1 CommentTwelve Days / By Scamp /

12 Days of Anime #4 – Maus

vlcsnap-2013-12-21-21h12m47s111There’s a trick to making a final boss or villain feel dangerously powerful. Scale is a pretty powerful one. Simply making them tower over your heroes helps. Throw in some relentless forward motion making them seemingly indestructible, overpowered attacks that blow out opponents without them even trying, or make their own power so overwhelming that it actually starts to hinder them in little annoying ways. Like the man with a muscles so large it rips their own shirt when they flex. In cartoony shounen action stories this is generally pretty easy to achieve, which in a way makes it less impressive when they do make the villain absurdly overpowered. In something as grounded in reality as Girls und Panzer is (well, in the hardware they’re using anyway, not perhaps the scenarios in which tankery is a high school sports club which parents cheer them driving through the streets as though they’re just a bunch of baseball players on a morning run yelling “fight-o” repeatedly) making the final tank seem intimidating is a much more impressive feat.

That’s why I love that moment the Maus appears, and in a single scene is a testament to how well directed Girls und Panzer is. It’s so big that when it first rolls into view, you’re not even sure what the hell it is. One of the characters think an iron gate has just closed in front of them. When it tries to turn its turret to blast them away, the turret hits the corner of the wall and it has to re-adjust because its turret is so long. When one of the tanks decides to charge in and blast two shots at it, it doesn’t even register as a scratch. One shot we see a good guy tank from the front shoot towards the Maus which is off-camera, hear a light ‘clink’ and watch as the shell sails back over their own heads again. When the Maus shoots, it doesn’t even hit the opposing tanks. Its shells are so powerful it simply hits the ground next to them and the impact knocks the tank over. With all those little tweaks you get a much more emphatic demonstration of strength than so many shounen villains with “this isn’t even my final form” speeches ever manage.

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One Comment

  1. Rayearth
    Posted December 25, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I always thought that Girls und Panzer was half a mecha series, and what makes that episode and the Maus so great is that unlike any other overpowered enemy boss mecha that shows up at the end (Gundam’s Zeong, for example), I can drive to Moscow and actually touch the thing.

    Best moment of 2013 for me. I hope other people remember it when voting for the year’s best comes up.

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