Strike Witches 2 is a perfect sequel. It takes what the first season did and improves on it from front to back, with better writing, more emphasis on the characters being awesome (as opposed to just sort of being there as they were sometimes in S1), and a whole lot more memorable events. I can’t remember much about the first season—I enjoyed the characters (mostly for their designs) and the general premise, but there hadn’t been anything in the show that really stuck with me, which is why even though I felt myself being instinctively defensive of it, I could never say that much good about it.
2 cures that entirely. Almost every single episode is memorable for one reason or another, and the series is riddled with moments of ultimate badassery. Being as “moments of ultimate badassery” are always my favorite part of anime, this meant a lot to love for me. Besides that, it got rid of other things I didn’t like about the first series, like all the in-fighting that came from Perrine (this time, she’s as much of a lovable character as the rest), and general lack of presence from others (everyone gets their moment in S2, and none of those moments are throw-away.)
There’s definitely more than one moment of awesome worth highlighting here, so I’ll just pull all the biggest ones.
Strike Witches 2 Episode 2 – REPPUZAN!
It was established in the later episodes of the first series that badass mentor-character Sakamoto Mio was getting too old to use her powers as a Witch. However, like most mentors, Mio wasn’t going to take this laying down, and in S2 ep 2, we learn that she went off to train somewhere for the past year and also forged her new sword, the Reppumaru, with her own hands.
Throughout these two episodes, Sakamoto is always seen wearing a classic nomad cloak, so when it’s time for her to go into battle, she gets on top of the sky-boat and finally throws off her cloak, revealing the white-style school swimsuit she’s wearing underneath. (Most Fuso women wear the blue one—only Sakamoto is badass enough to wear white. She must be some kinda Gundam.)
Mio’s striker unit is not yet combat-ready, so she says fuck it and jumps off the sky-boat bear-legged, dropping on the neuroi with her brand new ultimate attack, the REPPUZAN! Her attack eliminates the neuroi in one strike. Yoshika flies in to catch the falling Mio, revelling in her badassery, but the battle isn’t over yet! The neuroi regenerates itself and the battle continues, but now all of the other witches arrive to help.
After all sharing in the beatdown, Mio then breaks out her Reppuzan yet again and ends the battle.
Strike Witches 2 Episode 4 – Barkhorn Is BEAST.
Throughout this episode, Barkhorn and Yeager are having a contest of speed, with Barkhorn trying to prove the strength of the new jet-engine striker being made by Karlsland. Her national pride drives her to prove the machine’s worth as much as possible. What she won’t admit is that the machine is overloading her magic energy and could probably kill her if she kept going.
Of course, nothing is about to stop Barkhorn, and she keeps at her intense training to try and pump up for the machine. The most badass moment is when we see Barkhorn doing one-handed pull-ups from the rafters in her underwear. Simply put, this was one of the hottest scenes I’ve ever witnessed.
Strike Witches 2 Episode 6 – There Is No Sound In Space
Sanya and Eila are one of my favorite yuri couples, and their whole episode was cute and charming, but the climax was out of this world. It begins with the greatest plan ever—the witches make themselves into a human rocket ship, launching off one group at a time, and hoping to propel Yoshika and Sanya into the stratosphere to take down a neuroi. Eila would’ve gone, but she doesn’t know how to use a shield, and doing so is necessary for this mission.
At the last minute, Eila realizes that she can’t give in, and takes over for Yoshika to complete the mission.
It was stated earlier in the episode that there is no sound or air in space. We all know this, but anime ignores it most of the time (with notable exceptions that every sci-fi fan will faun over.) When Eila and Sanya reach the stratosphere, all sound ceases.
So instead, music kicks in. To replace the sounds of explosions and drama, the action is timed to the music beautifully, creating one of the coolest action scenes of the year.
Strike Witches 2 Episode 11/12 – There Is Nothing A Witch Can’t Do!
This episode was packed with emotional moments for Sakamoto Mio. From the start, she finds herself running out of power and possibly incapable of using Reppumaru anymore. Minna reveals that the sword was draining her magic power at an exponential rate and Sakamoto finally breaks down in despair. (That scene made me tear up. Excellent acting by Seto Saori.) Later, during the big battle, she attempts to use Reppuzan on a neuroi only for Reppumaru to actually bounce off.
Sakamoto goes into shock for a bit, but when the Yamato (yes, that Yamato) is shot up into the neuroi hive to destroy it and it’s neurofication doesn’t take, Sakamoto takes matters into her own hands, boldly declaring once more that “there is nothing a witch can’t do” and flying off towards her destiny. Sakamoto succeeds in destroying the neuroi hive with the last of her power… only to be taken over by it!
Strike Witches 2 Episode 12 – SHIN REPPUZAN!
Of course, I could’ve told you how Strike Witches would end before I even started—Yoshika was going to have a big moment, flying in amongst hundreds of enemies, with all of her friends helping her along, giving her lines of encouragement while they cleared a path to the final boss.
But this scene was made even greater by Yoshika essentially facing off against the power of her own mentor, Sakamoto Mio. When she comes in for the attack, Sakamoto orders her to run, believing there’s no way Yoshika could beat her own power. However, Yoshika confronts her with the refrain of her own motto, that there’s nothing a witch can’t do, and, taking Reppumaru in hand, uses the Shin Reppuzan to take down the final boss herself, even at the cost of possibly having used so much magic energy that she may not be able to fight again.
Strike Witches 2 was a ton of fun and something I will most certainly watch many times in the future. Keeping my fingers crossed for a third season!
Come back tomorrow to watch me unwrap my next present!
Bonus: BAND of WITCHES.