The words “I’m not a lolicon,” really fly out the window the moment when you watch Strike Witches.
I’m not a man for fanservice shows. For years, I’ve maintained the belief that giving the viewer a quaint, teeny push is far better than dunking them in entirely when it comes to animated erotica. However, while I for one prefer my fanservice in smaller, classier doses which give my mind something to work with and undress (as creepy as that sounds), even I found myself drawn to how completely ridiculous and audacious Strike Witches is. Perhaps only for me, excess and overindulgence, no matter how expletive (and sometimes even offensive) it may be, remain a point of interest. Without a doubt, Strike Witches is a panties-over-substance watch, but what it shows you is so absurd and over-the-top, it’s hard not to be entertained.
Strike Witches is an amazing piece of crap. Actually, let me rephrase that – Strike Witches Season I is the greatest piece of crap ever released into the anime kingdom. As far as bare booty laden crap goes, this show is undeniably the king. If you are dead set on watching blatantly erotic crotch tickling, watch this in any other show’s stead. All fanservice shows quake in Strike Witches’ footsteps, and none can muster up the unbridled power and wrath of a pantsu-only universe. The formulaic breakdown of this show will show you that Strike Witches is 50% action, 50% slice-of-life, and 500% motherfucking panties. Strike Witches in purely distilled boner fuel for the mecha nerds and lolicons of the anime kingdom. It’s brilliant pandering.
But what makes Strike Witches so absolutely enjoyable? Well, you just have to look at the premise. Strike Witches is essentially about a group of sexy (and mostly underage) anime girls flying around with World War II era guns shooting at flying aliens spacecrafts for twelve episodes straight. Without wearing any pants at all. I personally issue a challenge to any readers of this review to find one thing not entertaining about that genius premise. Just dare to defy the entertainment value of that sentence. Trust me, you can’t do it.
Since the only way to really prove Strike Witches makes all other fanservice anime pale in comparison is to actually break down Strike Witches’ consistency (again, mostly made of panties), in a semi-classy move from this blog owner, I’ll be doing the deconstructing and listing the advantages in an unorthodox, pantie for point style.
1) They just don’t wear pants
Strange as it may seem, creating a universe where the girls don’t wear pants is an ingenious move. By making a whole world where girls refuse to wear pants, their wardrobe no longer becomes questionable or odd after the first few minutes. After episode one, I didn’t even question the fashion statements of the female leads. They don’t wear pants. Ever. It became an undeniable fact of life, an eternal print seared into my frontal lobe til the end of time.
On top of that, Strike Witches offers absolutely no explanation for why the girls in the show wear only the barest undergarments. For a fanservice show, a genre which is absolutely hampered (sorry, pun) by poor explanations for minimal dress attire, this is pretty damn smart. After all, why give shoddily made excuse for their wardrobe which won’t make any sense, when you can just throw them out there wearing nothing? Strike Witches doesn’t explain; it just does. The girls only wear panties and the viewer can’t do anything to stop or even defy the logic behind it. No hackneyed explanation is given so that vicious onlookers can take a stab at the universe. It’s just there. Why should I watch a crappy, spineless fanservice show when I could watch a better crappy, spineless fanservice show which gives me what I want immediately?
2) The camera angles
The length to which the animators will go to show a bare butt is simply astounding. If there’s a chance to show cameltoe, Strike Witches will take it. After all, what’s the point of cameltoe without a good look at it. While this may be GONZO’s final nail in their coffin, they sure didn’t slack with the panties. If you think that you’ve seen cameltoe before, think again. Having rotors and jet engines strapped to a girls legs allows for fabulous, new crotch angles never before captured on film. You’ve never seen pantsu like this before. Not even in the blazing wilds of Kenya, where vigorous and hungry pantsu roam open and free, has footage of lingerie as good as this been seen. The amount of positions displayed are wide, full, and varied. But in this awful shamelessness and thirst for newer camera angles and cameltoe, we can see that Strike Witches clearly knows what it is. At the core, Strike Witches is fanservice show before anything else, and it never forgets to satisfy fans of the genre. Strike Witches fully embraces the its erotic roots no matter the scene. Not once will you see a fleeting moment of pretentiousness or a staunch denial of what the series is all about, common to the oh so plentiful fanservice oriented series which try to cover it up. Strike Witches is first and foremost a fanservice show – and it sure as hell knows it.
3) The MyAnimeList summary
“The year is 1944 and the world lives in fear of unidentified flying objects called Neuroi. With the old-boy old guard unable to thwart this deadly menace, humanity turns its desperate eyes to an aerial attack force with much nicer legs. Meet the girls of the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, better known as the Strike Witches. These darlings of the great blue yonder may not have standard issue uniforms, but they do have all the right stuff. Where the average flyboy falters, these dolls blast aliens to bits in the bat of an eyelash. With a little magic and a whole lot of leg, the girls of the 501st are winning the war on pants, and aliens!”
Yeah. Just read that and tell me that you don’t want to watch this show. Notice how the war on pants takes precedence over aliens. I’ll just let you absorb that before I move onto my next point.
There’s zero. And they’re all tropes. Every single girl is a 2-dimensional, paper cut-out moé-blob made strictly for otaku boner exploitation. While that may sound bad, this is big for those out there who enjoy watching fanservice laden crap. Within that impossibly large zoo of cliches lie solutions for each and every otaku fetish known to man. No more do men have to roam the annals of anime history to discover their kinks and fetishes; if there is a trope out there that you like, it’s here. While the actual quality of the character’s characterization is extremely limited and close to nonexistent, at the very least they still remain likable to those not interested (except for Lucchini, she’s garbage). There are even a couple cultural implications, if you’re into that, such as the big breasted American’s fondness for hamburgers! Very much like the show’s concept, the storm of cliches is incredibly excessive and – admittedly – delicious.
Since getting into each member’s psyche is near impossible due to the severe lack of depth and characterization, with the exception of a two or three, let’s get into the real stock, the character designs. Each character is based on a tough, famous ace pilot and yet somehow turned into a sexy, gun-toting teenage girl. Just like the forest of personality tropes offered, there are bodacious (but undeveloped) petite bodies of every shape and design. There are ladies with eyepatches, cuties with unworldly large bosoms, and all other kinds of body shapes for the horny fiends of the world. Once more, every normal(?) fetish imaginable is available. Oh, and when they use magic, they grow animal ears. Yeah, that’s pretty important too.
On top of the creamy trope parfait lies yet another a bonus wank to the pantie devouring crowd of viewers; nearly every girl is either outwardly attracted to another friend in a sweet, almost saccharine, manner or a closet pervert who fantasizes about getting it on with another of the cast members. Oh wait, almost every person in the Strike Witches’ target audience is a closet pervert who fantasizes with getting it on with one of the cast members! These relationships between the cast are hardly ever developed and full, but this only drives in the Strike Witches agenda for full physical connectivity with the viewer. For the entire series, the girls either wore panties or didn’t. They just didn’t wear any pants – and for some episodes neither did I.
5) The “okay” Plot
The plot is fairly mediocre, typical for a fanservice exploiting wankfest. More than anything, the plot is vehicle for delivering panty-clad fanservice rather than actual storytelling. The aliens are simply an excuse to have the little witches out fighting wearing next to nothing. Chances are that if you’re watching this, you won’t care for the plot, but nevertheless, it’s here. While not nearly as atrocious as say, Shuffle! or Omamori Himari, it’s unambitious and plain (yet somehow far better than other shows of the genre). The story is entirely subservient to the fanservice and acts an excuse for the insane pantsu gun fights. Bottom line, the story is rather serviceable in that it doesn’t attempt to be anything more that it is, something which many shows of the genre fall victim to. It’s far, far from good, but it works. After Strike Witches ends, just don’t expect to be talking about a brilliant story.
Not once have I ever been an avid fan of anime which run purely on fanservice or commercialized moé and I don’t plan on starting here. While I do respect the two traits when used for accessibility purposes or to enhance the material, widespread appeal clearly isn’t everything. I am neither a hater nor furious critic of the moé phenomenon, but it means much less to me than the other draws of Japanese animation. They’re superficial details which should not be the sole basis of the show. To me, coherency and substance are far important aspects of storytelling, and while the fanservice does remain at least interesting and sometimes even stimulating, I am far from a lover of fanservice centric anime.
With that being said, Strike Witches is a warped, lovely box of paradoxes. Strike Witches has near zero substance and what it has surely isn’t great. The characters were paper-thin, the plot was weak, and there’s a complete lack of emotion within the story. In terms of melodrama, the series remained in the lower-middle of the spectrum, far from being absorbing and far from being openly mockable. What Strike Witches does have, however, is panties, panties, and more panties flying around and shooting aliens. The entirety of the series is based on something so completely excessive and shamelessly audacious, that it stays oddly appealing all throughout. The premise of Strike Witches may be incredibly stupid, but it shows to be wonderful fun. It’s shameless, yet unpretentious; disgustingly expletive, but hilariously absorbing. It was GONZO’s first step into oblivion, yet paradoxically one of their brightest displays. It was unrelenting crap, yet it was enthralling. If the industry wants to produce crap, go all the way with it and make it extreme. You want fanservice? Take the leap and go for Strike Witches instead of the other deadbeat shows which only meet you halfway. In fanservice, overkill is the new name of the game and Strike Witches certainly delivers.