The world is suddenly invaded by a strange species of aliens. These ‘Neuroi’ appear out of nowhere and start taking over parts of the world, and humanity’s primitive 1940s technology is insufficient to do them harm. Fortunately, young girls with magical power called Witches appear to combat this threat!
Yep, you heard me… 1940s alternate history. Witches. Again. Don’t worry though, it’s not the same show. Or maybe you should worry, since Izetta was quite good. Will Brave Witches be able to live up to the bar set by this season’s other World War 2 witch show?
In the end, the similarities listed above really are as deep as the connection goes. They both have witches, and they both take place in World War 2-era Earth… beyond that, everything else diverges. Brave Witches takes a more light-hearted approach to the genre, focusing on a squad of witches and their odd magical contraptions. You see, in the world of Brave Witches, magic isn’t as magical as you might expect. Magic mostly just allows them to utilize special flight units and allows their guns to damage the Neuroi. Oh, and whenever they use their magic, they grow ears and a tail for some reason – each character featuring their own distinct animalistic focus. For example, the lead character Hikari Karibuchi gets squirrel characteristics while her sister Takami gets little wings on her head that resemble crane wings. Other characters get features that resemble animals such as bunnies, dogs, or cats. The only characters we really see use magic for anything else are our protagonist and her sister who have the ability to detect the Neuroi cores.
The show focuses a lot in having interesting action, which usually takes the form of these vast aerial dogfights – just substituting our animalistic girls in for planes. Which makes it fortunate that the ‘dogfights’ are still quite entertaining to watch, so the lack of interesting magic isn’t too problematic. The strange dichotomy between primitive military weaponry and the advanced aliens is, while not uncharacteristic of the genre, still interesting to watch. The one thing I will say is that it did get a bit repetitive as the show mostly followed the same pattern throughout: seemingly hopeless dogfighting followed by someone, often the main character, somehow saving the day and destroying the core of the weird alien thing.
The story was the show’s weakest link. While it did have some pretty interesting scenes, for the most part the show started off as an untalented girl being toughened up and then eventually saving everyone. Every episode was one shade of ‘pick on the new girl to try to scare her off or make her stronger’ or another, until near the end. Of course, that was when the show wasn’t trying to distract us with awkward fanservice, which was sadly all too frequent. Fortunately, they did intersperse the bad story and fanservice with some decent humour. And they had a few competently written characters. Not many, but what is important is that the characters weren’t all bad – a few had some good nuance to their personalities. Additionally, while there were a lot of characters there weren’t so many that it felt overwhelming – which has been a problem with some similar shows I’ve seen. They did do a good job of utilizing these characters to create humour throughout the series, which helped the show’s pacing a lot.
Overall, Brave Witches is better than most of these heavy fanservice shows in that it actually bothers to create personalities for its eye candy. However, that doesn’t change the fact that it is still a show built entirely on taking advantage of horny male urges to see cute girls in scanty outfits flying. That isn’t to say that the show was boring. It had a pretty good sense of humour and some solid action sequences. But in the end, it is what it is, for good or for ill. And it is a fanservice all-girl show, much in the same vein as KanColle, just nowhere near the atrocity that that show turned out to be.