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Girls Und Panzer
Girls Und Panzer
Girls Und Panzer
Anime Review

Some shows are highly anticipated, due to either an exciting premise, an A-list creative team, or the presence of great voice talent: Girls Und Panzer was not one of them. In fact, judging by the promotional art, the show was largely written off as another copycat, girls-doing-cute-things show designed to appeal to hardcore otaku, with little appeal beyond them. Sure, there were tanks, but we all assumed they were just thrown in to appeal to history buffs, similar to Strike Witches with its WWII-era planes.

As it turns out, we were all wrong: the show is about ten times more entertaining than anyone predicted. Not only are the frequent tank battles strategic, well-animated and exciting, but the show mines a lot of humor from its absurd premise.

Girls Und PanzerIn the world of Ooarai Girls High School, girls piloting tanks, or "Tankery," is a traditional martial art practiced only by women. The idea of females operating tanks in and of itself isn't absurd, but it's the way the show portrays Tankery--as a traditional pastime for only upper-crust, feminine young ladies, on a par with flower arranging or the tea ceremony-- that makes it ridiculous. The show plays its silly premise mostly straight, but with enough flexibility to poke fun at itself occasionally.

We are first introduced to Miho Nishizumi, a rather shy girl who transferred to Ooarai Girls High specifically because the school lacks a Tankery class. After a bad experience with the sport, Miho wants to keep her head down and lead a tank-free high school assistance. However, once the overzealous student council decides to revive the Tankery elective, they decide that they're going to put Miho's experience to use, whether she likes it or not. The reluctant player being drawn back into the fray may be a common hook, but it's an effective one, and we were immediately intrigued by both Miho's Tankery experience and what made her give up the sport in the first place.

Girls Und PanzerIf there's one major weakness in the show, it's that there's too many characters for us to get to know them sufficiently. In addition to Miho's five-woman team, there are four other teams of girls at Ooarai that pilot different tanks, and plenty of girls from competing schools are featured as well. As a result, a lot of the characters feel like stock types that you've seen a million times before, because they just don't get the screentime to develop beyond that. However, we found that the four other girls on Miho's team started to feel distinct and likable after a few episodes: Boy-crazy Saori, classy and refined Hana, tank-worshipper Yukari and the grumpy Mako, who would love to be able to dump all the tanks in the ocean and take a nice nap.

The real draw here is the tank battles, and the show wastes little time getting to them, since the girls are blasting each other with their main guns before they even finish learning how to drive. While there is obviously some danger associated with Tankery (hence Miho's reticence to participate at first), in general tank combat is a cartoony, bloodless affair. The goal of the battle is to incapacitate the other tanks, at which point a little white flag of surrender automatically pops up. Watching Miho take advantage of her school's maneuverable units to out-perform more powerful tanks is as satisfying as watching any face-off in a sports anime.

Girls Und PanzerThere's also a satirical edge here: poking fun at sexist assumptions by making perhaps the most manly thing ever, tank-to-tank combat, a girls-only affair. The girls are by and large very good at controlling the tanks too, dispelling sexist notions that women and warfare don't mix. However, the character designs come clearly out of the K-On! mold, childlike and cute as a button across the board, and some find that whole style of anime inherently sexist. Because of this, how progressive it really is depends very much on the viewer. In fact, there's probably a really interesting essay to be written about the sexual politics in this show, but not by any of us, thanks: we just love watching the girls blast the snot out of each other in their customized tanks.

The series is currently streaming on Crunchyroll, and has been licensed by Sentai Filmworks for a North American release as well, so there will be plenty of opportunities to watch the girls of Ooarai Girls High do what they do so well. After all, as any school child should know, battling in giant tanks is for only the most accomplished, refined young ladies.

Reviewed by Karen Gellender, January 2013

Below: Scenes from Girls Und Panzer.

a screen capture from Girls Und Panzer

a screen capture from Girls Und Panzer

a screen capture from Girls Und Panzer

a screen capture from Girls Und Panzer

a screen capture from Girls Und Panzer

a screen capture from Girls Und Panzer

a screen capture from Girls Und Panzer

a screen capture from Girls Und Panzer




Girls Und Panzer

Girls Und Panzer Website Links:


Girls und Panzer official website (Japanese)

Girls und Panzer (TV) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia


Girls und Panzer entry at Wikipedia


Below: Promotional illustrations for Girls Und Panzer.

Girls Und Panzer

Girls Und Panzer

Girls Und Panzer

Girls Und Panzer

Girls Und Panzer

Girls Und Panzer






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