English Dub Review: Strike Witches: 501st JOINT FIGHTER WING Take Off! “501st, Ready for Night Work?”

Hey, Squidward! We’re watching chibi anime…at night.

Overview

The episode begins with Barkhorn teaching the girls a combat lesson (which Hartmann sleeps through.) After gaining intel of a Neuroi attack in the night, Minna assigns extra night shifts for the girls to keep watch. While they await the expected Neuroi attacks, they decide to take a hot spring bath/go to the sauna. The Neuroi never arrive — but Marseille does.

Marseille is an ace from the African Storm Witches front who arrived to their base in order to do some PR work with the crew. The reason the Neuroi never attacked is because she defeated them on her way there. The girls — exhausted from their night shift — resent her for taking their job (and then waking them up for a PR meeting.) Hartmann then reveals that she used to be her rival back in Karlsland. Marseille would make everything a competition between the pair, and she does so again on her visit. Marseille eventually agrees to “no more contests” for the next time she sees her upon taking her leave, though.

Our Take

Will these episodes ever have one, solid theme? Genuinely, it seems that these bouncy plots are trying to be passed as a part of the appeal, when in actuality, all it does is under-cook a bunch of premises that could have been fully baked.

Marseille seemed like a particularly interesting character (with, by the by, one of the smoothest voices to listen to in the series thus far.) The sub-plot where Hartmann discussed the competitive personality of Marseille seemed like it would have made its own good, focused story — where we could have seen way more of both characters’ dynamic (and thought processes.) The episode isn’t even named after anything having to do with Marseille — it’s named after the initial conflict of the night shifts (which was more like an inciting incident, to be frank.) This would have made more sense if it was an episode that was fully about all the characters’ exploits at night.

Speaking of which: it’s good to see that the animators weren’t afraid to go in the direction of full-frontal nudity — “good to see,” of course, means,  “bad to see, get it away, oh god my eyes, how old are these girls,” followed by, formally, “anime was a mistake.” Even by just the dialogue, it’s very clear that the writers/artists are not girls — let alone have ever had a realistic conversation with one (pro-tip: girls don’t drink milk to increase their cup size. Also, what?)

Moral qualms aside, the art style just continues to be unappetizing — even for a chibi style. It looks more…vintage, when it comes to head/eye/body proportions (vintage meaning bad.)

Finally, these tidbits at the end of every episode which details facts about a particular witch seem to be attempting to reach an audience who are only watching the chibi series and not the main anime. However, given the poor quality of episodes so far, it’s a wonder who would watch this if they weren’t already fans of the main show.

Kayla Gleeson

Kayla Gleeson is an entertainment writer and media player, with work involved in shows such as Anthony Bourdain's "Parts Unknown" and Chicken Soup for the Soul's "Hidden Heroes." In addition to her work on BubbleBlabber, she also has dozens upon dozens of published articles for RockYou Media. Aside from immersing her life in cartoons, she loves to write and read poetry, be outdoors, go to conventions, and indulge in Alan Resnick stylings of comedy.

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