Your Friend in Japan

A New Generation of Strike Witches, and Getting Motivation from a Japanese Word

Written by HotAnime

It’s not easy for Japan’s animation studios keep coming up with ideas for hit shows every season, and one recent trend has been towards creating “side stories” and spinoffs, series which take place alongside other popular shows, extending the universe and adding a new generation of characters. That’s what happened with Love Live Sunshine!, the story of an all-new high school idol group at a different school from the original Love Live! series, and Idolmaster Cinderella Girls, too. It’s also the approach taken with the new Brave Witches anime, telling the story of the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing, who fight the evil Neuroi in an alternate version of World War II in which cute girls with furry tails and animal ears provide fanservice do battle and keep to help keep humanity safe. It’s also the latest continuation in the grand “mecha musume” trend started by illustrator Shimada Fumikane, whose popular illustrations and figures merging cute girls with WWII mecha in the early 2000s paved the way for Strike Witches, Girls und Panzer (tank musume), Kantai Collection (ship musume) and so on.

One word that comes up in anime a lot is 頑張る ganbaru, a happy, cheerful word which means to work hard, to do one’s best, to give one’s all and so on. It’s usually heard in its formal form ganbarimasu! (“I will do my best!”), as a request like ganbatte or ganbatte kudasai (“please do your best”), or in its “command” form, ganbare! (“Do your best!”). Is there some goal you could use help with in your life? Perhaps it’s learning Japanese, focusing on losing weight and improving health, or tackling some other life problem? Well, just focus on the word ganbaru a bit and you’ll find you have more motivation to reach your goal. The spirit of ganbaru is currently embodied by Aoba Suzukaze from the New Game! game-making-and-light-yuri anime, and part of the reason I love her character so much is that she helps motivate me to be a better anime blogger with her positive attitude.

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