In September of 1944, thanks to the actions of the Allied Forces, with the 501st Joint Fighter Wing "Strike Witches" at their center, the Neuroi nest in the skies above the Republic of Gallia was eliminated, ensuring the security of western Europe. The Allied Forces took advantage of this victory to plan to take their resistance to central and eastern Europe in earnest. At their base in Petersburg in the Empire of Orussia, the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing "Brave Witches" prepared to receive orders to deploy... With the hope of mankind at their backs, the courageous Witches of the 502nd take to the cold skies over eastern Europe.
The Witch of Sasebo?
Take Flight, Chidori
The 502nd Joint Fighter Wing
If You Want to Fight, Get Stronger!
Deadly Battle in the Freezing Cold
On a Holy Night
Grape Juice for Your Eyes
Big Sister and Little Sister
We Won't Know Until We Try
Shining with Light...
Brave Witches is a side story that takes place within the world of the Strike Witches series. The story is a pretty typical underdog's rise to glory arc. While it is not groundbreaking, it was enjoyable. Character development is where Brave Witches was the weakest. While the main characters felt lovable and well developed to me, some of the support characters could have used a bit more attention. What Brave Witches lacks in character development and story, it made up for with animation and sound. Overall a very enjoyable watch for me. Story - Hikari is a girl who lives in the shadow of her big sister Takami who is a powerful witch and a well respected ace in the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing. Eager to prove to both herself and to the world that she has what it takes to be a witch despite her lack of latent magic, she eventually proves that she has what it takes to get accepted into the military. After Takemi is injured in a battle, Hikari volunteers to be her replacement. While her fellow solders are reluctant to accept her at first, over time she is able to prove that she is exactly where she belongs and a valuable member of the team. Animation - This was where Brave Witches really shined. There were a lot occasions where witches were flying through elaborate obstacle courses doing aerial acrobatics to dodge enemy laser attacks, fly between buildings, fly between ships and fly in formations. The camera work made all of these flight scenes fantastic. The neuroi (hive mind enemy) had some very interesting designs and the way they explode into fireworks after their cores are destroyed was always a treat to watch. Compared to Strike Witches, the excessive focus on fan service has been reduced from full bath scenes every couple episodes to the occasional panty shot. While the reduction in fan service will be a disappointment to some, others may find that the lack of it makes this series more accessible. Sound - Sound is always going to be subjective. I'm not really sure what I can say about it. I personally liked the songs featured in both the OP and the ED, and the music that played during battles was both immersive and thrilling. The sounds of the strike units engines and the sound of the gunfire were both crisp and on point. Characters - This is the part of Brave Witches that I found to be the weakest. Some characters showed good character development. For example, Kanno starts out strongly opposed to allowing Hikari to even be allowed into the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing, but as Hikari is able to prove herself more and more, Kanno eventually opens up to her and eventually calls her a partner. Other characters have one defining characteristic and are not developed beyond that. For example, Krupinski's only defining characteristic is that she likes to hit on other girls. Overall this is a short action series that does its action well, but prioritizes getting from one action scene to the next without putting a lot of focus on character development or world building. If a deep and meaningful story is what you are looking for, nothing about it will be groundbreaking or memorable. If you are okay with watching a simple series about a bunch of cute girls working together to blow stuff up, Brave Witches is worth a watch.
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