Brave Witches Review
I’m back with another anime review! Today we will be taking a look at Brave Witches. It is a spinoff of Strike Witches. If you’re not sure what that is, think Girls und Panzer, but with witches and panties. It takes place in an alternate World War II era, though instead of fighting each other, the countries of the world are fighting alien invaders called Neuroi. For some reason, as happens in almost every anime like this, teenage girls are fighting deadly battles.
The world of Brave Witches has, as you might guess, girls called witches. They have magic powers, like creating shields and healing. With the help of magic-powered machines that allow them to fly in the air, they fight the Neuroi with machine guns and other cool weapons. They also grow animal ears and tails when they use their powers, because reasons. They also do not wear pants. Like what are pants. There are a few references to the characters and events of Strike Witches in this anime, which takes place between Strike Witches season 1 and 2. If you are a fan of that show, you will spot the references.
Brave Witches packs a LOT of characters into a small amount of episodes. Their are 10 members of the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing (the main character’s squadron). Most of the characters get very little exploration or development. It’s difficult to learn their names when you never really get to know them. Several characters in the show are also unlikeably stupid.
The character you see the most of is Hikari, the main protagonist. She is a very hard worker with a lot of stamina, but a woeful lack of raw magical power. She has to work twice as hard to be half as good as anyone else. Her idol is her sister Takami, who is a powerful witch and somewhat of a war hero. Though she has a sunny personality and works hard, she is just not that smart. You know that phrase, “Work smarter, not harder”? She doesn’t work smart. She is also very green when it comes to combat, since she pretty much fell into the 502nd completely by accident. There is a subplot of Hikari gaining confidence and experience that is enjoyable to watch. She improves with every fight. Her journey of personal growth, more than the battles with the Neuroi at times, make this show heartwarming and fun to watch.
Gundula Rall is the squadron leader of the Brave Witches, and while we see a lot of her, we don’t really get to know her. She is a firm but fair leader who doesn’t really engage in combat much and prefers to lead from a base of operations. She reminds me of Minerva McGonagall.
Sasha is the group’s main tactician. She’s a hardass, and sort of like the group’s mom, but like the mean mom who doesn’t let you do anything fun ever.
Waltrud would be a fun character if she wasn’t such a womanizer. Every word she says is a come-on to one of the other girls and it’s really creepy and offputting. Anywhere else, she would have been turned in for sexual harassment. But it’s an anime, so I guess that makes it okay?
Edytha is the group’s trainer. She is the one who knows how to work smarter, not harder.
Nikka is a moron who is always breaking her flying unit. She is one of those characters who is unlikeably stupid.
Georgette is the group’s main healer.
Kanno is another witch from Japan who is unfortunately really mean and stuck-up. She’s not a very likeable character. I think she’s supposed to fill the mean but not really mean person with a heart of gold role, but she is pretty much just mean.
Sadako doesn’t engage in much combat but also acts as the group’s cook on base. Obviously this is a LOT of characters to keep up with. I didn’t memorize most of their names and most of their backstories aren’t explored.
Brave Witches has SO much fanservice it is unreal. It still has less fanservice than Strike Witches though. There are so many panty shots. There are also camel toe shots. I really should have done a panty shot count but that would have killed my soul. As you might expect, there is some subtle (and less than subtle) girl on girl action here. Even with all the fanservice, it seems to be a friendship and rainbows show DISGUISED as a fanservice show. You come for the panties and stay for the friendship. For some reason, the witches lose their powers as they approach their mid-20s, which really seems to be a metaphor for how a woman becomes less valuable as she loses her beauty and youth, which is SEXIST. A girl grows up and suddenly becomes less useful. Like really.
The military aspect of this show is kind of funny. Obviously none of this stuff would fly in a real army. The witches put on magical boots with propellers that let them fly. In some ways this show just chucks available WWII-era technology straight out the window. In other ways, it’s somewhat of an homage to World War II. The ships and weapons used are all real WWII-era weapons and historical ships. The girls are named after historical pilots. For some reason, females of a higher rank are called ‘sir’. Toward the end of the series they’re called ‘ma’am’. I don’t know why they flip flop back and forth.
Even when meeting with high-ranking male officials, they STILL don’t wear pants. And don’t get me started on the blatant disrespect and insubordination that these girls engage in a few times toward higher officials. I know that would not go down well in real life. But this is ANIME, with ANIME logic.
Things I Liked
Okay, I know I’ve been shitting on Brave Witches for the better part of this post, but I actually did really like it. It’s heartwarming and cute. The main point of the anime, besides the war with the Neuroi, is girls from different countries coming together and forming friendships. The show doesn’t get very dark, so if you want to see a cute, but not particularly intelligent comedy with heartwarming moe military action, this one is for you. There’s a good mix of slice of life vs. combat.
I just wish there had been more episodes to fit in more of the slice of life aspect and get to know the characters more. The show’s animation is very well-done, if not somewhat standard for an anime. The landscapes and cityscapes stand out as being very pretty and well-done. They’re very detailed, almost like looking an a painting of a real European city.
Things I Didn’t Like
The combat sequences make use of CG animation. It’s almost too much, because the CG doesn’t look that good to be completely honest. They should have left out some of the CG and opted for more hand drawn animation instead. I don’t like either of the songs used in the anime. They’re not BAD. They’re just standard. There’s nothing that stands out of makes them interesting. The opening sequence is pretty standard shots of the main character working hard at life stuff and showing cameos of the other characters. There’s nothing special about any of it.
This show tries to be comedic at times, which usually fall flat. Maybe it’s funnier in Japanese? Some of the comedy comes from the pervyness, which I don’t find funny 99% of the time. Some more of the comedy comes from how unintelligent a few characters are, which I also do not find funny. Most of the comedy falls very flat for me.
Overall, I did like this anime even though I have a lot of criticisms for it. If you like anime like Girls und Panzer or C3, this might be the anime for you if you don’t mind the panty shots. It’s really cute and shines at showcasing genuine friendships and character development (at least for one character).
Pictures are either screenshots or from Google.