I have two sisters, both younger. I love em to death but sometimes they annoy me. No doubt they do the same to each other. Sometimes they agree, sometimes they fight, sometimes they talk past each other, and sometimes they understand without a word.
Two Shoukaku-class carriers are being escorted by what appears to be a Takao-class heavy cruiser and several assorted destroyers. Standing on the flight deck, Takami looks towards the horizon in apprehension. The Admiral in charge of the fleet is thankful she’s able to make it in time for the upcoming operation.
Back in Orussia, the 502nd just took out a large heavy Neuroi, with Hikari and Naoe teaming up to find the ore (and Naoe still going tsundere over the whole partner thing). The team is more relaxed now, having finally found their stride and incorporating Hikari into their team, when a Junkers Ju 52 appears.
Its passenger is Field Marshall Manstein, who informs the witches of the upcoming operation to destroy Grigori, named Freya. The plan is not to use Neuroi-tech this time, but an all-out combined attack with the witches at the center, where the Grigori core will be located and super-heavy railway gun Schwerer Gustav will strike. Everything is already going according to plan and they already have the witch to find the core.
The speculation rises with Naoe and Nipa calling the plan crazy, and how Hikari’s Contact Eye is too dangerous. Roßmann says with her training, Hikari would be good once the operation starts in a month, but Manstein drops a bomb, indicating it’s been moved up due to Grigori moving.
The rest of the 502d joins in, indicating they’ll fight to protect Hikari. Seeing the 502nd jump to her defense, Hikari agrees to it. At this point Manstein drops his other bomb and slyly informs them that Sergeant Karibuchi isn’t the ace-in-the-hole they have planned for the operation. Right on schedule, a new witch appears outside.
Hikari realizes who it is and runs outside to greet her sister, Takami. Back inside, Manstein leaves with a comment that the 502nd is how it should be, with no punishment for Hikari illegally staying with the 502nd. Rall notes though they might have a mess on their hands.
Outside, Hikari is thankful for Takami’s recovery, but Takami only responds in a harsh tone. That of a superior officer to a subordinate, and demands to know why she wasn’t at the Kauhava Base with the 507th Joint Fighter Wing (Silent Witches, or more infamously, the Soumous Misfit Squadron). This surprises Hikari, mainly due to her tone and question.
Back on the field, a line of Panzer IV tanks observe the slowly moving Grigori hive, though approaching them would be the orb Neuroi from the Waltrud episode.
Back at Takami and Hikari’s meeting, Takami bluntly tells her that she doesn’t belong there, and orders her to pack her bags to go to Kauhava base. Leaving Hikari outside, she meets with her squadron, and rekindle friendships that she now needs to catch up on. Naoe notices though that Hikari isn’t with them, and with Nipa, finds her outside looking dejected. Later, Takami and Krupinski square off in a training duel, where she is shown to be on par with the very talented Karlslander. She also can cook, though the entire time, a dejected Hikari seems to be avoiding her sister.
The girls talk about this in the sauna while Hikari trains, wondering exactly why Hikari is avoiding her. At this point, Sasha informs everyone else that Hikari has been given her transfer papers to Kauhava, shocking everyone, but not really, some thinking it’s for the best. When asked though, Naoe remarks that she wants to be in the battlefield with the strongest person.
Hikari reaches the top of the obelisk though is called out by Takami, who is effortlessly walking up the side. She tells her younger sister to stop wasting time and ready for her transfer. Hikari counters saying she’s worked hard to be closer to her, and can now effectively use her power. Takami knows all this, and still tells her she can’t stay, and she goes off, leaving behind a very depressed Hikari on top of the obelisk.
Rall though confronts Takami as she walked past back into the base, telling her why she can’t tell her the truth. That she loves her and doesn’t want to see her hurt. She knows that her deal with Manstein was to have Hikari removed from the front lines. Having put two and two together, she asks her why she’s adding more pressure on top of the orders from higher headquarters.
Takami notes that it’s the only way to get the stubborn Hikari to follow orders, and that all she wants to do is hug her sister and tell her how proud she is for her growth, but all she can do right now is hurt her, to which she tells her they’re both bad in expressing themselves.
Later the next day, Roßmann explains that the observation team that was watching Grigori was wiped out by the same orb Neuroi, and reconnaissance photographs show Waltrud’s striker units embedded into it, and Krupinski understandably upset. Rall though tells her to cool her heels, as Roßmann adjusts the magical corset, indicating that she intends to fly out and defeat it.
She intends for this to be Takami’s ‘warm up’ prior to Operation Freya, but Hikari volunteers as well. Rall makes it a competition, Hikari’s Contact Eye versus Takami’s Absolute Magic Eyes. Takami spots the core first, and Rall shoots it with her Solothurn S-18/100. The core regenerates though and it’s revealed that there is a smaller core within the outer core.
The Orb splits and starts to release its drones, leading everyone to scramble to and take them down. Hikari rushes in intending to find the core. She is battered about by the swarm of drones, but Roßmann reminds her of her training and she manages to dodge them. Takami is able to destroy the drones bothering her and also starts to acquire the core, and both manage to locate it and give Gundula accurate location, leading to the orb-type’s destruction.
Pondering who had won the competition, much like before, a drone survives to take out Hikari. Takami manages to catch her and Hikari passes out in her arms, allowing Takami to soften her expression and tell her knocked out younger sister how proud she is of her.
The results of the competition is clear though. While both accurately provided the main core’s location to Gundula, Takami was just slightly faster, and thus Hikari lost her chance and her transfer to Kauvala is confirmed. Takami is no doubt pleased that her sister is now out of harm’s way, but Hikari can only accept the news with dejection and tears as she pours her frustration out into the setting Orussian sun outside.
Takami’s a bit of a bitch to be honest. But considering the circumstances, I can forgive her for doing this to her sister. She like most sisters loves their younger siblings, and sometimes the only way sisters can show it is by being mean to them. It isn’t driven mostly by malice or rudeness, but a genuine concern and an inability to be direct about it.
Again, I notice it all the time with my two younger siblings. It makes me wonder how they’re able to be fighting like two old cats in one minute and then be friendly the next. But then again, this episode is more Takami coming across as a taciturn superior who is displeased with a subordinate, even if having the right intentions, is completely in the wrong.
To be fair, Gundula had pulled rank to allow Hikari to stay with the 502nd, and seeing that it would be hard to extricate her younger bull-headed sibling from the front lines, struck a deal with someone higher than Rall to get her way. Rall did give Hikari a chance, and still made it so that a Karibuchi would still end up being sent to Kuavala, but in the end, Hikari just couldn’t compete. She was close, but not enough to keep her spot in the 502nd.
Which would make Takami’s inclusion interesting. She clearly has a history with everyone else in the 502nd JFW, and everyone had been expecting her, most of all Kanno Naoe. But then Hikari was the one that ended up joining and it was an uphill battle for Hikari just find acceptance with the 502nd. Now that they’re comfortable with Hikari being with them, they’re overjoyed with the fact Takami is as well, but I don’t think they would appreciate how Hikari needed to be pushed out as per her original orders stipulated.
I think it’s been touched on before, though I doubt Brave Witches will delve too much into it. In the quintessential war drama miniseries on the Western European front, Band of Brothers, the episode “The Last Patrol” had Private Webster being greeted less than enthusiastically as he had expected when he was finally able to regroup with Easy Company at Haguenau, right after the Battle of the Bulge that had made the 101st’s exploits at Bastogne world-famous. He had missed out in fighting with Easy Company and he was treated as a replacement in the beginning of the episode, having not gone through the horrors of what Bastogne was.
Band of Brothers – “The Last Patrol” by HBO – 04:49min mark on Amazon Prime Video
I highly doubt Takami would receive the same cold shoulder that Webster did from his old company, but there might be some misgivings considering the way Hikari was more or less discarded like a band-aid by higher command after the trials she and the rest of the 502nd went through. I doubt much of it will land on Takami. It is mainly because, well, this is a show about cute girls doing cute things, with guns.
This is sisterly love, not the distance between people who have seen things and done things compared to someone who hadn’t. Hikari will be back, no doubt at a crucial hour of Operation Freya. It just felt, really unfair, and I think this is due to Hikari becoming a character I related to, and cared about. My reaction to when Takami was being overly harsh on the obelisk was “who is she to say this about her”. Hikari had constantly looked up to her as a role model, and Takami has not gotten any delusions of grandeur before, and the show has made it a point to highlight the loving relationship the two had, thus making Takami’s rough attitude all the more annoying, though her motivations are clear. In the end, I think the 502nd is at odds really on who to support, with Naoe in the end cheering Hikari on.
Rall was the last member of the 502nd to be featured, and essentially she acted as the bridge between the two sisters, the equal scale of judgement that provided a goal for Hikari to reach and a reminder to Takami where her feelings lay. She has always been an ever-present member of that role. She cares for her subordinates but aren’t too close to them, allowing fairness be her guide.
And important thing to note, and I’ve said it in Infinite Zenith’s own episode review of Brave Witches 10, is that Gundula is basically a witch who is effectively on light duty. Much like her real life counterpart, she has a broken back, and much like her real life counterpart, they powered through and went back to flying. The corset she wears is magically imbued to help keep her wounds from flaring up too much. Thus when Rossman was doing the straps on back, it was more like a “shit is going down” scene for me.
Gundula Rall Character Sheet – Shimada Fumikane
The show bringing up her magical corset for me was just another reason I am loving Silver Link’s adaptation. A lot of source material that was written or was directed by Humikane has made itself added in. I also hope some continuity with original source material is noted, with Takami being shuttled off with the Shoukaku to form the 508th JFW “Mighty Witches”, joining with the USS Enterprise and HMS Victorious in that regard. If they do, Silver Link has clearly done their homework.
Technical notes, the CGI this time wasn’t as blaringly bad as it was last episode, with more animated portions even during combat, and having less shoddy production values when they did feature CG. Also the quality of subtitles had been crappy, with Nomake Wan commentating during the live watch with myself and other friends that Manstein had said directly who they had for Operation Freya but was lost in translation. To be fair, considering the reactions of the 502nd, they too didn’t catch on that they intended for Takami to be the witch to find the core.
Things of note would be the two Shoukaku-class Carriers, the heavy cruiser (probably Takao due to the unique forward turret arrangement and the funnels), and what I would assume would be a full host of Akizuki-class and Kagerou-class destroyers.
On the decks of the Shoukaku and Zuikaku, would be various aircraft, including Seafires, most likely the Britannian contribution to Operation Freya apart from the convoy that delivered the parts of Schewerer Gustav to Orussia. With the failure of the Warlock project, in order to dispense with the Neuroi hive, it would seem that humanity has to resort to witches and grand-scale conventional weaponry. Though it would be noted that negotiating with the Neuroi was a point, the new Venezia/Romagna hive dispensed with that line of communication rather abruptly when it eliminated the Venezian hive and its Neuroiko.
Though the inclusion of the Schwerer Gustav is interesting, and I think is the logical ‘stepping stone’ for humanity in eventually mixing two potentially war-winning technologies (the Warlock program and big guns) with the Neuroified Yamato in season 2 of Strike Witches.
I look forward to the final two episodes of Brave Witches, where we see Hikari coming back and disobeying orders to come to her sister and friend’s rescue in an hour of need.