As expected, Brave Witches continues to mirror the chronology of the original Strike Witches series with our protagonist traveling to Europe with her mentor character aboard an aircraft carrier, waving goodbye to her friends and family, whom have probably all exhausted their allotted five minutes of screen time (her sister not included in this category of course, that wouldn’t really make sense considering events later in the episode). Similarities again being found in Hikari Karibuchi’s having the “ranks don’t matter” attitude of Miyafuji and in her relentless running up and down the flight-deck although I am also inclined to mention that a lot is made of Hikari’s stamina so I’ll hold of the “100% recycled martial” label on this occasion.
Episode two also, again, gives me reason to offer praise for the CG work as they have once again paid close attention to historical details and have resisted the temptation to reuse assets and have modeled a different class of destroyers for the escort vessels; this time Yugumo-class ships (lets just pretend that the names didn’t give it away for me and that I can visually distinguish between the more generic Japanese destroyers). However, as much as I would like for that to be all I have to say on the issue, I fear that they might have been a bit overambitious; sure it is very nice to have so much attention to detail but the ships feel hardly animated which is a little bit of a let down during the supposed to be dramatic combat scenes but I suppose that the series is more about the areal combat, which received a noticeable amount more attention (and again praise is due for period accurate planes). Regardless it is a bit telling that the production budget has been stretched a little thin so I’m hopping that we don’t see it run out in the last few episodes.
Commentary on the CG of the “conventional forces” is only so relevant though as that is not really what the series is about though, if I wanted that I would be watching something like Girls Und Panzer. No Brave Witches is about heavily armed exhibitionist girls with planes strapped to their legs and there is indeed a fair amount of that this episode although I’m somewhat reserved to talk to much about how things turn out as it is again very similar to the events of the first season. I suppose however an interesting comparison between how Hikari and Miyafuji react to the attack, a difference that makes it it apparent that Hikari, although green, is a soldier and that Miyafuji was obviously a civilian in the beginning. Unfortunately for Hikari though, Brave Witches is the spin off series and is therefore less salvation at the 11th hour and more momentary distraction not that it matters too much though as the ending is much the same.
For all that I have made of the similarities between the Witches series Strike and Brave, I do feel that they do have a strong underlying difference. I’m sure I could go on comparing and contrasting the two series, as I am sure that I will do for the remainder of my episode reviews, but I feel the heart of the matter is that is a more mature and grounded. Now I am aware that words like those are pretty heavy, all genera tags considered, but a move towards those things is a move regardless of the level we started at. Hikari for example was originally destined for work behind the front lines, only just being accepted into the 502nd on the basis that she survived for a few minutes and there was nobody else (a pretty low bar if I do say so). Furthermore, the characters feel less overpowered (to put it in video game terms); Karibuchi Takami may have been able to pull off some impressive performances but by doing so has been reduced to a plot point in a comma for at least a few episodes, for example. Now this much may change over the course of the next few episodes as we get to know the rest of the unit but for now at least I think this much is fine. You don’t have to win the war on your own to have a good story and if that is the story of Brave Witches then I’d declare it well considered….even if skirts have yet to get off the drawing board.
Header Image source: Pixiv
Simulcast on Crunchyroll