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Girls und Panzer Episode 12: Tank You Based Tanks

Me on the right, Girls und Panzer on the left

Me on the right, Girls und Panzer on the left

Girls und Panzer is hardly perfect. The girls themselves aren’t great characters, relying more on their specific gimmicks to endear themselves to the audience, the matches end invariably in favor of Miho, and there was severe underutilization of Darjeeling and Katyusha, the two best side-characters. But fuck that noise, because the finale is one of the most engaging, thrilling, and frenzied displays of unconventional tank warfare that I’ve seen. I was expecting to have a good time—but not such a tank-ramming, tank-ramping good time.

The whole episode is one extended exercise in thinking outside of the box, and I can’t begin to imagine just how much fun the writers had in imagining some of this shit. It really speaks volumes for how creative the action is when it involves the craziest means of crippling a tank yet, and only in the first six minutes. The way that Ooarai disposed of the Maus had me giggling like a schoolgirl both because of its absurdity, and because sitting on the Maus with another tank, after ramping onto it with the help of yet another tank, to keep it from revolving its turret is the stuff that legends are made of. I mean not even Beowulf or Hercules did that, so basically what I’m saying is that Ooarai is collectively a more iconic hero than Beowulf. All the while, it never lets up on the subtle touches of humor that are the delicious frosting on an even tastier cake. Even if the rest of the episode was complete shit on a bagel, these first few glorious minutes would have been more than enough to leave the series a place in my heart.

Garupan1201

Of course if you’ve followed Girls und Panzer this far (why would you be reading this post if you didn’t?), you’ll know that it isn’t content to have one excellent scene of unconventional tank warfare, instead opting to stuff itself with as many acts of motorized lunacy as time and taste will allow. Yet it never feels like it’s packed full of unnecessarily indulgent action, opting to break things up between the set pieces with more humor and strategizing. While it doesn’t quite attain the same “what the fuck did I just see?” impact that it crystallized during the Maus scene, it nonetheless keeps the momentum going with little effort, and no notable clunks in its gears.

I was a little disappointed that it finished the match by using its standard ending gambit, where the two opposing tanks fire at each other at almost the same time, and Miho manages to hit just a split second before the opposing team hits her. The atmosphere was so electric though, and was assisted by an all-or-nothing tank drifting maneuver that honestly left me breathless, that any attempts to criticize it for resorting to the same match-ending move would be missing the point entirely. It’s a case of the journey meaning more than the end, and when that journey entails fucking tank drifting and some great, unobtrusive use of CG, it means everything in the world.

I couldn’t have asked for a better episode to end this show with. It’s a culmination of everything that I love in it with either the problems mitigated to the point of nonexistence, or wholly overshadowed by everything that it does right. Girls und Panzer is a breath of fresh air that knows exactly what it is, and never loses sight of that. While it’s hardly the best show to come out of the year, it’s certainly one of the most encouraging, with the white hot passion that went into making it being displayed in every lovingly-rendered CG tank sequence, and every inexplicable anglerfish dance. I couldn’t have asked it to bow out in any more graceful a fashion, and I sincerely hope that its sales rise at a steady clip. We need more shows like this to break up the stranglehold of imouto incest fantasies.

Garupan1203

Oh, and for those curious about last week’s Maoyuu, picture the Battle of Minas Tirith with all satisfaction and urgency stripped to addin more economic discussion and hideously thin moustaches. Skip it, rewatch Girls und Panzer instead, and relive the Maus scene again and again. After all, seen one ghost come out from under a maid’s frock, you’ve seen them all.

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22 Comments

  1. Andmeuths
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    You may be interested to know that very few Imouto Incest fantasies actually do well. Most aren’t even profitable – Ore Imouto is an outlier, and even if Ore Shura and Hagani is doing reasonable well this season, those two are hardly Imouto Incest fantasies.

    And Girls Und Panzer is the topseller of the season with nearly 30K BD sales per Volume released. It outsells SAO, I believe, by quite a significant margin.

    • Hecaton
      Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, SAO has sold 40k+ BDs.

      • Posted March 29, 2013 at 10:54 am | Permalink

        The combined unit count PER VOLUME of Girls und Panzer all hover over the 25k mark. We’re going to be seeing totals here that will really show how much of a sleeper this was.

      • Inushinde
        Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:10 am | Permalink

        I will say, I haven’t been this happy to see a series doing well in quite some time, especially when it’s so damn good.

  2. Posted March 29, 2013 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    Girls und Panzer is perfect. What a way to cap of a spectacular series. I damn near dropped a tear from excitement at the end. 10/10 would watch again.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:09 am | Permalink

      Same, bro. Same.

  3. Hecaton
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Miho didn’t win the duel by firing a split second faster than Maho. That insane drift scene was so Maho can’t accurately target them, and sure enough, if you see closely, you would notice that Tiger’s cannon are a bit faster than Pz IV and ended up grazing the left side of Pz IV’s armor.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      True, I stupidly typed that with text from the previous post in mind. Even if it did happen, the speed with which the shells fired is of barely any relevance.

      Still, pretty solid ending, all things considered.

  4. Kian
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    9/10 for me. (Don’t tell Kevin that I agree with you more than him or he will “disown” me as as a friend). Oh shit did I type that? Better not hit the post comment button…

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      He’s done that so many times at this point that I don’t think one more case of disowning will make a difference. Though it’s a 9/10 for me as well, so I’m being generous.

  5. nazaren
    Posted March 29, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    9/10 for me, too. Surprise of the year… now if only I could convince any of my friends to watch it.

    I haven’t decided if I want a sequel yet. The possibility for disappointment is strong with this one. But if there is one, I hope there’s a bit more world building. Carrier-schools, sensha-do insurance, and post-high school sensha-do (if any) are high on my “Would you like to know more?” list.

    Also, “…Ooarai is collectively a more iconic hero than Beowulf.”. Bravo!

    • Caith
      Posted March 29, 2013 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      You should watch the OVAs then. They have a lot of world building info. Sure the first two OVA are nothing more than fanservice episodes, but OVA 3 explained a lot about school-carrier history and how they’re operated.

      • nazaren
        Posted March 29, 2013 at 8:04 am | Permalink

        *Insert Mako’s reaction to Sodoko here*

        Thanks, will do! I had initially written them all off as crap. Glad to know I was mistaken.

      • Inushinde
        Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        Yet another reason to catch up on what the OVAs have to offer.

  6. Posted March 29, 2013 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    As I said in other places, roll on second season! The World Cup is on the horizon for the setting, and this little melee was pretty much a proving ground on who’s going to represent Japan for that particular competition. And with the addition of an international setting, we can finally put to rest one final plot point from Little Army: Emi. You see before she left for Germany, she promised Miho to finally meet again when both of them have found their own ways of Sensha-do. Miho has finally found hers, and if the stars align, and the German team gets featured, we can see if Emi was able to find hers.

    Seriously, read Little Army. It gives a lot of context to the stuff happening in the background, particularly Maho’s stake and motivation in all this. After all, what is her most iconic line:

    “As long as I’m the inheritor of the Nishizumi school… Miho will be free”

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      Noted for the future!

  7. Posted March 30, 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I still don’t quite understand how this show turned out so damn good. I mean, ‘girls in tanks’ sounds really dumb to me, but fuck me if I didn’t love the shit out of this show.

    • rick
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Precisely how I feel. And on a tangential note, pretty much how I feel about your blog. Sorry, I mean ISSS.

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:19 am | Permalink

      Each of its details add up pretty solidly: Characters have drama and gimmicks but are generally unobtrusive (both a strength and a fault), the tank matches themselves are extremely well-choreographed with creative twists and turns to keep the inevitable Ooarai victory entertaining, and the CG and animation get the job done but don’t draw much attention in any way, save the eye glints in Episode 11 (definitely a good thing).

      There are some shows that are greater than the sum of their parts, and this is definitely one of them. It’s simultaneously silly and suspenseful, never letting up on its inarguable charm.

  8. R1CK_D0M
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    The best part about that duel between maho and miho is that unlike star wars, it didn’t matter who fired first. Maho inexplicably bounced her shell and did little to no damage to Miho’s puny PZIV, and miho put a shell right through maho’s battle box (though that’s not very hard from the back).

    • Inushinde
      Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:20 am | Permalink

      Definitely one of the highlights, mainly because it makes tank drifting both fun to watch and kind of practical in a kamikaze fashion.

  9. Posted April 6, 2013 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Finished this yesterday and it was awesome \o/

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