「隊長、がんばります！」 (Taichou, Ganbarimasu!)
“I’ll do my best as commander!”
For the fourth week in a row Girls und Panzer delivers, retaining its spot as one of the best offerings of the season. So far it’s proven itself to be one of those very rare shows that manage to top themselves each and every week rather than starting strong and gradually diminishing in quality over time. This week, it brings us truly spectacular tank battles juxtaposed with a well-handled more emotional side. Of course, through all this, it never once sheds its ability to be completely and utterly ridiculous!
The battle really was a joy to watch, from the tank drifting to switching into that brilliant first person tank perspective which is a lot of fun each time it comes up. So many of the small details add to this entertainment: the idea of Mako sleeping in the tank while she’s not actually driving is adorable; the volleyball team’s short game in the middle of the match is a testament to their long term goal; and the speed with which Momo loses her cool in battle (who cares about aiming! Just fire!) is downright hilarious. When things looked like they were taking a turn for the worse, Miho managed to rally everyone and head into town. That this wasn’t against the rules is both brilliant and once more a show of just how crazy Girls und Panzer can be! Tactically it was a good move too – they seemed to be far more familiar with the town than their opponents, allowing them to use its terrain to their advantage. It’s somewhat ironic how well the StuG managed to camouflage itself despite the extent to which the history club ruined its original colours!
But in the end, superior British armour wins out. Miho may have done extremely well in the battle, but at the end of the day, the inexperience of the rest of the team proved to be something of a burden. They may have managed to push the Gloriana team (Darjeeling even dropped her tea!), but they were severely outmatched from the start. It certainly didn’t help that the M3 Lee was – for the second time – put out of action without having any real impact on the match. So in the end, Oorai suffer an honourable defeat. To be honest, this is far easier to stomach than pulling a victory out of nowhere would have – every team needs to face defeat at some point and their inexperience is plain at this early stage. It really does bring into question just how they’re going to put up a fight against the Saunders University/High School team’s army of Sherman tanks though (are they really allowed to field that many tanks? That seems like it would be unfair!).
So it turns out that there are no safety precautions for anyone outside the tanks during battle. I guess it really emphasises just how naive the first year team was, leaving the relative safety of their tank to flee the battlefield on foot. We can only hope the determination they expressed to improve begins to show itself in future episodes. With the danger to unprotected humans in mind, it’s strange to see people standing calmly in the street as tanks roll by in a battle – perhaps there’s a rule in place that prevents the participants from firing when there are bystanders around, or maybe they’re just expected to be good enough not to actually cause any civilian casualties. Collateral damage certainly does occur though – it’s kind of funny to see shop owners actively hoping their establishment ends up being trashed just so they can renovate – so who knows what could happen. If the series hadn’t been rather light-hearted and ridiculous thus far, I’d wonder at the possibility for it to take a darker turn down the road. At this point, that doesn’t seem particularly likely.
With a cast this big, the issue of parental approval was always bound to come up at some point. Hana was certainly the logical choice in this department thanks to her background in flower arranging – few other things are such a far cry from operating a tank after all. Hana’s mother, Isuzu Yuri (Kurata Masayo) even goes as far as disowning her daughter over the whole issue. As tends to happen in these situations (in fiction at any rate), as time goes on I imagine she’ll find herself drawn more and more towards her daughter’s matches up until the point where she finally accepts her choices. That’s if she doesn’t provoke Yukari into murdering her first though!
And so the show’s refreshingly quick pace has already brought us to the beginnings of the Nationals. As I understand it, while this is a national competition, each of the different schools represents a different faction based around the types of tanks they use. We’ve already had the ‘British‘ team in for a friendly match and the next opponent lined up is the ‘American’ Saunders University/High School team. After much speculation across various Japanese boards, some of us have come up with rough guesses as to which countries are represented in the revealed tournament line-up. From left to right: Sweden (or possibly Norway), Australia, U.S.S.R., France, Italy, USA, Oorai, possibly France again, UK, Bulgaria, Germany, Japan, and Finland. Some of these are under heavy debate such as Bulgaria’s lack of domestic tanks and the two different instances of France, but then this is all merely speculation based upon the names of each of the respective schools. I’m sure we’ll be finding out soon enough!
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – #GaruPan continues to maintain its extremely high standards with one of the most entertaining episodes so far this season.
- There’s something really awesome about how calmly Darjeeling drinks tea while under fire.
- Why am I not surprised that Momo would miss even at point blank range?
- It looks like the British team was holding back – is that a Crusader I see?
- Anzu almost seems to be enjoying this… she’s certainly an odd one! I feel sorry for the rest!
- I spy a reference to A Bridge Too Far!
- Where The British Grenadiers continues to be used as a theme for the Gloriana team, it seems The Battle Hymn of the Republic is being used for the Saunders team!
- Finally a clear enough shot that I could read what’s written on the back of the StuG – ‘Vergießt Schweiß aber kein Blut!’ – one of Erwin Rommel’s many wisdoms.
ED: 「Enter Enter MISSION !」 by 渕上舞、茅野愛衣、尾崎真実、中上育実、井口裕香 (Fuchigami Mai, Kayano Ai, Ozaki Mami, Nakagami Ikumi, Iguchi Yuka)