The logo of Strike Witches
|Genre||Military science fiction|
|Strike Witches Suomus Iranko Chūtai Ganbaru (1), Koisuru (2), Hajikeru (3)|
|Illustrator||Humikane Shimada, Hashigo Ueda|
|Imprint||Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko|
|Original run||October 2006 – ongoing|
|Strike Witches Otome no Maki 1-3|
|Illustrator||Humikane Shimada, Hashigo Ueda|
|Imprint||Kadokawa Sneaker Bunko|
|Original run||August 2008 – August 2009|
|Strike Witches Sōkū no Otome-tachi|
|Original run||September 26, 2005 – January 26, 2006|
|Strike Witches Tenkū no Otome-tachi|
|Original run||July 26, 2008 – December 26, 2008|
|Strike Witches 1.5|
|Author||Kyougoku Shin (mangaka)|
|Original run||September 26, 2009 – ongoing|
|Original video animation|
|Released||January 1, 2007|
|Original run||July 3, 2008 – September 18, 2008|
|Strike Witches 2-ki|
Strike Witches (ストライクウィッチーズ Sutoraiku Witchīzu ) is a mixed-media project originally created by Humikane Shimada via a series of magazine illustration columns. It was later adapted into two light novel series, two manga series, an anime OVA, and a televised anime series. The story revolves around teenage girls who are essentially moe anthropomorphizations of military planes. The OVA preview episode was released on January 1, 2007. The televised anime series later premiered on July 3, 2008, concluding September 18. Official confirmation of a second season of the anime was announced on February 27, 2009.
Set in a world similar to Earth in the mid twentieth century, Strike Witches tells the story of a fight to protect that world using a combination of magic and technology. The titular Strike Witches are young women with high magical potential who are recruited into militaries around the world to fight against the enigmatic Neuroi, which began an invasion of unprecedented scale on human territory in the year 1939. This puzzling enemy force has appeared frequently and without warning in many areas across the world throughout history. The weapons of the Neuroi mostly take on forms similar to aircraft, but their most troubling tactic is the spreading of a corrosive miasma. Not only do normal humans have no defense against this miasma, but the remnants of the land affected by it are processed by the Neuroi into new weapons, crumbling huge sections of former nations into the sea. As the miasma seems to be unable to spread across large bodies of water, humanity has designated such areas as their main lines of defense.
In order to bring out their potential for use in battle, each Witch equips a unique machine onto their legs: the Striker Unit. With the Striker Unit equipped, they gain the ability to fly and their tapped magical potential provides the strength to utilize weapons far too heavy and powerful for a normal person. Also created is a defensive field that can protect the Witches from the Neuroi's miasma as well as other physical weaponry, making them humanity's trump card in the war. The franchise's main media focuses on the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, defending the Britannian home islands, in a parallel to the Battle of Britain.
Strike Witches takes place in an altered version of Earth, ravaged by the Neuroi. Several large pieces of Earth's landmasses have been obliterated (with Europe and Africa being the most intact), drastically altering the appearance of the planet in comparison to its real-life counterpart. The nations which the main characters hail from are also based on major world powers of the time albeit with different names and altered territories.
Japan is known as Fuso Empire, the United States is the United States of Liberion, Germany is Imperial Karlsland, France is Gallia, Great Britain is the Commonwealth of Britannia, Austria is Ostmark, the Soviet Union is the Orussia Empire, modern Italy is split between the Duchies of Romagna and Venezia, Finland is Suomus, Norway and Sweden are Baltland, and Spain is Hispania.
Magic is a natural ability unique to Witches which manifests as a blue aura followed by the appearance of animal ears and tails. One exception is Mio's constantly glowing violet eye that she regulates with her eyepatch. Although physically taxing, control and technique can improve the expenditure of energy. Magic can be used for such things as healing, vastly enhancing strength and vision, and for stabilizing and enhancing weapons such as guns and swords.
A female user of magic. Male users do not appear to exist in any of the media (though a mecha intended to supplant the Strike Witches is named "Warlock", or male magic user). In the Otome-Tachi manga it is explained that the animal features of Witches are not inherent but the result of fusing with an animal spirit, which increases their inherent power.
A pair of hybrid mechanical/magical propeller devices used by Witches for flight and worn over their legs. They are rigid, preventing movement of the knees, but can be disengaged on the field if needed. When wearing a Striker a Witch's power is vastly increased by a magic engine in the unit, resulting in the constant manifestation of their animal ears and tails. It grants them the powers of high speed flight, increased physical abilities, and the ability to raise defensive shields. Strikers require high magical aptitude however and Witches who are either too weak or past their prime cannot use them effectively. Each character's Striker is designed to resemble a type of World War II fighter plane. In artwork by Humikane and semi-official doujinshi there are also land based light and heavy tank variants.
The 501st's personal base of operations in Britannian territory. It is an ornate castle that resembles Mont Saint-Michel, located on a small island jutting into the Strait of Dover near Folkestone. Its proximity to the Gallian coast makes it a strategic staging point for the Witches to quickly engage threats coming from the Neuroi-occupied European mainland.
Mysterious entities composed of black honeycomb structure material harvested from conquered territory. They come in various sizes from small to gigantic; capable of self-sustained flight, rapid repair, and armed with directed energy weapons. Durable self-repairing Neuroi have special multi-faceted gems within them called Cores as their power sources and only Achilles' Heel. The Neuroi's designs, like many other elements in the series, have a historical basis in that they are modeled after experimental aircraft from the World War II era.
In a postscript column in Comp Ace, Humikane Shimada had mentioned his desire to use his Mecha Musume concepts across a variety of media, leading to the production of the Strike Witches OVA by Gonzo. However, at about the same time Humikane was also contracted to create the character designs for Sky Girls, which had its televised run in late 2007. During this time there was no word on the further development of a Strike Witches animated series, although promotional items such as plastic figures of the OVA's characters were released. Not until December 2007 was the anime officially announced, after which details were slowly released, such as the casting of the remaining main characters that had no lines in the OVA.
While Shimada had participated in the initial production for both Strike Witches and Sky Girls, the two contrast in their execution of the mecha element. Sky Girls' Sonic Divers exemplify a futuristic approach, while the Striker Units are more fantastical with a closer connection to Shimada's original illustrations. With the use of World War II era prop fighters as a direct base for the details of each Striker and the weapons used by each Witch, the aerial combat aspect of the series is highly emphasized. In the OVA's mock battle sequence one can see various characters use tactics common to dogfights, such as exploiting the advantage of a smaller turning radius and attacking with the sun to one's back. Additionally, each main character uses a real ace pilot as their archetype, to varying degrees.
Two separate light novel series have been published. The first, Strike Witches: Suomus Misfits Squadron (ストライクウィッチーズ： いらん子中隊 Sutoraiku Witchīzu: Iranko Chūtai), was written by Noboru Yamaguchi and illustrated by Hashigo Ueda. The first volume was published in Japan in October 2006, and as of June 11, 2009, 3 volumes have been published. A fourth volume, originally scheduled for Spring 2009, is in production. The Suomus Misfits Squadron series is set in a different time period and location from the anime, and uses a different cast of characters.
The second light novel series, titled Strike Witches: Maidens' Volume (ストライクウィッチーズ： 乙女ノ巻 Sutoraiku Witchīzu: Otome no Maki), was written by Hidehisa Nanbō and illustrated by Hashigo Ueda. As of June 11, 2009, 2 volumes have been published, with a third scheduled for July 1, 2009. The publication of this series coincided with the television anime broadcast, and uses the same cast of characters; however, while some of the chapters are adaptations of the anime episodes, several are original.
Strike Witches: Witch in Africa
Published in August 2008, and jointly authored by Humikane Shimada, Taka'aki Suzuki, and Takeshi Nogami. It is considered semi-canonical. The B5-size publication contains a manga and novel section, both dealing primarily with the "Star of Africa" Hanna-Justina Marseille during the North African Campaign. Details on the Strike Witches world setting that could not be added into the anime were also added into the publication.
Strike Witches: Witch in Africa was originally meant to be included in the anime DVD booklets, but because of a reduction in the booklet size, it was instead published as a dōjinshi.
Strike Witches: Tiger in Desert
Published in December 2008. Similar to the first volume, and set in the same general time frame and location (North Africa, circa 1942).
Aside from the traditional televised broadcast, the series was also made available with English subtitles through YouTube, BOST TV and Crunchyroll, using a simultaneous release schedule similar to that of The Tower of Druaga: the Aegis of Uruk, also produced by Gonzo. The YouTube and Crunchyroll broadcasts operate under a streaming window, allowing users to freely watch each new episode of the series on the day of their release for a set amount of time. Crunchyroll also offers individual episodes to be purchased and downloaded during and after this streaming window has ended. An uncensored version of the series is now being released on Region 2 DVD, containing nudity that was obscured for the TV broadcast. The first volume was made available on September 26, 2008, the second on October 24, the third volume on November 28, the fourth volume on December 26, and the fifth volume is scheduled for release on January 30, 2009.
The series used two pieces of theme music. "Strike Witches: To Do What I Can" (ストライクウィッチーズ ～わたしにできること～ Sutoraiku Witchīzu ~Watashi ni Dekiru Koto~ ), performed by Yoko Ishida is used as the opening. "Bookmark A Head" (ブックマーク ア・ヘッド Bukkumāku A Heddo ) is used as the ending. "Bookmark A Head" is performed by the main cast as usually duets and the singers vary from episode to episode. "Lili Marleen" (リリーマルレーン Ririi Marureen ) is used as insert to episode 8, translated by Takaaki Suzuki, and performed by Minna-Dietlinde Wilck (Rie Tanaka).
|#||Ending performed by|
|1 & 2||Misato Fukuen and Saeko Chiba|
|3||Misato Fukuen and Kaori Nazuka|
|4||Misato Fukuen and Mie Sonozaki|
|5||Chiwa Saitō and Ami Koshimizu|
|6||Mai Kadowaki and Erika Nakai|
|7||Miyuki Sawashiro and Sakura Nogawa|
|8||Rie Tanaka and Saeko Chiba|
|9||Misato Fukuen and Miyuki Sawashiro|
|10||Misato Fukuen and Rie Tanaka|
|11||Saeko Chiba and Miyuki Sawashiro|
|12||Fukuen Misato, Chiba Saeko, Nazuka Kaori, Sawashiro Miyuki, Nogawa Sakura, Saitou Chiwa, Koshimizu Ami, Kadowaki Mai, and Nakai Erika|
The single for "Strike Witches: To Do What I Can" was released on August 20, 2008 by Columbia Music Entertainment and also a version of "Bookmark A Head" performed by Misato Fukuen. An album entitled the "Strike Witches: Ending Theme Complete Collection" (ストライクウィッチーズ Ending Theme Complete Collection Sutoraiku Witchīzu Ending Theme Complete Collection ) was released on October 10, 2008 by Columbia Music Entertainment, containing all versions "Bookmark A Head" as well as the insert "Lili Marleen". The original soundtrack containing 36 tracks was released on September 9, 2008.
Additionally, five albums of character image songs where released by Columbia Music Entertainment:
Two video games based on the Strike Witches franchise are set to be released during the winter of 2009, one for the PlayStation 2 and the other for the Nintendo DS. Both games are produced by Russell Games, which will be releasing each in standard and premium editions. Each game features, besides the main cast of the televised anime, a character or characters from the two manga series. Pre-orders for the Nintendo DS version will also receive a fake girl's gym shorts DS pouch with their order.
Titled Strike Witches: What I Can Do Along With You - A Little Peaceful Days (ストライクウィッチーズ －あなたとできること A Little Peaceful Days－ Sutoraiku Witchīzu: Anata to Dekiru Koto - A Little Peaceful Days ), this adventure game features Amaki Suwa and Nishiki Nakajima. To the south of the base lies a deserted island where the Witches are conducting open-air exercises. However, when the carrier they are stationed on comes under surprise Neuroi attack, the Witches are left stranded. In the two weeks that it will take for reinforcements to arrive, the Witches decide to carry on with their maneuvers, as well as make sure they can survive.
Titled Strike Witches: Blitz in the Blue Sky - New Commander Struggles! (ストライクウィッチーズ －蒼空の電撃戦 新隊長 奮闘する！－ Sutoraiku Witchīzu: Aozora no Dengekisen - Shin Taicho Funtousuru! ), this simulation game features Junko Takei. The Witches take under their wing a candidate commanding officer from the Fuso Empire, Junko. She contacts the 501st to inform them that she will be meeting up with them during a training exercise. At the same time the military announces a new operation: to make a concerted strike against the Neuroi at the Gallian coastline and establish a new frontline base.
A third game for the Xbox 360 has also been announced.