Here's an interesting one. While being a completely different thing, while thinking to SW, I can't stop to think to Evangelion, and even more Aquarion as well. Can't ereally say why. It's just like this.
Story - 7/10
A peaceful girl with some magic powers living in a peaceful town gets suddendly recruited into the Strike Witches and in no time finds herself at the front line, in a small elite magical team, fighting an alien enemy of which she barely knows the name and that is wiping away any armed force on its path. Along with this open was against the Neuroi, political tensions lies behind the Strike Witches, for some classic, endlessly used egocentric and bramous of power high-rank military officier just wants to see the SW disbanded in order to take their place as the big powerful hero etc etc...
Also inbetween the SW girls some events happen every now and then, mostly involving Yoshika and one or two of the other girls. Unluckily none of these relationships is really deepened. Everithing is just left vague, while the show maily focus on the struggle of Yoshika in order to gain the trust of her camarades and to keep the head up while things go down with the Neuroi.
Actually there was some unused potential, the story, while not really original (the peaceful girl fights for the world...), it does in fact provide a lot of material to be shaped. A total of eleven Strike Witches (including Yoshika) could mean several stories that develop on parallel, with some more background and evolution during the story for all the characters.
I guess twelve episodes to deepely inquire the events around eleven girls might be a little too few. If this would have been a 24 episodes anime, I believe it would have really improved. I hope the second season will fill this feeling of mine.
Animation - 8/10
I'm satisfied, it is actually a simple yet effective design style. Neither excedence nor lackness of details, it provides a preasant view. And no, I'm not talking only about the curves of the girls. Not that alone, at least.
I would have, however, appreciated some more variety in the animation of fighting sequences... The SW are sorceresses, aren't them? Apart from shields and a couple magics here and there, there is barely no magic at all. Well I guess it has been done in order to not steal the attention of the viewer from other more important things...
Just one question remains... In this world, slightly more technological than our own (but not that much)... How is that not a single girl in the world... Wears neither trousers nor skirts?
Sound - 7/10
Can't really judge... No bad points, no good points... Voices fits in well, sometimes I would have appreciated some more "emotion" in them, however they are in the end well suited to each character personality.
Still, apart from the dialogues, I can't really mention that much that could help me to evaluate the sound... As mentioned above, some more magics with all their audio/visual effects wouldn't have hurted...
Characters - 9/10
Evaluation flies that high mostly because of the potential behind the characters. As previously stated, if more time (and more episodes) would have been invested in the other characters, it could have been a way better anime.
Big groups are in fact hard to handle. Ideate the events in an eleven girl team like the SW that that would develop, follow and affect the relationships between them all (and not only between each one of them and Yoshika) is not easy task, and something feels in fact missing.
It is nevertheless a well built group. Some chars are actually quite the stereotype found in many anime, but some curious personality shows up. If just there was more ti-... Ah, I already said that...
Aside from the main characters, about no secundary chars shows up... A few nameless guys in the crew of the ships and the staff of the SW QG, a few people in Yoshika's town, but if you count how many people outside the SW team ever said a word, even just one... Eck, even just a "gggrrrulg"... Your ten fingers should be enough... But being them the side chars, it is not that really important...
Now I'm just wandering... Apart from Yoshika's mama and grandma... Where are all the womans? Only girls around? Oh well...
Overall - 8/10
Cool anime, I'm eager to watch the second season.
I have however to mention something. Sometimes, things happen, but *how* they happen it's just skipped. It would have been a cool scene... What a pity.
And because of this do not expect that much pathos and tension. It works really well if you are looking for some "cute action" anime (or better... "cute fanservice action" anime), without the need to activate your emotional center, that can just relax. Yes, of course, some touching scenes every now and then, but far both from tears and from suspence.
It's basically one of those anime where you watch with the same emotions a battle to the death between the various factions andthe everyday quarrel between the chars, and it offers a worthy break for those that usually search for intense action, as well as an interesting option with a glimpse of action for who prefears more calm stuffs.