English Dub Review: Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! “501st, Clean Your Dirty Rooms”

Have you heard the myth of Sisyphus?

Overview (Spoilers Below)

It’s a rare day off at the 501st’s barracks, and Trudy wants to spend it cleaning her room. The only problem is that her roommate, Hartman, is absolutely determined to do just about anything else. Word comes down from their superior officers that Hartman is to appear at a press event later that evening and this spurs Trudy on all the more to get Hartman’s and her room into a presentable condition. Miafuji agrees, and soon the entire 501st has signed on to help the protesting Hartman clean her disgusting room.

The group enters the pig sty and are all disgusted by the state of disrepair that the room has fallen into. Hartman, however, doesn’t really seem to notice. She uses her flying boots to hover over to a clean section of the room and then uses her magic to control the temperature, ensuring she stays ensconced in her own filth. This will not do for Trudy, however, and the group all begin to clean the room together. No sooner have they cleaned it, though, than they realize that Hartman needs a particular medal for her press appearance. In their search for it, the girls return the room to its former messy state and decide to leave it for now.

The major and the commander appear in formal dress (literally) and decide to go to the event alone. While this is to the chagrin of many of the girls in the barracks, Hartman and a few rabble-rousers are looking forward to even more time off. They try goofing off as they usually do, but the find that it leaves them empty and unfulfilled inside when they have nothing to slack off from. They declare that freedom is a prison, so much so that when the major and the commander return from their formal event, they demand to be pushed even harder and declare that they will stop goofing around for good.

Our Take

This was a long twelve minutes. It’s been confirmed to me now that Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! is a spinoff of the main Strike Witches series and not the third season of the main show. As such, I need to look at the anime with new expectations, I have been disabused of the notion that the girls are going to get into anything more threatening than a messy room, but it wouldn’t hurt for the quotidian problems that plague bored servicewomen during their off hours to at least keep my attention. This episode manages to have two barely connected plots during its short runtime, and it still manages to only barely keep me engaged for its duration. I have come to realize (or perhaps re-realize) that plot is not the reason this show exists.

My intention is to talk about Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! without bringing up the loli every week, but if the show is going to put it (quite literally this week) in my face, then it must be mentioned. This week’s particular fetish object is panties. In addition to the gratuitous shot of two of the 501st bowing to their commanding officers, showing off their underage-appearing underwear to the camera, one soldier pledged to steal the panties of another to make a third happy. If this is your kind of show, I have a lot of mixed feelings about that, but I truly wonder if this is entertaining for you.

I suppose this kind of thing might have some value if you were more familiar with the characters from the core series, and I will be the first to admit that I am not. I had covered shows where I was starting in the middle before Seven Deadly Sins is a great example, and I believe that a good show should be able to hook viewers with each successive season. Chibi spinoffs, though, are a different story entirely.

This show is fan-service in its most concentrated form. If you don’t have a connection and affinity for the original show, then there is really no reason to watch this one (except for the aforementioned loli, if you prefer a military backdrop/wardrobe). These shows boil what I will assume are complex characters down to their most essential traits, making them simplistic at best, and annoying at worst. I already dislike Hartman, and we’re only two episodes in. I certainly hope that future episodes have more interesting plots than these, but given what this is, I’m not terribly hopeful.


Cartoon Philosopher

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