Brave Witches Episode 5: Deadly Battle in the Freezing Cold
That was reckless.
A lot of real-world stuff has happened during my years as a writer here. And throughout it all, I haven’t been one to let political discourse take me off-track from the Chinese cartoons that I’m supposed to be focusing on instead. But I will say that today was a sad day. Which, in turn, makes it a great day for injecting myself with Brave Witches before sleeping. I take comfort in the fact that, no matter what happens in reality, cute anime girls will always be an important part of my life. Cute things are actually the best. I hope I never lose sight of that. But seriously, I had to blow through (i.e. start actually watching) my entire stock of Shuumatsu no Izetta to tank the pain. I’m glad I saved it for a rainy day – it was really good. I know Eva’s stopped blogging it, and I also know that interest in it has diminished since its first few episodes, but I think it’s great. It’s exactly the sort of quaint, historical military-focused genre that I said I loved in a comment not too long ago. It’s charming, yuritastic and just a little bit lewd, which combined makes it so within my strike zone that it’s a little scary. The only way it could get more perfect is if there were lolis.
Anyway. Brave Witches. It’s long since dawned on me that the coming few episodes will be all about Hikari figuratively sleeping her way through the 502nd and making friends with them all, which is fantastic because we really need to know more about the girls who aren’t Kanno and Nipa (as cute as they are). Sadako is a perfect example – until now we only knew her as the cook, but today we learned that she’s great friends with Georgette, is from a part of Fusou that Hikari can relate to and has been conflicted about her role and place in the 502nd and whether she’s as good a Witch as she thinks she has to be. These episodes are run by Hikari but they aren’t about Hikari at all – they’re about the people she’s with. We also finally found out why Georgette has been acting the way she has been around Hikari. It was pretty obvious that she found something uncomfortable about her, no matter how much they tried to deny it. Her guilt about not saving Takami must have been quite deep, but I have to admit I don’t really see much force in her argument – because she did save Takami. Georgette should be more optimistic and positive about herself! Actually, to an extent that applies to Sadako too. Hikari must have been so confused when she heard that, because the chances of Takami being in a worse state than she currently is would have been much higher if Georgette wasn’t there. She literally did nothing wrong – Takami will be so proud when she wakes up and sees what Hikari has become, and that’s much preferable to the alternative that she never wakes up at all. Both Sadako and Georgette need Kanno to knock some self-confidence into them. By the way, wasn’t Kanno was just too cute being the first one into her Striker Unit? I want to hug her and hold onto her while she angrily protests until she reluctantly returns my hug.
I found the Neuroi fight more interesting than anything else. My first question was: is what was done actually possible? I mean, we have no idea what Neuroi are even made of, but Neuroi material can be shattered by bullets and so it’s not impossible for heat to do so as well. I’m no scientist, but it felt weird to see the Neuroi crack in lots of places that quickly even if (as I understand it) the quick transition from a cold to hot temperature causes so much stress in the material that it can’t take it anymore. My second thought was that a Neuroi doing unorthodox things reminds me of some of the stuff in Strike Witches that was never explored to its fullest – things like human-shaped Neuroi or Neuroi brainwashing warships. At first I thought the one today could suddenly use elemental magic, but it makes sense that it’s merely manipulating the cold air over Orussia (of course it would be Orussia) in such a way that it causes blizzards. If future Neuroi attacks take advantage of the weather over Orussia, this could be a serious problem for the 502nd given that they can’t get anywhere close without their Striker Units and themselves both freezing over. I kept thinking Hikari would melee the Neuroi to death after she lost her gun, but that would not only reveal the Contact Eye but also get her killed because she’d freeze over before she can touch it. It really was a dangerous episode, and you really don’t tend to feel that in this franchise – well, I suppose Takami did something similarly dangerous in the first episode, but in Strike Witches I only really remember the True Reppuzan and Yamato episodes involving risk where it actually felt like something was at risk. Both were finales as well. Hikari was so reckless I was genuinely scared she was going to get hurt or worse. Every single one of her battles so far has made me fear for her safety. I’ve learned my lesson, her plot armour is literally as thin as her panties.