「クラスメイトです！」 (Kurasumeito Desu!)
“She’s a Classmate!”
After two weeks of action, we move back to a more relaxed episode with a greater focus on the characters. Of course, this means it didn’t quite reach the spectacular heights of the previous two episodes but realistically there was no way they could’ve kept up with that never-ending climb. I’ll admit to being a little bit disappointed that the Oarai flag tank managed to survive intact whereas the Pravda flag tank did not, mostly because I would’ve liked to see what they’d do in the event of a tie. While a rare occurrence, I’d imagine they have some sort of rule in place for that kind of situation and it’s always interesting to learn more of the tournament’s rules.
I’ve probably said this before, but Girls und Panzer does an excellent job with characters. It’s taken time, but Hana’s mother has finally begun to accept her participation in the nationals. Mako’s grandmother also expresses a desire to watch the finals despite not even caring (or being aware) that Mako was working with tanks until part of the way into the nationals. It gives me hope that Shiho may eventually come to accept Miho too, though that seems a little on the unlikely side at the moment. Even the merciless and bloodthirsty Katyusha is willing to get down off her high horse (almost literally in this case) in order to show good sportsmanship towards the opponents that succeeded in besting them. Had she been a smaller person (I swear these puns are not intentional) she could’ve remained atop Nonna’s shoulders for the handshake, still trying to assert her dominance, or even refused to give any sort of acknowledgement at all. It makes her tears even sadder. She underestimated her foe – Pravda could probably have crushed them early on had they really wanted to rather than giving them a chance to regroup and emerge victorious.
Maho isn’t going to make the same mistake. Unlike the previous teams who dismissed Oarai’s skills (and luck), Maho understands why Miho is a good commander – because she’s willing to work outside the Nishizumi teachings, something that Shiho sees as an abomination and will most likely be what results in Oarai emerging victorious from the finals. That’s assuming they do emerge victorious of course – I’m still not entirely convinced. Let me rephrase that: I don’t think they have a hope in hell without an awful lot of convenient luck. While I like to imagine that underneath her cold exterior, Maho was dying to get down there and dance the anklerfish dance, she’s certainly not pulling any punches in this match. Miho successfully predicted the ten Panthers, the Tiger I, and the Jagdpanther. This alone would be more than enough to contend with. The addition of a Tiger II, Ferdinand, Jagdtiger, and numerous Jagdpanzer IVs – reaching the twenty tank limit of the finals – is just mean.
On Oarai’s side, as I previously guessed, the mechanics step in to crew the Tiger (P) which almost immediately catches fire. I hear this is not an entirely uncommon scenario and just goes to further emphasise the sorry state of the Oarai’s line-up. The Chi-Nu is handled by the mismatched trio of Nekota, Momoga and Piyotan, all with references to various works of Japanese literature in abundance. Sadly, they didn’t exactly prove effective in combat – taking a shell meant for the flag tank by accident within the first few minutes of the match. But really, what more can you expect from a group who met playing tank games online and have vastly less experience than any of the other crews? Even with the Hetzer upgrade for the 38(t) and the additions to the Panzer IV, things don’t look good for Oarai.
But is this a bad thing? I’ve mentioned this before in the comments and discussed it with several other people – I don’t necessarily want Oarai to win. They’ve made it this far through the nationals with a large amount of luck and given what they’re facing now, it could be hard to come up with a victory that would be satisfying without feeling a little contrived. Oarai don’t necessarily have to win in order to save the school – reaching the finals on their first appearance is a magnificent feat in itself, one which could well result in sponsorships and funding to stop the school closing down. It would also leave room for the second season (fervently hoping for one) to show us the teams we never actually got to see in this season as Oarai make their way through the nationals towards a victory.
It felt like there was a lot of foreshadowing that might support this outcome. Admittedly, most of this is likely me reading too deeply into situations and the bigger of the two came across as being much darker than merely losing the finals, but the cut to Miho’s injured bears as she professed her love for her comrades felt ominous – like the triggering of a death flag. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was a little off during that scene, especially given how melancholic most of the montage seemed to be. Of course, that melancholy was likely for an entirely different reason – it’s the night before the big match after all – but it still seemed a little concerning. Hana’s flower arrangement had a slightly terrifying edge to it too. But in truth, I still don’t really think the series will go down a dark path. Especially not now that we’ve seen solid confirmation of the survival of the crew that almost drowned.
Sadly, despite the cliff-hanger, it’s going to be almost three months until we actually get to see the outcome now that episodes 11 and 12 have been pushed back to March. Next week will be episode 10.5, likely another recap in a similar fashion to episode 5.5, which makes this the last proper episode for quite a while. It’s going to be an agonising wait.
tl;dr: @MoombaDS – As we advance into the finals, things do not look good for Oarai. #GaruPan
- I love how each group has their own motivations despite being united in their love of tanks. At heart, the volleyball team is still the volleyball team, the historic studies team is still the historic studies team, and so on.
- After Katyusha I should’ve guessed what they’d be using as a theme for the Germans: Erika.
- Pfft, people still say there’s no yuri. Yukari clearly has a thing for Miho!
- All the previous teams come to wish Miho luck… wait what about the Italians?!
- Is that Kelly’s Heroes I see?
- Given how there were some extremely ‘Quality’ moments in there, perhaps it’s a good thing that the broadcast of the final two episodes has been delayed.
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)