Thus ends the third anime series in the now expanding World Witches franchise. It seems just like yesterday that trawling the /k/ board on 4chan led me to the work of Shimada Fumikane back when I was just a wee freshman in high school. Three animated series, a series of OVAs, and a movie later, his drawings of moe anthropomorphised military vehicles has become its own little niche market.
EDIT: Reflected to fix a mistake while in initial draft that I didn’t catch until now. My apologies.
With the failed attack with air-dropping the AP round, Takami rushes forward to use her Absolute Eye. Hikari is running towards the source of the fighting, while the defenders are being destroyed left and right by the advancing Neuroi hive.
Explaining that the outer core is blocking her power and that they can’t use the old position due to the true core moving, they seem to be out of options. Both sisters realize what needs to be done, with Takami seeing a need to use it and Hikari running to prevent her from using it. Hikari is spotted by Manstein and others in the forward HQ due to having finally formed a magical platform to run on top of the open water.
Takami rushes in, and activates the Absolute Eye. Her shield gives out, but the rest of 502nd shields her just in time, having been briefed by Roßmann about her power. Shielded from the hive’s attacks by the 502nd, she manages to locate the true core but is injured.
The coordinates relayed, Georgette manages to catch the weakened Takami and start to heal her as the others rush to her aid. Gustav fires, but the Hive redeploys its clouds, destroying the magic AP round. With no other option, Manstein orders a retreat.
Hikari arrives where the 502nd has gathered, and pleads for her sister to stay alive, though she is in less of a danger now than she was at the beginning of the series. Rall apologizes for being unable to stop all the attacks, but Hikari is glad they saved her.
Takami wakes, and apologizes for being unable to defeat the enemy, while everyone is saying it wasn’t her fault. At this time, Grigori destroys Gustav and what’s left of Dora, as well as its escort forces, while the 502nd watches it advance. Hikari though volunteers to use her Contact Eye. While the others say it’s impossible, Naoe pipes in and says that while she has magic power, she can still fight.
Rall though feels something warming up her old injuries, and they come across the main core of the AP shell. Manstein orders them to retreat, but they state that they have a plan. Naoe will punch the core, using the magic power from the AP round imbued into her gloves. Speaking of which, realizing she didn’t have them, Hikari returns them for her to use.
Waltrud and Edytha comes in at this time, having recovered a fragment of the Super HE round, which they strap onto Gundula’s rifle grenade. They only have one strike, and Naoe finally acknowledges Hikari as her partner. Takami tells her she can’t afford to fail, to which Hikari responds that they don’t know until they try, eliciting laughter from her comrades.
Takami proposes that she use Chidori, and the members of the 502nd sans Takami and Georgette chases after the hive with Takami noting her fears for her younger sister was unfounded and all that is left is to believe in her.
As they fly, Rall reveals that in the competition, while Takami was first to locate the core, Hikari was the more precise of the two sisters, and that they have one chance, she would bet it all on Hikari, though she adds only a fool would do so. Roßmann adds that while she wasn’t the best of her pupils, she is the one that is hardest working.
Sasha uses her memory-based powers to locate the weakpoint in the Neuroi’s cloud barrier. With Petersburg due to be swallowed by the hive in 15 minutes, Gundula tells them they’ll finish it in five, as the rest of the allied forces watch. Locating the weakpoint, Gundula launches the rifle grenade there, piercing through the barrier and allowing the 502nd to enter.
Covering for Naoe and Hikari, they slip past a weak point in the enemy’s defense, with Hikari activating her contact eye on the main body. Locating the core, she provides proper cover for Naoe, who comments that she’d be following her. Sticking her rifle into the spot, Naoe pierces through the Neuroi hive’s skin and outer core, but runs out of energy.
Catching Naoe before she falls, the busted FP-45 Liberator falls out of her pocket and she spots it. Focusing magic into her right hand and into the Liberator, before shooting the true core and defeating the Hive.
As everyone watches the hive disperse, Hikari and Naoe fall to a landing where Takami finally lets loose her pent-up feelings and tells her about the wonderful growth she’s had, though Hikari says it was due to help from the 502nd. Nipa dive bombs Kanno, tackling her and injuring her (and nearly suffocating her with her breasts). Georgette responds to Naoe’s request for aid with a negative, having used up her healing powers.
Back at GHQ, the staff are celebrating, while Field Marshall Mannerheim congratulates Marshall Manstein for the victory, while Manstein says it couldn’t have been done without the Brave Witches. As the Witches fly back in formation over the cheering remnants of the combined forces, the witches return to trivial things, like food. Admonishing Nipa for a momentary spurt of engine problems, Sasha encounters her own, no doubt to the low magic power.
The voice over states that in March 1945, Grigori was destroyed, freeing the threat to Orussia. All this was done while Eila and Sanya are shown observing the battle from the train, as well as Aurora, Eila’s older sister, watches from afar while overlooking her younger sister’s and friend’s strikers no doubt.
Later, Takami and Hikari comment on the weather, and how Hikari had gotten quite used to the cold. They’re walking towards the commander of the Fuso expeditionary forces. It seems Takami is being sent off to a new posting (canonically the 508th Joint Fighter Wing “Mighty Witches”), and he asks what Hikari would do. Looking back to the members of the 502nd, she is told that they’re being reassigned to a new battlefield with no rest, and Hikari comments that they’d need all the witches they can get, and runs off to be with her comrades.
The commander notes that she’s off to set a trial for herself, though Takami counters that it isn’t the case, but she’s found a place where she can shine the brightest. With her choice, Hikari becomes an official member of the 502nd, with her comrades welcoming her with open arms.
Episode and Series Thoughts:
You know, for a MacGuffin, that busted FP-45 Liberator was quite blatant. Hell, I’m not the only one who thought that the Liberator will be used, though I think I put in in writing in last week’s blog post (jokingly of course) that it’ll be used to destroy the core.
Anyways, overall, the last episode went as much as I thought it would. I thought there was just a tad too much talking and rejoicing over Hikari’s return but when I compare it to the other WWII-themed anime I blogged about this season, I actually liked it. Lots of clean deaths in the form of the poor Karlslanders, but then again, Izetta was pretty tame as well, not as gory as how some series can get.
And so my thoughts?
Well, if my opening blurb didn’t reveal it, I’ve been a fan of Fumikane-sama since I was in high school in the early 2000s, loving his Mecha Musume designs. When an anime series featuring his designs was aired in 2008, I jumped on it. At this point I started to branch into the lore he was building, and around this time came across the semi-canonnical Africa doujinshi.
This was a series I was quite involved in from the beginning, and so I was quite happy to hear about the Brave Witches adaptation, though I nursed a slight disdain due to the fact they weren’t going to animate the Africa doujinshi, which in my eyes was a superior story when compared to the exploits of the 501st.
But then, Brave Witches started to air. With Silver Link in charge of the expanding franchise, I can’t help but applaud them in their efforts. Lots of cameos by other parts of the lore came about, even teasing Aurora in the end. I did have a little “go away” kind of reaction to Yoshika but understood why she was there, and even accepted and liked Eila’s and Sanya’s own recurring cameos.
In all, there isn’t much to fault with the direction Silver Link took to Brave Witches, though I like many others, wished they did the CG a little more work. No doubt that is the production issues noted for the hiatus early in the season, but it was at times very harsh to look at.
Overall, Brave Witches is a welcome addition to the franchise, one I think is a bit more structured in my opinion over Strike Witches. Definitely more than Season 1, while Season 2 might be just as good story wise. Efforts to show that Eila and Sanya had regular contact with the 502nd help merge the series in with the animated timeline, with Eila and Sanya having been with the 502nd before setting off in the movie.
The inclusion of Hikari into the 502nd is a welcome addition, one I initially was unsure about. Especially since her sister is canonically slotted to be one of the Fusoan witches in the 508th. The ending takes care of that, with Takami leaving with what is most probably the Shoukaku off to meet up with the other carriers that comprise the Mighty Witches. Hikari staying with the 502nd actually adds more character to the Brave Witches. While I wasn’t a fan of Naoe even before when the 502nd were nothing more than some illustrations done by Fumikane, this series helped soften my view on her.
That and I still can’t help but think about that FP-45 Liberator. FEAR THE POWER OF A SMOOTHBORE PIECE OF CRAP SHEET METAL PISTOL. FEAR THE POWER OF THE .45ACP CARTRIDGE (even if it was magically enhanced).
So what I guess I’m trying to say is that I liked it. It’s a Strike Witches entry. Some folks I’ve seen on Facebook don’t like it for x-y reason, and I get where they’re coming from. Especially if they have an emotional investment over the 501st, but I implore them to come at Brave Witches with an open mind. Nitpicking it over the CG isn’t helpful if that’s all that is being done, and accusations of flat characters and uninteresting plot can also be levelled at Yoshika and the 501st.
In all, must get the Blu-Ray collection when it comes out, mainly also for Episode 13.