Judge: Welcome to another edition of “Objection!” Today, Tarabisu and I will discuss the anime Strike Witches. Moar specifically, is the anime “any good,” or is it just a fanservice guilty pleasure?
Tarabisu: Hello, since I’ll be taking the defensive side here, I should probably start with a formal introduction of my own history of the show, if you’d find that relevant, of course.
Judge: By all means, go ahead.
Tarabisu: Well it started close to when I first began following anime under the pretense of being an anime fan. This was around late middle school, early high school, and so you can imagine why I’d be drawn to Strike Witches. I was, like any boy at that age, fairly boiled with hormones and I was just beginning to encounter the more… provocative side of anime. Somehow Strike Witches popped up on my radar and I gave it a watch.
Now I watched a number of similar series back then and have sense moved on to more mature, let’s say sophisticated, anime and have pretty much dropped any interest or memory in those shows altogether. But Strike Witches remains something I think about from time to time, and certainly something I still spend a tremendous amount of merchandise money on. So in the realm of ecchi, fanservice-y anime, I feel somehow it’s a step up. And I suppose that’s what we’re here to talk about.
Judge: That’s an interesting story haha. For me, I was already familiar with the provocative side of anime when I watched Strike Witches. It’s the fandom that caused me to check out this show. I would say I’m pretty veteran ecchi/fanservice anime watcher, and I honestly think Strike Witches is not that special.
Tarabisu: Interesting, I’m aware of the fandom but I’ve yet to have any interaction with it. To this day, I have yet to meet another fan in person. But as to why fans exist, I think there’s something to be said about the creative vehicle by which this show is presented. Most ecchi anime is vague slice of life romantic high school comedy. Here we have another take on World War II with magic and aliens. There’s a whole hell of a lot of ecchi, and this, to me, stands out just by being different.
Judge: Well, the reason I believe it’s nothing special, is because it’s pandering to lolicons. And moeblobs. Neither of which I’m a fan of. The story is pretty moot because most of the time, the girls are doing generic crap like K-ON girls. I understand that ecchi and fanservice anime are meant to be watched with your brain turned off, but I also expect lots of T&A, not loli half furries.
Tarabisu: That’s a legitimate complaint, and I think that’s the barrier that most cite when they drop it. Truth be told, I found the second season to be especially guilty of that. But there are always multiple angles from which to approach an anime, and this one manages to appeal to those with even minimal interest in World War II machinery and history.
Each character is named after a real WWII pilot from their respected countries and their strker units are modeled after real planes. If we were to classify this show into a specific genre of ecchi, it fits into Mecha Musume, not neko/inumimi, and not really even loli. Most of the characters are over the age of 16 and the cat/dog/bunny ears and tails tend to be used sparingly.
Part of why I think that the mecha musume scene appeals to me specifically perhaps has something to do with why I was obsessed with airplanes and machines as a kid. I fantasized about flying like crazy, and there was something about Strike Witches that managed to feed that obsession.
Judge: Well, from a personal standpoint, I understand where you’re coming from. Everyone has a different reason for liking a show. But, this isn’t the only show to be based on historical figues. Look at every Romance of the Three Kingdoms show. Or a Sengoku show. Personally, I’m not big on mecha musume. I prefer true mechs. And if I had to choose a mecha musume fanservice show, Infinite Stratos would be my choice. As for re-imagining of history, I’m not a big fan. Especially with generic aliens. As much as I love Muv Luv, aliens as enemies suck.
Tarabisu: True, true. And I suppose it’s a little misleading to strictly praise this show for any kind of historical value. I certainly wouldn’t expect a history professor or anything to get this. But since I have a high tolerance, and actually a certain affection, for SW’s more cutesy art style, having an interest in history and air machinery definitely mixes well here. If you’re into one and not the other, or neither, there really isn’t anything here for you, and that’s totally fair.
And the aliens, I suspect, act as a means to explain why the characters are not fighting each other. They make no attempt to veil the fact that the countries in this period are different than their real counterparts, save for country names and military symbols. The German girls fly for the luftwaffe. Nazis exist in this universe, and there needed to be an explanation for why Germans, Americans, Japanese, French, British, Finnish, Italians, and Russians would be working together. Whether or not it would have been more interesting to see the witches fight against each other in their factions, well perhaps that’s a different topic altogether.
Judge: I actually think it would have been moar interesting for them to fight each other. Aliens just bore me. Nonetheless, if they were cooperating, I think it would have been better to see some suppressed animosity for one another ala Muv Luv Alternative: Total Eclipse. Yeah we’re all working together now, but we still want to come out on top.
Also, I think for me as well, part of the “fun” of watching an ecchi show is the stupid male protagonists. They just add a dimension of humor than an all female cast. Yeah, some people get bored of the stupid male protagonists, and even I admit I get tired of it from time to time. But, it’s better than the sickening moeblobs.
Tarabisu: I can see that being a complaint, and again I think one’s ability to enjoy this show ultimately comes down to individual tolerances. As I said, ecchi shows aren’t really my thing anymore. But I’m still willing to throw down $100 plus on a rare SW figure. So I guess I must look for different points on which to focus than most, assuming that most anime fans were to lean more towards your opinion.
Maybe all I need is flashy sci-fi fight scenes with some cute girls as a bonus, maybe I like historical fiction with goofy fantasy thrown in. Who knows. I’m still figuring out what my own particular likes and dislikes in anime are, and every definitive statement I can make gets contradicted pretty quickly, so again, I think liking this show just comes down to complex preferences.
Judge: Of course. Everything after all, is a personal prefernce. I should include as a disclaimer, that I don’t think it’s a terrible show, but for the sake of argument, I’m taking the ciritical side. I did own some SW figures by Alter, but sold them after I realized I didn’t like the franchise that much. I’ll always love ecchi and fanservice, and I’ll be the first one to tell you there are worse things out there than SW.
Tarabisu: Naturally. These shows wouldn’t be made unless there were fans and fans there most certainly are. Perhaps to those reading, take this as a broad exploration into the mindset of enjoying a show like this. I myself almost never recommend Strike Witches to anyone, and I can’t really end this Objection! by doing so. You’ll know pretty much immediately after you start watching whether or not it’s for you.
Judge: Agreed. Well that’s it for this week’s “Objection!” Stay tuned for next week’s “Objection!” It’s going to be a big one. I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with something with a 13 in it.
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