Posted by psgels on 19 September 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews



Well, it’s time to review the latest Gonzo-series. It really is a production-studio with its ups and downs: some of its series are amazing (Bokura no, for example), while at other times they screw up completely (Dragonaut). Strike Witches is a very strange combination between those two extremes.

Basically, this series follows Sky Girls in the mecha musume franchise, but it did put some more effort into creating its setting, both in the good ways and the bad ways. To start with the latter: for some unfathomable reason, every girl in the show doesn’t wear any pants. Throughout the entire series, everyone walks around in panties, without any explanation whatsoever of how this came to be. After one episode revealed that all these girls only have one single pair of panties, you have to wonder what those creators were smoking when they came up with the concept for this series.

However, there are a lot of good things about the setting of this series when you look at the cultural aspects of the series. It attempts to put the traditional Japanese concepts of kemonomimi and mecha-musume in a European setting, with a lot of references to European war heroes and machinery. Basically, the series attempts to unify the east with the west, and succeeds pretty well at it. The cultural references from both sides are very interesting to watch, much more than I expected when I started watching this series.

Through the series, our heroes need to take care of so-called “Neuroi”, which are wreaking havoc and threatening to destroy the world. Overall, it’s not that special and often boring, with a rushed conclusion, but what it does is give enough support for the cast of characters, which thankfully is much more interesting. There’s quite a large cast of major characters for such a short series, and the most impressive is that they’re surprisingly genuine throughout the series. They often say what they think, and never really feel forced.

It’s just a shame that there seems to be one guy on the production-staff who kept yelling “I WANT FANSERVICE” over and over again, which resulted into a bunch of very questionable fanservice-episodes. These episodes don’t only ignore much of what makes the series enjoyable, but the general stupidity of the characters increases ten-fold in these sorts of episodes, so that it becomes even embarrassing to watch. And frankly, this happens way too often.

So overall: this series shines when A) there’s not much focus on the story and instead on the characters and B) when it manages to take its mind out of the gutter and stops focusing at fanservice. At these times, it’s a real gem. Whenever it’s not the case… its quality decreases drastically, though. It’s a real series with its ups and downs. If you can stomach the downs, then the ups are well worth it.

Storytelling: 7/10
Characters: 8/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

16 Responses

  1. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I think you sort of missed the fact that Strike witches is a fanservice show with some plot elements thrown in.

  2. Avatar TheBigN says:

    “Throughout the entire series, everyone walks around in panties, without any explanation whatsoever of how this came to be. ”

    The explanation apparently is the fact that they aren’t panties, and therefore there’s no reason for them to be embarrassed about it, nor point out any attention to that. And for the most part, save for that one episode, there was no direct focus (as in characters observing the situation) as to why it’s the way it is. And because they didn’t focus on it, I didn’t focus on it unless GONZO decided to shove it in our face. :P

  3. Avatar Solaris says:

    I really didn’t expect you to view such a serie. It was a fanservice party after all.

    It disappointed me al lot :( It semed that they didn’t have much confidence in the mecha musume concept and looked for some ‘plus’ to make it more likeable to the crowd. Yeah, fanservice, good plus indeed!
    The entire concept of WWII aircrafts personification, and thus WWII ace combats were sacrificed for the sake of fanservice and dumbness.
    It could have ben a good serie uless they spend some more brain cells thinking about a good plot, instead of the overuberdumer idea of “generic alien enemies”.
    Fortunately the serie was character driven, so the substantial lack of a decent plot was partially solved. The plot continuity was spared and there are no major insubstantialities. The chara wer quite likeable unless superficially developed, but we couldn’t frankly expect too deep development for a tiny 12 eps episodes serie.
    Just Neuroi are the serie’s major flaw indeed. They are incompatible fot the general WWII setup, being more suitable for a serie like Sky Girls. Neuroi are hi tech aliens, when the serie’s scenario is old tech WWII scenario with elements of magic. Being Hitler taking over Europe with the use of magic or something related could have been a better choiche than those “high thech aliens”. But, pity i am not the screenplayer :P:P

  4. Avatar MoeMoe says:

    To be honest I don’t even know why u are reviewing this series. It really is just a fanservice show with a weak plot inserted. Its almost as bad (or good depending on your taste) as To love ru. Not that I hate it (as I do watch anime just for the fanservice and moe factor), but its just uncharacteristic for u to review it.

  5. Avatar longcatacgnol says:

    “To start with the latter: for some unfathomable reason, every girl in the show doesn’t wear any pants.”

    … how is this a bad thing? I mean, I’m not so shallow as to allow panty content to determine what anime I watch, but I don’t see how it detracts from the experience.

  6. Avatar Miz says:

    Well you can’t review this like a regular series. I’m surprised enough anyone would review this, but you even went so far as to say it’s some sort of cultural unification between the east and the west or something. -_-‘

    This is not just any fanservice show either, but a very focused kind of fanservice. Reminds me very much of Aika R-16.

    The only thing that leaves me a bit uneasy is the fact that they use the real last names of real wwII hero pilots as the girls’. If this series becomes too well known somebody might really start protesting.

  7. Avatar Tsukasa says:

    For Starters, Everyone seems not to think of the most logical explanation about the pants thing… Maybe in this period of time and since its an alternate history sort of anime, female pants weren’t invented.

    And You cant complain about the fan service, since its a Fan Service Anime. A Fan Service anime without fan service isnt a fan service anime.

  8. Avatar Solaris says:

    Weel, that’s what we’re complaining about, Tsukasa :P Wouldn’t it have been better if this was some anime about mecha musume fighting instead of a fanservice party?

  9. Avatar shrike101 says:

    Strike Witches was initially all about Mecha Musume.

    I was already a fan of Humikane Illustrations even before this became an anime series..

    Frankly i’m disappointed with the series.
    Although the original humikane designs being pantsless, it was still more or less military theme..

    They way gonzo turned this into a fanservice cashcow was the downer.. I wished it was more militaristic like the novels were…

    Anyways I’m betting most newcomers to this show only wanting moe, couldn’t tell the difference between a P-51 mustang & a Spitfire harhar!!

    ..Just joking there :)

  10. Avatar Leah-san says:

    This series is just bad.
    Seriously.
    I may assume that you’re a guy.

  11. Avatar witches says:

    It disappointed me al lot :( It semed that they didn’t have much confidence in the mecha musume concept and looked for some ‘plus’ to make it more likeable to the crowd. Yeah, fanservice, good plus indeed!

  12. Avatar Firechick says:

    I’m glad I didn’t watch this series. I mean, who the freak would wanna watch an anime about girls flying in the air showing off their undergarments on a regular basis!? Were the writers brain-dead or something!?

  13. Avatar Solaris says:

    I read a lot of reviews all around the net and NOBODY cared to review properly this anime unless the only feature they got was PANTSULESS. Everybody in the net was taken down by this trivial matter. Speak about the plot, the mecha musume, there’s a lot to criticize far more importamnt than panties :/
    I also read somebody a insane as wondering why the strike witches couldn’t wear trousers and take them off before the flight somehow…
    I wonder why (mostly) american (and good part of western) audience are so sex obsessed to forgive so many major flaws in a show but a panty…

  14. Avatar hm says:

    No matter how much story or plot there was (and there wasn’t much to begin with), the whole show was about underage girls parading their panties in your face. Oh wait, they had ears and tails, so they’re not technically human, therefore it isn’t illegal. My bad.

  15. Avatar hm says:

    I read a lot of reviews all around the net and NOBODY cared to review properly this anime unless the only feature they got was PANTSULESS. Everybody in the net was taken down by this trivial matter. Speak about the plot, the mecha musume, there’s a lot to criticize far more importamnt than panties :/
    I also read somebody a insane as wondering why the strike witches couldn’t wear trousers and take them off before the flight somehow…
    I wonder why (mostly) american (and good part of western) audience are so sex obsessed to forgive so many major flaws in a show but a panty…

    ========

    I wouldn’t care if the girls went around in panties all day long, for no reason whatsoever, they only need to NOT be underage kids. I almost threw up a few times while watching the first couple episodes, which was about as far as I got.

  16. Avatar Jojo Bizarro says:

    I just watched the first three episodes, and it had me laughing … in a “This is horrible!” sort of way. The fanservice was the only redeeming quality it had going for it as far as I’m concerned. (I paused the third ep briefly to get a screencap of Lynette Bishop’s buttcrack. Her panties slipped down a bit in back.) While I have many downloaded JPGs and PNGs of this show on my hard drive, I really don’t think I’ll be watching the series any further.

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