Review of Girls Und Panzer

Image

Girls Und Panzer is a twelve-episode anime series currently available to buy in the UK courtesy of MVM Entertainment. The show is dedicated to Tankery, a fictional sport that has teams battling it out using a range of World War II era tanks. Even though driving an armoured vehicle doesn’t come across as a feminine pursuit, Tankery is extremely popular with teenage girls. Why is that you may ask? Because anime shows must shoehorn in a high school setting, regardless of subject matter, that’s why! Besides, everyone knows that when it comes to merchandising female figurines sell far better than male models.

The show’s main character is Miho Nishizumi, who is the youngest member of a family who are renowned for their Tankery prowess. When the series kicks off we see Miho enrol at Ōarai Academy – an all girls boarding school situated atop an aircraft carrier. I’m not sure what the educational merits of studying aboard a warship are, but whatever. When Ōarai Academy revives its defunct Tankery club Miho is appointed as team commander and tasked with winning the upcoming World Championships. Ōarai’s participation in the tournament is a desperate attempt to keep the struggling school afloat (no pun intended.) Should they fail to scoop the title the institution shall get shut down. No pressure Miho… do your best!

Assisting Miho in her endeavours are her quirky classmates Saori, Hana, Yukari and Mako. Saori is obsessed with hunting down a boyfriend although the odds of her finding one are pretty much zero, as the show is virtually devoid of male characters (no one wants figurines with a penis.) Saori’s relationship woes however pale in comparison to Hana’s family troubles. Poor Hana has been disowned by her mother for having the gall to abandon flower arranging in favour of becoming a Tankery gunner. Floristry is serious business folks! Yukari is a tank fanatic (no surprise then that she has no friends) whilst Mako is the team’s driver despite suffering from narcolepsy.

In addition to the above-mentioned ladies Girls Und Panzer has a fairly large supporting cast, but most of them are nothing more than amusing two-dimensional caricatures. The same complaint can also be levied at the opposition teams Ōarai Academy face during the championships. These include a British team who spend their time drinking tea… heck even their team insignia is a cuppa! The Russian school, Miho eventually faces, is led by a diminutive commander who has height esteem issues. She insists on riding atop her subordinate’s shoulders so she can look down on her rivals. Miho’s stern sister is also participating in the contest. She’s an ice queen who only cares about winning. I’m sure the two won’t clash in the finals. That would be too predictable right?

My rating for Girls Und Panzer is four stars out of five. It’s good light-hearted fun and a welcome change from other animes, which are often overly melodramatic or guilty of sexualizing their cast. Watching the innocent antics of Miho’s chums always put a smile on my face, whether its their decision to paint a tank pink or buying cushions, as sitting in metal vehicles is hard on their tushies. Although the series can be too sweet at times, the action sequences are surprisingly well put together. Instead of depending on the CG tanks to dazzle audiences, the battles end up being entertaining as they focus on how Miho’s intelligent tactics prevail over forces blessed with superior numbers and weaponry. If you enjoy sporting shows like Bamboo Blade I can highly recommend Girls Und Panzer. It’s so good that you’ll forget that you are cheering on for the Nazi tanks to win!

17 thoughts on “Review of Girls Und Panzer

    • When there were enough of them, and they could be kept supplied, and could be kept running.

      Whatever else could be said for the Sherman, it was a good enough tank that could be (and was) produced in the volumes necessary to win. In the long run it doesn’t (and didn’t) matter if your Panzer can take out 5 Shermans, if there’s always going to be 6…

      As the saying goes: amateurs study tactics, professionals study logistics…

      • Very true my friend. America could just keep pumping out Shermans at a rate Germany couldn’t match, but one cannot deny their technological superiority. It’s just they were heavily outnumbered by the easy ti repair and easily to build Shermans. That and the German Panzers, Tigers and Panthers had to face the best tank of the war, the USSR’s T-34.

    • The last two episodes were delayed in production, and not broadcast in Japan until about 4 months after the original run. It wasn’t that the subbers were slow, CrunchyRoll had the last two within hours of the broadcast.

      • Ok, couldn’t remember if that was the case or not. I never use Crunchyroll. Many issues with their sub quality over the past few years. As well as their streaming & torrent tracking.

      • I know that a number of people bag CrunchyRoll but I’ve never really had a problem with it other than buffering roulette.

        And most of that is down to what passes for broadband in Australia…

      • They’ve also started geoblocking some series here so o have to glro Madman’s streaming site, which isn’t great. People just prefer the ability to watch what quality they want when they want.

      • Granted, I didn’t realise you were also in Australia. Actually CrunchyRoll have been geoblocking Australia, and to a lesser extent Europe, for some time because they don’t always get global licences.

        I’ll admit that’s a little annoying occasionally, but it’s something they have to do in order to remain legit.

  1. The bizarre colours for the tanks in the early episodes is a remarkably clever piece of writing that:
    a) Makes it easy for the VIEWERS to tell the tanks apart (most of the target demographic wouldn’t have been)
    b) Assigns a characterisation to each tank, and their crews (Pink = Cute, Shiny Gold = Arrogant, etc)
    c) Demonstrates that most of Ooarai are complete newbies who don’t understand tankery at all. Note that only Miho’s tank remains in original colours to begin with.

    Once a) and c) no longer apply, they revert to more reasonable colours. Classic piece of Show Don’t Tell writing.

  2. Regarding Miho’s sister, it’s revealed in the prequel manga, Little Army that there’s much more to her than caring about winning. She may be the heiress to the Nishizumi school, but she takes on that role so that Miho won’t have to, and will be able to live her life her own way. When she’s not “on the job”, so to speak, she’s quite warm, and Miho thinks highly of her.

  3. Pingback: Review of Stella Women’s Academy | The Otaku Judge

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s