Strike Witches The Movie [Review]
/drowning in a sea of feels
Note: Spoilers abound!
It is the year 1945, and after the liberation of Romagna, the Strike Witches have parted ways yet again. Miyafuji Yoshika, who lost her Witch powers during her last mission, is now studying to become a doctor back in Fuso. However, one day a Fuso cadet named Hattori Shizuka turns up, informing Yoshika that she is to be transferred abroad to study medicine in Europe.
*slow running towards Strike Witches in the sunset* Wow, it’s been so long. Yet I still remember the premise as clear as if I’d watched it yesterday
though it’s not a particularly deep premise, which they helpfully reminded us of at the start of the movie. Basically, the time period is that of our world’s WWII, except it’s not a war between countries, and instead a world-united offense against an alien creature named the Neuroi, who we know nearly nothing about (not even their motives) other than that they mobilise in “hives” and have a core, which is vital to find and destroy in order to get rid of them. Humanity’s counter to the Neuroi are teenage girls called Witches, who have magical power and can use Striker Units in order to fly and take out the Neuroi in midair. It just so happens that none of them are wearing any pants (which is something you’ll have to get used to) and that there are many panty shots, which does really make it hard to take screenies. Camera angles usually come in from the back and zoom into their panties, then flash around a bit – thank god for no BD censoring. It’s really fluid motion though, which I think helps to enhance the feeling of aerial combat.
Anyway, so at the end of the last season Miyafuji Yoshika (who got promoted!) used the True Reppuzan to liberate Romagna (their version of Italy) losing her powers along with Sakamoto Mio, and they both returned to Fuso (Japan) with Yoshika returning to her studies to become a doctor. It was really good to see her again, albeit in her regular school uniform, which I think would be nice if they changed once in a while xD Even without her powers, I found Yoshika the same as ever – really cheerful, a bit clumsy and with no regard for the rules in the face of the greater good – she will cook and clean because she feels like she’s doing her part, and she will get herself into danger to save others. From a completely non-ecchi perspective, I really admire Yoshika as a person, and that’s because she’s completely selfless. On the ship, she went into a flammable area that was ON FIRE in order to save a random officer, and she was even willing to tear up the dress Lynne made for her (which broke my heart) in order to save more lives. The antagonist at the end of S1 said that without Striker Units, the Witches are just little girls – and that’s completely true, but it didn’t stop Yoshika at all. She’s a good person.
Hattori Shizuka, the new girl introduced to escort Yoshika to Europe is nearly fully juxtaposed with her in terms of ideals. Shizuka’s actually a Yoshika fan, so it must have really been crushing to see that her ideal Witch goes completely against the military norm, ignoring orders and doing what she wants if she thinks it’s for the best. Shizuka is a bit like Perrine was at the very start of the series actaully – she doesn’t cook as she thinks its below her status, and is too strung up on traditional values and things like superior orders – sometimes, there are just situations where nobody gives a fuck, and while it’s true that rules are there for a reason, treating them as gospel is not always the way to go. I love how Yoshika compared herself and Shizuka to Erica and Trude lecturing her xD But yeah, she actually made Yoshika angry on the ship…and Yoshika never gets angry o.O
I loved seeing everybody else – the rest of the 501st JFW, or the Strike Witches xD Even though they weren’t together for the majority of the movie, it was enough to see them in small groups with other units – Shirley and Lucchini in Romagna, Minna in Karlsland with Erica and Trude, and Lynne and Perrine in Gallia where Yoshika stopped for a night. I loved the not-so-subtle implied yuri vibes between Yoshika and Lynne (they were sleeping together again~) as well as Eila x Sanya, who were casually holding hands ^^ When I first started the series I actually thought the cast was too large, but over time I grew to like each one of them – even girls like Perrine, who initially came off as a shallow Mio fangirl but really gained my admiration after revealing her desire to save Gallia and amass lots of money to help orphaned children. Of course it wouldn’t be Strike Witches without any ridiculous antics amidst all the fighting, and it’s just things like the gondola race Shirley and Lucchini had, or Erica getting stronger after eating chocolate that really made everything come full circle for me. Despite being rated R+ it’s actually pretty tame in terms of ecchi fanservice compared to the first two seasons, though to be fair having a bath or beach scene wouldn’t be right for this kind of context.
Similar to the humanoid Neuroi we saw in the TV series, it was clear this time round that the Neuroi have evolved after a month of inactivity in Karlsland – this time there’s a species that are bulky to begin with, but can transform into an arrowhead type with a large circular back, enabling it to perform quick manoeuvres and move at high speeds. There’s also a type that can move underground then shoot up (the large tower ones, hence Eila’s tarot card) though I’m not sure whether those are the same as the transforming species. The Neuroi continue to keep evolving each time, and now they’ve learnt not to make their presence known through massive hives, which will probably make the Witches’ job a bit harder in the future.
We all saw the end coming – Yoshika regaining her Witch powers after a really heartwarming moment where I was drowning in a sea of feels. It was really cheesy, but at the same time seeing the whole of the 501st JFW together again, with even Mio joining them in a fighter plane. For the 2nd time, the Strike Witches are now reformed – and I think are based in Karlsland now to get rid of the Neuroi threat there for good. Overall, your mileage will vary – but from the perspective of a Strike Witches fan, it wasn’t bad at all, and is a nice continuation of what the first two seasons offered us. Halfway through the movie, I realized that this isn’t supposed to be a last stand for the show to go out with a bang like with the K-ON! movie, it’s a transition for Yoshika to regain her powers and for the Witches to regroup – with the “to be continued”, a Season 3 will hopefully follow up on that. If that isn’t enough,
it’s been endorsed by the Japanese government there have been mentions of a 3rd season after director Takamura’s Vividred Operation (his next work) is completed, as well as the fact that there are plot holes like Yoshika’s dad or the humanoid Neuroi that have yet to be explored. I don’t think this movie isn’t an end, it’s a new beginning (: