Strike Witches: Road to Berlin – 01

「アルプスの魔法少女」 (Arupusu no Mahou Shoujo)
“Magical Girl of the Alps”

Fall season is still just over two days away, but there’s always room to indulge in early premieres and the latest just happens to be everyone’s favourite half naked witches. That’s right, Strike Witches is back on the TV screen, and it’s as though it never left.

First thing out of the gate is quality. Yes, this the first episode, but no, this does not represent what the actual season will be. As is common for such releases, source rips can be hit or miss, and unlike Kuma Kuma Kuma Bear’s pre-air fansub we unfortunately swung out this time—expect the actual premiere on October 7 to be much better! The big thing learned here, however is animation; for better or worse, 3DCGI and animation shortcuts will be the name of the game, especially for the battle scenes. It likely won’t be as obtrusive as what happened in Brave Witches given the main story’s relative popularity, but it’s a good idea to temper any expectations before they get out of hand.

As for the narrative meat and potatoes, well, there are (or should be) no real surprises. As mentioned in the RC Preview this season is a direct follow-up to the Strike Witches movie, so anyone who expects to hop into this blind to see why every girl under the age of 20 has a collective hatred for pants best resign themselves to starting from the first season. For Strike Witches fans there is quite a bit to salivate in expectation for, however; all 501st have already been teased and the first hints of the inevitable squadron reunification and play on all the various personalities at work are in abundance. This opener may have been more about giving main players Yoshika (Fukuen Misato) and Mio (Seto Saori) some introductory screentime and reinforcing just what makes Mio so damn special, but don’t worry, everyone (or every Witch) will certainly have their time to shine as the festivities kick into high gear.

After all, when the Neuroi have already been shown to possess some unexpected and unanticipated aquatic abilities (aren’t you glad to know what actually sunk the Titanic?), it won’t take long before peaceful studying and nonchalant tarot reading turns into a fight for life. It might be a bit of a wait for episode two, but you can be sure whatever Strike Witches has planned for this season is going to be a blast.

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