Reviewby Jon Hayward, Mar 24th 2014
Girls und Panzer
Oarai Academy needs a Tankery team and there's only one student for the job, transfer student Miho Nishizumi. However to be on the tracks to victory in the International Tankery Championship she will need to assemble a crack team of specialists, her friends Saora, Hana, Yukari and Mako. Together they make Team Anglerfish and they need to work hard in their trusty German Panzer IV Ausf. D to defeat other high schools and the myriad tactics that they employ.
Miho is trying to start a new life at a new school, she's no longer living with her family and all she wants to do is have a standard regular normal high school life. However she is quickly drawn into the one thing she wants to avoid, tankery, the proper ladies sport of shooting people in tanks.
Girls und Panzer runs at a fast clip, Miho makes new friends and is quickly blackmailed by the student council to join the Tankery class (known as Sensha-Do in Japanese) which she doesn't want to do due to unspecified and shadowy flashback that will be further explained at a future date. The club is assembled and the five different teams find, repair, repaint and get to the action where the rest of the series is a underdog tale worthy of Emilio Estevez on ice. The overarching plot deals with Miho and her team fighting to keep the school open by placing first in the international tankery tournament, however Miho's family do not approve of her participating in their traditional sport as she (previous to the series) eschewed the families tactics and cost them the win in the previous year's tournament. This very thin thread of conflict is through the entire series but it happens to be just enough to keep the tank treads rolling.
Girls und Panzer does excel at visual gags, the entire show is built around the odd juxtaposition of cute girls on/in tanks so we have tank running down the road in the morning, tank on a bridge, tank painted bright pink, tank taking out a small town, tank getting cleaned and tank picking up the girls for school. And then we get combat that would make Commando magazine happy for years, tough conditions, overwhelming forces, communication tapping, teams of British, American, Italian, Russian and German schools to fight against? Fortunately they decided to skip the dogs with explosives strapped to their backs. Combat is presented as a popular school sport on the mainland where families come in to watch the show from a safe distance, entire towns are abandoned so damage can wreak havoc and it's here when we finally see a few guys. This post WWII world is really weird but entertaining with everyone loving classic tank warfare and being obsessed with WWII. I just really wanted to know more than the one line we get on why the school ships exist, I mean, how would they produce something bigger than the largest ship known to man and have enough horsepower to drive it?
I wasn't expecting to watch the show from start to finish, I will admit the tank combat kept me going and the setting made it very easy to sit back and turn the brain off. This release does have the two .5 episodes that are recaps of the previous episodes and a couple of the original Japanese tv spots alongside the standard clean opening and closing animations. But this release is exactly what a Blu-ray should be, nice crisp animation and excellent sound quality, no problems here.
So in summary it's a little light on plot and characterisation, the designs are not memorable but the animation is decent. So would I recommend it? Yes, if you're looking for a nice story of some girls making it through their international sports league one shell at a time Girls und Panzer is a great watch. There's not much there but what Girls Und Panzer does deliver is an entertaining watch.
Tanks for reading this review ;)
Overall (dub) : B
Overall (sub) : B
Story : C
Animation : A
Art : B
Music : C
+ Simple and fun series with some fantastic tank battles to watch. Nice smooth animation.
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