August 08, 2008

Strike Witches -- episode 6

Episode 5 was so dreadful that it almost killed my interest in the series. But I read Ubu's post about ep 6, and he says they're back to telling the sports story.

Unfortunately, it also sounds like they're borrowing a page from Stratos 4 regarding strange conspiracies. That, I also don't need.

But his description of what happens in ep 6 (in particular that Miyafuji doesn't act like a perv) convinced me to buy ep 6. I just downloaded it and now I'll watch it. Ongoing comments will go below the fold because they'll probably be spoilers.

UPDATE: With this episode they're back in the groove. My interest in the series is restored.

Unfortunately, from the preview, it looks like ep 7 is going to be about tits again. Another pandering episode, sigh. (Not that there's anything wrong with tits, mind, just that I'd rather they'd concentrate on the sports story.)

Pete asks if the aircraft that shows up at the beginning is a Ju-52 or a Ford Tri-motor. It's definitely a Ju-52; the Tri-motor had a high wing.

A nice touch: Sakamoto refers to "The World War". Between the wars, that was one term for World War I. (It was also called "The Great War".)

I wonder what the green things are that appear around Sanya's head? Probably magic, likely some special ability of hers, like Sakamoto's eye.

Perrine wasn't really much of a factor in ep 5 and didn't bitch at Miyafuji even once. I was wondering if she'd undergone a character change after ep 4. (Perrine felt guilty about colliding with Barkhorn, distracting Barkhorn and leading to Barkhorn's wounding. After Miyafuji healed Barkhorn, Perrine thanked her. Was that a sea-change?) Perrine is back to being bitchy, but not as openly so, and she doesn't seem to be focusing her ire specifically on Miyafuji any longer.

I think that might be OK. She's a bit like Vegita in this. The essence of Vegita's character is pride, and the way he seethes when he feels dishonored. And Perrine is bitchy; it's her defining character trait. That, and the fact that she's a suck-up to the commanders, and that she has a girl-crush on Sakamoto.

In the "team mate of the week" sweepstakes, ep 5 was about Yeager but also about Lucchini. Seems this week is about Sanya, and also about Eila. And as anticipated, Eila claims to be able to see the future using tarot cards.

Miyafuji draws The Sun, normal orientation, and Eila says "You'll soon meet the person you wish to meet most." Well, the person Miyafuji most wants to see is her father. I wonder if this is foreshadowing?

I was wrong; Perine is back to poking at Miyafuji. But it's good that they're playing it for laughs, and that no one else in the squadron takes her seriously. Looks like there's going to be a Perrine concentration episode before this is over -- and it could be pretty decent.

I give up: Sanya is not a trap.

Man, those rockets! What the hell kind of warhead are they carrying?

OK, that was one of the cooler battles in the series so far. It's not too surprising that the Neuroi are adapting. The earlier units they'd been sending into battle were incapable of defeating the Strike Witches, so it's not too surprising they're trying to develop new units that will do better. And with only 11 Strike Witches, it's not too surprising that they're deliberately trying to pick off specific SW's.

The big problem the good guys have now is that they are totally on the defensive. You can't win that way; eventually you have to attack. But right now they don't have any way to do that.

Between Eila's foreshadowing, and certain other things, I still think that what's going to happen is that Dr. Miyafuji is going to pop up later, alive, with some sort of weapon that Yoshika will end up operating. It'll be her because she has the most magical power of any of the Witches. And all 11 Witches will make a strike against the enemy, with the other 10 serving to get Yoshika over the target so she can use it.

It's no longer a secret that Miyafuji's magical power is the strongest in the team, by a substantial margin. Eila and Sanya have seen Miyafuji's shield, and seen how large it is, and seen how easily she fended off the attacks by this latest Neuroi. The three of them were the only target in the sky, and the Neuroi used a weapon specifically designed to take out Sanya. Miyafuji stopped it easily; she wasn't even straining.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 09:16 AM | Comments (16) | Add Comment
Post contains 782 words, total size 5 kb.

1

Well, I'm glad they got the download fixed. Two weeks in a row they've screwed up on what's supposed to be a trailblazer.  Not good.

I had a hard time understanding what was going on and what was said about the higher-ups in that initial flight, because of the idiotic pop-up ads over the dialogue, since I was watching it streamed. I'm really ticked about that; if they don't get their act together, it may drive me away from CR.   

Posted by: ubu at August 08, 2008 09:24 AM (dhRpo)

2 I'll transcribe the subtitles on that after I finish watching. It isn't all that sinister.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 08, 2008 09:31 AM (+rSRq)

3

I should be able to get the download and watch a clean version tonight.  Sanya's green bars look a lot like antennas, and they do seem to function that way.  It's hinted strongly

The actions of the Neuroi are quite peculiar.

I'm likewise confused by the end of the battle. 

One other thing; we now have a confirmed age for Miyafuji (15), and the current date is August 1944.  I'm not sure the dates match up, but I'd have to go back to the first episode and look.

Posted by: ubu at August 08, 2008 09:42 AM (dhRpo)

4

Here's the early dialog:

Wilcke: Your displeasure is written all over your face, Major Sakamoto.
Sakamoto: They call us all the way over there, and then start talking about budget cuts. Of course it shows on my face.
Wilcke: They're panicking. We're the only ones bringing any results.
Sakamoto: All they can see are their own two feet.
Wilcke: That's how warmongers are. If the Neuroi had never showed up, they would probably be fighting amonst themselves now.
Sakamoto: Just like the World War.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 08, 2008 10:32 AM (+rSRq)

5

I managed to catch most of that, but the ads continued all the way through the following battle.  CR really ticked me off with that stunt.

Really.  Grrrrr.

I'll get it from the clean version tonight (if I don't spend more time checking up on the Russo-Georgian war and Beijing smog), but Wilcke's comment, combined with their conversation at the end, worries me about the direction this is going to take.

Nice touch that Wilcke and Sakamoto were visiting the Doctor's grave on the anniversery of his death; obviously Miyafuji herself had been there earlier.

Interesting thought; if the strategy of having Striker fliers is insufficient to turn the tide of the war, will we see the mecha tank musume from the manga?  (Which was just silly, but if you're going to do planes, why not ships & tanks?)

Posted by: ubu at August 08, 2008 10:47 AM (dhRpo)

6

If there were more witches available they'd be outfitting a second squadron of Strike Witches, and probably headquarter it in the Ural Mountains, or maybe Sicily or Greece, with Sakamoto in command. They wouldn't waste rare and precious witches on tanks.

It really is beginning to sound like they're taking a page from the Stratos 4 book, which I agree with you is not a good thing.

If they do this:

If they do that, then this series will turn out to be a total travesty. But I don't believe it. Not even Gonzo would stoop so low. (He says.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 08, 2008 10:54 AM (+rSRq)

7

When they were doing the "Here's an obscure food that I've heard is good for night vision" thing, I wonder why they didn't have Yeager haul out the carrots.

I remember being told when I was a kid that carrots were good for night vision. Something about Vitamin A. When I was an adult I learned the real source of that myth. It turns out it was a cover story used by the Navy in WWII.

Submarines later in the war were equipped with a new centimetric radar, with the antenna mounted on the top of the periscope. That permitted them to track Japanese ships very closely, especially at night. That radar was a closely-guarded secret, and it was so effective, leading to so many successful night attacks, that the Navy felt a need to explain what was going on. So they started the rumor that submarines were carrying lots of carrots for the crew to eat, because carrots improved night vision.

So that "carrots are good for night vision" story is American, and I would have liked the extra factor of a bunny-girl pushing carrots on everyone else. Too bad they didn't do it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 08, 2008 11:01 AM (+rSRq)

8 Huh. Hadn't really thought about that before. Why isn't there a Chinese girl? Lack of a historical air force? (cf. Chennault's Flying Tigers) Lack of a historical Chinese plane to model the Striker after? Don't want to remind anyone of history in OTL? The manga artist never bothered? Could one or the other of the "unknown" characters from your tarot post be a Chinese addition?

Posted by: ubu at August 08, 2008 11:10 AM (dhRpo)

9 I wonder how much decensoring they'll do for this picture for the DVD?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 08, 2008 11:13 AM (+rSRq)

10

China lost more dead in WWII than any other country, but it never had a glamorous military the way other countries did, and yeah, it never really had much of an air force. The "Flying Tigers" were American and they only operated for about a year, and had no important effect on the war. They loom rather larger in the mythology of the war than they really should.

The thing was that China didn't have a single unified government; it was in the midst of a civil war when the Japanese invaded, and the two sides didn't stop fighting each other even as they both tried to fight against the Japanese.

The war in China is also notable for having more atrocities than any other theater in the war. Generally not a very glamorous thing, and certainly not something the modern Japanese want to be reminded of. So yeah, it's not too surprising that the Chinese have been airbrushed out of this story.

Regarding Sanya's power:

I do wonder if we're going eventually to get a list of all the special abilities that everyone has. At the moment we know Bishop, Sakamoto, Sanya (all having a form of clairvoyance), Miyafuji (healing). And it's possible that Yeager's has to do with speed.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 08, 2008 11:35 AM (+rSRq)

11 Those green things were magic radar aerials, similar in shape to those used by night fighters in WWII.

As for the rockets, they lead to a couple of open questions... are they radar-guided (they seem to curve a little at times), and more importantly, if they do that much damage, why are the others flying around with LMGs and a handful of light cannon?


Posted by: BigD at August 08, 2008 11:48 AM (JJ4vV)

12

The "guidance" is the magic of the witch firing the rocket. I don't have any problem with that part. I'm just curious about the warheads.

Re your idea of the future weapon:

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at August 08, 2008 12:37 PM (+rSRq)

13

Hm. I didn't take ep.7 to be particularly fanservice-y from the preview, but I was busy trying to figure out which girl they were going to concentrate on, and which one was singing.  Looks like Barkhorn for the focus and (I think) Lucchini singing the ditty.

Re: wasting witches on tanks -- given what we've seen thus far, it is entirely plausible that many or even most witches do not have "adapt to flying" as a part of their magic repetoire, and that's why there's only 11.  There are also psychological and physical reasons why someone might not make a good pilot  (Can you see Miyafuji's grandmother flying one of those things?)  If there is any research team trying to advance Miyafuji's work (the allies are idiots if there isn't one), they could be trying to adapt his work to other weapon forms, or even non-weapon uses.

Rosie the Mecha - Riveter musume, anyone?  (Ok, the chances that Gonzo will go that far are nil.)  

Regarding baka bombs,

Posted by: ubu at August 08, 2008 01:25 PM (dhRpo)

14

Re: no Chinese girl in Strike Witches.

DUH!  No Chinese ace to name her after! 

/pounds head on desk at stupidity/

Posted by: ubu at August 08, 2008 01:45 PM (dhRpo)

15 Don't be too sure that the Neuroi are going to be targeting individual Witches.  Sanya's power essentially turns her into an AWACS.  This Neuroi was essentially a HARM or Shrike.

So far, none of the other Witches seem to have a "broadcast" magic, they're all locally-based.  Yes, two of them can see really really far, but that's not exactly the same as magic radar.

So Sanya was being tracked and attacked, but that might have been because she was a beacon.

Furthermore:  NOT a trap. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at August 09, 2008 04:46 AM (AW3EJ)

16

Regarding baka bombs

I wonder if the inevitable "ultimate weapon" will be a

Posted by: mparker762 at August 11, 2008 04:14 AM (PiHyW)

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