“Tanks” For All You’ve Done

May 25th, 2013 in Anime, General Reviews by


This has got to be the oddest coupling for a show I have ever seen. “Girls und Panzer” exists in some weird parallel dimension or alternative universe world where this is OK and fervently supported.

Miho Nishizumi (dead center) has transferred to Ōarai Girls High School, as they do not have a tank program. She is attending classes and meeting friends and having a good time, when we learn that the academy may be closed down unless it gets more students. So, they revitalize Sensha-dō (“Way of the Tank”) and decide to take on the Big Boys…..uh….Girls of other schools that have tank programs. What, the Flower Arranging Club was all full?

Since Miho comes from a long line of tank girls (and this is revealed through the run of the show), she is pressured to join the club. Here’s the weird thing (oh, and girls in tanks isn’t weird enough?): they live on an aircraft carrier. It has been kind of terraformed, so it looks like a regular little village or town, but they are out at sea about 90% of the time, coming to land to reprovision and have their tank battles.

They start out with five tanks and get girls to agree to drive them (when I went to school, all I had was shop class. If there had a tank club in MY day….).  Oh, the rest of the Anglerfish tank crew is: Mako Reizei, Saori Takebe, Yukari Akiyama and Hana Isuzu. This is another cast-heavy anime, with at least 30 girls over the seven tanks, PLUS the support cast.

An investigation on this aircraft carrier (and I can’t begin to imagine how big it actually is, as some could be as large as Manhattan) turns up a couple more so now we have the seven of various makes and ages (but keep in mind that some of these could be as much as 50 years old, OK?)

If you are willing to let the overall concept stand on its own (high school girls operating tanks), it is really a show about friendship, camaraderie and supporting one another through arduous times. Instead of having cats or gal games or underwear bringing you together, it’s tanks.

Personally, I got tired of the “Rocky” approach to things and I don’t mean gulping down a glass of raw eggs. It’s that these girls were major league underdogs, kind of like Wichita State in the NCAA. Even Vegas wouldn’t give odds on their survival, yet they manage to overcome each and every obstacle placed before them, especially when the National Championships come to town and they have to win or die. I also have a hard time accepting that these girls are tossed into the tank and they somehow know how to drive it and not burn out the engine. It took me some time to figure out how to drive a VW, but these girls take to tanks like a duck to water.

This is more of a show to watch for the bizarre factor, but if you decide after two or three shows, this isn’t what you want, I fully understand. Aggravating things are two recap episodes, just in case you fell asleep, came in late or just weren’t really following things that closely. Not a bad series, but more of a curiosity piece than anything of substantial story telling.

On a scale of 1 to 10:

Artwork              8 (The girls are REALLY cute)
Plot                     5 (Really light)
Pacing                 7 (The action sequences work, the emotional ones don’t)
Effectiveness      7 (It does well with its original concept)
Conclusion          7 (Done, but not over, as the coupler is really obvious)
Fan Service         3 (A similar show would be “Wedding Peach”)

Overall               7 (Could have been better)

And remember, it’s first run until you see it. Are you going to sign up?

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