Girls und Panzer – Review
Title: Girls und Panzer (ガールズ&パンツァー)
Genre: Action, Comedy, Slice of Life, Tournament, School, Military, Tanks (lol do you consider this as a genre?)
In this world, Sensha-do (戦車道) (aka Tankwondo), the art of tank-combat, is a traditional Japanese martial art for girls. Miho, a girl who just transfered into the Ōrai Girls’ Academy in Ibaraki Prefecture, has been ordered by the academy’s student council chairperson to join the school team and compete in the national Sensha-do championships.
This went under my radar last fall 2012 mainly because I was mislead into thinking that this is an ecchi anime with a theme of tanks that reminds me of Uppote!. When I read PANZER I seriously thought it was PANZER=PANTSU but the truth PANZER mean TANK (oh god my mind have really been tainted ain’t it?! www) and that trailer that is full of girls, yup your typical recipe of a mediocre ecchi anime but I AM SO F*CKING WRONG!
Miho just recently transferred to Oarai Girls’ Academy trying to forget her Tankwondo past. She have been forcibly recruited by the student council president to join the newly established Tankwondo club of Oarai. Joining her are driver Mako, gunner Hana, radio operator Saori and loader Yukari as the incomparable Anko Team. Will she be able to command this crew and win the Sensha-do Championship? Go watch this series to find out! Panzer vor!
The story is really simple, Miho would just have to lead the Oarai Tankwondo team to be crowned the champion of the Tankwondo competition or else their school would be shut down. I know it’s very cliché but the execution of this show was outstanding that you wouldn’t mind the very simple plot. It has a tightly woven story: it’ll explore it’s characters, the rivalry and the setting in a very balanced manner. You’ll unknowingly get immersed into the world of Girls und Panzer (Man, watching these girls drive tanks made me want to drive tanks too!).
Tank battle was really immersive (I’ll get on the technicalities later the Animation part) since it was nicely directed. Oarai was an underdog in the competition with their old and weak tanks but unlike those typical shonen shows where the underdog suddenly acquire some powers that could easily defeat their opponent, the Oarai team relied on preparation, training and nicely thought out tactics & strategy and most of all leadership. The show really made a point that yes, the Oarai team would win but the win would not be easy, they would have to work hard and learn to follow their captain.
Sure the setting was ridiculous but it sure is interesting. Imagine living in a world where Tanks are being driven by young girls as this martial arts known as Tankwondo helps the girls hone their grace and femininity (LOL what? www). Well I think that was a nice move since if it’ll be old smelly guys driving those tanks, I’ll probably drop this show haha!.
I never thought it’ll be very serious with it’s Tank theme but after watching episode 1, my thought went: “Ah…They’re really serious about the Tank action ain’t it?”. The whole series never strayed from it’s theme it was either the girls preparing for the tournament, looking for tanks and competing…in the end it all comes down to tanks.
This show asks us, is it all about WINNING? Will people respect you if you always above everyone else? I don’t think so. I think people would respect you and follow you as a leader if that leader would not leave anyone behind. In Miho’s instance she got scolded by saving a teammate in need but that caused her team’s loss. She didn’t accept her family’s style of Tankwondo that is solely about winning even if it means leaving a comrade behind. Eventually she developed her own style: No one gets left behind! Man that scene at ep 11 (Miho leaping tank to tank to save her comrades) was just so cool…so badass in a way.
Overall, a very simple premise but with an outstanding execution of not only tank battles but also a nice balance between the character development, the light heartedness and tank action…did I forgot to mention the tank action is so KAKOII (Awesome)?
Huge Cast with very little character development which is understandable…
We have a huge cast of memorable and likable characters. Most may not have enough screen time but I won’t complain since if they did there would probably less tank action so in some way I am grateful. At least we got some development on Miho’s team as every arc one of the members was somehow related to the ongoing plot. Well, most of the characters are straight forward that they don’t need further character development. I guess what makes most of the girls stand out is how they drive/operate their tanks. Their characters really stand out and it was really hilarious on how the show portrayed them. Imagine one tank being operated by a bunch of online tank game players, the other tank a bunch of history buffs and the other a bunch of volleyball players. You might think it’ll end up as a disaster but no, Miho the protagonist was able to lead this crazy team.
I really like how the competitors in the Tankwondo Competition depicted the countries who are uhhhh I’m not sure about the term “Tank Power Countries” during the 2nd world war. You could could see the British team being composed and drinking tea during a match (oh and the Captain’s name even sounds like a tea flavor (Darjeeling) www). The American team was depicted by being cocky and boast their superior fire poer and technology. The Russian team was singing ‘Katyusha’ as they start the battle. The German team with their precision and overly serious attitude. The opponents really do stand out and make every match memorable in their own way.
VERY IMMERSIVE…Awesome cinematography
I mentioned earlier that the tank battle was really immersive and it was thanks to the creative cinematography like what they did in the first episode with that first person view from a tank, the moving tank as a whole during a battle and even you could experience being a gunner. It really felt like I am also in the tank experiencing what the characters are experiencing. Tank battles are well thought out and feels real despite the fact that some tactics are not bound by physics (well this is anime, TO HELL WITH PHYSICS!). Really, enjoyable and immersive.
DAT DRIFT!!! SO BADASS!! d=(´▽｀)=b
(Thanks Kuro for the wonderful GIF!)
DAT STRATEGY…so damn speechless wwww (ﾉﾟ0ﾟ)ﾉ~
The CGI used for the tanks are beautiful and it does not look out of place with the 2D animation. Well, there were some hijinks in the 3D background during battles since it sometimes looks flat but I think that was understandable since they blow all their budget on the last 2 episodes.
The bgms used reminds me a lot of those old war movies with all it’s militaristic and marching music playing at the right moment and at the right time which is very fitting for the theme if the series. I’ll probably grab a copy when I got a chance. Here’s a sample below:
The OP song “Dream Riser”by ChouCho sounds like this show is full of light hearted moments but by looking at the action packed OP sequence well, it’s really all about tank action.
ED sounds generic but I don’t know I find it so darn catchy. It also adds a pinch of light heartedness to the series. ED sequence is so damn KAWAII, that’s the reason I love Japan, they make all those unappealing stuff appealing to people like me *(*´∀｀*)☆
This is one enjoyable show and I can’t believe I dismissed this one right away upon watching the PV and reading the summary last Fall. I watched this on our living room and it was quite embarrassing ‘cause I keep was shouting “You idiot not there go RIGHT!! AHHHHH!” or something along those lines and I was even clapping when Oarai did an impressive move so yeah embarrassing, people in my house probably whispered “what a weird girl” behind my back wwww. I honestly don’t care ‘cause this show deserves those kinds of reactions wwww.
A very entertaining show and is executed flawlessly. I recommend this to anyone who wants to watch something new and creative. It is a nice balance of action, comedy, plot and of course cute girls!
Here’s to hoping there will be a season two!
Overall: 8.8/10 (High Priority Watch)