「強豪・シャーマン軍団です！」 (Kyougou Shāman Gundan desu!)
“An Experienced Sherman Army Corps!”
Every episode of Girls und Panzer is so packed with awesome that it can be hard to figure out where to start. I’ve become so used to anime moving at a snail’s pace (and often suffering because of it) that I feel ridiculously spoiled by the sheer amount of content GuP manages to fit into each episode. It has a lot to cover in its twelve episode run, so it needs to keep moving at a good pace, and yet it has never once felt as though it was rushing. My only hope is that with how quickly preorder points for the series are rising, we might actually see a second season!
I want to start by saying how much I loved the concept of that cafe. It must have been heaven on earth for a tank-fanatic like Yukari, and even I found the myriad of tank-themed cakes, cannon-fire buzzers, and the miniature Dragon Wagon a joy. Here’s to hoping that – like certain cafes did for Fate/Zero and Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica – we might actually see some Girls und Panzer themed menus in Tokyo, if only so I can gaze at the pictures longingly.
It was a pity their meal was interrupted by Maho (Tanaka Rie) and her companion, Itsumi Erika (Nabatame Hitomi). To be honest, I didn’t expect to see them interacting quite this early in the series – I thought she would remain distanced for much longer in the same way as Teru did in Saki. They certainly do seem to be very similar, though most of the insults in this meeting came from Erika rather than Maho. With their pride insulted and their worthiness of even being in the tournament put to question, Oarai has to win now, just to prove how wrong Erika is. I’m really looking forward to that inevitable matchup, if only to see Miho manage to dominate her sister and put the elitists in their places!
There were quite a few subtle (and not so subtle) hints at various emotions from the characters this week. Anzu seems to be putting a lot more pressure on Miho than she really needs – it seems a little unfair that she’s essentially declaring that win or lose, all responsibility rests upon Miho’s shoulders. Things seem to be building up to a resurgence of her PTSD, and if the prequel manga is actually canon with regards to the anime, it could be pretty serious. For now though, it seems those fears have been assuaged thanks to Yukari’s amateur espionage – Miho would have been under a lot more stress trying to come up with plans had they not managed to find out what their opponents planned to field. I find something a little touching in just how far the girls are willing to go, both to improve their own skills so as not to hold Miho back, and to reduce some of the burden on her by obtaining information.
Yukari’s father’s shock at seeing her friends was rather comical. It’s a little odd to think that she’s had no friends up to this point due to an obsession with tanks when the way of the tank is apparently such a big thing in this world. But then again, given the lengths to which she pours her being into them (she has quite the collection of models there! A Cromwell, M36, SdKfz 223, and Panzer II to name only a few!) she probably came across as pretty strange to others, especially with that haircut! It’s good that she finally managed to make friends through something she loved.
It’s always pretty entertaining to see how Japan chooses to portray other countries in anime. We have the British still looking and acting almost like royalty, and now the proper introduction of the members of the American team. As you might imagine, their leader Kei (Kawasumi Ayako) is a loud, busty, blonde girl who’s overly informal and has barely any manners. I actually quite like her – she’s funny, particularly when she starts taunting during the battle. She seems to be much more honest and open than the other members of her team, though perhaps a little too much on the carefree side. You might think that they’d consider changing their plans after catching a spy in their midst but, well, it’s not like they really had much of a plan to begin with! Where Miho comes up with an elaborate strategy for the battle, the American team relies entirely on crushing their opposition with sheer numbers, fielding twice as many tanks as Oarai. They also have the benefit of resources on their side, allowing them to use a radio interception balloon so that Arisa (Hirano Aya) could listen in on all their communications. All may be fair in love and war, but in a tournament match, that seems like a pretty dirty trick to pull. At least Miho was smart enough to see through it and come up with a simple (but extremely effective!) counter.
Unfortunately we’re going to have to wait two weeks to see just how Miho and co. manage to win their match – due to unexpected delays, a recap episode of sorts will be airing next week and episode six has been pushed back. It also means that the air date for the finale is left in question. But for now, I’m happy to have seen Oarai finally start to pull together. They finally stripped the garish paint from their tanks (a pity they didn’t add camouflage though), trained to a point where the first year team doesn’t immediately drop out of battle with nothing accomplished, and even got their hands on some pretty badass uniforms! They’re starting to look more and more like a force to be reckoned with!
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – At last, the Oorai team is beginning to shape up and look like a real threat to their competition! #GaruPan
- The director certainly seems to love first person scenes, be they in a tank, or from a video camera!
- Hello ‘subtle’ yuri undertones! I was wonder when you’d show up!
- Saunders even has cheerleaders! I really can’t wait to see some of the other teams.
- Something about the picture of Yukari’s family seems to bother Mako – I wonder what it could be?
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)