Jan. 2nd, 2009

teddog: (It Seems As Though My Doom Is Imminent)
So in the interest of saying I saw it, know what I'm talking about and I can provide more crack and insanity than your average person, I watched a bit of Strike Witches the other day. It's an anime series that aired last year.

What's so odd about Strike Witches, you might ask?

For one, it's an alternate history science fiction/fantasy series based on the idea that aliens attacked in 1939, preventing the events of World War II since humanity was forced to jointly fight back against the alien invasion. Sounds okay, right?

Going more into the fantastic, there are witches in this world - young women with magical powers that used for healing, defensive and offensive purposes. Fairly standard, aside from the fact that using these powers cause the magic user to sprout fuzzy animal ears and tail. That's a bit odd and is solid fan service, but okay, whatever.

It gets worse.

To combat the aliens, which have the form of experimental aircraft from the 1940s, the military has hired witches to form a force known as the Strike Witches. These witches have to don a "Striker Unit" - a cross between a boot and a airplane engine - in order to fly up and combat these aliens. They're on standby all the time and need to hop into the units at short notice, and due to this and the design of the Striker Units, the main cast can't wear any pants because they would get in the way of the unit.

Allow me to repeat that:


Further, the Strike Witches are admired so much by the other women of the world that it's not uncommon for them to not wear pants themselves. So, usually the female population is running around in short-shorts, bodysuits and plain old panties, let alone mire created by the witches being nothing more than anthropomorphic machines, which has to set the womens' rights movement back at least a FEW years.


The whole series is actually a piece of overblown World War II genderswitch fanfiction, because all of the Strike Witches are based on flying aces from World War II. Well, except that Billy Bishop made it in there somehow and he's a World War I flying ace, but I think that was a translation error of some sort. Bishop was a Canadian in real life, but his character here is a native of that world's version of Britain and the only reason I can think of for that is someone misunderstanding Canada's role in WWI.

Also, another one of the characters is based on Chuck Yeager, who happens to still be alive. Apparently he was amused by the whole thing.

And to prove I'm not making this up:

The hell of it is that I think there's the potential for an interesting show here. The aliens are fairly damn unnerving how they operate - the only natural defense against them is large bodies of water. Anything else can be easily destroyed by their natural defenses.

On the other hand? Everything else sucks. It's really, really hard to get past the lack of pants, especially with all of the ass shots. The rest of it is pure fetish material - moe character designs, the machine limbs, ears and tails, various military set ups.

Hey, here's a thought for anime watchers - the ending of this show was stupidly upbeat. Any thoughts about how the presence of moe is effecting storytelling? Because I'm not sure if there's a spike in cute shows with happy endings or if I'm just imagining things.


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