The premise – sudden alien portal, inscrutable airborne invaders – reminds me rather of Battle Fairy Yukikaze, though I’m going to assume that Strike Witches doesn’t have the military consultants – it doesn’t need them, after all. The show also doesn’t feature trousers, or at least not many. I’m hoping some suitably wacky in-universe explanation for this bizarre sartorial absence will be provided (and no, the King Solomon’s Mines Gambit doesn’t count as a proper excuse for trouserlessness).
Maybe there’ll be some character traits derived from nationality to write about in this squadron; other bloggers (viz.) have already noted that the American witch is the well-endowed one. If we’re really lucky there’ll be some traits which are meant to be read back onto countries as a whole. G Gundam is my touchstone for this sort of thing: did said show’s immature but powerful Chinese, for example, function as a comment on China’s geopolitical role in the 90s?
Yoshika harbours a strong anti-war sentiment, which might not be a terribly logical reaction to an inhuman threat like the Neuroi. Still, she’s not particularly old and the war took her father away, so I suppose I’ll let that pass.
To reassure us that yes, this is a war that we’re allowed to fight even if we’re Japanese, we have Major Sakamoto, replete with Japanese sword and eyepatch (let’s hope she channels GARlock). Plotted in purely geographical terms, of course, this episode portrayed Japan sending help to Britan(nia) in the face of a Central European danger. Which is a nice gesture.
Why does the ending sequence remind me of Doujin Work? Maybe it’s the amount of leg on display.
[And is the show any good? Josh says 'no', and remarks that it's not worth $30 or more. Personally, I'm up for spending £15 on this simply because the novelty value of legal downloads hasn't worn off, but then I'm an irrational consumer, and I find mecha musume easy on the eye.]
EDIT: Den Beste has (besides detailed episode commentary) pulled out a list of the witches and their attributes from the official site. Since the Striker Units are based on specific planes (as is [somewhat NSFW] traditional), I’ll be interested to see whether they differ in performance or are just cosmetic distinctions.