LAST EDITED ON Jan-05-15 AT 06:21 AM (EST)
the Incarnate Engine - Also known as the Manifestation Engine, depending on which translation of Vividred Operation you're familiar with.
New Tricks - The title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the facts that Mio's loss of power is canonically blamed on her advanced age of 20, and that her familiar is a Doberman. After all, they say you can't teach...
it was a dark and stormy night - No pirate ship, though. At least... not this time.
Sendai thunder - Also the name of a popular annual rock festival.
uniform blouse - "Blouse" is meant here in the WWII Army uniform sense of a light jacket, not the "shirt for ladies" sense we generally use it in nowadays.
Usch - This was Erich Hartmann's pet name for his wife, Ursula; I have taken the liberty of assuming that it would also be what Erica Hartmann calls her twin sister, Ursula.
(Curiously, the younger sisters of both Erica Hartmann and Gertrud Barkhorn are named after their archetypes' wives, although Chris Barkhorn's full name is slightly modified - Christiane instead of Christl.)
are you serious - Trude doesn't ask "Why me?" because she knows why - she's the only one with two guns - and it's probably just as well, because if she had, Gryphon would have felt obligated to say "because you're perfect" and then the misunderstandings start.
MG42 - The Maschinengewehr 1942, one of the mainstays of the German army in WWII and - like the US Army's Browning M2 - still in service (in various forms) today. Presumably the version in the Strike Witches universe is not nicknamed "Hitler's Buzzsaw". (Maybe "the Kaiser's Buzzsaw"? Karlsland still has a Kaiser...)
a one-piece swimsuit - I think Japanese school swimsuits are actually two-piece with a top long enough that they overlap, and both Mio and Yoshika are drawn wearing one-pieces that just look like them, but I'm not quite school uniform aficionado enough to be certain.
Sam Waterston - This is a slightly more elaborate challenge-and-response authentication than "Flash!" / "Thunder!" , but serves much the same purpose...
a few weddings - This is basically me mocking the precious coyness about the characters' relationships to be found in many a yuri-heavy show. Do they or don't they? Will they or won't they? Uh, yeah, they do and they will. People generally don't dither around about this stuff in wartime.
all completely unofficial - Well, it was 1944. Witches get a lot of special privileges in that world, it's true, but it looks like men still write the laws.
Fusō Teikokukaigun Ittōryū - "Fusō Imperial Navy Single Blade Style".
triple-snort-and-sigh - Wolfgang's naptime sound is directly modeled on something my late beagle used to do (as Wolfgang is said beagle's UF incarnation).
O soave fanciulla - "O beautiful girl, O sweet face." NOTE: Gryphon does not sing as well as Placido Domingo, even in the bath, and I am in no way claiming that he does. :)
(As an aside, though, I bet the acoustics were epic. Those who have seen the first season of Strike Witches will know what I mean. For those who haven't, the room in question was an indoor bath with marble tile everywhere.)
that thieving little Romagnan - In fairness to Lucchini, she only stole a bunch of stuff that one time.
What shall we do with a drunken sailor? - In this case the obvious answer is, "Put her into bed with the Captain's beagle."
there is a fire inside you - This is a variation on the "all life is light" speech customarily given to Jedi initiates; the original was adapted by Tetsuo Asagiri to better reflect the Katsujinkenryū view of the Force's true nature and purpose, which is somewhat at variance with classical Jedi doctrine.
Rot bedeutet anhalten! - "Red means stop!"
Haganekaze - "Steel Wind". Not only an apropos name for the weapon of a Fusō sky witch, but also a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that one of its jobs is to tone down Reppumaru, the root of whose name means "gale".
Fusō-no-otome - "Maiden of Fusō". Semi-ironical in Mio's usage, one expects, though she occasionally exhorts Yoshika to remember that she's one, which is probably less so.
flight goggles - The visual is partially inspired by the one-eye-painted-over goggles worn by Captain May Carter in Atomic Robo and the Flying She-Devils of the Pacific.
"Sanya, I had too much to drink, you're flying us back."
"She had more than you did, Eila."
"She's Orussian. She's fine."
a kid I know - Gryphon means Rose "Rosie the Ravager" Wilson, Deadpool's daughter, who has a similar mechanism built into her mask for the reason he describes.
Isola delle Streghe - The island where the 501st is based in season two has no name that's ever mentioned on screen, but in one episode it's mentioned that the base is built on the ruins of an older witch community, so I've taken the liberty of calling it the Italian (Romagnan) for "Isle of the Witches".
citius, altius, fortius - Shamelessly cribbed by WDF Flight Test Command from the Olympic movement.
X-20DS - Gryphon's jetpacks in this piece are both named after rocket-powered test aircraft from the early Space Age. The X-15A-2 in the 1943 flashback is a more powerful experimental version of the Cirrus X-15 (itself a more powerful experimental version of the then-current main model in the Cirrus lineup, the J-15), and the X-20DS is, what else, a hot-rod mod of the J-20. "DS" is a reference to the nickname of the (never actually built) real-life X-20, "Dyna-Soar".
Minna's gonna have you fixed - Not likely; Minna may technically outrank Mio, but everyone knows who the real alpha dog of the 501st is.
Sakamoto Mio-shōsa - hasshin! - "Major Mio Sakamoto: launching!"
Ichido no sen - Literally "A thousand at once." Mio's new signature supermove, replacing Reppuzan. Sort of a hybrid of Reppuzan, Dragon's Tail (as seen in Blood Ties), and the master version of Hyakken no arashi, Senken no arashi (the Thousand-Blade Storm), it puts out about as much damage as the latter, but in a single strike (hence the name, "a thousand at once").
On a more general note, I did wonder a little bit as I was working on this how the sort of inherent gender politics involved in it would be perceived - Mio turning to a male character for help with her problem and all - but it is what it is; it's not really about him being a man, that's just... what he happens to be.
That issue in general is something I think I'd like to look at more closely if I ever do a fuller look at the implied background of their friendship, either as a retro-story set in '43 or a story that sees him returning to 332/S in '45 or '46: how he shaped his interactions with the 501st on their terms, not his, which sort of set him apart from... basically every man they're ever seen interacting with on the show who isn't an outright military subordinate, and will have gone a long way toward earning his place as part of the team.
I have to acknowledge that I'm not really au fait with gender politics as a thing, I'm sort of rubbish at it, which makes handling a story that is, after all, about a male interloper in a female world like the 501st perilous at best; but it's also an opportunity to do something interesting and different. Unlike many of their superior officers, he respects the hell outta those ladies, and I think that's important.
(Can a man be surrounded by attractive female characters without it turning into a harem comedy? I'd like to think so, and I'd kind of like to attempt it.)
As Anne noted when we were discussing this in the studio:
It's not an easy thing to convey, because our society has this idea that if you put a man and a woman in any sort of prolonged situation, of COURSE she's going to go to bed with him, that's what she's supposed to do. It drives me (and my writer's group) up the goddamned wall, particularly because we catch ourselves doing it from time to time, and we KNOW we Do Not Want.
So everybody stuffs sexual tension in where there isn't any intended, even the writers, and we have to work to kill it. Grr. Damn.
Ironically, not too long ago I wouldn't even have worried about this, but now it's standing up in my mind because I am specifically trying to convey the idea that - although physically unselfconscious to a degree that would startle or shock many onlookers, they aren't romantically entangled, nor even friends-with-benefits. G's not in the game at this time in his life, and Mio doesn't bat for that team anyway. (That doesn't stop her from kissing him, under certain specific conditions, but that's just Mio in whatever-I-damn-well-wanna-do mode. :)
Anyway, it's partly a wink at the way that, let's be honest, this story would inevitably have unfolded ten or even five years ago; and partly I just think that both the characters' relationship and the story are stronger for it.
Benjamin D. Hutchins, Co-Founder, Editor-in-Chief, & Forum Mod
Eyrie Productions, Unlimited http://www.eyrie-productions.com/
zgryphon at that email service Google has
Ceterum censeo Carthaginem esse delendam.