Hey folks, as you can see from recaps from my colleague Alex, we are doing some recaps of shows on-going this fall season, and I decided myself to take a crack at one series as well. It’s actually a series I seen in the past, and that I really liked, even if some might questioned my taste in liking it. But I don’t really care. I’m here to write about Brave Witches, the show from the Strike Witches series that is taking place between seasons 1 and 2 of Strike Witches, and this one is its own show.
Now, if you haven’t seen Strike Witches before (or have, but kinda forgot about what it is), Brave Witches gives you a refresher. The series takes place in what should be World War 2 Europe. In 1939, an alien enemy called the “Neuroi” invade and destroy countless cities, homes, and people. But fear not. The countries’ military have their own weapons to fights the Neuroi. They are “Witches,” girls with magical powers who grow animal ears, tails, etc. When they use them, and can use flying mechanisms called “Striker Units” with said powers. They fight the Neuroi to protect the planet. We move ahead to September of 1944. In the town of Sasebo, in the Fusou Empire, we meet a young girl, Hikari Karibuchi, who goes to the transmission station her father works at and receives a message that her big sis, Takami, is coming back. Both of them are Witches. However, Hikari kinda, sorta, really sucks at it. Her Sub-Lieutenant sister has been gone for 3 months being in the carrier division, and even has a movie based on her coming out. Why? Well, she help saved Libao from a Neuroi attack by herself, and has been called “The Hero of Sasebo.” Because of Hikari’s little magic usage, she does get called a failure for not being like her sister by some. Namely, by a girl named Mia Misumi. But it’s okay, she won’t give up. She has the stamina for it.
Later on, Hikari’s sister arrives back with another fleet. And Hikari meeting her is kinda dramatic, for she falls off a cliff, and has Takami save her.
Back at home, they are all happy that Takami is back, and are glad are really happy for her. Especially Hikari. But Takami isn’t going to be here for long, for she’s getting deployed to Europe soon. Lucky for Hikari (I guess you can say that?) there aren’t enough Witches to fight the Neuroi, so her school gets to send volunteer deployments to Europe. Misumi volunteers herself, and so does Hikari to prove herself. They will take part in a selection exam to see who will get to go, and we see Hikari tell her big sis that she wants to be as good a Witch as she is, and if she flunks it, she’ll give up. The day arrives, and Misuki and Hikari start off way differently. Misumi is doing really good, and Hikari is struggling to keep up. An Adrimal and his Lieutenant watch on as rain starts to fall. Even though Hikari did bad at first, her stamina is keeping her in this, and she won’t give up.
However, this rain causes a lighthouse to be hidden, and Misumi and Hikari both crash into each other, with Misumi hanging on to a rock in the rapid seas, before being dragged under. Hikari, who was training to use her magic by leaping on the sea and trying not to fall in said sea, uses her magic and saves Misumi while crossing the sea for the first time. She’s happy she did it, even though both girls failed the exam cause they didn’t finish in time. Hikari though feels she got closer to her sister by finally using her magic. Later, Hikari receives a message from the Navy General Staff saying she passed, and will be able to join her sister in going to Europe. At the same time, a new Neuroi nest is developing.
Overall, this was a good episode to start with. It gave a good rundown on the history of the Strike Witches series, showed what our little protagonist weaknesses are, while also showcasing that she will get better as the series go on. In short little steps, or flight if you want to go with that, of course. Plus, Takami looks like she’s gonna be involved in this storyline as well. How she plays out is to be seen, but the way it makes it, she’s very strong herself and I want to see how strong she actually is. As for those who know about Strike Witches, the series is looking to stay away mostly from the original cast, but will do some shoutouts, it looks like. They mentioned Sakamoto and the 501st Joint Fighter Division in a newspaer on here. And even showed Yoshika, the Strike Witches first main character, in it as well.
As for the other thing Strike Witches is known for, Brave Witches too does have its “fanservice” moments. This one only showed it once in a bathtub scene. Who knows how far it will go with this series (The 2nd Strike Witches series had A TON of them.) But this one was a very welcomed return from the original series. Plus the animation, while not A+, does look very good from the folks at Silver Link. Hopefully, Brave Witches stays this good, but I can’t predict the future. A very good first episode.
Brave Witches is available on Crunchyroll as a weekly simulcast, Wednesdays at 2:05pm EDT.