Since Strike Witches 2 is now airing, I’ve given some thought into how I got into the show in the first place.
Hold on tight, this might take a while.
Early 2010, I was pulled by my casual writing circle to play a tabletop homebrew RPG named Dive Into the Sky. At first, I was apprehensive to the idea, since I had never really liked the idea of mecha musume before. While a fan of both giant robots and charming little girls (cute, not pedo), I wanted to appreciate them separately, lest I be confused.
So I jumped in without much knowledge. Thankfully, the version of our DitS game didn’t require one to have seen Strike Witches or any other mecha musume anime at all, as our kind DM was able to graciously handle all my ignorant questions. I made a kuudere meganekko PC who is named after a certain WWII Norwegian pilot-turned-author of children’s books. (In keeping with the Strike Witches tradition of making real people turning over their graves, that is.)
Maybe I felt bad about pestering so much before the first game, so I actually started watching Strike Witches. Even if mecha musume wasn’t particularly my fancy, maybe I could appreciate it at least.
And I did.
While the “mecha” aspect of the show is underplayed in favor of some rich character dynamics, Strike Witches boasts a surprisingly good amount of mecha tropes. Yoshika may not be the most appealing character for me, but she is essentially Amuro without pants. And who could not forget about mecha-Yamato? The enjoyment I had with the show allowed me to have more fun with our gaming sessions.
I became a fan. I played around with our in-game fluff, and grew to develop an attachment to my PC. I fleshed her out more, and gave her an obsession over tentacled monstrosities. Even better, my DM decided to take the idea and run away with it. Between sessions, I would write fluff, and other people soon followed through with their own.
Soon, our game started to become something bigger than just a weekly campaign, encouraging more creativity with its players. And isn’t that wonderful? Spending more time in our PCs’ heads helps build a sense of ownership. Being a casual writing circle, our games were composed of 75% role-playing and 25% rolling, and missions were always kept exciting.
However, about a dozen sessions later, our campaign became virtually unplayable, thanks to the last mission requiring all seven players to continue (we had to cut the game since it wouldn’t fit into one session). A logistical nightmare ensued–for weeks at end, the game kept being postponed, since at any given time one person wouldn’t be able to come. Our game was put in indefinite hiatus as a result.
To get my /tg/ fix, I played Maid RPG with fewer people, tried out Trail of Cthulhu, and play-tested a friend’s homebrew SRW RPG on my Friday nights. But my mind kept going back to DitS. It was a damn shame.
Then one of my other friends offered to start a new campaign, this time set in the Strike Witches world proper. I decided to create a character who was spiritually similar to my previous one, with a more aggressive playstyle.
The end result became:
…more or less.
And then, Strike Witches 2. It’s no longer something I watch to “get” mecha musume. Game or no game, this one’s a keeper.