Strike Witches isan anime series created by Fumikane Shimada, animated by Gonzo, AIC, and Silver Link; and licensed by Funimation and Crunchyroll. At first glance, Strike Witches appears to be your typical ecchi-laden anime, what with the female protagonists’ distinct aversion to legwear. However, a deeper review reveals that it’s much more than that.

501st Joint Fight Wing "Strike Witches" of the titular anime taking off.
The Strike Witches, ready for combat!

Strike Witches: The Basics

Strike Witches is a military science fictionfantasy anime set in an alternate WWII, where humanity is fighting a desperate war against alien monsters known as the “Neuroi”. Victory is only barely possible with the help of magical supersoldiers called “witches”.

It’s a study of contrasts. On one hand, it’s a story about a dozen young women living together and trying to work out their problems. On the other hand, it’s also a war story that shows the traumatic effects war has on soldiers. This anime has something for everyone.

Surprisingly, Strike Witches is also a feminist work. It passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors, with only two episodes in the entire anime where the female main characters talk about men. The anime is also not shy about showing lesbianism and lesbian characters. Much of the lesbianism is implied rather than directly shown, but not all of them.

Mio and Minna of "Strike Witches" kissing.
That ain’t a kiss between friends.

The Opinion

I give Strike Witches an 8 out of 10. The best parts of the anime are when the character interactions and the horrors of war come together. The episodes that best show this are season 1, episodes 4 and 8. Episode 4 is devoted to the effects of the maiming of one of the main character’s little sister during military operations. Episode 8 delves into the tragic backstory of another main character, whose childhood friend dies after he fails to escape the fall of their country. It’s these episodes that best show the interplay of humor, drama, and war that makes the anime so great.

The titular "Strike Witches" of the anime on the attack.
Neither rain nor sleet nor Neuroi will stop these girls.

The Conclusion

In spite of these features though, Strike Witches remains a niche anime. It’s little known outside a few anime communities. I believe that too many people are turned away by the looks of this anime. They’d dismiss it as just another fanservice show. It is my hope that this article will dispel some of these notions and encourage more people to give this anime a chance. Do not judge a book by its cover, after all.