Brave Witches Episode 4: If You Want to Fight, Get Stronger!
Why is Rossmann-sensei so perfect?
I really missed Brave Witches last week. It was an interesting realisation. I wasn’t quite sure why I felt so unsatisfied over the delay at first, but then eventually I figured out that I actually wanted to watch it a lot. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve still been consciously looking forward to and enjoying each episode, but it was never something I believed I was reliant on to the point that I’d end up getting withdrawal symptoms without it. It probably would have happened with Strike Witches, which I guess means that I’ve come to care for Brave Witches more than I thought I did. Kind of like how Kanno has quietly converted into a Hikari supporter, although I’m not sure she’s even aware of it herself.
Kanno is really sweet. She’s still aggressive, but it’s just her way of showing that she cares. I think. If she didn’t give a flying toss about Hikari she wouldn’t have spent all that time watching over her with Nipa, nor would she have immediately rushed out to break Hikari’s fall the moment she fell asleep three-quarters of the way up the monument (I’m also not sure whether it was Kanno or Nipa who shouted Hikari’s name back then). Deliberately pissing Hikari off to make her want to prove herself was a really great idea in retrospect – and that scene served as yet another reminder that we’re not dealing with a special snowflake protagonist at all. We’re following Hikari as she literally starts from zero, complete with all the roadblocks and pitfalls (or just falls) that may ensue. Somehow I get the feeling that Hikari is slowly but surely capturing the hearts of all of the 502nd, however. Nipa was always on her side. Kanno would deny it but in reality has reluctantly loaned herself out. And this episode she managed to win over Rossmann-sensei with her enthusiasm.
I want to be disciplined by Rossmann-sensei! Not (just) in a lewd way, I mean (although there’s something really attractive about her voice, petite design and her conservative taste in panties). Her teaching is actually really effective. I’m not sure whether the training this episode was even intended (at least initially) to address Hikari’s inability to properly pilot the Chidori in light of her insufficient magic – because initially Rossmann was fully prepared to just send her home. And the one-week test was supposed to make her realise her own limits and make her give up. The results were still pretty amazing, all things considered – I’ve been wondering for several weeks now how it’s even possible to compensate for a lack of magic power. Increasing the total amount of magic power within Hikari shouldn’t be possible (as was confirmed this episode) and yet that was the only solution I could come up with. So I figured she’d somehow draw on some sort of external source of magic, or discover that all along there was a problem with the circulation of magic within her body and that Rossmann or another member of the 502nd would fix it for her.
In other words, I was thinking in terms of removing the issue outright. And that’s not the way Rossmann dealt with it, because instead she helped Hikari get around it by telling her to concentrate what little power she had into one area. She’s both smart and cute, can she get any more perfect? It’s sort of like in battle shounens where you generate qi or nen (or whatever energy system takes your fancy) to reinforce yourself in hand-to-hand combat, and rapidly distribute it around various parts of your body as you attack and defend in order to adequately protect whatever’s at risk of physical injury. For Hikari, it gives her enough magic to climb her way up the monument, and thus puts her on a slightly more even footing with the rest of the 502nd. That’s an important point to note – for now at least, what she can do is not anything special. Because any other Witch on the front lines would be able to inject at least that same level of magic power (that Hikari is expending all into one hand) evenly into all areas of their bodies. Those like Yoshika would even have lots to spare. Presumably, if they did what Hikari is doing now, they could achieve terrifying levels of output.
So she’s not special. And if her use of the Contact Eye continues to be forbidden (although I have my doubts that she’ll obey that order to the letter in times of crisis) she’ll continue to stay that way. But here’s the thing – Hikari isn’t supposed to be special, and that’s why Brave Witches has been so great up until now. Hikari is Hikari. I feel like I’m repeating this every week, but I’m still astounded by the realism and the lack of deference being shown to Hikari as the protagonist. Yes, maybe it’s harder to retrieve the hat in the wind. Maybe it’s unfair that it’s raining on the last day. But that’s just how life is. What if it’s raining during a Neuroi attack? The 502nd can’t ask them to come back another day because it’d be harder to defeat them in the rain. I do have a theory though, and it’s that Hikari could end up making something special out of this lack of magic. Because she has so little of it, and yet she’s still fighting on the front lines, it’ll become more important than ever to conserve magic as much as possible. She can’t be reckless or wasteful, because every ounce will count. I can see her getting really good at things like dodging (so she doesn’t have to put up shields), or fine control and precision similar to what she trained in this week with redistributing magic in different proportions. If she can’t absorb recoil, she won’t put herself in a position where she ever has to tank any hits. If she doesn’t have much magic, she’ll just become really adept at when and how she uses what she does have. It’s just that the words ‘careful’ or ‘restrained’ don’t really seem to fit Hikari all that well…