Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow 01 – St. Trond’s Thunder

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Strike Witches holds a special place in my heart primarily because I was a massive fan of Humikane-sensei’s works before Strike Witches. I still maintain Lynette Bishop is my favorite witch and character of all time, and with these upcoming episodes OVAs, we can get some better grasp of what happened between Season 2 and the movie.

Be warned…I went crazy with the screenshots…

Episode Summary:

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The episode is that after being based in St. Trond, Minna, Trude, and Erica receive an unexpected visitor in the form of Ursula. Ursula came bearing gifts, primarily chocolate for her sister, coffee for Minna, and a dress for Trude.

She also comes in with new weapons off the development board, including a new 50mm cannon. Trude notes that with their current strikers, they wouldn’t be able to use it, Ursula’s men unveil the rather problematic Jet Striker.

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Assured of the tweaks and problems removed, Erica still doesn’t like it, though Minna and Trude have approved of it. Testing it, the gun is powerful but inaccurate, with Ursula noting to adjust the Striker for the weapon’s recoil. All the while Erica can only point out the Jet Striker’s faults.

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The normally calm and laid back Erica is even further enraged when her sister, without her permission, altered her striker to be connected to another pair of strikers. Meant to increase endurance, Erica ruins it by being foolhardy and ignoring her younger sister’s instructions.

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Finally having enough with Ursula, Minna, and Trude’s rationalization of it all, Erica mouths off, saying everything Ursula brings is useless. This of course upsets the younger engineer, who takes it hard, though recovers enough to walk away as if nothing happened.

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Seemingly later, Erica peeps into the hangar to probably talk to Ursula, but only finds a note saying Ursula had gone to retrieve more supplies. At the mess hall, Minna and Trude greet a late arriving Erica, where Trude shows off her dress. Calling her weird, all Trude can respond is a reddening face before the alarm blares over a Neuroi sighting. Minna and Trude deploy, but Erica is left behind due to her Striker still out of commission.

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Back in the air, Minna explains that they might be dealing with an actual combat capable Neuroi, and not a scout as previously reported. All the while this is happening, Erica is listening in with their magical communications ear plugs whilst fishing for crawfish in a nearby stream.

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Engaging the Neuroi, the pair finds that it is heavily armored and their MG-42s aren’t able to pierce it, while it also uses a large towering cumulonimbus cloud to hide in. After a brief conversation, Trude goes back to base to retrieve the Jet Striker. The neuroi splits though, and deploys smaller drones which impede the two.

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Minna is having trouble dealing with the drones that stayed behind to fight her and the main body, as well as the strong winds of the cloud column. Hearing Minna’s screams, Erica finally takes action and launches with the Jet Striker. Communicating with the base, they attempt to tell her that Hartmann had taken off with the Jet Striker.

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Trude notes that Erica can use the striker without much training, Hartmann manages to down a few before encountering engine trouble. Surrounded, she’s saved by Ursula who is using another set of prototype jets. Restarting the stalled striker engine, the twins go to help Minna, who had just ran out of ammo. Putting aside her questions, she uses her innate magic to direct the twin’s fire, and the two manages to harm the hiding Neuroi in the cloud with the 50mm cannon. Adjusting fire, the second shot destroys the Neuroi.

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Heidemarie W. Schnaufer, who had gone to HQ earlier to forward paperwork, is filled in with the events form earlier. Asking if she would want to wear the Jet Striker now, Erica tells Trude she still won’t, noting that maybe if there were two people, it could be better controlled, but is too much of a problem with just one.

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In a post-credits scene, Michiko visits Yoshika at home, and seeing a photograph of the St. Trond characters, notes that Trude looks cute in the dress.

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Episode Thoughts:

Like a few others have noted, Erica is now a bit more talkative in this episode, though understandably so. The infamous Jet Striker is back, and new and weird toys from Karlsland’s eccentric genius and her team. This no doubt a parallel to the German war machine’s impeccable ability to dream up ‘wonder weapons’, many of which provide the distinctive shapes for our Neuroi antagonists.

The sisterly bond between the lazy and carefree Erica and the studious and analytical Ursula is explored in better depth. And it seems that Erica doesn’t like change. Considering she’s the all-time ace with her skill in her standard striker, she’s not one to be happy with the new changes, even if they would mean a marked increase in the witches fighting strength.

I did miss Trude’s attempts at trying to discipline Hartmann, nothing ever changes from everyone’s straight laced Karlslander, and of course seeing her in the traditional Bavarian dress was a very nice piece of fanservice, even though it would seem she would’ve been close to dying of embarrassment.

Small things like the experimental weapons Ursula brought, as well as the Willys Jeep and what I believe is a UK Bedford QL-series truck, alongside Karlslander, and what I assume is Brittannian, Belgican, or Liberion support personnel in St. Trond, just adds to the truly international feeling one gets from the show. I can’t wait to see how Kantai Collection would stack up to this and Girls und Panzer in drawing out that nostalgic, giddy feeling.

Also, according to user mr3awsome from the World of Warships NA forum, the ships that are escorting Yamato are the Littorio, Bismarck, and the King George V and her sisters.

The opening song was nice and bubbly and full of hope as to be expected; though the best part of it to me was probably the opening. If only because of the Yamato, flanked with what I can imagine would be the HMS Hood and other battlecruisers/battleships. But it might be due to me being an Alpha Tester for World of Warships and I’m in a very warship-friendly mood.

Apart from that, it feels highly nostalgic just seeing the girls again. Can’t wait to see the next episode.

Also, some full length shots.

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Episode Gallery:

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About Jusuchin (Military Otaku)

Conservative, Patriotic and an Otaku. Recent grad of George Mason University. I am interested in firearms, politics, Japanese Anime, and military tech.
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