Strike Witches sounds kinda neat on paper: Yukikaze meets Sakura Wars, with some Harry Potter and Geobreeders thrown in for good measure. After an alien invasion, the countries of the world seek out witches and recruit them into a military force to fight off the invaders’ advanced aircraft. Old-fashioned brooms not being up to the task, they equip the women with mechanical-magical leggings (and huge guns) that let them fly fast and fierce enough to fight the aliens. Thus is the set-up for a mix of vaguely WW2-flavored Top Gun-style ship-borne dogfighting and character drama centered around a very colorful collection of attractive women with magical powers.
In practice it’s more like Great Balls Of Fanservice—my thoughts for the first bit were pretty much stuck on two things:
1) It is somewhat incredible that not only do the witches sprout cat-girl ears while being magical, but, on account of the big metal leggings with jet/propellor things on the ends they are effectively also plane-girls while involved in combat. Planegirls and catgirls simultaneously. That’s got to be some kind of record.
2) Where are their pants?! Seriously, the witches never wear pants. At all. I assume the excuse is they need their legs free for the big mecha-leggings, but that makes little practical sense (there’s this great invention called a skirt) and doesn’t explain why they dress that way under all circumstances. It also doesn’t in any way reduce the impression, due to the microscopic “shorts” they are wearing with normal military jackets, that they got up in the morning and entirely forgot to put on anything below the waist.
The result is that while I like the concept, and the series is all kinds of pretty (slick action, alien craft that remind me of Yukikaze’s JAM for their mix of sleek and unearthly, colorful character designs), I felt like it existed for no reason other than a weird conglomeration of unrelated types of fanservice. The very young-looking (not quite Geobreeders, but in that direction) character designs didn’t help at all, given the whole lack-of-pants thing.
Can’t say it did enough for my head to get me to watch any more of it, though I suppose if you are somehow blind to the weirdness or fall into the fanservice categories it’s targeting, it might be worth a shot.
I will close by quoting one of my favorite The Tick lines, since I worked it in nowhere else: “Ahem. Do you have pants?”