Ami KoshimizuMiyuki SawashiroStrike WitchesAyuru Ohashi
Strike Witches 2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2010
Director: Kunihisa Sugishima
Original creator: Humikane Shimada
Actor: Ami Koshimizu, Ayuru Ohashi, Chiwa Saito, Kaori Nazuka, Mai Kadowaki, Mie Sonozaki, Misato Fukuen, Miyuki Sawashiro, Rie Tanaka, Sakura Nogawa, Saori Seto
Keywords: Strike Witches, World War II, anime, SF
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime early 10s
Review date: 18 April 2023
strike witches
It's emptier and more pointless than Season 1, although also safer. It's watchable, light and good-natured, but I don't think there's much point in it.
This time, the girls are defending Italy! (Sorry, Romagna.) They go there and... well, not much actually happens. The girls themselves note that they saw more action back in Britannia. There are some vaguely slice-of-life episodes, in which we learn that Cocky Foresight Girl can't do magic shields, that Lucchini is an airhead and that Hartmann is a slob who likes sleeping. (She and Barkhorn are both German, ahem, from Karlsland, but Barkhorn is a hard-working order-barking taskmaster, while Hartmann... isn't.)
There are some good episodes. Ep.2 is a triumphant reunion for the gang and full of cool moments. Sakamoto has some character business that builds on Season 1. For the most part, though, everyone's got over their issues. They're nice, they're all friends together and they don't even get many alien Neuroi invaders to shoot at. (Oh, and the most interesting thing about Season 1 is instantly sidelined in the first scene of the first episode, when that humanoid Neuroi gets blasted by a non-humanoid one. Thereafter, the Neuroi are one-dimensional faceless baddies and exist only for the purpose of fight scenes.)
The storytelling isn't completely without meat, but it's meat-light. It's the kind of diet that's almost vegetarian, except for maybe a bit of bacon on Saturdays. The real killer for me was Miyafuji's anger at a Neuroi for (harmlessly) shooting down Lynne in ep.8, which was bloody stupid. It's the enemy. That's what enemies in wartime do. Welcome to an anime that's forgotten that it's supposed to be a war story.
At the same time, though, Season 2 avoids Season 1's worst missteps. There's no equivalent of the screaming stupidity we had last time when the military refused to consider the possibility that the Neuroi might not be hostile. No, sir! Can't get any of that pesky storytelling depth with one-dimensional alien baddies! Also, the gross panty shots have been toned down. They're still the franchise's trademark and they're not completely absent, but at least this season won't make you feel itchy or slimy.
(Unless, of course, I'd almost stopped noticing them by now. Which is possible. There's still lots of fanservice, mind you, but it's likely to be straightforward nudity. Communal baths, nipples, etc. The very specific kink overload of Season 1's panty shots, though, might make you want to see people arrested.)
I don't hate this season at all. It's okay. I like, for instance, ep.9's characterisation of Perrine (she's trying to pay for post-war reconstruction back home). Sometimes it's funny. You'll just have to accept that it hardly ever has a sense of danger. I was annoyed by the Overly Competitive Rival character in ep.10, which can sod off, but never mind. The military's top brass are getting extremely predictable in their narrow-mindedness for the sake of setting up a season finale.
Mind you, Miyafuji in ep.1 thinks you don't need education to become a doctor.