The future is here as rocket booster Strike units are introduced for the girls to try during a critical mission.
What They Say
As Sakamoto and the girls attack an incoming Neuroi, they notice that the smaller Neuroi are not vanishing. From this they discern that the main Neuroi controlling them is in another location. They find out that the core cannot be reached with normal propulsion or magic power alone. The Witches launch a plan to get to the core and attack.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Strike Witches expanded its universe a bit this season with the introduction of the jet oriented Strike units which are a bit more than the Witches can handle at this point. Sakamoto and her team make a disturbing discovery in this episode about a Neuroi that's essentially like a giant space elevator almost in that it's a thirty-thousand meter pole that's traveling over the countryside at ten kilometers an hour towards its target. With the existing Strike units topping out at ten thousand meters and the core being at the top of this beast, they have to go for some radical approaches, namely using the rocket boosters that will get them up high enough to deal with the Neuroi threat.
Though this is the primary focus of the episode, with the training that goes into effect and discussion about how to deal with it all from a combat perspective, there's also the expected round of character examination as well. This one goes to dealing with Eila a fair bit, as she's showing something of a superior attitude with the others because her trick is that she never uses her shields. With her quick speed and the slight precognitive abilities she has, she's able to see what's going to happen where around her before it does, so she can avoid it easily enough. Having never used her shields, she considers and says outright that anyone that does is inferior to her. Which makes for some ruffled feathers here and there and a sad Yoshika whose main ability is that she's really good at shields.
The approach used to deal with the Neuroi is pretty neat as they do a staged rocket approach with the girls, each stage featuring a different set of them helping to boost the others until they get to the right height to deal with everything. It'd be impossible without magic because of the lack of air and the temperature itself, which is why we see them actually flying with pants on this time which in turn takes away part of the supposed reason they were always wearing them before since you got the impression they couldn't' fly them as well with pants. The entire boost sequence is pretty decent and it's a nice moment to see the girls getting so high and having such a unique view for things before they deal with the Neuroi. It doesn't speak well of the Neuroi as they continue to do things in a manner that makes no sense for an alien invasion of such power.
Strike Witches plays with a fun area this time around, though it's all simple theatrics at the end in dealing with the Neuroi. On the plus side, because it takes place in an area with no air, they actually do it nicely by avoiding any sound and instead have a musical number playing to it. The focus on Eila is decent at best but she doesn't really get to shine all that much. She is humanized a bit more though and comes across as less of a superior Witch at the end of it. This episode doesn't have too strong of a focus on any one character though even with Eila getting a lot of time as even Sanya takes up a bit of time too in her quiet and meek way. This episode lacked something to make it stand out on its own, leaving it feeling mediocre at best, especially with a lack of the trademarked panty-flashing. The next episode must make up for this significantly since that's the reason the show exists, isn't it?
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.