English Dub Review: Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! “501st, Head Out to Shop?”

Some halves fit together perfectly, and some just sit next to each other awkwardly.

Overview (Spoilers Below)

It’s payday for the 501st, Miafuji is surprised by how large her check is, but Yeager assures her that she’s earned it. Miafuji isn’t so sure, but Yeager tells her that the domestic work she does around the barracks is some of the most important work done throughout the base. Yeager also mentions that, since it is payday, a party of soldiers is going into town to buy supplies. Miafuji wants to go with Yeager, but Hartman insists on staying back at the base.

Charlotte is a reckless driver but manages to keep the shopping party together in one piece. The group fans out to find whatever they might need in town. Meanwhile, Hartman is hiding from a pair of soldiers determined to make dinner for the entire squadron. They plan to combine herring and ammonia, mistakenly thinking that Miafuji’s cooking secret was to make the smelliest food possible. Hartman thinks she has found a reprieve when the food packages don’t seem to be able to be opened, but the pair enlist Sakamoto to slice them open with her sword. She does so, and this disgusting meal commences. Hartman radios into town in order to get help from Miafuji and the girls in town, but they get wise to the disgusting meal that awaits them and decides to stay where they are for dinner.

Sometime later, Sanya and Elia get into an argument because Elia is clearly sick but still wants to accompany Sanya on a patrol. Elia quickly passes out from her sickness and Yeager and Hartman try to nurse her back to health. Neither one seems to know much about medicine, however, and they seem poised to make things worse. Luckily, Elia wakes up quickly. She wants to apologize to Sanya, but she isn’t sure how to go about it. Hartman, Yeager, and Sakamoto each offer advice as to how Elia should approach her friend, but none of them seem like they are the right fit. The episode ends without Elia making a decision, possibly setting up a conflict to be paid off in next week’s episode.

Our Take

With Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off!, it’s always difficult for me to tell if the plot doesn’t make sense because the multitude of quasi-identical characters makes it impossible for me to latch onto any one of them or if Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! doesn’t make sense because Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! just doesn’t make sense. This episode left me at an all-time loss for the series so far, though. The two stories contained within this week’s show had seemingly nothing to do with each other. This is actually pretty fine, comedy anime is wont to throw two self-contained adventures together to satisfy runtimes. But, usually, that is accomplished by two eleven minute shows adding up to twenty-two minutes to fill a half-hour timeslot. I have never seen two five-minute cartoons strung together to fill fifteen-minutes on the air outside of a Tom & Jerry cartoon marathon.

Even more than that, though, how can a show so blatantly disposable end on what seems to be a cliffhanger. Actually, I should back off from calling it a cliff-hanger. The episode just ended; there’s actually nothing to be left in suspense about. I definitely don’t care if this pair of characters apologize to each other. Why would I? I barely know them. Now, I do understand that this is a spinoff show aimed primarily at fans of Strike Witches, but if the show has not given me a single reason to care about any of its dozen characters, it isn’t going to make a fan out of me. That may not be its intention, but a self-serving in-joke cannot carry this many minutes of television.

I suppose that I should be grateful that the loli was kept to a minimum this week, but Strike Witches doesn’t do anything with the time that it used to spend ogling prepubescent girls. It isn’t funny enough to be this disjointed and it isn’t intricate enough to be paid close attention to. It’s just a reasonably annoying whine at a decibel level slightly above comfortable. It isn’t terribly annoying, but the more time one spends with it, the more they engage with it until they can’t be anything but irritated. There’s a part of me that just hopes this whole thing is just untranslatable/translated poorly because then it would at least make some sense why jokes are rarely delivered and when they are they seem to exist on a whole other reality from the one I inhabit.


Cartoon Philosopher

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