Brave Witches Episode 4: If You Want to Fight, Get Stronger!

Why is Rossmann-sensei so perfect?

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Impression

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.

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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.

bw-5-img001I 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.

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bw-5-img007In 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…

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Vantage

I love cute things.

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2 thoughts on “Brave Witches Episode 4: If You Want to Fight, Get Stronger!

  1. I really missed this show as well. It didn’t help that Long Riders also took the same week off, so two of the series that I’ve really been enjoying were AWOL on the same week.

    I’ve actually been thinking since episode one that careful and efficient use of magic was going to end up being key for Hikari. When she does her “crossing the sea” magic exercise, I noticed an important difference between the time she failed onscreen, and the time she succeeded (and it’s continued every time she’s succeeded since then). The first time she tried it she was making big magic circles on the water: larger around than she is tall. She didn’t need all that space since she was landing dead-center of the circle, and it clearly burned through her magic too fast, because by the third one she couldn’t maintain it and fell through. The first time she succeeded, though, and every time since, she made small magic circles, just big enough for a single foothold. She didn’t waste power where she didn’t need to, and she achieved success.

    I’ll admit, though, I didn’t predict how how Rossman’s training could translate into helping Hikari fly properly until they actually said it, so no points for me there. ;) This is still quite a risky thing for her. She’s conentrating all of her magic into Chidori in order to fly, so she could easily end up in a situation of having to choose either fly or shield, and not be able to do both. She’s going to have to train her dodging skills to the max, that’s for sure.

    But at least now she’s no longer a strategic drain on the unit. She is capable of being useful, even if it’s dangerous for her.

    Also, I really liked Kanno this time. It took me a bit to realize that she had chosen deliberately, pretty much from the start of the episode when Nipa woke her up, to play the antagonist to Hikari in order to keep Hikari angry enough to keep pushing. That was some well-handled reverse-psychology on her part, and it did exactly what they needed. It’s really touching that she cared enough to do that.

  2. You and Wanderer have said everything that really needs to be said… So I’m just here to continue playing the enthusiastic newbie.

    The glorious Hikari shines ever brighter! :D I’m almost done with the original SW and quite like it, but I LOVE this!

    Seems her stamina does count for A LOT when she knows how to distribute her magical energy just like her biological energy. I mean, I’m surprised she didn’t falter AT ALL when she began shooting, though, she wasn’t trying to make uber-accurate shots like on the training course…

    It makes me want to hold out for that “TRANS-AM” (as much as that was a joke) or for her to possibly be someone who can moves in bursts, or boosts off of shields projected from her Chidori to move around too*. Her familiar is a squirrel and although it’s called ‘Fuso Squirrel’ on the wiki we really don’t know what species it is. If she could glide at high speeds between those bursts she might even be able to put up shields. Only time will tell.

    I wonder if this Contact Eye is a sign of Neuroi energies and Witch energies being similar or able to resonate somehow. I’m sure the series as a whole, as ‘World Witches’, has gone slowly but surely into more detail behind them over time through the books. In fact, given what I’m about to watch Mio attempt to do in the final episode of Strike Witches it may not be all that far-fetched.

    *The fact that this is the ‘World Witches’ comeback series and all still pretty new aside, I’m holding out that Phat isn’t showing off her Parfom figure yet because of something to do with her ability/ies. Maybe they don’t even know it of it/them yet…

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