Fall 2020 had 3 anime I would describe as “Warrior Maidens vs Mechanical Aliens”. I already reviewed Strike Witches S3 and Assault Lily Bouquet so now we will talk about the last one. What does this one have to offer? Let us find out as we take a look at Warlords of Sigrdrifa.
Alternate Title: Senyoku no Sigrdrifa (Japanese)
Genres: Action, Drama, Science Fiction
Themes: Airplanes, Aerial Warfare, Fanservice, Military, Mythology
Number of Episodes: 12 (1st episode is 40+ minutes)
Plot Summary: When humanity is threatened by mysterious Pillars, the Norse god Odin offers humanity a way to fight back: young female pilots called “Valkyries”, each piloting a special, magically-enhanced plane capable of fighting this mysterious new foe. One of these Valkyries is Claudia Bruford, a German pilot who gets transferred to Tateyama Air Base, where she befriends a trio of Japanese Valkyries, and learns the value of friendship.
Coming into this show all I hoped for was it to be as enjoyable as The Magnificent Kotobuki, focus mainly on the ladies and treat the guys like insignificant dorks. Well the guys got more screen time than expected and they were dorks but I admit they were likable dorks and proud to be manly men. They liked to “flirt” with the ladies but it never came off pushy. They were more like loyal fanboys to the Valkyries willing to sacrifice their lives to help the cause. So yes, they were cool chaps.
I guess the best way to describe Sigrdrifa would be “finding light in the darkness”. The premiere starts in the middle with fun, gloom and cool action. As it progresses it bounces between fun, gloom and the middle again with most of the second half being gloomy with small glimmers of hope. It is first and foremost a war anime with drama revolving around the hardships of war, lost comrades, traumatic experiences and trying to not lose hope when all seems lost. All our heroines joy, sorrow and renewed hope throughout the show. Despite some flags being incredibly predictable, I am referring to one tragedy in particular, it still hurts to watch the reaction of the loved one seeing her hope crushed in an instant. It is a solid story overall.
Having said all that about the narrative, this show also features plenty of sexiness. Readers who felt Strike Witches 3 needed more of its vintage ecchi goodness will have no such issue watching Sigrdrifa. Heck, Episode 4 features one of the most insanely hilarious beach segments I have ever seen (Keep in mind the guys are wearing “tighty wightys” too.) and it is followed by a delicious bathhouse scene featuring a serious discussion/info dump in Episode 5. If nothing else the Blu-Rays are worth checking out for potential uncensored goodness. Longtime fans or frequent visitors of the blog will know I am no stranger to anime featuring ladies showing off their bodies or getting their clothes shredded yet have fundamentally sound storytelling. Sigrdrifa is an example of such.
While the story is solid it is one viewers will have to be patient and “connect” with. There is a lot of exposition in the first half that will make sense in the second and not as many battles as one would expect. This is not a one or two battle per episode show.
Moving on to the action. Most of it takes place in the air via dogfights. Probably because the Valkyries did not need advanced technology to take out enemies they piloted old school fighter planes whereas the guys piloted modern combat jets. Take wild guess which ones were stronger against the Pillar. As mentioned in the intro the Pillar look like mechanical aliens though here they seem to be of mythological origin, namely Norse Mythology. Why? My best guess is the story of creation based on Norse Mythology resonated with the writers and the story they wanted to tell. It is evident they did their homework with the Valkyries’ purpose of giving fallen warriors a proper sendoff, other gods, the paradise of Valhalla and of course the world ending war of Ragnarok.
The presentation is good. The ladies look good, the soldiers are buff goofballs and the CG planes, jets and “aliens” look cool. The soundtrack is rad along with a rockin’ OP and bittersweet ED.
Claudia (blonde), Miyako (black), Sonoka (pink) and Azuzu (gray).
Let us go over our four main heroines:
Claudia is the main lady. She was assigned to a Japanese base after one of her fellow Valkyrie fell in battle to take her place. She is a “fish out of water” despite having some knowledge of Japanese culture. For reasons revealed over time she had a strong connection to a certain Norse king. She feared teaming up with others because she saw herself as cursed, fighting by her side was a death sentence but over time learns to appreciate life much more thanks to her new friends.
Miyako is a genki loved by all for her boundless optimism and positive energy. That does not mean she is clueless or an airhead. She knows full well what she is fighting for and wants to spread hope and joy to help alleviate as much stress as possible.
Sonoka is “the cute badass” in that she is adorable on the outside but like her chest she packs a ton of heat and her combat skills appear to equal that of revered Valkyries (known as the “Named”). Her character arc is a challenging one, yes.
Azuzu (OG best girl) is a Tsundere with a big brain but has the least stamina and combat skills on the team. Still, she can hold her own and is inexplicably gorgeous. Occasionally brags about her intelligence and beauty and she has both to back up her boasting. Is constantly annoyed by “stupidity” but her caring nature is easily noticed. Biggest weakness is her need to over analyze everything and not taking enough risks in battle.
While there are some yuri ships the highlight couple are Miyako and Azuzu. Azuzu is the brain, Miyako is the brawn and together they make the perfect team/couple. Just like her kind nature Azuzu does a poor job hiding her love for Miyako, even from Miyako herself. She is cutely teased by everyone. Miyako loves her super sexy grumpy smarty pants with a big heart and Azuzu loves her bright and cheery idiot cutie.
Overall Sigrdrifa is a solid show with a solid story, nice presentation and a fine cast. However, I personally felt it did not quite reach that “8 and up” fun factor for me thus it got a 7. Reminds me of Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars. Another decent show that did not quite reach the “good” range for me. That does not mean I thought the show was not good, just decent. May be worth checking out at least once.