All spoilers for Strike Witches and Strike Witches 2 are unmarked. You Have Been Warned!
Strike Witches: The Movie is the first film in the World Witches franchise and a direct sequel to the Strike Witches series. It is directed by Kazuhiro Takamura, and written by the Striker Unit team, consisting of Takamura, Tatsuhiko Urahata, Takaaki Suzuki, Kenichi Yatagai and series creator Fumikane Shimada, with a soundtrack by Seikou Nagaoka.
Picking up two months after the events of Strike Witches 2, the film follows Ensign Yoshika Miyafuji as she goes on a trip to Europe for her medical studies, accompanied by Sergeant Shizuka Hattori. However, they must fight yet another Neuroi invasion.
Most of the lead cast from Strike Witches return, including Misato Fukuen, Saori Seto, Miyuki Sawashiro, Ami Koshimizu, Chiwa Saitō, Kaori Nazuka, Mie Sonozaki, Sakura Nogawa, Mai Kadowaki, Ayuru Ohashi and Rie Tanaka. New additions to the cast include Aya Uchida, Ayako Kawasumi, Natsumi Takamori, Yumi Hara, Sayuri Yahagi and Kana Ueda.
The film was first released in Japan on March 17, 2012. It is chronologically followed by Strike Witches: Road to Berlin and by Brave Witches in production order.
This film provides examples of:
- Action Prologue: The film opens in 1943 with the Neuroi launching an attack on the Allied Forces in Europe. Later, the Strike Witches engage a Neuroi ship in battle and destroy it. Two years later, Heidemarie fights off against a Neuroi above Belgica.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Erica and Trude. After listening to Erica whine her way through a Neuroi battle, Trudy carries her on her back and feeds her chocolate; Erica then fights a Neuroi all by herself to spare the exhausted Trude (though she might have just been itching for a fight).
- Big Damn Heroes: The entirety of the 501st arrives to help Yoshika and Shizuka fight the Neuroi in the Final Battle.
- Bittersweet Ending: A defied example. Though the Neuroi is still out there, Yoshika's power has returned, Shizuka finally reconciles with Yoshika, and the 501st Joint Fighter Wing is reinstated.
- Broken Pedestal: Yoshika Miyafuji initially becomes one to Shizuka Hattori in the film. Shizuka is very shocked to learn that the ensign she once admired for many years is actually a Military Maverick, at least until she learns who she really is before the Neuroi's assault in Gallia.
- Mother bear and her cub (now grown-up) at the beginning.
- As in the TV series, a military messenger arrives to tell Yoshika to go to Europe on an aircraft carrier. This time, it's Shizuka Hattori who does the deed.
- Charlotte having a challenge of speed and then unable to stop in time.
- Perrine asks Yoshika about Mio, and Yoshika unable to answer it adequately.
- A Battleship Raid as the Final Boss. Guess you didn't see that one coming!
- Yoshika having a bigger and better shield than everyone else.
- Like in the Suomus Misfits Squadron novel, Nikka experiences a random accident. This time around, she's struck by a completely non-sequitur lightning.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Yamato provides artillery support against the main enemy.
- Continuity Nod:
- As with the previous two seasons, the film's Opening Narration details the history of the Witches and the Striker Units.
- Just like in Strike Witches and Strike Witches 2, Yoshika travels to a different location onboard the Akagi carrier.
- Yoshika mentions the similarities to Shizuka's frequent lectures aboard the Akagi as well as Barkhorn's lectures with Erica.
- Gallia is also the place where the Neuroi launched their invasion way back in Strike Witches.
- While discussing with Shizuka, Perrine mentions how Yoshika initially hated fighting in the war, something that was touched upon in Strike Witches.
- Once again, Yoshika puts her medical studies to use while tending to some injured citizens.
- At the end of the film, Yoshika regains her magic and uses the Striker Unit from Strike Witches 2 to help thwart the Neuroi's assault on Gallia.
- Darker and Edgier: The film is significantly more serious and subdued than the TV seasons before it, focusing more of the effects of the Neuroi war on a personal scale, as well as putting a spotlight on Yoshika's medical knowledge; as such, there's quite a bit of blood spilled in this film, a far cry from the largely Bloodless Carnage of the preceding installments.
- Demoted to Extra: Mio Sakamoto has a minimal appearance in the film after having a central role in the previous two seasons.
- Disintegrator Ray: During the opening Curb-Stomp Battle with the Allied Forces, the Neuroi armada's red lasers vaporize tanks and carriers into nothing.
- Distant Prologue: The Neuroi's attack on Europe is set in 1943, shortly before the formation of the Strike Witches.
- Downer Beginning: The film begins with the Neuroi Spider Tank crushing the doll from the end of Strike Witches 2, followed by a Neuroi armada launching a Curb-Stomp Battle on the Allied Forces.
- Empathy Doll Shot: In the Distant Prologue, the doll from the end of Strike Witches 2 is quickly crushed by the leg of a Neuroi Spider Tank. This means war.
- Gunship Rescue: Towards the end of the film, the Yamato arrives to assist the witches, having been able to navigate up the Rhine thanks to special flotation devices.
- Mildly Military: This is lampshaded by Shizuka Hattori, whose parents served in the Fuso military and thus is rather put out by Yoshika's attitude of helping out with chores on the aircraft carrier Amagi despite holding an officer's rank. In the second half, after meeting the rest of the 501st and seeing how they operate, she's convinced to lighten up a bit.
- Musical Nod:
- The "Witch's Fight" musical cue can be heard in the main title sequence.
- At the end of the film, a short rendition of "The Striker's Flight" is heard once the 501st destroy the Neuroi threatening Gallia.
- Opening Narration: As with the previous two seasons, the film opens with a narration telling how the Witches have protected mankind for centuries, along with the 1939 Neuroi invasion and the history that followed:"Since the beginning of time, mankind has always been at war with things out of this world. Luckily, the humans had a secret weapon. At the forefront of these battles were the Witches, teenage girls with extraordinary magical powers. However, in the year 1939, an enemy unlike any known before overwhelmed Europe and was poised to take over the world. This enemy became known as the Neuroi. No one knows where they came from or why, but their attacks were so deadly, they left behind nothing but heartbreak and devastation. People were driven from their homes, cities were destroyed, and countries were left in ruins. In an effort to overcome their new, vicious enemy, mankind developed Striker Units. These modern day magical brooms would boost the Witches' powers and, more importantly, allow the girls to take their battle to the skies. The best and most powerful Witches from around the world were then dispatched to take place on the front lines in Europe with this new weapon. They became known as the Strike Witches."
- Shout-Out: In the final battle, Perrine's Tonnerre + Erica's Sturm = young girl-ified Ideon Gun anyone?
- Significant Name Shift: After the 501st destroys the Neuroi and rescues Gallia, Shizuka no longer refers to Yoshika as "Ensign", but by her name.
- Standard Snippet: Heidemarie hums the first twelve bars of the German song "Die Wacht am Rhein" during her nightwatch.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Yoshika is a maverick ensign who helps out with chores on the aircraft carrier despite holding an officer's rank and is willing to disobey orders to rescue the others if the situation calls for it. For obvious reasons, Shizuka initially distrusts her.
- Tamer and Chaster: Aside from half a dozen incidental panty shots, the film actually downplays the Fanservice of Strike Witches and Strike Witches 2, and those shots were nowhere as sexually-detailed as those found in said two series.
- Tanks for Nothing: In the opening battle, the Allied Forces' tanks fire at the Neuroi point-blank, but do no physical damage.
- Time Skip: The Action Prologue is set in 1943, while the film itself takes place in August 1945, two months after the events of Strike Witches 2.
- Minna Dietlinde-Wilcke: I think it's time for the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, the Strike Witches, to be reinstated. What do you say?
501st Joint Fighter Wing: Yes, sir!