I can already hear the dramatic swoosh of a thousand anime fans’ noses turning in the air. More Strike Witches? Perverted garbage, they cry as one! But why? The aerial battles are good, the characters are interesting, the high concept is the ultimate geek fantasy. And really, nobody’s ever died from looking at a few animated panties. (Quite the opposite, in point of fact!)
So I’m looking forward to more. But I had a certain question in the first season, and I have a feeling it will rear its head again in the second. Given the tone of the show, I’m sure it’s an itch that will remain unscratched, and there’s really no good or gentle way of asking this, but I’m dying to know: About the Karlslanders…
Do you suppose they run concentration camps? Auschwitz and Buchenwald and all that?
A few months ago, I sat in on a history lesson about World War II. My pulse quickened at the chance of controversy, but alas, this was your standard middle school summary of major battles. (And the atomic bomb, of course—They had an American with them in class! How could they not?) But just think: Although it renounces war today, Japan was once part of the Axis Powers. Japanese history reports from the perspective of having been allies with Italy and Nazi Germany, not treating them as “the enemy” like we might be used to.
Now, when it comes to popular fascination with Nazi paraphernalia, things get even trickier: Nazi planes were built by BMW, Nazi uniforms designed by Hugo Boss. Coco Chanel once famously had an affair with a Nazi spy. The Reichsführer of the SS requested that his officers be dressed with an eye toward maximizing style and intimidation… And I have to hand it to Herr Himmler, that worked pretty darn well.
Mixed with the heady allure of evil, how can all of that not be fascinating?
I admit, I like the Karlslander Witches the best out of the cast. They’re the most attractive, and I find their characters the most interesting. But my relationship with them is complicated, in a way that I suspect for Japanese fans it isn’t. I just have to assume that either the Holocaust isn’t happening in this world (Maybe Jews don’t even exist—It worked for China), or Trude, Minna, Erica and company are largely unaware.
Rather chilling to think about, though, isn’t it?