Girls und Panzer was something of a surprise hit last year for Studio Actas. Initially created as a kind of niche anime, it took off with a lot of Online Shooter fans for its Tank Battles and girly fun. I actually ignored it after I was left a bad taste in my mouth from Upotte! a similarly themed anime about Guns and picked it back up this year after some renewed discussion about it on Anime Planet (the last two episodes were postponed until March due to a Studio cock up).
To my my shock, Girls und Panzer actually turned out to be an absolute thrill ride of an anime.
Girls und Panzer
Written by Rieko Yoshida for Actas, Licensed in NA by Sentai Filmworks. 12 Episode Anime, not available on DVD or Blu-Ray at this time. 2, 2 volume Manga, and 1 Light Novel adaptation.
Genre: Action, Comedy
Girls und Panzer is the story of Miho Nishizumi who begins attending school at Oarai Girls High School to get away from the sport of Shensa-Do aka “Tankery” or Panzerfahren. At the beginning there is no rationale for her wanting to get away from Shansa-Do, but she is horribly against it. Must to her chagrin, the Student Council President begins to attempt to force her into the sport. Because she has made some new friends who wish to participate, Miho relents and joins the team.
Tankery is exactly what it says it is. In the future, the art of operating tanks and participating in real tank battles is considered an extremely important tool to achieve perfect “womanhood”. Miho actually comes from a highly influential family in the world of tankery, her mother considered the Queen of Panzerfahren. The reason why she does not want to participate in the sport anymore is because of the school year prior, a fellow teams tank was knocked into a river and Miho chose to abandon her Flag Tank to rescue the other crew. Because of this, the Flag Tank was knocked out of the National Tournament they were in and she became a pariah to her mother and sister.
The series combines Moe Slice of Life with some of the most exciting action sequences in anime while Miho reluctantly begins leading Oari Girls through the National Tankery Tournament to the eventual show down with her sister, who commands the school Miho leaves Tankery Team.
And it works on so many levels.
The plot revolves around the growth of the Oarai Team as it moves through the National Tournament and Miho demonstrating her almost Idiot Savant skills at tactics and strategy. There is a sub plot involving the danger the school is of closing and how the Student Council attempts to break the news to the rest of the girls.
The absolute pure attention to detail, the in jokes, and the references to things you would never think you would see referenced in an anime are amazing.
This right here, is a perfect example.
At 2 minutes in, the joke just absolutely caught me off guard, and the reaction from the other schools leader is priceless..
The characters, although suffering from a lack of development, at the least are memorable. Every Tank Crew in the team has their own personalities, from the History Otaku Hippo Team to the First Year Rabbit Team that has exceptional “running away” skill stick with you and you cannot wait for the next episode.
The Opposing Team characters as well. The Russian team Pravda and their Commander/Co-Commander relationship, the elegant British Team, The Sneaky American-esque Team and Miho’s Sister never disappoint.
And magically, the characters make the Tank Battle scenes fun.
As highly improbable as the plot is, you do not spend time thinking about the fact that it is highly unrealistic.
The art direction is good. Coloring is vivid. The CGI does get in the way at times.
Sound is awesome. The OST is phenomenal, made up of Battle Marches from various Countries. There is a wonderful scene where the Russian girls sing a War Song (That due to copyright issues was cut from the North american Crunchyroll feed).
Cons: Again, underdeveloped characters, Over use of CGI.
I cannot think of any reason why you should not watch Girls und Panzer. If you are looking for a series that is fun, exciting, Moe, and a lot of genre saavy references, you just cannot go wrong here.
8/10, it isn’t perfect but it’s a thrill ride.
Objectionable Content: NONE. Although the OVA’s are a little fan-servicey.