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So while I should be packing for the trip to Disney World tomorrow, I instead used the time to watch the first season of Strike Witches, an anime which is one of the more interesting hodge-podges I've ever run across. What do you get when you mix mecha, young girls, animal ears/tails, aliens, and a complete and fervent aversion to pants? Well, apparently you get an anime the Japanese Agency of Cultural Affairs recommends as displaying cultural excellence. Just stop for a moment and think about that. Could you imagine the American equivalent lauding a cartoon whose main characters are all 12-19 year old girls running around in their panties? Hell no. Which is why Japan might be insane, but it's hella more interesting too.



Strike Witches is one of those shows that if you broke it into pieces and listed each element separately, you would bet money it would suck. Not only bet money but wager your children and pets in the sure and certain knowledge a payday was coming. It's a story set in an alternate timeline back in the early 1940's. Just as World War II is about to kick off, the world is invaded by aliens. These beings come in massive hive ships and spawn off many smaller ships of all sorts, all of which use beam weapons that devastate all conventional weapons and technology available to humans. Lucky for humanity, they're not just working with technology since magic exists. By mixing magic and technology a researcher manages to create 'striker legs', a mechanical gizmo in which young girls can insert their legs into and fly around in. The Striker Units also enhance their magical abilities, giving them greater strength and the ability to create shields to block the alien beam weapons. Basically, in this world there are no fighter jets. Instead, pantless girls serve that purpose.

The really scary part is the show is actually entertaining. Well, at least I found it to be entertaining but I have a pretty elemental sense of humor. The first half of the season is backstory and comedy, while the latter half actually explores the plot a bit more carefully. All of the girls have been brought together to form an elite squadron, the 501st, whose job is to fight the alien incursion which has already conquered almost all of Europe. Basically, they're fighting the battle of Britain all over again but with aliens, laser beams, and BFGs. Each of the girls is actually modeled after a real WWII flying ace, with the American being 'Charlotte Yeager' to my amusement. Chuck is the only person thus honored who's still alive and I would love for some interviewer to ask for his reaction. Sooo, how do you feel about being turned into a pantsless schoolgirl with huge knockers?

One of the funniest things is this chart I found online:



This might be the greatest reference chart of all time. Now you can look up panties, bust-size, and armaments all in one easy table. In advertising this series in Japan, the company actually used montages of panty-shots asking passerbys to identify which Witch each belonged to. Just whacky when you think about it.

The first season apparently was well enough received that there's a second in the works right now and should premier later this year. In a similar vein, it seems that Kodomo no Jikan will also be getting more episodes, though not a full season. Rather, they're releasing a few more OAD's which will be bundled with the manga. Spiffy since I'm still reading along and enjoying it. I think both series are proof that you can't judge an anime just by its fanservice. It doesn't always mean that the show will stink on ice.

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