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The greatest generation is even greater in this alternate universe featuring flying girls with furry ears and tails. The year is 1944 and the Neuroi (aliens), who invaded Europe in 1939, are a dark threat to humanity. They usually arrive in the form of aircraft, drive out or kill the human population, and plunder the resources of the lands they occupy. The technology of 1944 is ill equipped to handle this invasion. Mighty Sherman tanks, battle ships, and Zero aircraft can do little to halt the advance of the Neuroi as they swallow up region after region.
The world’s powers turn to young women with magical power (witches) to take the battle to the enemy. A witch can use a defensive field to shield herself from Neuroi attacks and the poison gas that usually surround the Neuroi hives. The young witches are each fitted with Striker Units, magi-mechanical devices that resemble the nose of a fighter plane and mount onto their legs. Obviously they don’t often wear pants, only pantsu. It is worth a mention that when they activate their powers, a pair of ears and a tail that best fits their attributes magically appear, totally adding to their cute factor. Witches carry guns or cannons enhanced by their magic as their chief weapons to blast away the Neuroi’s tough outer shells, until they penetrate deep enough to uncover the gem-like core, and destroy it with a decisive shot.
Strike Witches isn’t the first or only in the world of Mechanized Moe. We at Honey’s Anime thought we’d remind you of some other great shows, six to be precise, that give us cute girls battling it out with a combination of magic and guns.
Similar Anime to Strike Witches
1. KanColle (Kantai Collection: KanColle)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2015- Mar. 2015
The mysterious “deep sea fleet” or “abyssal fleet” has taken over the world’s oceans endangering trade and destroying thousands of conventional warships. A hope in combating this dangerous threat are the Kanmusu, girls who possess the magic and spirits of old Japanese warships. Much like in Strike Witches, these girls are given magi-mechanical units that let them glide across the water wearing special rigging suited for their class of ship: destroyer, cruiser, battle ship, or aircraft carrier. The girls sail off every day on dangerous missions to keep the abyssal fleet at bay.
The story begins when Fubuki, a destroyer, arrives at the Chinjufu Naval District to train and join her squadron. She is initially assigned to the Third Torpedo Squadron by the Admiral, a character we never see, but we know he’s admired by all the girls. Fubuki is a very raw recruit with no combat experience, and is a liability to herself, and others, out on the seas. She is driven to train night and day to go from barley staying upright, to a commanding fighter. We see a lot of similarities between KanColle and Strike Witches. The plots both have young girls fighting an unknown threat to humanity with magi-mechanical weapons. We follow a green recruit in both stories and watch them grow from liability to asset; and along the way we see a lot of cute girls wearing very short shirts firing very large weapons. We even get a bit of yuri magic in the way some of the younger girls idolize the more mature larger ships.
Kancolle Official Trailer
2. Girls Und Panzer (Girls & Panzer)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Oct. 2012- Mar. 2013
We all know the key to a young girl becoming more popular with boys, graceful and refined is learning the art of driving a multi-ton death machine into combat. The premise of Girls & Panzer is built upon that concept. The schools in this universe not only offer the traditional sports and cultural clubs like track and flower arranging, but also the sport of Tankery, driving tanks and fighting in mock battles. It’s a popular activity among high school girls, especially since boys don’t seem to have the aptitude for tank combat.
The story centers around Miho Nishizumi, a short high school girl with short brown hair who comes from a long line of famous Tankery masters. Due to a traumatic event, she has chosen to avoid the sport, even transferring to a school without Tankery in hopes of never setting foot in a tank again. Her dreams are quickly dashed when the school revives its Tankery club and for all intents and purposes drafts poor Nishizumi, the only one at the school with tank experience, into it. The student council’s goal is to have shot at the national Tankery competition. Will Nishizumi, her friends, club mates, and a handful of old salvaged tanks have what it takes to compete? You’ll have to watch this animated crew of Sailor fuku wearing girls drive their excellently CG animated tanks to find out.
Girls und Panzer Official Trailer
3. Haifuri (High School Fleet)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2016 – June 2016
The world has become a more nautical place, at least in the world of High School Fleet’s Japan, as much of the country is now underwater. To maintain its integrity as a nation, Japan takes to the seas building massive cities floating in the water. It defends them with a massive navy and coast guard. A division of this coast guard “living by the sea, protecting the sea, and journeying across the sea,” called the Blue Mermaids, is an all-female navy dedicated to protecting the shipping lanes. You need to start early in life to become one of these sirens of the seas, so you start by going to Yokosuka Girls’ Marine High School. Even as high school students, you can crew and command a massive naval vessel like a cruiser, destroyer, or battle ship.
Akeno Misaki is an unlikely captain, not scoring too well on her proficiency exam, but is captain nonetheless. She commands a crew of unique and spirited individuals, including a cranky ship’s engineer, who we’d love to see break into a Scottish accent and say “captain she canna take much more of this!” Add to that a gung ho torpedo officer ready to fire away at anything, and an overly conservative first officer constantly annoyed with her captain breaking protocol. The maiden voyage (which takes on a whole new meaning when it’s a crew full of high school girls) doesn’t go that smoothly as a mysterious virus turns friend to foe and cruiser against battleship. There are a lot of similarities with Strike Witches. In the cuteness category you have girls with big eyes, pigtails, crushes, and a lot of affection for each other. We even get some major similarities in the pluckiness of the heroes and their drive to work harder for their friends and meet their responsibilities. The girls of Haifuri may not be mechanized-moe but they are militarized-moe, ready to fire broadsides and plunge into battle to save a friend.
Haifuri Official Trailer
Any Anime Like Strike Witches?
4. Ange Vierge
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul. 2016- Sep. 2016
The universe is made up of five parallel worlds: the black world, Darkness Embrace, where night and magic rule; the red world, Terra Rubiri Aurora, protected by gods and prayers; the white world, System White Eguma, where science and technology rule supreme; the green world, Grunewald Silt, controlled by guns and the military; and the blue world, Earth. The Halo, which connects all the parallel dimensions, opens a portal connecting the five worlds. It’s a potentially dangerous change in the laws of the universe. The five worlds are drawn toward each other and if they all connect each universe shall end in cataclysm. Ourboros, a trans-dimensional menace, is doing its best to hasten that destruction; the only thing standing in its way are the Exceed-wielding Progress and their Alpha Driver partners. These are young girls from all the worlds who developed powers after the Halo opened. They gathered on Serian Island on Earth to train and fight to save the world.
The story revolves around Saya Sougetsu, an Exceed, and her teammates on one of the less powerful teams of girls. We find that in order to become stronger they all have to deepen their relationships and sense of shared trust. Ange Vierge is filled with action as cute girls use magical weapons that range from rifles and jetpacks to swords made of light. The ensemble cast of Saya’s team each get a chance to have their own episode and deal with their hang ups and neuroses. We also get plenty of down time between battles, which of course is spent in the enormous outdoor bath with plenty of well-placed steam and bubbles. The similarities between Ange Vierge and Strike Witches aren’t just flying young girls with magical powers fighting to save the world. You will see a lot of the story is based on the relationships between the team members and how trust and working together are extremely important when the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Ange Vierge Official Trailer
5. Sky Girls
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Jul. 2007- Dec. 2007
The Earth is at war with an alien threat called Worms that leaves the male population decimated. Women and girls of the world pick up the slack, and form a bulk of the workforce and the military. The powers of the world are worried by signs that the Worms may be returning and begin various research and development projects to find new ways to combat them. The 13th Aviation Corp developed flying exoskeletons called Sonic Drivers that use a biological synchronizing system to create perfect harmony between machine and pilot. A team of three test pilots, all girls around the age of 16, were chosen for their genetic compatibility and various talents.
Sky Girls has several similarities with Strike Witches. The first is young women chosen to fight because they have something “special” about them, in this case genetics, instead of magic. The second similarity is using an exoskeleton to fly without wings. The third main similarity is the alien invasion. Strike Witches and Sky Girls both have aliens with overwhelming power that take extreme measures by the conventional military to defeat, leaving the women warriors to defeat the enemy without destroying a city in the process.
6. IS: Infinite Stratos (Infinite Stratos)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011- Apr. 2011
Infinite Stratos is the name of sleek-looking exoskeletons packed with a lot of fire power. The world they exist in is also pretty amazing considering that the leaders of the world decided that the Infinite Stratos (IS) are too dangerous to use in the military. The decision leads to their use in only one place, the arena, for mock battles. The IS devices also can only be operated by women, well except for one young man named Ichika. He is, for a lack of a more appropriate term, forced to attend the private train school for IS pilots. We need to remember for a moment that the only people that can pilot IS units are girls, so he is the only boy going to an all girls’ school. Some guys have all the luck.
Infinite Stratos may seem dissimilar to Strike Witches; after all, it’s a harem anime. The similarities lie in the use of combat technology by cute young girls in often-revealing clothing. We mentioned that IS are not supposed to be used for military functions, but that doesn’t stop them from being sent on multiple dangerous missions. You will also get your fair share of fan service with many moments where the girls are without even their skin-tight uniforms. The girls also have a very moe-ish feel that makes you want to protect them despite their very sexy vibe.
IS: Infinite Stratos Official Trailer
Strike Witches and its recent incarnation Brave Witches are filled with cuteness and adventure. We see adorable girls with grit and determination fighting to save the world and still not lose their innocent appeal. We envy the greatest generation in this universe. Despite having to live through alien attack, they get to live in a time where young witches fly overhead saving your life -- and not wearing pants.