A “guilty pleasure” series if ever I saw one, Brave Witches represents the fourth animated installment of the Strike Witches series. Although it is not chronologically; the movie takes us up to 1945 and basically the end of the war. Honestly, I did not see another anime as a likely happening; sure plenty of source martial in the form of Light Novels and Manga series exists, but the adaptation of such material would require moving away from the existing cast, who fans of the series are relatively attached to, thus making more content a risk, but what do I know apparently.
My failures at prediction aside, how exactly is Brave Witches being done?
Pretty much identically to the original season of Strike Witches it would appear. A narration of the historical context over TL;DR explanatory animation and a seemingly random battle featuring the shows cast, presumable so that the first episode is at least somewhat representative of the rest of the season. Further similarities are apparent when rather than stating in the main setting of the anime we start off in
Japan Fuso, being introduced to our protagonist, her backstory and her friends. Friends who we will likely not see for the rest of the series much like that girl who was Miyafuji’s friend (not very professional of me to not look up her name but you don’t remember it either and that is sort of the point).
The accusation of Brave Witches simply being a reskin of Strike Witches isn’t helped by Hikari Karibuchi, our brave protagonist, being the same kind of high energy, oddball as Miyafuji but without the pacifist attitude. It is in that last remark that I feel my opinion on this matter can be found; it is different enough to be more than Strike Witches reflection. The episode structure may appear the same but Karibuchi’s reasons are her own, and in honesty I prefer the fact that they are less grandiose; she simply looks up to her sister and seeks to emulate her. Perhaps a cliche, but relatable non the less, goal.
All this discussion of story is all well and good but Strike Witches as a series has never really been a series that is all about the plot though (it has both kinds of “plot” for example) and has always been garnished with a fair amount of fan service both of the ecchi kind and of the military history kind seen is shows like Girls und Panzer where you have pretty out of place levels of detail placed along side cute girls, a combination highly approved of by myself. Brave witches carries on in this tradition with amble amounts of both, leading me to develop a hilarious mental image of a production meeting in which they discuss both what model of destroyer is period appropriate for 1944 and what percentage of screen time should be taken up with ass shots. And to their credit, they get it right; Akizuki-class destroyers make a good choice, the first one being launched in 1942 and still rolling off slipways as late as April 1945 (what!?! You were expecting me to review who has the best ass? I’m far too old-fashioned and British for that).
So in summation, I doubt that I need to explicitly say that I enjoyed watching the first episode of Brave Witches and judging by how similar it is the previous content I feel like I’m very likely to enjoy watching the rest of the series because I feel like it is just that; it is similar enough to Strike Witches that I know I will enjoy it ahead of time while being genuinely different enough to make it more interesting to watch than a reboot. I still wouldn’t say that Brave Witches is “needed” but I am happy none the less, that it exists.
Header Image source: Pixiv
Simulcast on Crunchyroll