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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 
Strike Witches sets out to be a fun, bold character-driven anime. There is no pretense of deep social commentary or mind-blowing plot.  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!
- Sanya and Eila are still my favorite witches.
- 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.