Meal, On-hand-to Eat: Strike Witches Rations

I like food, and I like shameless advertising involving food, but it’s often hard for the two to make sense. Sure, there was the Saki Tacos promo, but rarely do the components of edible promotion actually line up so well, instead usually involving some logos or stickers slapped onto the wrapping of a biscuit. Luckily, we now have Strike Witches rations, so that you can simulate the feel of being a teenage girl with propellers strapped to your feet fighting a war.

Japanese blog “Kyou no Gogo kara Honki Dasu” has a photo review of the product, which appears to come with “biscuit bars” and some kind of jelly to go with it. According to the reviewer, the biscuits are absurdly sweet, though I don’t know by what criteria he’s judging it (American candy tends to be sweeter than Japanese desserts for instance).

I’ll be honest, unlike Saki I don’t really know much about Strike Witches. I’ve only seen two episodes, but even so, I still feel compelled to buy this product, if only because it really exists.

Thanks, Anime

It’s an interesting time in anime, and there’s plenty of stuff to be grateful for.

Thanks, Anime, for providing affordable DVDS of series loved by all types of otaku, from Gurren-Lagann to Ouran High School Host Club to Aria and beyond.

Thanks, Anime, for making strides to becoming more accessible. Strike Witches isn’t what I’d call a show I’d recommend to others, but I commend GONZO for putting itself out there. And while some of you may have made a few missteps, like Sony with your super-expensive PS3 episodes of Xam’d, I’ll still be there to buy the DVDs.

Thanks, Anime, for having an incredible season this year with something for everyone, with fine work in practically every genre and sub-genre. With this, I have no regrets.

Thanks, Anime, for your plans to give us an Ultimate Crossover Pretty Cure Movie that we’ve been waiting for since Max Heart ended. I look forward to the 11-girl Ultimate Crossover Pretty Cure Finisher. It’s also thanks to this image that I realize that the more athletic Precure girls have tanner skin. You learn something everyday.

Thanks, Anime, for slating a Professor Layton Animated Movie scheduled for 2010. I’m not even kidding.

And finally, Thank You for an incredible year of Ogiue, JAM Project, good friends, good opportunities, and so much more.

Buy Strike Witches: You Can Call this a GONZO Editorial

GONZO’s new tv series Strike Witches has begun airing, and GONZO, as it did with Blassreiter and Druaga, is putting the show online with a good translation for the enjoyment of English-speaking anime fans. It’s an mp4 file, approximately 200mb, with hard-encoded subtitles. It’s even free of Digital Rights Management shenanigans, which is a big plus in my book.

Unfortunately, what I’ve heard is that someone has put the episode on bittorrent.

I will acknowledge that it’s iffy to put money into a series you haven’t watched yet, but GONZO is trying hard to reach out to us in the English-speaking anime fandom, and to piss away their good will just makes us look terrible.

If you don’t like Strike Witches, or are afraid of watching yet another GONZO series, then feel free to ignore it. I’m not expecting people to buy something they don’t have any interest in, but if you think you’re going to enjoy it, I ask that you at least try it out.

One thing to keep in mind is that you have 14 days to download each episode so you can’t really wait until the series finishes. That said, this also means you can perform a 3-episode test. I’d also normally say that you could possibly wait for the DVDs if you want to support them with your wallet, but there’s a high probability that Strike Witches DVDs will never see the light of day.

You can purchase episodes of Strike Witches via Bost TV for approximately $3.00 US. Keep in mind you have to spend a minimum of $10 in order to buy the points necessary, which is kind of annoying, but that has less to do with GONZO itself and everything to do with Bost.

Episode 1 Review
Strike Witches
is the story of a squad of young and powerful soldiers augmented with technologically advanced armored weaponry in order to combat the alien menace known as Neuroi. Its protagonist is Yoshika, a girl with a strong dislike of war whose father died during the conflict. However, a chance meeting with an old friend of her father’s puts Yoshika in a position she never expected.

All in all, Strike Witches is very cute, awfully fanservicey, and  well-animated. The main appeal is that its important characters are basically Mecha Musume. It’s a simple show that is clearly targeted towards otaku, so don’t expect it to be any more than what it tries to be.

Are the releases we want going to be the releases we get?

One complaint always leveled at anime companies is that they charge too much for anime. It’s something I’ve criticized in the past myself. Well, companies are finally listening and we’re seeing a variety of attempts to lower the cost of watching anime.

Gonzo plans on continuing its free online subtitled broadcasts with a continuation of Strike Witches.

Gainax and Bandai Entertainment have made it possible to watch the smash hit Gurren-Lagann on network cable via the Sci-Fi Network. Not only that, Bandai is planning a blitzkrieg release with 9 episodes per disc with a release of 1 disc per month. That’s 3 months for ALL of Gurren-Lagann.

Maria-sama ga Miteru, officially titled now as Maria is Watching Over Us, has an upcoming release of the entire first season at once. That’s 13 episodes from the get-go. No waiting, no nothing.

Media Blasters is releasing the second half of Gaogaigar all at once for practically nothing as well. This has less to do with plans and more to do with the fact that GGG did not do so well in the US, but it’s there.

And finally, Toei Animation has given the courtesy of releasing episodes of Hokuto no Ken and Slam Dunk online at $2 per episode. Granted, there’s some Digital Rights Management crap that we have to deal with, but they at least figured out that this is a better way of giving exposure to older series such as these.

So the anime industry has finally stepped up their game, and made it easier than ever to obtain anime from legitimate sources for affordable prices. It is now up to us as fans to support them, to tell these companies that, yes, we are willing to give you money directly provided you make it possible for us without sacrificing an arm and a leg when we do not have the fortune of being Edward Elric.

I don’t expect people to buy every single example I list here, and of course people’s income situations vary greatly, but I think it’s important that the anime fandom show that we are supportive of new attempts to get anime in our hands.