Brave Witches Episode 3: The 502nd Joint Fighter Wing

Hikari a cute! 

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Impression

bw-3-img006Every week, Brave Witches continues to surprise. In fact, I’m surprised that I’m surprised. It’s bizarrely realistic, and even though I was perfectly aware of that going into this episode, it was still the case that very few of the scenes went the way I expected it to. It’s no longer just a case of Hikari not being like Yoshika – by now you would expect the protagonists to have some sort of worth or special ability that’s almost stereotypical of protagonists to have. And Hikari doesn’t have that – or at least, her one is actually useless for now. I didn’t expect her to save the day in the first of the two Neuroi encounters this episode by being able to immediately pinpoint the core using her magic eyes (clearly nor did the rest of the 502nd) but they went further than that – she almost died and needed to be saved again. As for the second, anyone who is even only vaguely familiar with storytelling would have anticipated that this encounter was where Hikari would prove herself – and she did, but she also didn’t. Her special magic wasn’t suddenly pulled out of her panties, and she contributed in a realistic way that falls in line with what we’ve seen of her abilities thus far. Kanno was still the one to kill the Neuroi in the end.

It’s good. I like this. It does make me wonder exactly how she will get good, because it would not at all be in line with the spirit of what they’ve shown us up until now if there was a timeskip and she suddenly improved without us seeing the efforts of her training. It’s also a little ironic that her reason for being unable to properly pilot the Chidori is that she lacks the requisite magical power to do so, because from what I remember Yoshika was the exact opposite and had Striker Units malfunction because she overloaded them with her magic. At least Hikari can eat and run faster than the rest of them.

World-building and character development both started happening this episode. I love Orussia, by the way – I loved it before, partly because of the tacky name and partly because best girl Sanya comes from there, but now that we’ve seen it I think the setting is really nice. I like how Silver Link put in the effort to show smaller details like the girls’ breath becoming visible in the cold. As for the various members for the 502nd, there’s still a whole lot to learn but we’re starting to get an idea of the dynamics between some of them.

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bw-3-img002I thought Georgette would be the new Lynette (she feels a bit like Hifumi except not as cute) but it almost felt like she wanted to maintain her distance from Hikari instead. Nipa (who is a little like Shirley) ended up being Hikari’s first friend. Of course, as I said last week what I really want is for Kanno to end up being her quasi-lesbian, special hand-holding friend, but that might take a little time. This might be an unpopular opinion, but her distaste was super cute this episode. Not that I’m going to condone it – she certainly doesn’t have to make noises every time someone mentions Hikari’s existence. And although it’s true that the 502nd need someone combat-ready at the moment, and just don’t have the time (nor the resources if Nipa keeps breaking Striker Units) to train someone up, there really was no need for her to be so bitchy about it. The rest of the girls came to the same conclusion but in a much nicer way – they said she wasn’t good enough, but they didn’t go out of their way to disparage her or criticise her for being weak or blame her for it. They just acknowledged that it was a reality, and that in the end she’s a student. Kanno should learn from them. They’re all cute girls, they should just get along!

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Vantage

I love cute things.

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16 thoughts on “Brave Witches Episode 3: The 502nd Joint Fighter Wing

  1. Nipa a cute! A cute! :P

    Hikari’s got her work cut out for her, but they’re handing her over to Rossmann for training. If anyone can work out a way to turn Hikari into a functional witch, it’s Edytha Rossmann. She’s responsible for much of Erica Hartmann’s training, who, as you may recall, is the world’s top ace. She’s the best person for this job.

    Like you, I like how the series is keeping HIkari as an underdog rather than having her pull out a protagonist wildcard to get her through tough situations. While I liked Yoshika for being herself, I also enjoy HIkari for being a completely different flavor of heroine. She’s having to struggle the whole way, and even her victories are little ones that fit within the scope of that struggling. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

    1. Nipa reminds me of a character from another anime. It’s been bugging me whenever I look at her but I can’t quite figure out who.

      I had no idea Sensei was responsible for Erica! She was on the front page of a newspaper talking about the 501st’s victory in Gallia, we might get more cameos at times. As for Hikari, I think they’ll eventually give her something special. It’ll be interesting to see exactly what that something is and whether that’ll be consistent with the underdog context in which she’s been developed so far.

  2. Since we’re on the episode 3 review, I hope you don’t mind that I address the episode 2 discussion here…

    EP2:
    “Or maybe I’ve just gotten more used to it, or am no longer surprised by every girl in the series walking around in panties.”

    As a new fan, I’d say it’s also the presentation. Panty-shots aside, there aren’t many jokes about the lack of pants (if anything it causes more troubles as I just saw in Strike Witches EP – poor Lucchini). Plus it’s like I say, a lot of things are only as perverted as they are because “we are”. If you pay respect to the context then, while still odd, the lack of pants isn’t insufferably perverted.

    “I’m doing what you’re doing with Shuumatsu no Izetta – just stockpiling episodes and planning to burn through them at a future date.”

    I’m not stockpiling episodes for anything intentionally. That said, I’m not blazing through Strike Witches just so I’m not left wanting. With all this talk of witches, I must ask, do they ever give hints at just what kind of “witches” the girls originated from? Brave Witches has mentioned that some girls don’t drop in power as they approach adulthood (so they might be powerful like Izetta, propelling themselves w/o machinery?). That’s quite the concept by itself though. So much mystery, well, for my anyway.

    EP3:

    The more realistic touch is definitely appreciable, from Hikari’s lack of raw talent to the little things she does that make a huge difference. I’ve seen some fans thrown off, wondering just what she did that was so helpful in this episode. It’s sad. If it weren’t for her, theoretically Nippa could’ve been down there for days or if the Neuroi had taken over even a little more territory then searching for her may not have been possible!

    Speaking of territory Sanya’s (who I was pleasantly surprised to find shared VA with Illya!) Orussia is beautiful and I especially like that the Braves of the Ten Witches are based right in the thick of it. Having that built city right there to look out over is moving even for a viewer like me, because you want to see them succeed in protecting these homes people may be able to come back to! It’s quite the contrast from the “sea base” and Sakamoto’s words to Lynette and Yoshika about looking towards the horizon where the territory they wanted to reclaim was.

    Last but not least, you’re not wrong about Kanno’s style of pouting being adorable. Even if it wasn’t, she provides a challenge Hikari can grow from, which I find more to my liking than Perrine’s jealousy. It’s also unfortunate that she just barely put her foot over the line of blaming Hikari for Takami’s condition, but thankfully Hikari didn’t get pricked by that thorn too painfully.

    I’m looking forward to lots and lots more – from all three witch shows! :D

    1. If she hadn’t been there, then (i) it may have taken much longer to find Nipa as you say; and (ii) Kanno would have been screwed because that Neuroi wasn’t letting her escape or lower her altitude. It may be a small contribution in that she didn’t score any kills or anything, but you know she’s done good when even Kanno chose not to belittle her at all.

      It must be really interesting watching both Strike Witches and Brave Witches in parallel. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the former! Do let me know of any parallels or contrasts you manage to find. As previous episodes of Brave Witches have shown, they’re not scared of fitting in small 501st cameos when they can. I’m also jealous that you’ll get to experience a certain Sanya/Eila episode in Strike Witches 2 for the first time. That’s one of my strongest memories of the series even today.

      1. Wilco o> And it is extremely interesting. If you’re referring to episode 6 of season 2, funny that then, I just watched it last night. Hopefully the 502nd’s “Countess” isn’t quite as stubborn as Eila, ehe.

        Speaking of people coming around to seeing things another way, I must confess that after more directly comparing them I do think the OP is superior as a theme song for a show, as OPs should be. I’m just such a Hikari fanboy already that I love the focus on her in the ED, I realize.

        Looking to you and Wanderer’s conversation and on the matter of Hikari’s ability, I joked earlier with a veteran fan that Hikari’s Parfom hasn’t been unveiled yet because its effect parts might reveal whatever ability she has. While I said I didn’t expect anything straight-up OP, I was incredibly amused by the thought of a TRANS-AM-esque ability playing off her stamina – a crimson body as opposed to her sister’s crimson hair.

  3. I’m really pleased how this season of Strike Witches is turning out! I often tell people that I sometimes feel that this series was designed to appeal to me personally as it hits so many of my check boxes it borders on creepy. That said, I feel that the personal interactions between the characters has always been the best part of this series. The plot about fighting & training to fight against the Neuroi being largely superficial & cliched. However, this season that seems to have changed thus far. Feels like they have really upped their game. Pantsu for the pantsu throne!

  4. On the bright side, Brave Witches Dai-502 Butai Hasshin Shimasu! has started begin scanned, so that should tide you over for a bit. I like getting more insight on the characters, even if it covers the same timeline.

    1. Also, Vantage… WHAT did I JUST watch?! Episode 7 of season 2: a struggle for the girls and us viewers, but I swear to you watching Minna “shoot down” her 200th Neuroi made the whole episode worth it. Holy high-flyers! Just that fact that what she did countered one of the most clever Neuroi plots yet, mind you, not watching how she did it mind you. Although, I am glad someone finally remembered to clench. Scary.

      1. Do… do you see what I mean now when I talk about panties not being as much of a focus in Brave Witches? Wasn’t that episode just glorious? :D

        Although I am slightly disappointed that you didn’t tell me about how much you liked the Sanya x Eila episode and insert love song in Episode 6. It’s been 4-5 years since I first watched Strike Witches, and I still think of it from time to time.

        I actually love the ‘cute girls in quaint historical military settings’ genre that’s kind of a distant cousin to CGDCT. Sora no Woto is another good example. There don’t seem to be too many of those, and many only partially fit the bill (e.g. Garupan, Haibane Renmei).

        1. I’m fine with the lesser focus, although, I can’t say I’d have done away with Minna’s 200th “shootdown” – butt I’d have been fine with the other girls not having to suffer like that :P

          Seeing you say that, I am a little sad that I didn’t think to say anything on Sanya and Eila’s duet, especially looking back at how you excitedly foretold it. The whole performance really is highly appreciable and definitely one of the best, most natural “force of will” or “power of friendship” moments. It really held its own even without the song, given the development that Eila underwent at last.

          For some reason I’m not as forgiving or understanding of her as with many characters, even ones who are just plain awful in terms of their personality. I suppose I just want impressed by her stubbornness when she should’ve been thinking more of Sanya. I’m not a fan of yuri (thankfully it’s not just baiting fans in Eila’s case), but I think I’m really bothered by characters that can play with those they love like that.

          Still, I was really proud of her in the end, although, Sanya’s consideration for the dreams she put in Eila’s head really impressed me, even if it was from the perspective of a friend (yeah, I “should be” fine with a lack of reciprocated yuri, but if that’s the choice a person makes I still love to see people trying and living up their, well, love for one another!). It’s definitely a memorable moment and will continue to be for me… I ended up thinking of the scene in Evangelion where

          Spoiler Show

          . You just don’t forget that kind of camaraderie and character development combo…

          I actually have all of those anime somewhere on my list. I definitely didn’t connect them in the way that you did. Might just have to go for them all once I’m done with Strike Witches – which I just might finish today! Well, that is if I don’t finally watch those Evangelion remake movies too at last.

          1. I guess I’ve always kind of liked characters with thorny personalities, which might be why I like Kanno as well (or maybe I just approve of Eila’s excellent taste). They’re really stubborn, maybe, but you know that they’re good girls deep down and it’s cute when they do melt. It’s kind of similar to tsunderes but I feel like it’s not quite the same.

            It’s like how (at least for me) your opinion of Perrine changes a lot as the series progresses – at first she just appears shallow and jealous of Yoshika, but once you get to know her better you learn that she’s actually really kind, loves kids and is a little awkward at times. Super cute.

            I haven’t seen Evangelion (which is heretical I know) so I’ll avoid that spoiler, but you should definitely try Sora no Woto! It’s really quaint and heartwarming and there’s a particular episode which is especially lewd.

    2. I’ve got lots of other stuff to catch keep up with, but I’ll have a look at it when I can! I presume it’s a manga version covering the events of the anime?

      1. Taking a look at the first chapter, it seems more like sidestory omake type stuff. Mostly (although not exclusively) 4-koma, with some comedic re-interpretation of some of the events of the first episode as well.

        Some of the non-4-koma stuff introduced a few of the 502nd in more detail, although nothing particularly special. Just Nipa, Kanno, and Waltrud so far. It told us what Nipa’s special power is as well, assuming you haven’t taken the time to look that up on your own already.

        1. I had no idea, that’s really cool! This means nothing bad or tragic will ever happen to her, which is great news. Presumably it only works on her own injuries and not anyone else’s? I also didn’t know Nikka was her real name

          1. Presumably she can still die if she takes wounds that would be instantly fatal, although, for obvious reasons, she’s never tested that, but yeah. Wounds that would kill someone else in a matter of minutes, or leave someone crippled or whatever she can just walk off. That’s how she handled getting struck by lightning in the movie and walking away completely unharmed (it actually wasn’t just rule of funny).

            And yes, only her own injuries. If anyone else is hurt they’ll have to talk to Georgette.

      2. It’s as Wanderer says! I didn’t know that was Nipa/Nikka’s special power though. A great power to be sure, but I swear I’ve seen hints of something near angelic to do with her, visually anyway.

        Also on the topic of enhanced Brave Witches content, you and Wanderer might fancy a look at this fusion of one of Macross Delta’s endings (I’ve yet to start it, but it’s Ep. 18’s I believe) with the BW ED: my.mixtape.moe/wkmuau(.)webm

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