by Theron Martin,
How would you rate episode 11 of
Brave Witches ?
Let's open with some historical perspective: the two rail guns mentioned in the episode, Gustav and Dora, were actual guns developed by the Germans in the late 1930s. While the first one, Gustav, was originally designed to break France's Maginot Line, it never ended up being needed for that purpose and instead came into play at the siege of Sevastopol in 1942. The 800 mm (31.4 in) shell size it used was real, making it the largest-caliber rifled weapon to ever see combat use. Both AP (armor piercing) and HE (high explosive) shells were used, so the anime is accurate on that, and it's also accurate about the lengthy reload time. Where it majorly fudges on the details is that the guns weren't transported intact; at 1,344 tonnes (about 1,478 tons by American English measurements), they would destroy conventional rail lines, so they were assembled and disassembled on site for transport. Since that process took a couple of full days, they would have been impractical for use on the mission to destroy Grigori if Brave Witches were aiming for historical accuracy. Also contrary to the anime, the actual HE shells weighed over 7 tons, not “about a ton.” But hey, magic, right?
Technical historical allusions aside, nothing at all surprising happens in this episode. Hikari has made enough friends now that most of the 502nd comes out to see her off, although interestingly not Takami. Hikari, for her part, seems to have accepted the results, as even though she was only barely beaten, she was still bested by the sister she's always looked up to. She's met by Eila and Sanya from the Christmas episode, which allows for the episode's one funny scene: Hikari mistaking traditional Nordic candy salmiakki (i.e., salt licorice) for chocolate and ingesting an unwise amount all at once. (Salt licorice is known for having tongue-numbing and stinging properties, so it's definitely an acquired taste.) Otherwise, the episode is all heavy planning and action leading up to the featured battle scene, where the Witches have to protect the aforementioned big guns as they make their shots at Grigori. Naturally, there are complications. After all, if there weren't, how would the story have an opportunity to get Hikari back into the picture?
Based on what's been set up over the course of the series, I'm going to guess that this core-within-a-core business will thwart Takami's sight at a level anything short of going all-out, and maybe not even then. However, it isn't going to be able to thwart Hikari's ability because being in direct contact with the Neuroi negates any potential for interference. If that's where the series is going, then it has done a pretty good (though not necessarily fresh) job of orchestrating it. The big question is how the heck Hikari is going to find anyone in the direction she ran off to to get a hold of some Striker units. Granted, it's the classic anime action hero move to act without thinking like this, but that's a pretty big lapse in brainpower this week. The series has played very by-the-book so far, so I am dubious that they are going to come up with a good explanation for this.
That aside, the battle animation is up to normal standards and still the highlight of the series. As long as that remains solid, the series should have at least an adequate finish next week.
Brave Witches is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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