「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
- 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.
OP: 「DreamRiser」 by ChouCho