Strike Witches forms a set of titles with an unexpectedly chequered past, and whilst the current anime seems to have found a popular and stable niche for showing off delicious not-pantsu in ultra low angle shots, when they escape the censors at least, the earlier original manga version, even illustrated by something of an ero-mangaka, in fact got canned over this very reason, and has only recently been revived as a completely different title, with a distinctly sanitised air.
Let us take a closer look at the original loli manga, and circumstances surrounding the cancellation, as it is rather interesting…
As you can see, the original manga was on something of a different level, even to the anime. It was illustrated byかずみ義幸 / Kazumi Yoshiyuki, whose works on Pixiv, not to mention his various interesting ero-manga and doujinshi, should give you an idea of where his tastes lie (in fact, all over the place by the looks of things).
You may also have heard of 松本ドリル研究所 / Matsumoto Drill Laborotory – same person. You can see a sample of his works towards the end of the article.
According to his account, the serialisation was canned in early 2006 after only three months, because of poor reception (supposedly ascertained by survey results), and because it was too steamy for publisher Kadokawa.
Since it would appear to be rather a stretch to think that a title which has spawned (although which actually spawned which is a bit complicated) a relatively faithful and popular anime adaptation (to say nothing of an OVA, a novel series and a variety of other works) could be that ill received by readers, it seems the explanation for the cancellation lies largely with the erotic direction of the title (and the good mangaka’s comments support this interpretation).
In fact, he claims he was told to make it an ecchi work from the start, and was understandably dejected at being cast aside after making a work of the sort which would not be inconceivably found in the pages of such specialist magazines as LO, at the behest of his very superiors… And after only three issues.
This happened some time ago, but the 2008 re-serialisation of the manga tends to support those conclusions – all the witches are now clad in very sensible bloomers, and high angle views and longer coats serve to minimise the time spent studying the characters. Clearly, they have shifted their target demographic. Both, however, are published in the same title: Comp Ace.
There is a little breast fondling and bikini service, but none of the inexplicably ultra-low not-pantsu or characters crawling out of their clothes at the slightest opportunity.
Here is a sample chapter from the defunct original manga – notice how it screams “delicious cake” at every turn, bar those where its pages strain under the weight of over-endowed and un-aerodynamic larger witches. You can also see how far the anime went.
Here you can see something of Matsumoto Drill Laborotory’s work:
Liberionians rejoice – that great nation has received a name upgrade (?) in the Strike Witches universe. At least they are in a better position than Karlslanders… An aside from the novel.
Hopefully, none of this theatre will befall the anime?