January 7, 2013

Girls Und Panzer eps 1-10

I love girls, and I love pantsu I mean 'panzer'. And when the two ride together, it puts a smile on my face.
-mangatron, December 2012

I love weaponized girls. Be it Strike Witches, female knights, sword girls and mecha pilots, I just have a thing for them. And Girls Und Panzer took this to a new level by weaponizing the girls with one of my favorite military weapons: the tank. While I'm not getting into the obvious of how I came to like girls :P, my love for the tank started when I was a kid growing up in Germany. This was during the time when the American presence was strong in Germany, and in my hometown it was like a base at every turn. I so happened to live right across a motor pool, and if you don't know, a motor pool is basically a huge garage for military vehicles. I got to see almost every US Military vehicle possible, including the tank. The first time I saw that tank rumbling on the street, the sound it made as the treads were crushing the street beneath it, it was a sound I will never forget. And I'll never forget the first time I tried to climb a tank (M60), it was hilarious, as I thought the opposite of what Brody said in that Indiana Jones Last Crusade movie, and I thought "How does one get on this thing?" And I tried to climb the side of the tank (from the treads up), and I just couldn't do it. How embarrassed was I when I realized you are normally supposed to climb from the front XD, what I was thinking at the time was like a mountain climber, climbing via the most accessible stack of footholds (I had a big laugh when the loli twintail pres couldn't climb up). I truly enjoyed my childhood in Germany, highlighted by my once in a lifetime visit to the awesome US base Grafenwoehr. Thank you for the memories 3rd Armored Division!
Mipo-chan raises her cute butt as she climbs the PzIV via the front of the tank

And I've always associated tanks with males, the thought of girls having a ride never did cross my mind until I got into Anime, and why not, girls as mecha pilots is a great idea, so why not let them drive a tank. But tanks were laughing stocks in Anime, always mankind's first line of defense that always proved useless, and it wasn't girls driving them. It wasn't until one of my top anime arrived when I finally realized a Girl + Tank would really work.

Isara Gunther and the Edelweiss

That anime is Valkyria Chronicles, based on the PS3 game of the same name. That anime is one of my favorites, and rightfully so, it proved cell shaded tanks + girls in zettai miniskirts with guns can really work. Well, I'm probably the only one joyful about the miniskirts part :D, but more importantly, it was a girl operating a tank! And kicking ass! While also being the most useful frontline tank of the anime, well maintained by the one and only Isara. I don't know about you folks, but Valkyria Chronicles deserves its spot in my top 20, but can Girls Und Panzer join that special list?

I can't say for sure due to the unfinished broadcast run at the time of this post, and the rumors of adding more episodes/seasons, but right now I am enjoying this series. It is essentially what I have been waiting for for a long time: girls in tanks firing at each other and not dying. What more can I possibly ask for? Well, I would like to see some pantsu ACK *mangatron is run over by Momo-chan's tank*

Speaking of Momo-chan, that anxiety girl is my favorite girl of the series XD Really, it's just that simple, at first I was like "oh, Muginami is in this series" and I thought the flower arranging girl is cute, I actually went doki doki for Mako and the twintail pres but when I first heard Momo-chan speak, I knew it was love, that sharp glare, that serious tone of voice ah :D a part of that is because I'm somewhat like that, when it comes to teaching I can't help but act like that, always on edge trying to drive my point home, and the other part of that is, when my left eye got glued up, I tried to do that with my glasses, have only half of it on my face. I never did get it to work, I don't know why, maybe the frame was too heavy (it's metal), but here we are, Momo-chan did it XD

It was a nice start to the series, the girls' lives were tank-less, except the lead girl anyways, but they all went from noob to... boob! *mangatron becomes sidewalk stroganoff after he was road raged by Momo-chan's tank* Seriously speaking though, it doesn't seem too hard for the girls to get into panzer wars, I guess they must have an aptitude for it (read: good on you director-san for not spending an entire episode on the girls learning tank warfare) That does of course extend to these panzer wars being the one way girls can level up their womanhood, or.... gosh that sounded weird :P Basically in this world panzer warfare is to girls as, uh, don't laugh, but in my mind panzer warfare is like a diploma for girls, excel in it and they level up to being a lady :D
The Tiger I tank

Moving onto the tanks side, I'm not surprised the lead tank is another German piece from WWII, there's just something the Japanese like about the Wehrmacht's weaponry. I myself was obligated to learn about Germany's WWII history, having been born there, not to mention I am named after one of the most famous of the Field Marshall's, and I can see why many would come to love the German tanks of the war, they truly were ambitious designs with a lot of promise. My favorite tank is the Tiger I, there's just something about its boxyness that interests me. The fact that its very appearance played a part in psychological warfare made it unique in its own right. But Girls Und Panzer made the er, protagonist tank a Panzer 4? I was surprised they chose the stub gun version, that wasn't meant for tank battles. But what do you know, put it in the hands of girls, specifically the flower arranger girl, of course it won't matter :P And I thought the series was well written for how the girls went from zeros to, uh,... boobs? Ahem, my questionable boob fantasies aside, as I mentioned earlier they didn't spend an entire episode of girls learning about tanks (it was sort of half the ep), actually, they did something well that I liked, and it was a nice balance of girls being girls and girls warring in tanks. Say all you want about this being K-on with tanks, but it's with tanks. TANKS.

Want to know how to drive a tank? There's an app fo-.... never mind...

They did things very amusingly as well, one girl uses her phone to look up tank operating instructions, some did hands on driving, but instead of watching girls crash tanks into trees all day, they also had them all spar in a deathmatch. That's the best way to learn something new, throw them in the thick of it. It didn't take them long to have a scrimmage with another school, and nicely done, they lost that one. But hey, let's up the tempo and throw them into a tournament already. It is by this time where I've come to like how they've supplemented their production quality, from the music-that-just-fits-perfectly, to the many references to tanks over the years (Kelly's Heroes!), this is one of those anime I can't help but watch with a big grin on my face :D
"Hey man, I only love tsundere's, I don't know what makes them tsun or dere"

I don't know, it's just the very thought of high-school-girls-who-look-like-middle-school-girls driving tanks.... oh what I'd pay to make a school like this, girls in mini skirts driving tanks. There are some hilarious things to think about the girls when watching this show. For example, that girl with the peaked cap (Erwin-chan) was wearing that before panzerfahren was reinstated. Where's the disciplinary committee and their strict uniform code? I find this girl funny, with her obsession with the wehrmacht, what if this school had no panzers? What if she was forced to ride in an American tank? XD The other girls are amusing too, such a perfect fit for the middle schooly loli's to jump into the M3 Lee. In fact, all the students in that school look like they belong in middle school. Except for the other schools in this tournament. Even that is funny, I don't mind their use of stereotypes, but you'll see the busty american blonde who goes "OK!", there is the deadpan faced russian girl who looks older than you think, there's that british oujousama type that apparently drinks tea, and yet, the Japanese girls are all a combination of every anime girl out there: be it the deadpan kuudere, the can-never-look-upset-flower-girl, the tank "fujoshi", and so on. And that Muginami girl wants a bf? The poor guy might look like a lolicon standing beside her XD But hey, I wouldn't mind marrying I mean dating her, I mean come on, it's MUGINAMI, and she's desperate :D No I'm not saying I take advantage of desperate girls >__> <__<
Did you know? Warner Brothers trademarked "bullet time".

Ahem, back to the anime, the matches take place between several episodes, so this is one of those anime where I can't recommend to someone that they can watch episodes out of order, but that's what makes it so engaging, it's not like you'd want to skip any eps anyways. Because as much as the girls get their screen time, the tanks get their rightful share of screen time too. You will see a lot of moments when it's just the tanks driving around, maybe the occasional girl will pop out, but this series truly made 'Girls' and 'tanks' an interesting combination, and I love what the production staff did so far. They made girls being girls, and tanks shooting tanks, it can't get any better than that, can it? Well, you will come across the occasional beef from time to time, for example, one of my major beefs was the complete removal of a decent match with the Anzio girls. I was looking forward to some twintail action, and they cut it to a simple splosion! A poof, a flag, a twintail, all just to make way for a 2 episode run for the match with the Russian loli. WHYYYYYYyyyYYYYYYYYYYyYyy I wanted me some pizza twintail, and they cut her short >__<
She didn't even say goodbye!

My twintail fantasies aside, I really want to see more of the girls, the others, you know, doing stuff that you usually don't see them do. Like for example, Erwin-chan and her Stug band, they don't talk as much as the Panzer4 girls, but when they do, it's usually the historical banter between each other. Were these four friends before all this? They all just grouped up, found Mr Stug and decided to have a gang bang with him? It's like these girls were made for each other, and no I didn't mean that in a yuri way, get your mind out of the sewer :P

Still, this sure is one unforgettable series for me. A lot of it clicks, and I sure want to continue writing about this stuff. What with the recent talk about making more of this series, I sure wouldn't mind writing more about girls and tanks. I love them so much, now if only we didn't have to wait so darn long for this series to finish it's last two eps >:(

Note: this half-review was written before episode 10 aired, and this post was appended as much as it could to include any changes that were necessary.

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