The funny thing about the so-called "War on Pants" is that when you have been used to a week in the sunshine, where the default uniform has been skimpy outfits, trunks and bikinis, girls not wearing anything... "substantial" down below almost seems normal. Thankfully, the second season of Strike Witches and those beautiful girls of the 501st Joint Fighter Squadron have reminded me how a good old-fashioned flash of panties can lift the spirits.
I am going to assume that if you are reading this, then you are probably already familiar with the skimpy nature of the 501st Squadron and their antics against the alien Neuroi over the Channel, leading to their eventual victory in the first series against the Neuroi that were infesting the countries of Western Europe. After that Neuroi hive was destroyed, the 501st were disbanded and the girls went their separate ways to other areas of the world where their talents were needed.
Like all good enemies however, the Neuroi don’t stay still for very long, and a new hive appears above the northern Adriatic sea, taking out the historical city of Venitiza (Venice), threatening the security of the Balkans and Romagna (Italy), and also the lives of the witches and the military forces defending Europe. What can be done? Simple - re-create the mighty 501st, kick those glowy red Neuroi things back into space where they belong and then celebrate with a festival of girly kissing and hugging. If only it was that easy...
These new Neuroi are faster, more powerful, bigger and a damn-sight more devious than those vanquished over the Channel and they take a bit more effort to defeat; however, through a combination of friendship, magic, breast groping and can-do attitude, there is nothing that the 501st can’t deal with! Well, in theory. Season 2 follows the 501st as they battle against hunger, bugs, bathing, invading egocentric personalities and the occasionalNeuroi, with just a few twists to keep the journey interesting.
I don’t want to give the game away too much, so to just pad this review out a little bit, I present to you my personal favourite character moments from Strike Witches season 2, which should tide you over until your pre-order falls through the letterbox!
Seb’s Favourite Strike Witches (Season 2) Character Moments!
Mio Sakamoto – Mio can’t handle her alcohol. When drunk, she is the life of a party and apparently uses these moments of inebriation to show her true feelings for Minna!
Yoshika Miyafuji – I actually have two things here. Firstly, Yoshika on a broom. Beautiful. Also, ever noticed that Yoshika spends a lot of her time staring at Lynette, especially when they are all in a state of (further) undress. Interesting!
Minna-Dietlinde Wilcke – Minna has amazing strength in her glutes and is clearly capable of crushing any exoskeleton between her well formed buttocks.
Gertrud Berkhorn – She is definitely German. No doubt about it. She always has to be the best, even when she can’t, but she has this very effeminate side of her personality, well buried under this armoured skin. When it shows, its beautiful!
Lynette Bishop – Apparently, Lynette was a little bit shocked that she... "blossomed"... a bit more between season one and two, and that everyone else noticed except her!
Francesca Luccini – I never get sick of seeing how Francesca enjoys life so much. Her enthusiasm as she flew over her home town, fantastic!
Erica Hartmann – I never realised how cute Erica was, until she started to fight for Gertrud when the Star of Africa comes to visit.
Eila Juutilainen – Eila verses Yoshika. Enjoy.
Charlotte Yaeger – I would have thought that a large bust and rabbit ears would have hindered the piercing of the sound barrier... who knew?
Perrine Clostermann – Perrine is my personal favourite of all of the 501st and seeing her react with vigour during the minor insect invasion, further cemented her at the top of my list!
Sanya Litvyak – Silently cute. Especially when it comes to her beloved partner Eila. I love these two together, and I think they do too!
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that my love for the under-dressed flying girls of the 501st is unwavering, and so it saddens me to announce that (at the time of writing) we do not have a High Definition release of Strike Witches planned for our shores. Sad. But never fear. I can assure you that although what we have is a delightful three disc DVD set, the DVDs seem to be from the Blu-Ray master which means that all the uncensored goodies are yours, and the DVDs actually upscale quite reasonably (although, if the bluray version is ever formally released on our shores, I personally will be upgrading from the DVDs as the aerial combat scenes are quite gorgeous in HD). The three discs have four episodes apiece, with episode commentary and clean opening and closing scenes as the only extras on the discs.
As with the first series, the English dub is impeccable and very entertaining, though if you are a purist nothing will replace the Japanese dub, which is also very well produced.
Strike Witches' second season continues the proud traditions set by the first; fun, flight, fighting, fanservice and a complete disregard for the wearing of lengthy garments, and it continues from where the first season finished before culminating in an ending whose beauty and sacrifice will stir even the coldest hearts. The combination of the excellent characters, the vivid and ever-changing environments and the enjoyable episodic writing leaves us with an anime that is readily accessible, easy on the mind, and suggestible enough to keep even the most perverse of us interested.
Now, we can't possibly close this review without bringing you a sequel of our own - the return of the patent-pending, please-don't-sue-us-if-you-end-up-in-hospital, Strike Witches drinking game!
Harder, Faster, Bouncier! The Second Strike Witches Drinking Game
While the first series’ drinking game focused on the quality of the panties, this game focuses on my favourite subject of all time: breasts. What I have noticed in this second series is a dramatic increase in the groping and flashing of said breast flesh... so much so, that I believe a decent drinking endeavour can be made from this.
Firstly, insert Disc 1 of Strike Witches Season 2, and begin at the beginning. I would advise eating something filling first.
Secondly, grab a bottle of your favourite 40%+ tipple, and some ice. Pour into a glass as the first episode works its way across your screen. The first episode is light in the kinds of scenes against which you will be tested, so use this as an opportunity to fill your stomach and prepare yourself for the oncoming onslaught.
As the second and later episodes screen, take a good swig every time that Charlotte’s or Lynette’s breasts jiggle, are groped, or are mentioned in a perverse fashion by that dirty little Luccini... seriously, that girl has one hell of a breast obsession! (Look whose talking! - Ed)
If you are flashed by a nipple, you must take a drink for each nipple you see.
Refill your glass as necessary at the intermission and at the end of each episode.
If you make it past episode six without passing out, then the following additional rule applies:
Every time a pair of panties is dropped against a character’s will, take a drink. You will not make it past episode seven.
English and Japanese audio with English subtitles. Extras include a US episode commentary and clean opening and closing credits.
Magical Girls, lesbian overtones and animal ears. I must be in heaven.