No less than the Embassy of Finland in Tokyo has interviewed the creator of Strike Witches about the inception of adorable Finnish witch Eila Ilmatar Juutilainen.
Finland’s Tokyo embassy operates an official Twitter account (run by “Fin-tan”), and when curious Strike Witches fans quizzed them as to whether they knew of the appropriation of the Nazi-allied nation’s top fighter ace in the form of Eila, they were amazed to discover that the embassy’s answer was “we know everything.”
This later saw the embassy courting Japanese otaku by graciously honouring Eila’s birthday and soliciting Finland shaped mascots for an official competition (this was in fact loosely based on a fairly unsuccesful 2ch thread, which itself was based on an earlier effort with bashful Britannia):
This all culminated in the latest overture to otaku – an interview with Strike Witches creator Shimada Fumikane:
Eila can now be called the driving force behind the embassy’s official Twitter account. Fin-tan spoke with her creator Shimada Fumikane about her inception.
“The Strike Witches project began 7 years ago,” he says. “I aimed for those who are interested in WWII history and warfare, and used the aces of each nation as a motif for the characters. Those characters are the ‘dream team’ battling against the Neuroi, and that forms the setting.”
Each of the Strikes Witches is based on their respective national characters. In Eila’s case, he conferred with staff as to how to represent Finland’s character: “Her trademark monotone delivery, calm aloofness, sense of duty and compassion, and willpower, along with her cool and smart looks, all of which hide her passion, are Eila.”
[The embassy also generously plugs the Strike Witches movie]
Where Eila’s highly cordial relations with Sanya come into all this (given that it was Russia which attempted to invade Finland, forcing Finland into reluctant alliance with Hitler) is perhaps something neither he nor embassy staff are keen to dwell on.
Resorting to the antics of a squadron of young nymphomaniacs flying around in their pantsu to engage the interest of the Japanese certainly constitutes a unique marketing coup for Finland, although it is not clear whether any of the other nations so featured will be following suit…