What do you do when what is asked of you is beyond what you are physically capable of? That’s the question facing the protagonist of Brave Witches–and her solution is simple, but smart.

[Note: This article contains spoilers for Brave Witches up to episode four.]

The story of Brave Witches takes place after the events of the first season of the original Strike Witches. A Neuroi nest has been destroyed by the 501st Joint Fighter Wing, confirming that humanity’s enemy can be defeated. A counterassault is underway and the 502nd Joint Fighter Wing is assembled to join the fight.

Anime Basics: Brave Witches

Among the members is Takami Karibuchi, a gifted witch with the ability to detect enemy Neuroi cores–their only weak point. Without this ability, the only way witches can combat the Neuroi is by showering them with gunfire in the hopes that they’ll randomly find a Neuroi’s core.

Takami’s younger sister, Hikari, also joins, and after an encounter with a Neuroi takes Takami out of commission, Hikari volunteers to take her place in the unit.

Unfortunately, while Takami is an exceptionally talented witch, Hikari is… not. It is soon revealed that while Hikari has the gusto, she simply does not possess the magical potential her elder sibling has. While it appears that Hikari may have an ability similar to her sister’s which allows her to see Neuroi cores, her lack of magical potential makes her a bigger hindrance in combat than an asset, putting herself and other witches in danger. And this lack of magical power is a handicap that can’t be overcome no matter how much training Hikari does.

This comes to a head in episode four when Hikari is given an ultimatum: Climb a spire in one week using only her magic or be forced to leave the 502nd.

Hikari attempts to climb, but always runs out of magic before she can reach the top. Her instructor, Edytha Roßmann, informs Hikari that her limitation is not one that can be beaten by her signature zest.

Witches have a set magic level which governs how much magic they can use–think of it as MP in an RPG. While it can be depleted and replenished, the maximum does not change. Hikari’s magic level is much lower than the average witch. All through her life, she has made up for this weakness by training her body and through sheer momentum. Unfortunately, while they may have allowed her to get by in everyday life, neither is enough to compensate for her magical disadvantage on the battlefield.

The solution that is presented is logical and elegant: If she can’t increase her amount of magic, she should figure out how to use what magic she has more wisely. By channeling her magic to just one hand at a time instead of her entire body, Hikari is able to sustain herself long enough to reach the top of the spire.

Where most stories have a tendency to let their characters overcome impossible odds by sheer force of will, it’s nice to see an instance where the obstacles are set in stone and the solution is a sensible workaround.

Brave Witches can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.

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