And now for a Very Special Episode of Strike Witches. You know it's special when there's no opening sequence.
What They Say
Miyafuji sees Sakamoto practicing the Reppuzan and asks her to teach her the attack that has been handed down in Fuso since time immemorial. Sakamoto refuses. Miyafuji wants Sakamoto to respect her more, so she'll teach it to her. Unfortunately, she is having trouble flying. That's when the naval fleet from Fuso runs into trouble and Miyafuji has her chance to prove herself.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Strike Witches had a really beautiful episode prior to this where it put it all out on display when it comes to the shows fanservice and sexuality. I mean, they really pushed it nicely and I appreciated that it was true to what the show is really about. Episodes like that are fun because they're honest about it and you have them being perfectly silly by making the kill awards in the form of panties. When the show gets serious, that's when it starts to drag for me because it doesn't really fit the show overall. I can't take a show about girls flying in panties seriously. I just can't. I can enjoy it, I can smile throughout it, but seriously? No.
The eighth episode of the series decides to go serious to balance what came before as it focuses on Miyafuji as she's finally, finally, reached that stage where she wants to be treated seriously by Sakamoto. When she catches Sakamoto using a really neat technique that's been passed down over the years by those of Fuso, she wants in on it and practically begs her to be taught it. But because she's young and relatively inexperienced overall, Sakamoto refuses to teach it to her. Which makes sense since even after all the episodes so far, Miyafuji is still having a hard time flying properly, which is amusing considering some of what she had to go through in the previous season towards the end. So, Miyafuji being Miyafuji, sets about to practice constantly and work hard at it so she can gain the respect of Sakamoto and learn the secret technique.
Not surprisingly, an event occurs at just the right time where Miyafuji and Lynne are able to help out as the Fuso fleet has run into a rather powerful Neuroi while in supposedly safe waters, which seems odd to say considering the Neuroi generally seem to appear out of nowhere fairly regularly. With the troubles that Miyafuji has had to date, this is the perfect chance for her to show she can fly properly again and help out. As the fleet gets badly damaged, it's do or die time. And honestly, which way can this kind of show go? It's going to have Miyafuji get out there and help after seeing Lynne doing her best on her own at first. There's a lot at stake with this battle but it's not going to do anything that dramatically changes the larger story elements. Miyafuji will stand up and do what needs to be done.
Strike Witches is a show that is pretty blatant in each and every episode and that's not a bad thing. You can check out the first minute or two and get an idea if not map out the whole episode by what is set up there. And if you make the mistake of reading the summary first, well, then you just watch the episode for the fanservice because otherwise you have everything made clear with just a few lines. I like Strike Witches at times, such as the previous episode as noted, and some of the first season worked really well towards the end. But episodes like this that pushes Miyafuji yet again to a situation where she's stuck and trying to prove herself is hackneyed and predictable from nearly the first frame. While it's neat from a visual standpoint what they give her to help out, it doesn't salvage the rest of the episode from being something we've seen a million times before and could have easily been handled in a sixty second flashback before getting on to something better.
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.