Wow, who would’ve thought that Strike Witches, instead of featuring just unadulterated fan services, would actually tackle some serious thematic elements? What do soldiers fight for?
The movie that introduced me to this question was the ultra-realistic Black Hawk Down. In it, you will not find the reasons to be honor or bravery or loyalty, although through the process of it all those things do come. But no, while the reasons for why soldiers enter a war may be as diverse as creatures in the sea, but once the first bullet streaks through the tumultuous air they breath in, there is but one simple reason left: To keep the man next to you alive.
The will that transcends strength
First, a little summary of the background of the story in episode four: Trude Barkhorn considered her little sister Chris dead when in one of the battle she participated she failed to prevent the advances of a Neuroi which ultimately caused Chris harms that sent her into a coma. Ever since then, Trude was angry at herself for, even though having all this power, still being unable to protect the one person which meant more than anything else to her. So, when Yoshika showed up, with her striking resemblance to Chris, and started to naively speak of using her power to save everyone, Trude took it deep like a knife into her heart.
Eventually, the fight of the week came, and both Trude and Yoshika were involved. In the middle of the fight, Trude got too close and was wounded seriously. Yoshika immediately broke rank and attempted to heal Trude who was lying haphazardly on the ground. With the Neuroi still firing through the tumultuous sky above their heads, they started this conversation:
So, Yoshika in all her simplicity did understand that protecting everyone was indeed impossible, but the same simplicity allowed her to reach a deeper truth: By protecting the very person next to you, you protect everyone.
In each battle.
One at a time.
As long as you still breaths the tumultuous air.