It never fails: when a new anime season approaches, I prepare a blog post about the series I plan to follow and write about in the coming months…then I end up watching shows that aren’t on the list I’ve just made. That’s what happened with Renmei Kuugun Koukuu Mahou Ongakutai Luminous Witches, aka Allied Air Force Magical Idols Luminous Witches, a spinoff series that takes everything good about Strike Witches and turns it into…a moeblob idol anime? Keep reading and decide if the show is for you!
Luminous Witches is a Strike Witches Idol Anime?
Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of the Strike Witches franchise, and the wider mecha musume genre created by illustrator Fumikane Shimada, who single-handedly established the concept of blending cute anime girls with WWII mecha and weapons. I love the characters in the original series…and I’ll be honest, I love the pantsu, and enjoy trying to anticipate the ridiculous sexy situations the characters will find themselves in next.
The World Witches universe has always been conceived as a massive multi-media world in which novels, manga, audio dramas, games and anime about an alternate world where instead of WWII, Earth was invaded by aliens called the Neuroi, forcing all the nations of the world to band together and fight. It’s great that, in addition to the original two seasons plus the 2014 movie and the recent Road to Berlin third season main plot, there’s room to tell other kinds of stories. But…is an idol anime set in the Strike Witches universe what fans want today? We’ll see!
Goodbye Pantsu, Hello Moe
The first episode of Luminous Witches gives us all the information we need, which is
- Fumikane Shimada is involved with this work (so we know it will be a serious effort, not a poor-quality 100% CGI mess)
- We’ve got cute girls wearing Striker Units fighting Neuroi. Pew pew pew!
- We immediately meet a completely new group of cute moe girls who are starting out on their careers as witches.
- All the girls have cute animal familiars now, who constantly take up screen time and significantly alter the vibe of the series.
- The girls seem to be talking about singing and music constantly…did I accidentally start watching last season’s Healer Girl or something?
- Will there be pantsu? Nope, no pantsu for us!
For better or worse, Strike Witches has been known for its shimo-neta, or below-the-belt jokes about sexy topics. Whether we’re watching a story about a strange substance that causes the girls’ clothing to melt away, or an alien object that makes the girls’ breasts triple in size for comedy purposes, we generally know what to expect in each episode. The one time the series opted to have zero sexy visual fanservice — the Brave Witches spinoff from 2016 — seemed to put fans to sleep, comparatively speaking.
But with the new Luminous Witches idol anime series, we’ve got a show in which moe girls singing is the point of the story, not fighting Neuroi with guns and bouncing boobs. Which is…fine, I guess? Considering that Macross is my #1 anime ever and that I thoroughly enjoyed the Healer Girl anime, I’m perfectly okay with an anime about bringing peace through the power of song. I just miss those pantsu…
I’m fascinated by the career of Fumikane Shimada, and how one artist can have such a huge impact on the industry over more than two decades. He created the original Mecha Musume toy line for Konami in the early 2000s, which inspired many works based on his concepts, including Sky Girls, Strike Witches, Busou Shinki, Kantai Collection, High School Fleet, and Girls und Panzer. Literally no one in the industry makes an anime about cute girls doing mecha-esque things without making sure Fumikane is on staff doing character design, at least.
An Idol Anime for Idol Fans
If you’re going to make an idol anime, it makes sense to base it around an idol group, so you can hopefully get that sweet synergy between the 2D characters you’re watching on screen and the actual CD singles that are getting released. And the songs behind Luminous Witches are all sung by the official idol group for the anime!
Thanks for reading this post on the new Luminous Witches idol anime. Do you think the show will do well, or will the lack of visual fanservice turn fans off? Post your comments below, or share them with us on Twitter!
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