a little wider.

Unfortunately, another thing that's been brought over from the first season is the numerous lingering shots at the girls' crotches, particularly during said flight sequences. In fact, you might say that Strike Witches 2 is trying to up the ante with a Witch Training Montage in episode 3, where Yoshika, Lynette and Perrine leave for some good, old-fashioned witch training, where they treat the audience by showing them what it must feel like to have to support your full body weight on a broom handle between your legs, all while an older granny witch bitches at them like the coach in the first Rocky movie.

On the plus side, Lucchini finally gets her own episode, in which she, Yoshika, and Charlotte (or Shirley according to the English dub) head off in a truck to get supplies for the base. When they get there, though, Lucchini spends a good chunk of the episode serving as a tourist guide to one of the locals, while Yoshika and Charlotte try to find her. Then there's a Neuroi attack (of course). Personally we liked the episode, because it gave us the same nice, slice-of-life Aria vibe Sanya and Eila's episode in season one did.

Sadly, Strike Witches 2 too often made really stupid plots in its episodes. Episode 7 is another fan service episode that even outdid season one's, though admittedly the ending came out of nowhere and was kind of funny in retrospect. The following episode has Yoshika suddenly losing her ability to fly. After a long cry/angstfest, she eventually ends up on the one ship (out of an entire fleet of them) that just SO HAPPENS to contain a new Striker Unit specifically meant for her, allowing her to fly perfectly fine for the rest of the series. (Did we mention that a voice in her head guides her to it?) Of course we later find out that this upgrade is pointless, as you'll notice in the palm-face inducing series finale. Or, as we called it, "Strike Witches Theater".

Stig: The completion of this show eventually lead to me picking up and watching the first season. And while it in its completely uncensored glory made me feel like such a creep for watching it, I liked the whole "buddy cops" feel of the show. The characters are all a really nice bunch (if you ignore some of the leaps-of-logic you see in the second season), and it's pretty much as straightforward as this kind of show should be. Unfortunately, some of the episodes in the second season eclipse the similarly dumb episodes in the first season from sheer thoughtless stupidity. The scriptwriters really should have known better.

Tim: I'm going to agree with Stig on his opinion of the series - I preferred the first season plot-wise. While I'm glad to see these girls flying again, the writing sure doesn't do them any favors. Still, if you liked the cute girls, flight sequences, and weird plots the first time around, then you'll probably Strike Witches 2 as well. To me, though, it's just another anime on the very long list of anime with sequels in which the first season was much better than the sequel series.

A little worse for wear compared to the first season, but still mostly a "you know what you're getting" deal.Stig Høgset and Tim Jones

Recommended Audience: The show deals with warfare, obviously, but it never really gets up close and personal enough for it to matter too much.

Strike Witches still seems to keep its war on pants going, though, and has obviously not lost any grounds in that area. Though the crunchyroll stream does at least fight back with random rays of light crossing over, occasionally from all directions in a hilarious attempt to keep all bases covered.



Version(s) Viewed: Crunchyroll stream, sub only.
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Strike Witches 2 © 2010 AIC, 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING
 
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