「戦車道、始めます!」 (Sensha Dou, Hajimemasu!)
“I’ll Take Up Panzerfahren!”

Girls und Panzer has drawn comparisons to all sorts of anime both during the lead-up to its premiere and immediately after its airing. The gut reaction upon hearing about its premise seems to be to compare it to anime series like STRIKE WITCHES and Upotte!!. Heck I’ve even seen people compare it to the Valkyria Chronicles video game series. But this is wrong. Not entirely wrong mind – the premise remains based around the military and, presumably, combat – but it’s still wrong. No, what I’m going to compare it to is something completely different – Saki. But before we get into any real details, here’s the quick introduction-post-mandated episode summary paragraph!

In a world where the operation of tanks is considered a feminine martial art, Nishizumi Miho (Fuchigami Mai) is a somewhat airheaded and clumsy girl with a sharp intellect and good memory hidden just under the surface. At her new school she befriends the bright and approachable Takebe Saori (Kayano Ai) and the stoic and cultured Isuzu Hana (Ozaki Mami). Despite having chosen this school to avoid having anything to do with tanks, Miho is soon coerced by the student council into taking part in the newly revived tank club as they prepare to take on the world championships.

So why do I compare Girls und Panzer to Saki exactly? Miho is a girl who comes from a family with a strong tank background but has traumatic memories which stop her from wanting anything to do with them. From promo materials and her own words, we can already deduce that she has a sister (Maho) who is already renowned for her ability with tanks and, from the ending animation, is portrayed as pure evil. Said ending animation also features several colourful tank crews who our central school will likely battle against as they make their way through the championships and eventually face off against Maho and her team… hey wait… does this sound familiar to anyone else? That’s right! It’s Saki but with tanks instead of super-power-based mahjong! Okay, so a fair bit of that is logical deduction and speculation, but Miho, her past, her sister Maho, and the championships, all bear a very strong resemblance to the central premise of Saki. This is in no way a complaint – Saki was awesome. The only thing missing now is the nopan and yuri… and I strongly expect the latter to develop over time.

Those looking for traditional types of fanservice will probably be disappointed – there’s certainly nothing remotely approaching STRIKE WITCHES or even Upotte!!. Tank fanatics, however, will find plenty of tank-service! In the opening few minutes alone we have a bright pink M3 Lee, our protagonist team’s KwK 37 L/24 equipped Pz.Kpfw. IV Ausf. D, the student council’s 38(t) B/C, the extremely Japanified StuG III F, and the Type 89 I-Go. At times, the CGI tanks are a little bit stark, but for the most part they don’t look half bad. Either CGI in anime is improving or my tolerance for it is increasing.

While we haven’t properly met most of the characters yet, it seems we’re going to be graced with a rather large and colourful group. Discounting opposing teams in the championships themselves, the first group is the core protagonist crew, consisting of the three friends from this episode plus two additions we have yet to properly meet. We also have the student council with its miniature twin-tailed president Kadotani Anzu (Fukuen Misato) and her two aides, Koyama Yuzuko (Takahashi Mikako) and Kawashima Momo (Ueda Kana), the two of whom seem to have a bit of a good-cop bad-cop thing going on. Then we have the four-person volleyball and excessively large first-year crews, both of whom I’m going to skip over for now because there’s just too many of them and they don’t seem too interesting yet. Last, but certainly not least, we have the extremely diverse historic study crew consisting of the Roman-obsessed Caesar (Sendai Eri), the German Eagle bearing Erwin (Moriya Satomi), Saemonza (Inoue Yuka) who’s totally hiding a magic eye (nah, I’m kidding), and the bespectacled Oryou (Ohashi Ayuru). Remembering everyone could prove quite a challenge in the long run! My only complaint is that they all seem to suffer from big-head syndrome, but that’s just an art style choice and hopefully one I can get used to.

tl;dr: @MoombaDS – I feel like I’m watching #Saki with tanks. Needless to say, I’m sold! #GirlsundPanzer

Random thoughts:

  • Looks like that propaganda video thoroughly did its job. I wonder if there are meant to be social commentaries in here somewhere… nah, I’m probably just thinking too hard.
  • The music seems to be pretty standard fare marches and the styles you’d find in pretty much any war film/game/related media ever. Still pretty nice though.
  • Whoa… just how big is that carrier? It has mountains on it!
  • The ending scenes seem to suggest all sorts of battlegrounds from snow to rough hills. I certainly hope we’re going to see some of that!
  • I imagine Miho’s trauma is going to return many times throughout the series and prove a huge burden at times. Poor girl.

Full-length images: 20, 31.


OP Sequence

OP: 「DreamRiser」 by ChouCho



      1. The first two responses are made by retards so ignore them. The primary military force present in Japan belongs to the US. After WWII, Japan ceased ALL military action and public opinion quickly changed from pro-military to anti-military. Even today in Japan, when asked, the public does not recognize the JSDF(Japanese Self-Defense Force) as a form of military. They are only seen as an extension to the Japanese police force. I’ve lived in Japan for 10 years now. The two people above me better learn their stuff before coming online and publicly making an ass out of themselves.

      2. Both are correct. From an outsider, military analyst view, Japan has what would constitute as a military. A pretty powerful regional military at that, with capabilities to cross-train and work with existing stocks of other regional allies (South Korea and the United States) due to using nearly similar equipment and having a clear, defined goal (defense of the home islands within it’s internationally recognized borders, collaborating with and supporting US assets located in-country).

        From within, the JSDF and the Ministry of Defense are either seen as an extension of the National Police in regards to outside and foreign threats, or as an abomination, a necessity of Cold War politics and regional security going against the very nature of the 1947 constitution and while both ruling parties in Japan have stressed the importance of Article 9, they have maintained that the JSDF is a requirement for self-preservation.

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
    1. it might be sponsored by military otaku themed merchandise manufacturers to get anime otaku to buy stuff.

      i’m not sure what in all this gives you any idea that it would be designed to “get the nerds out of their rooms and into tanks”.
      do you think all the martial arts anime out there are designed to “get the nerds out of their rooms and into dojos”?

      1. Frankly it might be an opposite effect. I know some people when deployed overseas brought their anime with them in their computers of iPods. They come back home and half the platoon starts scouring the internet for more anime.

        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)

    Here I thought no one was picking it up when Stilts informed me about it a few weeks ago on twitter.

    I’m still gonna be blogging about it on my own though.

    Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
    1. WTF is this shit? NOT EVEN one man/boy?? Hardcore feminists are having orgasms right now over this. Look, I understand of this “21st century” new trend of “male bashing” thing happening right now around the world (well, except for the mid-eastern and maybe Africa…well, come to think of it, it’s mostly western countries+Japan and not much else), but this is downright SILLY.

      Sooner or later these girls will grow old and die off, after years of lesbian orgies, and there won’t be any human left according to this crappy world….or am I missing the point by being reasonable and applying science? Well, no matter, there’s no point for shows like this!! I can’t take any show that has a bloody pink tank seriously. Bah!

  2. Also I think it’s funny, since I owned most of the tanks featured (minus the Japanese one) on World of Tanks.


    Yeah this is on my watch over everything else list.

    Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      1. As I understand it in M3 mark I’s (it’s riveted so that’s what it is) the only visible difference is in the turret — and I can’t tell a Grant from a Lee in any of the pictures I can find on the ‘net. Pink is a desert camo color (usually a duller pink, admittedly), so THAT’s suggesttive of a Grant.
        What I really want to know is: HOW are the running a tank requiring a crew of 6 with only 5?

        Wandering One
      2. The Lee was early us model, with 7 crew member and the grant are lend lease to british north africa. The british tanks two punder isn’t penetrating panzer mark 3 and 4. They seriously needed the 75mm cannon in the grant. The lee has 7 crew due to a dedicated radio operator, the british radio are simpler and one crew can multitask by operating the radio and 37mm gun. I don’t see how anyone can tell if a tank is a lee or grant other than the paint job.

    1. Also being a fellow World of Tanks player I wonder how far they will stretch my dose of tank pr0n too.

      I’ll be a sad chap if I dont see the evil sister in a Tiger II or an IS-3 =P

      1. Yes but Gundam is the series where having red paint makes you 3 times faster and if your unit is already red, you paint it blue because it’s more awesome that way. Gundam SEED is the series where Gundams are actually not painted bright colors but rather become that way when the armor is activated. And the super golden shiny Akatsuki Gundam…

        Suppa Tenko
      2. Well, they had gold mobile suits since Zeta Gundam. The SEED Gundams are special because you can change the colour by adjusting the settings of the armor.
        Heck, they had sailor moon Gundam, completely racist designs in G Gundam.

      1. The British SAS would agree with you methinks.

        “An adaptation of Land Rovers to military purposes is the “Pink Panther” models. Approximately 100 Series IIA models were adapted to reconnaissance use by the British special operations forces the SAS. For desert use they were often painted pink, hence the name. The vehicles were fitted with among other gear a sun compass, machine guns, larger fuel tanks and smoke dischargers. Similar adaptations were later made to Series IIIs and 90/110/Defenders.”


        Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
  3. Welcome to MoeWoT. Jokes aside, solid animation and somewhat intriguing setup (a whole city and battlegrounds in a supercarrier?), and we have tanks. TANKS! I expect awesome combat here.
    BTW, the main tank is a Pz.Kpfw. IV with the KwK 37 L/24 75mm cannon (the most basic cannon for the Panzer IV) I expect Miho and co. to upgrade it to the KwK 40 L/48 for a more fair challenge.

    1. I assume they’ll be staying at least in the early years of WWII, because if someone were to roll out with the Tigers and Panzers it would mean that M3 Lee crew would maybe upgrade to hell, a Sherman Firefly?

      Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
      1. The firefly is british platform using a QF 17 pounder installed backwards. American never adopted the firefly due to pride. The US has M4a3E2/E4 Jumbo with a 76mm american gun. The velocity can’t match qf17, but it still can penetrate a panther tank.

  4. *Watched it.*

    Wow, I think I found another show that I really like in this season!

    It has colorful and beauiful art,good animation, nice background, likeable characters, and nice plot. – In my standard.

    I will follow to the end for sure.

  5. For better Explaining. This Angst Scene, is where a “Panzer”/Tank fell into Water. And someone is trying to get out, before to drown….

    And this is no Spoiler, it is shown in the Anime. Just for Readers here

  6. I came for the fanservice and I got it. Tank porn is all the fanservice I need!

    I should also mention that this show is a bit personal for me since my great uncle commanded a tank all the way from the storming Normandy beaches to Germany in a Sherman. Maybe even a “Firefly!”

    I do have trouble understanding the german words in the subtitles but it’s not terrible.

    I would have prefered the later model Pz.Kpfw. IV for the main protagonist tank(never thought I’d sat that about a WW II german tank but I’m glad I can)I’m glad it’s a respectable vehicle.(whent it’ll be fixed that is)

    That Pink Lee and that obnoxiously decorated Stug III scream “target”. Having those bright colours and deco on a combat vehicle is like saying: “I’m over here! Shoot me!” I realize the “Red Baron” had a bright red plane but that was in WW 1 when camouflage was still a relatively new concept and wasn’t considered to be as essential as it is now or even in world war 2.

    1. The Firefly was British. They took lend-lease Shermans, replaced the main gun, and added a bunch of extra armor plate. The resulting tank was a lot slower and less reliable, but was able to duke it out on even terms with a Tiger.

      The Americans didn’t do that. US Army command were satisfied with the Sherman as it was, and even resisted converting over to the M-26 Pershing, which also was able to duke it out on even terms with the Tiger.

      And, well, the outcome of the war suggests that they were right. Tanks didn’t spend very much of their time fighting other tanks. Mostly what they were doing was to take out pillboxes and machine gun nests and other fixed hard points, and the Sherman was more than adequate for that.

      There weren’t all that many Tigers. And most of them got sent to fight the Red Army.

      1. American military doctrine at the start of the war was that tanks would not engage tanks but would be used to support infantry and for exploitation. Tank Destroyers like the M-10 were to take on the other tanks. Since the military leaders had decided on this doctrine they didn’t see any need for the Pershings. I wonder if Patton had any opinion on the Pershings and heavy tanks in general.

      2. I dunno if Patton would’ve liked the heavier tanks either. Based solely on his tactics used in WWII, he was also, like Rommel, a big user on quick, mobile tactics of simply using faster tanks and troop movement to break through enemy lines, then cause havoc behind.

        The less times you need to stop for any reason, the better. Having a bigger, more complex tank like the Pershing would’ve probably caused more stops for maintenance and whatnot.

        Besides, as the war in Europe was getting closer to the end, the tanks on both sides were fighting closer and closer to eachother, thus the disadvantages of the regular Sherman became less profound as it was easier to use its speed to get close and hit the broadside of German tanks, or to take them by surprise and do so, thus further negating any heavy need for bigger tanks like the Pershing.

      3. Nice to meet another military buff(or history at least) Sorry I should have specified that my great uncle was in the Canadian Army on Juno beach all the way to Germany. I hope we get to see one in this show. Seeing them in “Greatest Tank Battles” was a real treat.

      4. “The Americans didn’t do that. US Army command were satisfied with the Sherman as it was, and even resisted converting over to the M-26 Pershing, which also was able to duke it out on even terms with the Tiger.
        And, well, the outcome of the war suggests that they were right. Tanks didn’t spend very much of their time fighting other tanks. Mostly what they were doing was to take out pillboxes and machine gun nests and other fixed hard points, and the Sherman was more than adequate for that.”

        Sorry, but I can’t agree with that. US General McNair (who had an artillery background) was the primary force against the M-26 – advocating tank destroyers & artillery (surprise) were sufficient to counter enemy tanks. It was only Marshall over-ruling him that saved an already delayed M26 program. Many WWII books contain oral history from WWII US tank crews stating that after a while, they began to hate the M4. It had a bad tendency to “brew up” (catch fire), and was woefully under-gunned and armored against Panther and Tiger tanks. Watching your shells bounce off an enemy tank is not very encouraging. The fact that Eisenhower ordered that only 76mm M-4s be delivered to Europe after the Battle of the Bulge is telling enough.

        There were many, many small tank vs. tank battles during WWII with a few large scale ones (the Battle of Kursk being the quintessential example). Thousands of tanks fought in that battle. While the US Army (McNair) might have deluded itself for a while that the M4 and it’s original 75mm cannon was sufficient, Britain, Germany and Russia clearly saw the need for bigger tank cannons – and not due to anti-infantry or fortification (pill-box) needs. Against pill boxes, some of which could withstand 16″ (roughly 400mm) naval shells, it was infantry using grenades and satchel charges, not tanks that cleared the way (Metz combat is a good example).

        Of course tanks were frequently used in non tank battles as well – ideally against infantry in combined arms combat. In Normandy, modified “Rhino” M4s were crucial to clearing the hedge rows, and flame thrower tanks a huge help against pill boxes (especially in the Pacific). While the M4 (particularly later 76mm cannon model) was a decent tank with relatively good reliability, by far it’s greatest asset was simply numbers. Quantity over quality at a size small enough to enable more M4s to fit on a transport compared to larger tanks (they all had to be shipped overseas after all).

      5. From what I’ve read and seen in interviews with WWII tankers, they were shocked when they found out how under-gunned and flammable the M4 was. They had been led to believe that the M4 was better than anything else out there. One nickname the M4 got was “Ronson” named after a cigarette lighter because it “lit up” so easily.

        The US concept at the time seemed to be quantity over quality which is very different than the modern concept. Our tanks weren’t as good but we had a hell of a lot more of them. We also had air superiority which often restricted the Germans from using massed armor.

    2. As to the German words in Commie’s subtitles, all I can say is, “Commie’s translator is an idiot.” The Japanese being translated gives no indication whatever, no trace, of German borrowed words. To translate “tomodachi” as “freunde” instead of “friend” or “pan” as “brot” instead of “bread” comes across as an affectation, and a silly one at that. (Or “ryoukai” as “verstanden” instead of “roger”.)

      I sure hope that some other translator works on this (Crunchyroll, save us!) and doesn’t affect an equivalent idiocy. Or maybe we can hope that Commie will go back and take all that crap out, and then rerelease.

      1. I guess its a joke.

        You’ve not seen Commie subs for the Soviet arc of Total Eclipse. Every single time any reference to the Motherland, it’s done with a red banner and the iconic sickle-hammer

  7. Though the situation is reversed, when I saw the tanks moving across the plain at the beginning the phrase “Rommel… you magnificent bastard, *I read your book*! ” went through my head.

    I’m still trying to figure out how they’re going to explain how live ammo is not going to kill or maim a majority of the players. Uppote! at least had an explanation as strange as it was.

  8. Haven’t watched strike witches or upotte but they seem awfully cheerful (not to mention pink tanks) in contrast with the realities of war. I wonder if its simply all war games. Little girls getting blown to bits would kind of put a damper on things.

    Perhaps it would be quite interesting if they had a Madoka like transformation.

  9. FANSERVICE #2! Or should I say tank service!

    I’m completely sold on this anime though my only complaints are the jarring CG tank battles and also the L24 Pz IV! Hope they upgrade to the L48 and add on the schurzen to it =)

    I’m completely loving the Stug III and the bad ass looking crew.

    Anyway, did anyone saw the Tiger in one of Miho’s flashback? Hope to see them in action soon though what I want to see more are Panthers! Throw in some Soviet tanks to add more variety =)

    Plus did anyone catch the line “That’s tyranny beyond Hitler” and I’m surprised that the Student Council is driving the Pz 38T. Thought they’d drive a Kommandpanzer.

    *After watching this episode, there’s the urge to go and get a Stug III, some decal paper and plastic rods to build that Stug*

    1. I have one better. The anime community at World of Tanks already made a skin for the Stug III. Although I’ve yet to replace my Erica Hartmann one for that one.

      Jusuchin (Military Otaku)
  10. well give so far give seem all girls school in focus on working on tanks.

    give seem female miho don’t want to drive tank but give student pres being too much of a bully give her friend trying to defend then miho will do the tank.

    yet all this on a big giant boat well hmm give more to go what next?

  11. I never thought of comparing to Saki until I read your post Moomba. Also agreed that the music they used is nice. It’s hard to see tanks the same way again if they’re brightly colored and it’s these cute girls who are the ones operating them. This is gonna an interesting series to follow. The friendship between Saori, Miho, and Hana was also just a joy to watch. It was really admirable how they stood up against the student council under risk of expulsion for Miho.

  12. i think iirc they didnt say “that’s tyranny beyond hitler”; the literal translation was more of the lines that it was way too forceful/too heavyhanded. i dont think hitler was ever mentioned in the japanese voice.

  13. Still dun understand why it is a tradition, want to make men look like pussy instead? A bit of error there I supposed, since Churchill and Matilda II are all infantry tanks, means they are meant to fight infantry, why would the tanks go after another tank? Still it is nice, so I am gonna continue watching it. Everyone love tanks.

  14. note: girls bithdays Easter Egg
    22,06,(1941) start of operation Barbarossa (also, in a twist of irony exactly 3 years later, start of Bagration…)
    16,12,(1944) start of the Battle of the bulge

  15. The student council president’s snarky look is all the fan-service I need. Thanks for the review Stilts. I’m enjoying this show more than I thought; not even a military otaku.

  16. Agree with Sortedevaras. Most odd demographic I’ve seen. Who the hell wants lots of little girls slice-of-life so popular as of late, with flippin’ panzer tanks. How is this viable? Its not even with anthropomorphic themes like Strike Witches. Or dealing with the serious theme of war, like with Mecha. Its literally just school girls with tanks, played seriously, not as comedy. But there is no way I can take this seriously. God. Little anime girls in formal military uniform. I just can’t. So what is there left to do?

    On a side note. Of all the names to have, they’d have to use “panzer”, which is one of the words I’ve personally learned to fear and respect when seeing the history behind it, as well as the games that have used it. (Panzer Dragoon, Panzer General, etc)

    1. “On a side note. Of all the names to have, they’d have to use “panzer”, which is one of the words I’ve personally learned to fear and respect when seeing the history behind it, as well as the games that have used it. (Panzer Dragoon, Panzer General, etc)”

      That’s true but keep in mind this show is from Japan, and the Japanese never had to fight REAL Panzers so the mythos around them is less prevelant. In the pacific the Sherman was for the most part the biggest tank they would come across which was superior to most of the tanks they had. Whereas in Europe and Africa they were shown to be inferior to the long gunned Panzer IV, Panther, Tiger, and Tiger II.


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