Strike Witches 2 Review

miyafuji yoshika shimada humikane strike witches

Strike Witches 2 is the sequel to the infamous pants-less Strike Witches. Like its prequel, the series follows Miyafuji Yoshika and the 501st squad in a world war against the Neuroi. In season two, the eleven witches of 501st are stationed in Romagna to fight against the mysterious and dangerous entities.

eila ilmatar juutilainen sanya litvyak strike witches yuri

In many ways, season two simply reinvents the formula set in season one: cute girls, animal and mecha anthropomorphisms, panties, and a healthy dose of yuri. However, there are some differences between the two seasons. Strike Witches 2 improves on all the wonderful aspects of season one. The animation and production qualities are smoother; personalities are more defined.; yuri scenes are cuter. Even the girls’ panties seem an inch lower.

hanna justina marseille mecha musume shimada humikane strike witches

It is in the minor details that Strike Witches 2 sets itself apart from the season one and from other anime. From the first episode, I was impressed with the gloss of high production values. Even as a total ignoramus on war units, I could appreciate the details that go into the ships, guns, and planes. Of course, that extraordinary execution extends to the Romagna landscape and the flight scenes. Not only is there almost no recycled sequence, the high-sky battles are fluid and beautifully shot. I enjoy each battle even if it was just against faceless neuroi blocks. I especially love Marseille and Hartmann’s duel. The fantastic animation gives the audience the illusion of flying in the sky.

charlotte yeager francesca lucchini miyafuji yoshika sakamoto mio shimada humikane strike witches

Furthermore, I do not just fly; I fly with the 501st. During our time in Romagna, we are given a small window into the lives, strengths, weaknesses, and quirks of all eleven girls. I became attached to the girls in only twelve episodes.

While the first season only introduces us to the characters, season two delves into each person. Mio finally comes to terms with her depleting magical power. Perrine’s reparation efforts give Perrine her motivation. Hartmann’s resolve shines through her laid back attitude. The girls become more than just moe tropes. Lucchini is perhaps the best example of this. She graduates from just being the token comedic loli filler to a proud, loving, passionate, albeit still childish girl. In Strike Witches 2, we understand much more of the witches’ personality and their motivations.

eila ilmatar juutilainen perrine clostermann shimada humikane strike witches

Even more importantly, the girls are a cohesive team. In the first season, we have episodic presentations of each girl (or pairs of girl). Yet, there is not much interplay between “cliques.” Lucchini and Shirley work wonderfully with each other, but we see little of their interactions with Karsland Witches. However, Strike Witches 2 delivers on all these layered relationships: the rivalry between Barkhorn and Shirley, the dynamic within the rookie three, Eila’s consultation with Perrine… etc. When there are eleven memorable witches, the available interactions among them become extremely complicated and the characters multi-dimensional.

Strike Witches 2 Eila Sanya yuri Shimada Humikane

Further, with more developed characters, the yuri moments are no longer just gratuitous. My favorite moment in the series is at the climax of the midseason battle. Eila overcomes her shield-less habits and fights alongside her love Sanya. It was such a touching and sweet moment, so much so that my eyes watered when their hands clasped. [1]

francesca lucchini miyafuji yoshika perrine clostermann shimada humikane strike witches

Strike Witches sets out to be a fun, bold character-driven anime. There is no pretense of deep social commentary or mind-blowing plot. [2] It simply tries to charm the audience with all the lovely girls and fan service. And it works! Just as I love the witches’ personalities and pants-less outfits (… panties), I love this fun sequel!

miyafuji yoshika shimada humikane strike witches

  1. Sanya and Eila are still my favorite witches.
  2. Although plot is of no consequence, I am still a disappointed that the humanoid neuroi and coexistence ideas are written off hastily. I would have wanted to see those interesting themes explored more.

Strike Witches (Season 1) review
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46 Responses to Strike Witches 2 Review

  1. biotoxic says:

    Glad to see you back posting again :D. Hope things are getting better.

    Yeah, Strike Witches 2 was a great sequel to the first season. While it won’t sway those who hated the first season it certain delivers on what the fans expected. We got to see more of the 501st squad, their relationships, and even an episode dedicated to a new witch, Hanna Justina Marseille.

    I enjoyed watching the little snippets of Sanya and Eila as the other witches went about their duties, such as them getting burnt at the beach or asking for a very specific cushion. The Sanya & Eila episode was also really nice.

    I’m hoping for a US DVD boxset.

    • Yi says:

      I think those who couldn’t get into first season because of the blatant fan service will certainly not enjoy the second season either. On the other hand, for us fans, this is a very pleasant treat as it steps everything up.

      I thought it was great to see other witches from Shimada Humikane’s character designs. She has such a strong presence and she is so lovely! I was a bit annoyed by her though since I am a fan of Barkhorn. If there were another season, I’d like to see others as well.

      Sanya and Eila kind of have their own little world. But it was so cute every time we get to see them.

  2. glothelegend says:

    They still need to put on some pants IMO, at least some shorts….but still, I actually liked the first season a good deal, and now that this one has ended, I plan on checking out. Same goes for to aru railgun, even though I hear nothing but bad things about it.

  3. EmperorG says:

    I’m glad to hear that this marvelous sequel did indeed blow you away as I had predicted. All of your comments are very well done and once again, explain the wonders of the character development incrementation much better than my own review of both seasons. Great review once again Yi-san.

    Glad you had a great time with this one. For now, we can either check out the other media based on SW, or await the future premiere of SW3. Yup, the writers already have plans for a 3rd season. However, it is highly speculated that the next season will focus on a different unit and not the 501st.

    There’s only one more thing left: hopefully the 2nd season’s profits will be able to afford pants for our lovely witches.

    • Yi says:

      I’m really glad to hear about a season 3. If it is as good as SW2, I’m content. In fact, if it was as good as season 1, I would still enjoy it. What amazes me most about SW2 was that I didn’t think a series driven by fan service could get any better than what we saw in SW1. I loved the first season and I thought it was at the top of fan service anime; then SW2 came and blew me away.

      For the third season, I’d bet on a different cast as well. There are still many untapped character designs from Shimada Humikane’s original illustrations. Additionally, the end of SW2 seem to indicate that both Miyafuji and Mio are no longer witches (or at least able to be in battle). They were the leads and their stories ended pretty solidly. This season also opened the doors up to other witches around the world (Marseille, Hartmann’s twin… etc.). Given all that, I think there’s a very good chance we’re going to see a whole new unit.

      “There’s only one more thing left: hopefully the 2nd season’s profits will be able to afford pants for our lovely witches.”
      Haha, we’ll see. ^ ^

      • EmperorG says:

        This is exactly why I told you last time that I ranked Strike Witches and Queen’s Blade in the same category: Both are misunderstood masterpieces that only the ones who could bare the fanservice could understand and appreciate. Then again, I suppose they did focus on their fanservice side a bit more than their excellent character development side a few times. I think that’s why haters had such low expectations for the SW sequel. Lucky for us we did enjoy the prequel and that made the sequel’s awesomeness a bliss.

        I’m in the mood to watch the 1st season again, just to remember why I liked this show back then and I like it even more now. No, it doesn’t involve pant-less girls. I still support the purchase of pants.

        • Yi says:

          Yea, so many parallels to Queen’s Blade. Queen’s Blade is even more hated though because of uncensored upper body nudity.
          I can totally understand why some people would hate both.

  4. shinra says:

    Season 2 is way better than season 1…. Season 1 is just too boring till I totally forgot what happened after Season 2 started. (not kidding, I only remembered the part where they went back to Japan…. others before that, completely forgotten and will never rewatch it :C)

    However Season 2 is something different. Better graphics, better story and of course, better YURI. Most favorite Yuri pair is none other than Elia and Sanya. (same as you ^^ They are just too unique!) and…. Lucchini is always the one that annoys me the most. (Don’t get me wrong, I really LOVE x100 her seiyuu role as Natsuki from Mai HiME. Sigh, ShizNat is just too Awesome!)

    * And for some reason, I love to guess what type of ears and tails/animals of each characters… Weird…. 😀

    • Yi says:

      I actually really loved season 1 as well. It’s what got me into Strike Witches. So when I saw how good season 2 was, I was especially happy.

      I also really liked Lucchini in this season. She has that naive childish charm and her voice is too adorable. I would never have guessed she’s also Natsuki though. What a surprise!

      I love to guess the animals too. The ending sequences gives fairly good hints for some. Miyafuji is a racoon. Mio, Barkhorn, Minna and Hartmann are dogs/ wolves. Lynette and Perrine are cats. Shirley is a rabbit. Lucchini is a panther! Sanya is a sloth. Eila is a fox… I think. I have no idea what Marseille is though.

  5. Shin says:

    As you know, I am staunchly against homosexuality in Japanese cartoons, so the yuri bits in Strike Witches were almost a deterrent for me. However, they were actually more sparse than it seems, and seeing cute girls doing cute things while killing stuff won me over at the end of the day.

    • Yi says:

      You should tell me your story about how you became so against yuri sometime!
      Anyways, for me, someone who always has yuri goggles on, there were plenty of yuri. But more importantly, I think I just like seeing cute girls doing cute things and firing huge guns too.

    • Snark says:

      Wait. You don’t like lesbians?

      What the hell is wrong with you.

  6. Shance says:

    I think we are in total agreement that season 2 kicks every single aspect of the show up a notch. We have better graphics, better fanservice (in all sorts, like oldschool gun fanservice, Japanese cultural heritages like the Shinden, etc.), better interaction between the squad members, better fight scenes, and better seiyuu cameos (I squeed when I heard Joji Nakata’s voice, I kid you not). There were some plot holes and unexplained events here and there, but all in all it was enjoyable. It’s good to know you’re one of the persons who still give the show high remarks even though a lot of people said the first season sucked (which I don’t really think so).

    • Yi says:

      I loved the first season too, so I jumped when second season came out. I was even more ecstatic to see significant improvement in everything. Anyways, so glad to see another fan of both seasons! ^ ^

      The plot holes I can forgive. I think of SW as more of a slice-of-life anime in that we have an episodic structure focusing on the daily lives of these girls. One thing I did feel kind of bad about though is that at the end of SW1, the show was onto something quite interesting: coexistence with the neuroi and the sentience of these alien beings. But this was quickly killed off in SW2, and we’re back to more of “kill the daily monster.”

      Still, who cares about story when you have cute girls flying around in their panties and destroying stuff.

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  8. EmperorG says:

    I would call haters weaklings and overreacting, but I can’t. Their reasons for disliking both shows is plausible. It’s a darn shame, but what can you do. humans sadly cannot live without hate these days.

    Anyway, enough of the bad news time for some GREAT news. Guess what just got the Green Light….:STRIKE WITCHES THE MOVIE!

    More details will be revealed this Saturday.

    • Yi says:

      Haha, we might think they’re haters and they might think we’re shallow perverts. Everyone has their tastes and tolerance level for ecchi.

      Anyways, that’s incredible news!! I can’t wait to see it. I wonder if we’ll get more of Miyafuji and gang, or we’ll start to see other witches. I guess we’ll know soon.

  9. Solaris says:

    Well, do thank Gonzo who adapted Strike Witches in a mindless lolifanservice orgy where the franchise didn’t really deserve to be made that ludicrous in the firt place.
    Now that Gonzo is gone for good, this Strike Witches 2 tried to make the first season better, thus making no real inprovement about plot, but finishing char introduction and giving us a good taste on how strike witches would have been: episode 10 is far beyond epic with a real witch air duel! Damn i really liked it.
    Now let’s hope eventual next season will focus on the plot and different witches. I read info about the novel and they’r more tha meets the eye in a matter of plot and fanta-politics!

    • Yi says:

      I actually liked the first season, but yea, compared to the second, it looked like ludicrous “mindless lolifanservice orgy.”

      That duel was the highlight of the entire franchise. It was so beautifully shot and such fast paced action. I love love love it!

      The next season should be on different witches… Miyafuji and Sakamoto Mio’s story have both been resolved.
      “I read info about the novel and they’r more tha meets the eye in a matter of plot and fanta-politics!”
      Oooh. Now I’m intrigued! We might have something extremely special if we can throw a great plot into this character dense show.

      • Solaris says:

        Sorry Yi, if i put a link to another forum discussion, but i started a topic there about strike witches, and still nobody seemed to care. Just take a quick look and then we can continue discussing here instead, if you like:

        This is where i read about Strike Witches novels:

        And here’s Baka Tsuki translation project:

        Have fun ^^/

      • Solaris says:

        Oh, by the way i liked season one too, but unfortunately it’s undeniable a lolifanservice orgy. 😦

        • Yi says:

          Thanks for the links! They were all great reads.

          You have a great point that the neuroi seem to be a cop out. Instead of having to develop “real” battles with political, emotional, and moral implications, SW just lets the girls have a common faceless enemy. It’s kind of taking the easy way out. The only attempt at this was the humanoid neuroi, but that was quickly killed off too. Shooting legos is boring. Killing humans/ humanoids with feelings and thoughts is interesting. It’s too bad SW didn’t go this route.

          Again, thanks for the other links too. I know a lot more about SW world now than just the small bit shown from these two seasons. I’m really looking forward to seeing where the movie goes.

  10. Ningyo says:

    Hate of Strike Witches, hate of haters of Strike Witches! Round and round she goes…

    Anyhow, it’s nigh time that I realized not every series was meant to cater to me – have I said that before? I probably have. If I could only hammer the concept into my thick head, I wouldn’t lose so much blood over the HSotD, or the Koihime Musou, or the etc etc. Still, my reaction to SW was never as volatile – Francesca and Lynette of Canadia kept me in check. Glad to see Lucchini goes through some evolution in season 2.

    Yes, Strike Witches’ season 1 totally fell short for me. I like mecha musume, I liked all the references to Billy Bishop and the Spitfire and whatnot, but it was still too shallow for it to be emotionally significant to me in any way. Yes, I walk into everything expecting the grand narrative. I’m trying to take a quiet approach to what I reject now.

    Though, it’s cool that the change in studio brought about/contributed to all these improvements. I certainly don’t deny the possibility of a series improving with sequels.

    • Yi says:

      Haha yea… There’s hate everywhere! Well, that’s kind of the fun of having opinions I guess.

      I share your feelings on Koihime Musou… etc. Even though I have accepted that some anime are just not for me, I still lose blood over fangasms for what I consider pretty bad shows. It’s inevitable.

      Even though I praised SW2 like no other, I actually agree that this could have had a better narrative. It doesn’t need it as the characters are strong enough alone, but I think having a more solid story would’ve propelled this to even greater heights. And it was so close too! The end of season one set up a pretty interesting beginning to understanding the neuroi. Yet I don’t understand why SW2 just abandoned anything related to that direction. 😦

      “I certainly don’t deny the possibility of a series improving with sequels.”
      Hoping the upcoming movie or possible season three would start incorporating a real story as well.

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  12. Fabienne says:

    These Strike Witches artworks are so nice 😉
    Well SW 2 had great character driven episodes and also good comedy parts.
    the one with the treasure chest was hilarious XD

    but the story part was not so good imo.
    I’ve expected a bit more after the promising start and also from the so called “stronger” Neurois, the end was nearly a copy of the setting from Season 1.

    • Yi says:

      Agreed totally!! Great characters, nice light comedy, love Perrine’s episode! Mio and Minne’s parts really got me. ^ ^

      As you said, the story is really lacking. We have essentially the same story as season 1, which is pretty much no story. No progress on resolving the neuroi issue; nothing new in understanding them either. It’s a bit disappointing.

      • EmperorG says:

        I guess that’s the point because the Neuroi are at the end of the day, nothing but 2 dimensional alien invaders that the Witches must combat. I’ve heard more stuff happens in the manga combat-wise, but as far as the anime series is concerned, it’s more about strengthening the bonds of the Team, as far as what I’ve seen. I suppose it’s all part of the moefication or sexifying of historic events and legendary warriors.

        • Yi says:

          Great point here. This anime really doesn’t need to have a sophisticated plot. Still, I just thought it was a bit of a missed opportunity in not having something more than 2-D aliens.

  13. hisui19 says:

    yay! I love Sanya and Eila too!!! XD I watched episode 6, many times >_<
    I love the insert song so much, I played it many times too ^_^
    the difference between season one to season two is much great… i love the season two greatly…

  14. Nopy says:

    Season 2 is already over and I still haven’t seen season 1. At this rate, I don’t think I’ll ever have time to watch it 😦

  15. lovelyduckie says:

    They have entertaining personalities? Hmmm…maybe I will try it then. A strong character personality often makes or breaks anime for me.

    “Even the girls’ panties seem an inch lower.”

  16. EmperorG says:

    Ah well, haters will hate. Nothing we can do about it. In any case, that’s what the manga and novels are for, to better showcase the Neuroi threat. Basically they’ll never become nothing more than alien invaders, but in the light novel stories, I heard that the Neuroi show just how truly menacing they can be.

  17. bluedrakon says:

    I started watching this series as I love Mecha and wanted to see how this would unfold. For some reason it did not click with me even with all the pantsu shots and moe-ish theme.

    Though I have to say I do have a few desktop wallpapers of them :3

    • Yi says:

      Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out with you. It’s pretty far from classic mecha series though, which I guess is why I liked it.

      Well, at least you gave it a try. ^ ^

  18. Massaca says:

    Watched season 1a few days ago and absolutely adored it in every way, not just the obvious themes. Downloaded season 2 in 1080p yesterday and just watched the lot. I think my only disappointment with season 2 was episode 9 being a bit ridiculous with the statue coming to life. I loved it almost as much as the first season, S1 wins simply because ep.7 was perfect ♥ For a series with so many characters I surprisingly loved them all and also loved the developments and everything, just a slight bit disappointed about the end in relation to 2 specific characters (trying not to spoil anything) I think season 2 went a fair bit lighter on the fan service, didn’t mind at all though.

    Something else I really loved about it was that it’s just so light hearted and happy, there’s very little sadness or bad crap happening to the characters like in every other anime. It’s just wonderful.

    Starting to ramble on a little. Anyway, I didn’t ever expect to find a series that was perfect for me however almost every single thing about Strike Witches is perfect IMHO. It’s as close to perfect as I’ll ever get I think.

    It has most certainly replaced Canaan as my fav anime.
    Can’t wait for the DVD release of season 2 and for the movie to be released and subbed but that’s a long~ way off yet 😦

    • Yi says:

      I adored both seasons completely too, but I did enjoy season 2 just a little more because of execution. Season 2 looks sharper, has slightly better character interactions, and just in general, feels better. True, the episode 9 did get a bit ridiculous, but I don’t think it’s outside the vibe of Strike Witches. In any case, the whole franchise is lovely I think. I also love all the characters too, and the series does a good job of developing them and making us care about them.

      The light-heartedness is certainly worth noting. Strike Witches really is just a good fluffy time killer, and a nice way to bring smiles. While I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite anime, I enjoyed it immensely. I wouldn’t mind another season.

  19. Massaca says:

    Yeah, I’d love another season (and more) as I think it’s just wonderful. I just mostly found it to be a nice change of pace from what I had watched previously. I really haven’t watched enough anime to say to much though.

    A few days ago I found out that there are a bunch of voice CD’s, character song & voice albums and a couple drama CD’s that were released and have been translated so I got all of those and am listening/reading through them. But at the moment I’ve just been listening to one of the albums featuring Sanya and Eila, over and over. I love their voices.

    I’m quite obsessed with this series now, haha. I also found that there are figures for all the characters… now I’m broke lol.

    • Yi says:

      It is wonderful indeed. ^ ^
      I’d recommend, though, that you go out there and explore more anime. There are many similar to Strike Witches; some may be even better.

      And yea, anyway, there’s a lot of really fun, related franchise surrounding this series. Besides the official works, there are also a few really cute doujins and such. Have fun!

      • Massaca says:

        Mm, I’ve got 5 series’ sitting on my shelf yet to be watched. I’m just very fussy when it comes, well everything. But yeah, the CD’s for this are great though I rarely like doujin work.

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