Shirley attempts to retake her motorcycle land speed record with Lucchini’s help.
Episode 4 – “Beyond Two Hundred Miles Per Hour”
I always appreciate Strike Witches dedication to historical detail for its architecture and technology. I say dedication instead of devotion because place names are different, anachronisms from all over the 20th century show up, and it’s a show about teenage witches running around without pants. But the vehicles and buildings contain so many details of their real-world counterparts, so I have fun trying to find where and when the references come from and how they’ve changed inside Strike Witches. This week, the 17-year-old version of Chuck Yeager the test pilot receives the mash-up treatment with Burt Munro. I loved the homage to The World’s Fastest Indian starring Anthony Hopkins. Burt Munro’s record of 183 mph for his engine type from 1967 still stands.
Since the Strike Witches episode starred Shirley, the dramatic elements of the Neuroi of the Week naturally arose from her need for speed. Tied to Shirley’s story is her strong friendship with Lucchini, so Shirley’s past coming to the fore let the story explore the age gap yuri theme. The relationship arc of cooperation, breakup, tentative reconciliation and final catharsis started with one small scene and easily flowed afterward. The way Shirley lovingly stroked her “Rapid” motorcycle and called it her “partner,” which generated Lucchini’s immediate spark of jealousy, was the moment their story began. I liked how Strike Witches handled the emotional setup so efficiently. Well done.
Lucchini sleeps like a cat and in high places. Strike Witches have a tea party right in the hangar. Look at those headlines on Shirley’s newspaper for November 16, 1945. Buy war bonds… Whoa, Shirley got some shocking news! Eep. Don’t startle the catnapping Lucchini. Oh. Shirley lost her motorcycle speed record. That motorcycle shell looks exactly like Burt Munro’s for his 1920 Indian motorcycle. I can’t get over Shirley wearing leather shorts. Can they do that in the world of Strike Witches?
That works. Shirley has her motorcycle on the base, so she can try to break the new record. If Playboy sponsored a record-holding motorcycle, it would sponsor Shirley’s. Ha! Lucchini gets jealous over a motorcycle.
Barkhorn is impatient to start on the road to Berlin again. How long before Minna loses her patience with Barkhorn? The Strike Witches have so much time on their hands, Shirley can receive motorcycle parts from overseas. We’re in the pure slice-of-life mode as Shirley and Lucchini rebuild Shirley’s motorcycle. Well, that extra-long runway turned out to be good for Shirley’s hobby. Shirley calls her motorcycle “Rapid.” Sounds like a “rabbit.” Lucchini wants to help, but she doesn’t share Shirley’s interest in engineering and motorcycle mechanics. There will be an issue here.
Shirley got greedy. She beat the new world record of 185 mph, but she wants to hit 200 mph. Ah. Here’s Strike Witches’ Neuroi of the Week. The Neuroi looks like a modernized version of a cruise missile. A speedy enemy during an episode about Shirley obsessing about speed. It’s a fast bomber.
The Strike Witches eye catches feature Shirley and Lucchini.
The Neuroi’s damage to the hangar doesn’t look like it hurt the Striker Units, but the Strike Witches can’t launch. Yay! Flight training with brooms like the good old days. Uh, Yoshika jumping off a cliff in her current state is not a promising idea. Nice. Her unstable magic pressure problem shows the sudden drops and how Yoshika’s compensations can become overcompensations just as suddenly.
Strike Witches continues to appreciate its military otaku with period-specific aircraft of all types, even cargo planes, like a Junkers Ju 52/3m. Fun. Shirley has the new P-51H Mustang version of her flying boots. Shirley prefers to keep her P-51D Striker Units, but Minna will make her take the new ones by ignoring her motorcycle adventures. It’s a fine trade.
Oh no. Lucchini had a bad idea. She wanted to “help” make Shirley’s Rapid faster, but this is not the way. Worst looking P-38 Lightning ever. Would Strike Witches make a Striker Unit from a plane that looked like a catamaran? Lucchini even painted a shark mouth on it! That’s not a motorcycle anymore. Big fight! We need to remember that Lucchini is only 13 years old and is still childish in many regards.
Yoshika will try anything to stabilize her magic pressure. Eating a lot won’t help if she becomes too fat to fly, though. Aw. When did Strike Witches make Barkhorn such a softie? She’s still hard on Hartmann, though. Barkhorn is great with Lucchini. Such a gentle lesson on perspective.
Strike Witches has come to the time for Lucchini and Shirley to make up. Shirley needed to apologize too for getting so angry. She never told Lucchini how important the Rapid was to her. Her first “partner.” Shirley made the point that without her motorcycle, which opened a whole new world to her, she might never have met Lucchini. Way to bring it all together.
No speed record attempt for Shirley. The Neuroi of the Week needs to add the exclamation point on the Strike Witches’ relationship story. Yoshika still can’t fly properly. All that pie didn’t help. Oh, another bad idea from Lucchini. Shirley’s P-51 Striker Units need her unique magic power output. Eh? Weren’t Shirley’s P-51D flying boots still around somewhere? Well, Lucchini and Shirley’s friendship story needed that satisfying ending, so here you go. Barkhorn with the assist! Of course, Lucchini is more important to Shirley than a motorcycle or a speed record.
Oh, right. The Strike Witches Neuroi of the Week is still out there. Shirley can set a different speed record in her new P-51H Striker Units. That fight was quickly over. Suddenly sunset for some reason. Eh, the lighting makes a good picture. And the power of Shirley’s love for Lucchini let her break that two hundred mile an hour barrier. The age gap yuri is strong!
Next time on Strike Witches, Yoshika and Perrine have special moments with magical tulips.