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Strike Witches Season 1 DVD Review

Aside from the thrilling aerial action, “Strike Witches” is far from magic.

The story: Set in alternate 1930’s-1940’s in which alien beings known as the Neuroi have attacked humankind, the story revolves around a young girl named Yoshika who has magic healing powers. In the first episode, Yoshika is recruited by the 501st Joint Fighter Wing Strike Witches (who fight against the Neuroi) but is reluctant to join them because she is anti-war. After learning that her father had ties with the Strike Witches, however, she decides to join to help/save people. In the 12 episode first season, plots involve Neuroi attacks, other witches (Mio, Lynette, Gertrud, Perrine, Sanya, Eila, Erica, Francesca, Minna), Yoshika healing people, underwear (don’t ask), the military, a Neuroi backstory, and a destructive mech known as the Warlock.

When the Strike Witches are engaging in explosive, fast paced aerial (and sea) battles with the Neuroi, the show is as exciting as any action anime series out there. Unfortunately, that excitement soon fades once the characters have landed back on the soil. From there on out, viewers have to witness groan worthy, over-the-top fanservice, cheesy dialogue and character interactions, puzzling random moments (witches sporting ears and a tail?), and last but not least, setting issues. As I stated above, the story is set in the 30’s-40’s era and yet nothing about this show feels like it is in that era. Much of the fashion, technology, environments, and weaponry all look out of place here. While I understand the series was trying to infuse WWII elements into the story, I think the series would have been better off placing the story in a different era or at least making it more convincing to that era ala “Captain America.”

Summary: If you like cheesy anime series with plenty of fanservice and intense action, “Strike Witches” will appeal to you. If not, I can’t recommend this series.

Video/Audio:

From the aerial battles to the environments, the animation shines in the widescreen presented picture quality. I should note that I was a little surprised that this season set wasn’t released on Blu-ray (or even a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack).

English Dolby Digital 5.1 and Japanese Stereo audio tracks have been included on this set. The English track really impresses when it comes to the action, but the voice work leaves a little to be desired. The Japanese track is stronger in terms of voice acting, but isn’t as strong in the action department.

Extras:
* Trailers for “Negima!,” “Shuffle,” “Dragonaut,” “Aquarion,” “Rin- Daughters Of Mnemosyne,” “Ikki Tousen,” “Evangelion 1.11,” “Ouran High School Host Club,” “Gunslinger Girl,” and “Moonphase.”
* Textless opening and closing songs.
* Commentary on episode 12 by the English director and two voice actresses. This is what you’d expect from a commentary by an English dub crew.

July 30, 2011 - Posted by | DVD review |

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