Girls Und Panzer

March 9, 2014

Are girls hot and sexy when they are paired with an automobile? For instance, girls and bikes. They look hot, don’t they? Yeah. It’s not the bike that we’re really looking at, aren’t we? What about girls and fast sports cars? Also hot and sizzling too, no? But what about girls and tanks? Girls and tanks, you say? Sorry if my several opening sentences end in questions but don’t you find anything turned on when a girl rides a tank? No? Well, perhaps Girls Und Panzer would change your mind. Imagine cute high school girls packing such power riding such armoured vehicles. What’s not to love? But seriously. High school girls riding tanks? Odd. Yeah. In anime they can make something out of nothing. War has ended so why the need for girls to drive tanks and shoot at each other? That’s because it’s not a war. It’s for sports! As I found out, Panzer Fahren (tank battle) is a relatively new sport founded somewhere in 2009 and only played by a handful of European nations. You drive real tanks around playing mock battles depending on the form of game play. But how many nations have got tanks to ‘waste’? They cost a lot right even if it’s only for sports. I suppose if you want to drive interest in this new sport, the best way is to turn it into anime (like how they try to do it with karuta. I think). And better still, you use cute high school girls to do it. Shouldn’t they have better girly things to do at their age? Like go shopping, gossip about boyfriends? I suppose that’s what separate tank nerds and tank nots. Now do you find girls and tanks hot and sexy?

Episode 1
We are given an exciting first person view of the girls in a Panzer Fahren match as our heroines engage the enemy. Now we go back in time. Miho Nishizumi wakes up and makes her way her to Ooarai Girls High School. She looks like the loner type till classmates Hana Isuzu and Saori Takebe invite her to join them. They become good friends but suddenly the student council trio, Anzu Kadotani (president), Momo Kawashima (PR manager) and Yuzu Koyama (vice president) approach Miho. Seems they are trying to pressure her into taking the Senshadou (Panzer Fahren) curriculum elective. Although this school doesn’t have such elective before, they plan on reviving it and want her to join. Miho sinks into absolute shock because she attended this school as it doesn’t have Senshadou. Yeah. Her shock face is like as though she killed somebody. So her friends try to give her some support as they learn Miho’s history. She comes from a family with a long reputable history in Senshadou. Miho doesn’t have nice memories of it. Suddenly the student council announces all students to gather in the hall. Despite being a reminder to choose their electives, it is a blatant propaganda and introduction to Senshadou. So, studying Senshadou makes you more womanly? Attracts more guys? WTF. They even mention the tremendous rewards of food coupons and tripling credits of all subjects to the one with the highest grades in Senshadou. Very tempting, right? Eventually Miho just can’t do it and selects flower arrangement. Her friends initially picked Senshadou but cancel it just to follow Miho. Think everything will be fine? That’s because Miho is called to the student council’s room to explain herself of her non-selection of Senshadou. So she doesn’t have the freedom to choose? They even threaten her of expulsion! Her friends stand up and fight for her. Miho sees how hard they are trying to support her so she grits her teeth and decides to take up Senshadou. There. Happy? And so all those who picked this elective gather at the field. Including the student council members, there are 21 students for Senshadou. I don’t know. The rest look like oddballs. What the heck is the volleyball team doing here? Notice half a dozen of lolis? And there’s this rekijo (female historian buffs) group… Never in your wildest dream would you think such groups would show interest in tanks. But then again, it could have been much worse… They are shown a rundown tank in the garage. Rusting away… But the girls are in awe…

Episode 2
As they are split into 5 teams, the rest are ordered to find 4 missing tanks scattered throughout this gigantic city ship. Miho and friends begin their search. Where to begin? Along the way, they meet tank enthusiast (she knows everything about them, trust me), Yukari Akiyama who is eager to join them. Soon all the teams find the tanks (sitting in odd places? Cave? Dump site? Underwater?) and they keep what they find. Now they got to clean and restore it. Poor Yuzu is doing all the hard work while Anzu and Momo just bum their ass off… At the end of the day, Miho and co head to a tank specialized shop. They see on the news, Miho’s sister, Maho who has been selected to represent the nation for Panzer Fahren. Miho looks gloomy… Then everyone gathers at Miho’s apartment for dinner. Next day as Miho goes to school, she sees a girl, Mako Reizei having trouble trying to make her way to school. Sleepy, sleepy, sleepy… Somehow they make it but the public morals committee member, Midoriko Sono AKA Sodoko is not amused. This is the 245th straight time Mako is late! Is this a world record? The Senshadou girls eagerly await their new instructor, Ami Chouno from the special training association. I’m sure everyone is awed at her grand debut with her tank diving down from the plane. Too bad the principal’s car got smashed… Ami recognizes Miho since her sister is famous but Miho isn’t really thrilled. Ami has the teams do a full mock battle and sets out their starting points. The teams also assign its members to positions. I wonder why the inequality of number of members in a team. Though there is no restriction, loli team has got 6 people, the most number while student council team has the least with 3. The rest have 4 each. As there are 5 positions, Saori becomes the commander, Hana the driver, Yukari the gunner and Miho taking on both the loader and radio operator roles. Once all teams are in position, the mock battle rule is simple. Immobilize all other teams and the last one standing wins. Heroine team (my term for Miho’s group) is suddenly attacked by volleyball team (missed by an inch). Rekijo team sees this opportunity to cooperate with volleyball team to take out heroine team. As they run, they see Mako sleeping right in their path!

Episode 3
Mako suddenly gets up and jumps onto their tank! Saori knows her because they are childhood friends. They are now at a bridge. As they try to cross it, their rivals fire on them and almost cause the tank to lose balance. The impact knocks out Hana. Everyone is surprised that Mako can easily drive the tank after just reading the manual. With Miho’s strategy, Yukari fires a shot and it directly hits rekijo team to take them out of the game. Volleyball team panics and then goes out after heroine team fires a direct shot at them. Coming from the other side of the bridge is student council team. Momo turns into a bloodthirsty trigger happy crazy b*tch! Fire! Fire! Fire! Too bad heroine team was faster and puts them out of commission. Worse, how the heck could Momo miss?! Loli team gets scared and wants to retreat but their tank got stuck in the mud and their engine blew! I guess heroine team wins! Before Ami returns, she congratulates the teams for a fine job and to contact her if there is anything. While heroine team soaks in a well deserved hot bath, they think of repositioning themselves. As reluctant Miho may be, she is made the commander because of her awesome strategy. Hana wants to be the gunner since she loves the ‘warm feeling’ when firing a cannon! Saori will be the radio operator since she is good in texting. That’s almost the same, right? Hana will be the loader and this means Mako the driver, no? However Mako is not interested in joining till she is reminded of her lack in credits. Is this blackmail? The girls go shopping to spice up their tanks. Comfy cushions, slippers, interior decorations… Hey, if they’re going to spend most of their time in the tank, might as well make it as comfortable as possible. They also wanted to go with a new paint of coat but ditched the idea. However the other teams did theirs. Urm… Pink tank? Gold tank? Well, screw camouflage. At least they can tell each other apart. The Senshadou girls continue to practice operating their tanks and how to read instruments.

As announced, there will be a friendly battle this weekend with Saint Gloriana Girls’ Academy. They were runners up in the national tournament before. Because meeting time is at 6am, Mako wants to quit! She can’t wake up that early! Blackmail… Credit points… Grandma and Winston Churchill… I didn’t get that one but it made Mako reluctantly revise her decision. All the team leaders are in the briefing as Momo strategizes the enemy’s tanks. Miho’s guts tell her it will backfire and this pisses off Momo as she tells her off to take command then. Maybe she will, as Anzu suggests. And so she did. Win, and she will be rewarded well. Lose, she’ll do some embarrassing anglerfish dance in some public festival. I don’t know how preposterous that dance is but her teammates aren’t thrilled and acting like it’s the end of the world. So they just need to win to avoid that, right? Come Sunday, Saori tries to wake up Mako but it’s impossible. All the alarm clocks couldn’t do the job so what makes Saori think she can haul her ass out from her futon? Till Miho drives her tank through the streets and fires a blank shot! Is this legal? Everyone thought some earthquake just happened. The ships dock on land so they can have the friendly. It’s like a festival with stalls setup and other attractions. Like attending a Formula One race, huh? Ooarai meet their St Gloriana counterparts, led by Darjeeling. The official flags off the match to begin.

Episode 4
Remember that scene at the beginning of the first episode? It’s here now. Continuing from there, heroine team becomes the decoy to lure St Gloriana into an ambush pit where the others are waiting. Stupid Momo is so hard up on firing that she almost shot heroine team when they arrive. St Gloriana knows this is a trap but remains cool and plays along. Despite Ooarai firing away, I don’t how they could even miss so St Gloriana surrounds them and starts firing! Loli team panics and abandons ship! Student council team’s tank track becomes loose so they are immobilized (but not out). Miho takes the other teams to escape through the city. This is where they’ll put their knowledge of the roads into good use. Rekijo team hides in the tight alley and when a St Gloriana tank passes, they fire on them, instantly taking them out. Another St Gloriana tank falls into a trap because volleyball team is actually hiding behind them. Fire away! However… I think their pea shooter wasn’t powerful enough so they got fired back. Ouch. I guess they’re out. Rekijo team loves their flags, right? So it’s sticking out like a sore thumb from their tanks that it makes them so visible. And that’s why they got taken out by the enemy right across the fence. Heroine team is left and there is a daunting task of taking out 4 enemy tanks. St Gloriana chases them and smashes into a few shops. But the owners are glad because they can use compensation money to renovate! Crash into my shop too! Heroine team is cornered at a dead end when suddenly student council team barges into the scene. Momo fires at point blank range and… MISSES!!! HOW THE HELL COULD SHE MISS AT SUCH CLOSE RANGE!!! Thanks to her blunder, student council team got hit point blank. Out. But this gives heroine team time to escape. While doing so, they manage to fire and take out one. Using the corners to their advantage, heroine team swiftly attacks an enemy tank at the turn and the quickly reverses to take out another. Now they have to face the final boss but Darjeeling’s tank’s armour is thicker. Miho’s tactic is to play chicken (or so it seems to me). When both tanks are side by side, they fire at the same time. However heroine team’s thinner armour means they lost. At the end of the day, Darjeeling praises Miho and notes she is different from Maho. Since they lost, it’s the anglerfish dance, right? Since it is a collective lost, everybody has to do it! Oh God…

As heroine team walks through town, Saori thought a handsome guy spotted her. To her embarrassment, Shinzaburou is Hana’s family’s servant and he is happy to see his milady fine. Hana’s mom is here too. However after Yukari’s slip of her tongue reveals they are in Senshadou, mommy smells Hana’s hand and to her horror realizes she is really taking up such course instead of following the family tradition of flower arrangement. So in shock that she collapses! Back at their mansion, the friends eavesdrop Hana’s conversation with her mom. Hana felt something was missing when she did flower arrangement and wants to work with stronger flowers. Mother couldn’t believe her gentle nature is gone and views tanks as crude and ugly. Hana is determined to follow this path so mother tells her never to show her face here again. Goodbye. Hana isn’t sad as she hopes to present her with an appropriate flower one day. The rest of the girls are cool but Shinzaburou… He turned into a real cry-baby. When they get back on ship, loli team sincerely apologizes to them for abandoning their tank. They promise to their best next time and Anzu will leave the strategies to Miho. St Gloriana sends them a tea set, a sign that they are worthy opponents. And so it’s time for the Nationals. 16 high school teams will fight it out and Miho picks up Saunders University High School. Well, let’s say they are one of the favourites to win the title. Tough opponent right from the start, eh?

Episode 5
Heroine team is eating out at a panzer themed café. Walking in is Maho and her second in command, Erika Itsumi. Miho becomes gloomy when Maho comments she is still doing Senshadou. Erika didn’t waste time to insult and badmouth Ooarai but Mako has equal sarcasm to match it and shut her up. I guess the only way is to take it out on the battlefield. If Ooarai get to advance, that is. Later, Miho laments if she had information of Saunders’ line-up, she could at least come up with some strategy. And so Yukari didn’t show up in school the next day so her friends visit her family barber shop. Her father is extremely annoying in accepting them to a point it’s creepy. Grateful for the first friends to visit Yukari, I take? Yukari sneaks in back via window. Seems she has snuck into Saunders’ ship to collect valuable information with her hidden camera. She disguised and infiltrated their school while they were having a tactical meeting. Because there were too many students, I guess nobody could recognize her so much so she could ask questions and got some answers. Till one of them didn’t recognize her as a student. Once her cover was blown, she escapes. Yukari hopes Miho could use the details to come up with some tactics. Battle day arrives. Ooarai meet their Saunders counterparts. Their leader, Kei recognizes Yukari as the imposter but welcomes her. They invite Ooarai to their mobile stall trucks that offer lots of facilities and food stuffs. Rich people… I’m not sure about the Panzer Fahren rules but Saunders is employing some old rules that allow them up to the maximum of 10 tanks! Though, they are all the same Sherman type with limited ammo. Each team will assign a flag tank. Taking out that flag panzer means victory for the team. It’s just like capture the flag math. Miho puts forth her strategy. However it hits a snag when loli team are surrounded by the enemy in the forest. Heroine team and student council team rendezvous with them to escape but Saunders tanks are hot on their trail. Ooarai is completely surrounded but Miho suggests a bold move to just continue pressing forward. The gamble pays off as they barely scrape through. As they rest, Miho senses something amiss. It’s like the enemy knew their moves. Then she realizes it. The enemy may have intercepted their radio communications by planting a device in the weather balloon. Though the rules say nothing on this, I guess this shows that money is power. Saunders continues to eavesdrop Ooarai’s conversation. It leads them to believe where their flag tank is. A strategy is made to take it out. A couple of Sherman tanks arrive at the supposed place but rekijo team fires and takes out one of them! The other manages to escape. Saunders and the audience are left surprised that Ooarai took out a Saunders tank. How did they do it? Well, the girls communicated via own handphone and the one via radio was just baiting. Smart.

Episode 5.5
Wait a minute?! A recap episode? After 5 episodes? Anyway, for those with bad memory, mainly narrated by Miho and Yukari, it tells how Miho tried to get away from Senshadou by enrolling into Ooarai but was lured back into it. She also introduces her friends and the other Senshadou mates. I suppose it is interesting to see some of their bio-data but seriously, are we interested to see what kind of flower or tank they like? And why didn’t they include the all-important 3 sizes?! Oops… Of course as we progress through the different matches heroine team played so far, we are given trivial information of the tanks that have appeared and their main features. So I’ve wasted almost half an hour of my time on this recap with recycled scenes. At least put some new scenes lah! Now can we get back to action?

Episode 6
Arisa, the one responsible for eavesdropping on Ooarai isn’t going to lose so she continues searching the waves to eavesdrop further. Then she hits it. She hears their next plan to gather on the hill and informs Kei and the rest to head there. But nobody’s there? Sure she got her info right? Suddenly volleyball team pops up before Arisa’s tank. Oh no! Although Arisa’s team is the flag tank, volleyball team’s firepower is not good enough to take it out so they run. They throw smokescreen to blind their vision as they try to rendezvous back to the rest. When the smoke clears up, Arisa realizes they have walked into their trap because the other Ooarai tanks are firing at them! I know Momo will always miss but the rest? Man, Arisa is lucky. Run! We see Arisa’s true colours. She turns into a panicky slave driver, forcing her teammates to do this and that just to get their ass out of this trap. She’s even ranting about her boyfriend problems! Not enough space to yell inside? Go outside and scream all you want! Ooarai is hot on Arisa’s tail as she seeks backup. Kei learns about her eavesdropping and is not too pleased she isn’t playing fair. To even the odds, Kei wants another 3 tanks to follow them so it will be 5 on 5. When the cavalry arrives, you can see the relief on Arisa’s face. So it’s like one big chase or game of tag. Kei’s Saunders chasing Ooarai chasing Arisa. Unfortunately, volleyball team got taken out followed by loli team. Ooarai’s morale is all-time low especially Momo. In addition to being a bad shot, she’s such a negative person. Well, maybe it’s because student council team is the flag tank sandwiched between heroine team and rekijo team as they try to outrun their pursuers and also nail the enemy’s flag.

As they approach a hilltop, Miho devises a strategy to shoot from the top. They have a better chance but it is risky. Kei’s team foresees this and she leaves it to Naomi to take out heroine team. Thanks to Miho’s instinct, she has Mako slam on the brakes in time before being hit by Naomi’s shell. Because their reloading takes time, this crucial time will determine they nail it or lose it. Hana focuses her aim and fires a single shot. Arisa’s team takes a direct hit seconds before Naomi takes out heroine team. Ooarai wins! The Ooarai girls are jumping with joy especially with their upset victory over the favourites. Kei congratulates Miho for putting up a good game as it was fun. She also apologizes for the eavesdropping on her comrade’s part. She believes in practising fair play because if you’re not a good person, your tank will cry. I guess everybody is happy in the end. Except for Arisa. She’s going to get an earful. Mako suddenly gets a call that her grandma is hospitalized after falling down. But they have to get back to the ship. Desperate Mako is going to swim when Maho offers to take her there in her helicopter. Why the long face everybody? If not happy then don’t do so lah. But I guess it is no time to argue about whatever petty things. Saori accompanies Mako onto the helicopter. Personal problems aside, the rest have got the next matches Senshadou to worry about. Favourites Pravda High School and Kuromorimine Girls’ College (Maho’s team) secure crushing victories over their opponents. Ooarai’s next opponent will be Anzio High School.

Episode 7
When Miho and co visit the hospital, they hear grandma screaming her lungs off reprimanding Mako! Well, it’s a good sign that she’s doing well but I think at this rate her blood pressure will shoot through the roof. Maybe she doesn’t like it here too. When they leave, grandma politely tells Miho that Mako lacks courtesy and to take care of her. Back on board the ship, Miho thinks deep that everyone has their own problems. Miho explains Mako and her grandma used to fight a lot and she regrets never having the chance to properly apologize. This has Miho remember her own family problem. Mommy wants her to be in Senshadou because of their family name. In school, due to their first round victory, the student council must have put up banners about their advancement. Maybe they’ll get noticed this way. Miho and her friends eat together with their tank. Miho has always thought winning was the only important thing. But now she realizes that with her friends, Senshadou has a pretty fun and exciting side to it. Because of her mentality that winning was everything, it was the reason Miho ran away from Panzer. She remembers a match she lost. It was raining heavily and her team trekking precariously on the cliffs. When a teammate was shot, the tank slid down the cliffs and into the river. Miho abandoned her tank just to go save them. They lost because Miho’s tank was the flag and got shot soon after. The Senshadou girls continue to practice and improve their skills (I think some really need more improvement – like Momo’s aim). But the important thing is that they all have the motivation and spirit.

Seems Miho is the person to go to when they have problems and need her advice. Including love problems! Boyfriends running away because of tanks? Who would want a girl who has the ability to point the cannon in their face? Thankfully Miho’s friends help lighten her load and offer to give the other teams advice. Hana helps the student council with the paper work, Mako teaches the volleyball team how to drive better (just read the manual!), Yukari tells all she knows about tanks to rekijo team while Saori becomes the love advice master to loli team (despite she herself have never dated any guy). Hana goes through the documents and based on them, there are extra tanks lying around. They split into team to search for them but it seems they are scattered in a few parts. Saori and loli team didn’t come back in time and they receive message that they are lost. Anzu hands Miho the map of the ship to Miho so she can lead a search party. Mako is afraid of ghosts more than waking up early… Eventually lady luck has them find the lost girls. But they notice another tank of where they are holing up. As everybody soaks in the hot bath, Momo announces their new tanks and gadgets won’t be ready in time for the next match. She has Miho do the closing lines by rallying up everybody’s spirits. Looks like they’re up to it. And so we see Ooarai defeating the Italian-like Anzio team. WTF??!!! WHAT THE HELL!!! I feel cheated and robbed! I waited an entire episode for some Senshadou match and they just show me 2 seconds clip of the end result! WTF?! I want my Ooarai-Anzio match!!!

Episode 8
With the new tank fixed up, it seems we have a new group of girls joining Senshadou to make a sixth team. It is Sodoko and her public morals girls. Are they triplets or something? And Mako is made to be her driving teacher… Momo seems to be quite fixated in winning the semi-finals against Pravda who was last year’s champion when the other girls think they could slack or give up. Later Anzu has Miho come to their place as there is something they want to tell her. However they went around the bush, changing the subject and showed the great times the student council trio had together. In the end they couldn’t tell her because they don’t want to burden her and to let her look forward to the match instead of shrinking in fear. The match with Pravda is about to begin and takes place on the icy cold land. Ooarai is approached by Pravda’s little bratty commander, Katyusha. She is arrogant and even sits on top of her vice commander’s shoulder, Nonna just so that she could feel taller and higher than them. I guess at such height, is it no wonder why everybody looks down on her? Ooarai don’t like her one. Katyusha spots Miho and recognizes her. She thanks her for last year because without her help, they would never have become champions. Before the match starts, Miho wants to take a more defensive approach to fight Pravda but her team is so motivated to go all out on the offensive. Miho agrees to quickly take out the enemy since prolonged battle in snow would only work in their favour as the Russian-like Pravda works best in snowy terrain. You think Ooarai now has an extra tank at their disposal? Why, Pravda has 15 tanks! Is there a limit to how many tanks you can field? Number wise, isn’t this unfair? Oh, here comes the Pravda team. They’re so ‘cool’ that they’ve got their own theme song! But it’s mainly on Katyusha.

Ooarai pushes forward and realizes the enemy has spotted them when they fire. They fire back and easily take out a couple of them. Miho is cautious since this is too easy. When one of the tanks retreats, everyone chases after it. They are in so high spirits thinking favour is on their side that they disregard Miho’s order to hold their ground. Eventually they are drawn into a small village as the Ooarai tanks try to shoot the flag tank which is playing hide and seek among the buildings. While they are so engrossed in taking down their target, they did not realize the other Pravda tanks are slowly popping out from their hiding and surrounding them. Miho realizes they have fallen into their trap and quickly orders her team to retreat and take refuge in a nearby big building. I’m not sure if the cold winter or is it Pravda’s bad shot (perhaps intentionally too) that none of Ooarai tanks gets shot. After safely retreating into the building, Pravda sends a couple of reps to give Ooarai a message from Katyusha. She wants them to surrender by kneeling before her and will wait for 3 hours the most. Some want to fight to the end while others think they have done well to reach here and had fun. But Momo becomes agitated they can’t lose now. Miho tries to calm her down that Senshadou is just a game and not war. There is more to winning and for Miho she has made great friends and loved this school and the club. Well, can you say that once the school shuts down after they lose? Eh… Say what? That’s right. If they don’t win this tournament, Ooarai will close down.

Episode 9
When the student council went to see some minister, they were told the school will be shut down due to declining enrolment and no notable activities. He noted Senshadou was once popular in this school so Anzu thought of reviving it and that they won’t close down a school if they become champions. That’s why Anzu thought they wanted to keep hoping instead of crying in their last year. The girls feel sad over the fate of their school but Miho’s encouragement has them lift their spirits so they are going to use the 3 hours to fix whatever is broken. They’re going to fight till the end. She also sends some scouts to verify the location of the enemy tanks so she can devise a strategy. But morale is running low again when they are running out of food and warmth. They can see their Russian counterparts having a nice borsch meal and doing a Cossack dance around the fire! Morale drops to all time low thinking about their school’s closure. Miho starts doing the anglerfish dance to motivate them. Isn’t this embarrassing dance just counterproductive? In order not to let her bear the shame, everyone starts doing it too! They are spotted by a Pravda scout who is here to tell them time is up. So what’s it going to be? No surrender. I guess Katyusha waited for nothing. Ooarai tanks burst out of the building in a straight line. They surprise Katyusha by heading towards her direction, a heavily guarded area. I guess you can thank the worsening weather for the bad vision and bad shots. Anzu takes over Momo for the gunner position and decides to do some solo move. Due to the thick armour of the Pravda tanks, the only chance they have is to fire at point blank. So this means Yuzu has to drive up real close to them. After several cool manoeuvres and shots fired, student council team only managed to take out 2 Pravda tanks before being blown away.

The crowd is rooting for Ooarai the underdog as they continue to make their getaway with Pravda hot on their heels. Katyusha is so infatuated in chasing down their flag tank (volleyball team’s tank) that she doesn’t care or account a couple of Ooarai’s tanks just went ‘missing’ over the hill. Miho sends Yukari out so she can scout out enemy positions and their flag tank from a high tower. Heroine team and rekijo team are going after Pravda’s flag tank and will take them out while visibility is low so they leave it to the others to protect volleyball team. Unfortunately loli team and public morals team got taken out so volleyball team is left to fend themselves all alone in this scary ride. It’s amazing they manage to not get hit. Thank the bad weather. Pravda’s flag tank has been spotted so they start mobilizing. Their big cannon tank comes between them. Luckily their first shot misses and since it takes time to reload, they fire back and take it out. Yukari guides her teammates to corner Pravda’s flag tank. One of their tanks was hiding underneath the snow and takes it out but at the same time, volleyball team has been taken out too. So who was hit first?

Episode 10
Because the white flag on Pravda’s tank went up first, Ooarai wins! But of course. To show Katyusha isn’t a sore loser, she heads over to Miho and congratulates and shakes her hand. With Ooarai in the finals, their opponents will be Kuromorimine. Who else? The finals will allow up to 20 tanks! Does Ooarai have that many tanks? So the girls go on a ‘recruiting’ spree asking favours from the people to see if there are any abandoned tanks that they can salvage. Well they found one but despite its awesome firepower, it is horribly fragile. Gets stuck in mud easily, overheats easily and it’s on fire! Oh well, just make do with what they have. Because Miho asks the automotive club (who repairs and maintains their tanks) if they want to drive tanks, they accept the offer. Miho’s classmate, Nekota expresses her interest to join the club. But where to find another tank? Oh, there’s one sitting in the car park. Convenient? Nekota and her bunch of girls are online tank game nerds so they have some ‘experience’. Miho and friends take the day off and visit Hana who is taking part in a local flower exhibition. You can easily guess which flowers are hers. Yeah. See the tank shaped vases? They meet her mother there and it seems she has accepted her daughter embracing Senshadou because it made her a different person. On the day before the finals, Anzu gives her speech to her girls for moral support. She also has Miho give hers. She reveals she was once from Kuromorimine before transferring here but now considers Ooarai her home. That night, everyone do their stuffs and I thought it was pretty funny and superstitious to see them eating some kind of meal with katsudou in it. Saori shows her friends she has obtained second class licence as an amateur radio operator. Well, Mako had to pour cold water on it that she’s still an amateur. Saori’s next goal is to obtain a fiancée after the finals! Is she joking? She thinks Miho should get a boyfriend too. Well, aside that, Miho says she loves them all. Weird, right? Coming out from the mouth of a girl. Well, at least they aren’t yuri. Except maybe for Yukari.

On the day of the finals, Miho is visited by all the other teams she has defeated and also St Gloriana (who got defeated by Kuromorimine). Except maybe for Anzio because we never get to see them up close and personal. Still sore over that no-show… Anyway they are here to cheer on them. Before the match starts, the leader and vice of both teams meet to greet. Erika is still a b*tch and will put Miho and her team in place. We’ll see about that. But one of the Kuromorimine girls comes up to Miho to thank her. She was the one in the tank that fell into the river that Miho went to rescue (it caused them their title to Pravda). She feels guilty of letting her down and wanted to talk to her but she had left the school. But she is glad she has not abandoned Senshadou. Miho motivates her girls one more time and knows Kuromorimine would want to wipe them out fast with their number and firepower. So as the match begins, Ooarai girls can still chat like normal till they almost got hit by cannon fire! Seems Kuromorimine tanks have taken a shortcut through the forest and are firing all they’ve got. Plus, the forest hides their presence and Ooarai girls are in the open and sitting ducks. Erika is going to put Ooarai’s flag tank out of commission and gets ready to give the order to fire. Meanwhile online tank nerds team are having problem driving their tank. They didn’t know reality was harder than how the game operates. Duh… Because of that, they set the tank in reverse and took a shot from Erika’s fire and went out of the game. Their first appearance and this… But thankfully in a way they protected the flag tank, right?

Episode 10.5
WTF???!!! Another recap episode???!!! Why are they doing this me and also in the middle of an important match?! Just like the previous recap, we have Miho and Yukari narrating-cum-commenting on the-story-so-far. This time we have lots more trivia notes on the tanks despite the scenes re recycled. Also, new Ooarai teammates as well as the opponents they faced (the main characters only of course) are introduced (with the usual ‘uninteresting’ stats). Explained briefly as well are the match format (total annihilation which is equivalent to deathmatch in FPS and capture the flag) and the number of tanks limit introduced for the capture the flag format in the Nationals to allow smaller schools to participate. Also, some Butler System that allows Senshadou to be played safely and take into account how tanks go out based on the impact of the hit taken. Superb complicated stuffs. Otherwise… I think I just wasted another half hour. Back to the Ooarai-Kuromorimine match, please!

Episode 11
Ooarai uses smoke screen to shield their escape but Maho knows it’s a trap to waste their ammunition and orders her team not to fire. Ooarai escapes up the hill but Maho knows it will slow them down as they have a heavy tank. But to her surprise, the other tanks are dragging it up so Ooarai is making some headway to the top and continues to spill smoke screen all over the hilltop. Student council team stays behind and does some ambush, taking out 2 of Kuromorimine’s tanks. Then they run. Ooarai has taken a defensive position at the hilltop. When Maho gives the order to encircle them, Ooarai fires. No hits, seriously. Student council team is them given the green light to cause havoc. They drive up alongside Kuromorimine’s defence line! The opponents are taken by surprise as they try to get this little pest. Ooarai fires back but only manages to hit one. Then they all rush down with their last tank spewing smoke screen. Though Kuromorimine gives chase, their tanks are heavier and some of them have unreliable tracks and become immobilized. It will take time for them to get moving. Ooarai tanks are crossing the river but loli team’s engine dies. Miho is in a dilemma to push forward or to save them. Because if she chooses the latter, the enemy will come and they’ll be doomed. However her friends tell her to go save them and will look after the tank. Without hesitation, Miho ties a rope to herself and jumps to the loli team’s tank. I thought it looked unreal when she jumped. Did she enter some cheat code to ‘fly’? Everyone is amazed with Miho’s bravery as she chose friendship over advancing her tanks. That’s why they followed her. That’s why they want to win this to prove that her way is not wrong. Loli team’s tank is tied and pulled out of the river. Luckily their engine starts working again. Just in time to escape the incoming Kuromorimine tanks.

Ooarai tanks cross the tiny stone bridge and the automotive team use their skills to break it. This causes Kuromorimine to take a longer tour that will buy Ooarai some time. They are going to bring urban warfare to the game. Upon arriving in town, they spot a sole enemy tank and go after it thinking it would be a piece of cake. However it leads them into a trap because Kuromorimine has got one big mother tank! Maus is the heaviest tank in the world! Man, such a big mouse… How on Earth are you going to beat that! A single missed shot is enough to send you jumping! That’s what the student council team experienced. Public morals team fights back with their pea shooter, thinking this big mother is a big bully. They got a direct hit and turned turtle!!! OMG! Their tank is close to being destroyed! Even rekijo team too! I guess avenging your comrades isn’t such a good idea. Retreat while you still can! Oh, Kuromorimine are coming…

Episode 12
Now they’re employing a hit and run tactic but their shots are not enough to penetrate its thick armour. The mini enemy tank thinks they are safe hiding behind Maus but a stray shot hits them. Out they go. That’s what they get for being cocky. They need to end this or else urban warfare will get messier. Saori’s pessimism that they have a mountain to climb gives Miho an idea. She has student council team play chicken with it. Actually, they ram into Maus and jack it up! Now it is immobilized. Then, volleyball team rides up on it to block its turret from turning. With that, heroine team fires at the rear slit, which is the most vulnerable spot to put it out of commission! David(s) defeated Goliath! Unfortunately as a result, student council team’s tank goes bust since its metal cave in due to taking on such heavy weight. When the remaining Kuromorimine tanks arrive, the urban warfare begins. Ooarai tanks lead them in through the tight alleyways and small roads just to separate them into groups. Loli team is tasked to take out the heavier artillery tanks. This time they show they aren’t just cowards. Although their tank lacks firepower, it is swift. This means in the narrow lanes, they are able to circle behind their enemy (they can’t turn since their turret is too long) and fire at the place where shells are discarded for maximum impact. They also take on another heavy firepower tank but this time their plan backfired when they end up in open space. They retreat back in the small alley but the enemy is dead on their heels. To prevent them from firing, they stick as close to the enemy because their turret is long. They make a big risky gamble as they reach the end of the lane, they try to turn quick but get shot and went out of the game. However there is a big drain at the end so the enemy tank falls into it and has its turret broken. Also out. With their heavy guns out of the game, Maho orders her comrades to focus on the flag tank (which is heroine team). That won’t be easy since automobile team is fooling around and leading them astray till they can go no further. Volleyball team blocks the entrance to a town plaza to prevent other enemy tanks from interfering with the showdown between the flag tanks.

It’s a pretty exciting action as we see both tanks chase and fire at each other inside the enclosed town plaza. Lots of near misses and close shaves. However heroine team needs to win quickly because volleyball team has been fired to death out of the game and the Kuromorimine tanks are trying to force their way through. Hope this buys them enough time. Heroine team is the only Ooarai tank left. Miho decides to use that failed strategy they used against St Gloriana. This means Mako needs to make a circle at full speed, Yukari needs to reload faster and Hana must have accurate precision when she fires while moving. Can they do it? Of course they will! The all-or-nothing move begins. Both tanks fire at each other. Mako drifts the tank to circle it close up to the enemy. This drifting is taking its toll on the tank’s body. When both tanks are close enough, they fire simultaneously. Who emerges victorious from that smoke? OOARAI!!! Can you believe it?! Ooarai is the champion! Their teammates happily rush to congratulate them. Momo is the most emotional one. Anzu thanks and hugs Miho. Now their school will not shut down because… We are the champions, my friends… As gesture of goodwill, Sodoko erases all records of Mako being late or absent. She is so happy that she sounds creepy giving out this much emotion. Need a hug, Sodoko? To show good sportsmanship and that Maho is not a snobbish b*tch, she congratulates her sister, smiles and shakes her hands. She notes her fighting style suits her very much and very unlike the Nishizumi way. Ooarai are crowned the champions and everybody, friend and foe cheer to their victory. Even Miho’s mom too. Our Ooarai girls return to a hero’s welcome. Don’t you just love it when the underdogs win? Oh, Momo is still crying…

OVAs

These are actually specials that last 10-15 minutes when you buy the DVDs.

OVA 1
Because Anzu suggests for a Senshadou match on a tropical island, this prompts the girls to go buy swimsuits because Miho doesn’t have one. So we see the girls trying out all sorts of swimsuit fashion. From bikinis to contemporary ones, sexy and frilly ones, old fashioned and the bizarre too. Yeah, that includes scuba diving and NAVY seals. And what would be swimsuit for them without the tank designs too? Girls, are you even serious? Well, Yukari, Hana and Saori are looking like they’re having absolute fun. Even the other teams trying out their own theme. Bizarre? Scary? But they’re sure having fun. Are those even qualified as swimsuits? At the end of the day, Miho remembers she forgot to buy one. Don’t worry. Yukari has bought one just in case. Yeah. She knows her exact size measurements! Oh sh*t… And so the much awaited beach fanservice is here for all of us who wait. Wohoo! Sexy tank girls in cute swimsuits. Nothing offensive, mind you. And when the girls are about to jump into the sea, it starts raining heavily. Bummer…

OVA 2
Our girls are now going camping. Yeah. They have the place all exclusive for themselves and need not worry about perverts. We see the enthusiastic loli team getting to enthusiastic that they jump into the river without warming up and got cram. Student council team saves them. When it’s time to put up the tent, Mako feels everything is so troublesome and just sleeps on it! Yukari explains how to set up WWII tents but I guess the rest are more amazed at the modern and easy-to-setup tent. Heartbreaking, isn’t it? Of course it would be a waste not to experience setting up a tent the old way so the girls learn to put them up. After having fun in the river, it’s time for BBQ. Yukari has brought her military rations collected from all over the world. I don’t know why but loli team start spamming the word spam. Yukari also teaches about MRE (Meals Rejected by Enemy) and the different pricing of rations as collector’s item. Everyone prepares the BBQ but Yukari prepares to do it the old fashion way by cooking with fire. Loli team got too eager in grilling the BBQ that they put everything onto the grill and cause a big fire. Student council team steps in to rescue again. But with lots of food wasted, Anzu shows off her great cooking skills to cook our girls a pretty delicious meal. She may not look like it but she’s good. Everyone watches the beautiful starry sky and notes they have one more training session left before the match. Till they realize that is why Anzu brought them here to this training grounds so they can drive their tanks all they want.

OVA 3
The thought of why schools are built on large ships crosses the girls’ mind. Yeah. They couldn’t believe that they were once built on land. Though elementary schools are still on land. That’s because you can’t expect them to operate a ship, right? Holy cow! You mean this ship is operated by young school girls? No wonder I see girls in navy uniform in the ship’s deck and so. Anyway from what I understand, one of the reasons schools on ships is to cultivate that independent sense. Also, somebody once said education is necessary to be conducted on water. With this method proven, many follow suit and scores of ships rolled out after that. This also improves the economy and the industry and benefited the nation. As they have no idea of the school’s history, the best way is to tour around. We learn why steps on ships are single traffic because making them double traffic would be chaotic in times of trouble. When the girls reach the top deck (apart from Mako having fear of heights), they have an overhead view of the city. It’s like a mini city on its own. Theirs can house 10,000 people, including staffs, crews and students. They also tour the ship’s deck and talk about students who take naval studies. Their courses might be free but they have to work hard in operating the ship. Energy sources from the sun, air and sea are also discussed. The ship is also fitted with its own fish breeding ponds and water treatment. How did they build this ship so big? Well, they are built in massive blocks so it’s impossible to cross over. That’s why people live on the top. After walking around the big place, the girls feel tired and go soak in a well deserved outdoor bath. They note that every school is different and has its own feel. Although Ooarai feels worn and messy, it feels comfortable and well maintained.

OVA 4
This one only lasts 3 over minutes! Why? Because it’s the full dance version of the anglerfish dance! We see the girls dressed in tight pink anglerfish suit as they dance to the strange tune with equally strange dance moves. Moving their hands, shaking their butts, jiggling here and there. Oh, those movements… No wonder it’s embarrassing! Even the ang-ang-ang lyrics are equally amusing, funny and weird. Yeah, part of it includes on how to eat it! I wouldn’t be caught dead trying to imitate this! Let’s say I would prefer to do Gangnam Style compared to this… Sheesh…

OVA 5
This one happened during the match with Pravda where Ooarai girls were trapped in the building and Miho sent some scouts out, particularly Yukari and one of the rekijo team girls, Erwin. When Erwin’s feet feels cold, they take a break and Yukari puts some pepper to make it warm. We learn about the types of boots used in cold wars and how it kept the soldiers’ feet warm. They also talk about some story of an exercise between JDSF and American army. The latter panicked because the cold wave struck. The JDSF was holding out because they had heating pads and were trained in cold conditions. Heck, they were seen playing snowball fight! True or not, we don’t know. Continuing their mission, they spot the enemy location but decide to take the complete loop back. It is when the blizzard grows heavier so Yukari armed with her trusty little spade digs a temporary cave to hide in. When it simmers down, they trek till they see the enemy’s flag tank. They dress up in Pravda’s coat (why were the coats hanging outside some building?!) and talk to a member of the flag tank while impersonating as her seniors. In their talk, she reveals about Katyusha’s child-like habits and more importantly the position of the other tanks as well as its attributes and firepower. Now that they’ve got their hands on the juicy bits, they bid farewell and hurry back, eager to report their findings.

OVA 6
The Ooarai girls are celebrating their victory. After reading out a few congratulatory notes from other schools, we skip them because it’s really boring, right? We know St Gloriana, Pravda and Saunders but who the heck is Chihatan Academy? Now on to the main event. Student council team wants everyone to perform a hidden talent and the winner will get a grand prize worth 100,000 Yen. Are you up for it? First up is public morals team. After singing a weird song, they do cheap tricks like cloning and teleportation. Hey. They all look the same, right? Nobody is amused. Next is the automobile team and they do a magic trick of transforming a tank into another. Don’t worry. They’re just card boards. Online tank nerds team were quickly put out of their act when they started humming some strange song nobody understands. Loli team performs cheerleading worthy acts while volleyball team mimics others. Hana is particularly interested in this game as she eagerly guesses correctly all that they imitate before they could even start! But she couldn’t guess when they are imitating her! And she got so disappointed when it ended… Rekijo team puts on a Little Women play but were disqualified since they were putting in too many of their history facts inside the dialogue. Next is heroine team collaborating with student council team. The former put on some kung fu pose in this Power Rangers spoof to defeat the evil monsters. Anzu acts out of script and defeats them. Finally it is the student council team’s turn as they put on a Swan Lake ballet dance. Momo spins into perfection… And so the results are in. Third place goes to loli team. Heroine gets second place and first place… Student council team! Hey! That isn’t fair! They won the grand prize of 100,000 Yen worth of top quality dried potatoes. Hmm… Come to think of it, maybe the third place prize of shopping district lottery and second place prize of cafeteria coupons aren’t so bad after all.

Tanks For The Ride!
What can I say? I am truly thrilled and amazed at this series. In short, I love it! It’s awesome! It is mainly thanks to the good execution of tank action and strategy that really got my attention and I was really glued to the screen for the duration. At least during the tank battles. Each time it ended, I just couldn’t help wish it was longer. Having cute girls piloting the tanks is just like icing on the cake. Well, that is what anime is all about. Would you prefer to see burly and sweaty men spewing vulgarities while trying to shoot each other in those big machines? Think not. So high school girls for the win! Even if you are not a tank enthusiast, the tank battles are quite entertaining so I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Unless your taste differs very much from this.

The action is simply fantastic and I love the strategies both sides come up with. It is the main ‘selling point’ of the series. But of course we are put in the shoes of Miho as we see her natural talent leading her team to victory. There is never a dull moment when I watch the tanks go into action. I was really glued to the screen and when the episode or battle ends, it feels that I have lost track of time. I wanted it to last longer but as they say, good things must come to an end. I always looked forward to the battles and the excitement is such that I was drawn into this world. Unfortunately it didn’t really get my interest up in tanks after the battle ends. There are a number of trivia here if you’re a tank or battle enthusiast. Just look at this link at Anime News Network. Amazing, no?

I have a feeling that the opponents Ooarai fights in this series, it’s like the producers wanted to pit Japan against other famous tank nations. So we’ve seen them go up against the British, Americans, Italians, Russians/Soviet Union and finally the Germans themselves. No Poles, French or Czech types? Well, not enough to put them all into this anime. I don’t know what Japanese tanks are but I suppose with cute girls of Ooarai and with them having different personalities, maybe they represent what Japanese tanks are! Hah! More like cosplay, no? Besides, Ooarai is the only team whose members wear sailor school uniform into battle. Notice how the rest of their opponents’ uniform resembles so much like the military? And they still lost… Cute high school girls for the win!

At first I thought it was pretty unfair that Ooarai had to battle with opponents who have double the amount of tanks in their field. Although there is a rule that limits how many tanks you can field into each round, it looked only unfair to Ooarai because the issue is from their side as they do not have enough tanks in the first place. That is why the capture the flag method is the game play for the nationals. You can field in 100 tanks but each side only has a flag tank. Just like in chess, if you take out the king, your entire team goes out. Therefore in this context, the game to both sides is fair. But still, I feel that because of the lack in numbers, it made a little disadvantage to Ooarai since if they had extra tanks, they could have employed it for other positions and missions. Imagine having 2 players mark 1 member of the opposing team. That’s not fair, right? But it shows that quantity is not the key to victory. As proven, Miho’s strategy and strong heart is the one that led her small team to victory despite her opponents having more and better equipped tanks. Oddly, the only team that Ooarai lost to is St Gloriana and that is because it wasn’t really an important match. Just a friendly. Besides, it’s the only non capture the flag match in the series. See? They win matches when it counts the most, right?

Character wise, we only see character development in a handful of the main characters. Because there are too many members even if it’s a small school and club for Ooarai, it wouldn’t be enough for just a dozen of episodes to cover everyone. So I guess from the way I see it, everybody develops together and progresses as a group and team. They quickly put their trust and respect in Miho after she leads them to victory. If you don’t trust your commander, who are you going to trust? That’s why it is an important point that all the girls of Ooarai’s Senshadou club have 100% unwavering faith in Miho. She has grown up to take charge of her own life and not run away. She thought not having to face Senshadou again would be the end of her problem but it is not really Senshadou that was keeping her low self confidence. She could have gone through the rest of her school life in Ooarai uneventful but would she feel happy and fulfilled? Didn’t look like it to me when she cut herself away. At first she may seem reluctant after being dragged back but with the support of her friends, she learns to accept and overcome her shortcomings and in no time bloom into a natural leader with her own style.

Miho’s other friends are also likeable as they have their own personalities. Like Yukari she is the most resourceful among the group and her knowledge not only in tanks but anything that is related to wards would prove beneficial and advantageous to her mates in battle. She’s quite a handy person if you’re in a little pinch. But her obsession and wide knowledge as a tank otaku may make her sound creepy in the sense that it doesn’t make her feminine. What the heck. She doesn’t care about that but her tanks, right? Speaking of feminine, Hana and Saori sure have some feminine qualities but it is odd to see them doing something un-feminine in Senshadou, right? Saori’s always talking about wanting to have a boyfriend but gradually I notice she doesn’t bring this up as much as Ooarai progresses. Maybe she’ll snag one now that they are champions? Hana is beautiful with her long flowing black silky hair and of course it is funny that she loves to fire. More exciting than flower arranging? I’m sure her beauty could prove to be a fatal distraction should she be on the front lines of the battlefield. Finally there is Mako whom I feel is the tsukkomi of the group. Despite her sleepy demeanour and only thinking about sleep or extra credits, she sure has a knack for commenting in-your-face punch lines with that monotonous voice.

The other notable characters of Ooarai are the student council team. Anzu is cool and is always very carefree. Whether the situation is getting bad or good, she is just casual and never panics. It’s like everything is part of her plan or she has some sort of way to overcome it. I guess it is better than panicking like Momo, huh? I still can’t get over the fact that she’s a bad shooter. It could have been the running joke of the series but thankfully Anzu switches with her so that she could make most of her shots count. Plus, Momo feels like the most emotional one among the girls. She easily gets excited or impatient (and even pessimistic) during tank battles and has short temper and fuse, easily breaks down and becomes emotional. Man, that’s a lot of fluctuating emotions for a girl. Ooarai could have been an unstable place if she helms the president position. Thank God for Anzu. As for Yuzu, I thought her role as being the student council’s lackey is going to be a running joke since Anzu usually dumps most of the jobs on her. But when you’re in a team with Miho as the big commander, I guess everyone had their role to play.

Then there’s the loli team who were once scared little girls. They’ve owned up for their earlier mistakes and learn what it means to be a team. Rekijo team isn’t bad either but I thought they were going to be annoying by spamming us with their history lines or act like their favourite historical personalities or something. Fortunately that didn’t happen but it also means that they don’t make much of an impact (as in, if they’re supposed to be like their personalities, they should be dominating, right?). It is odd to see the volleyball team doing Senshadou but even if the reason for them joining is to revive their club, I wonder how the heck this condition was made. Were they threatened by the student council like how they did to Miho? But seeing that they end up having as much fun as the rest of the girls, I wonder if they want to revive their club again. Is their number one passion now Senshadou or volleyball?

Newer teams I feel are just there to make up for the numbers although I don’t feel it’s a bad thing since Miho had her strategies for their roles. But in terms of character development, there is nothing much to be said. Public morals team are obsessed in keeping the order so by some twisted logic they join Senshadou just to bring that order. Sodoko and Mako’s relationship is amusing because it’s like a love-hate relationship with the latter always calling her Sodoko nickname much to her dismay despite several warnings. It’s like they did it on purpose. In a way, it’s like they get along well with each other, no? Automobile team has potential talent in Senshadou because who knows the tanks better inside and out (aside Yukari, that is) than those who maintain it? Lastly, online tank nerds team’s cameo appearance felt comical because they were taken out so early. But as we see it, it’s a blessing in disguise. Now do you realize why online games and handling stuffs in reality are totally different? You thought firing a gun from a first person shooter game was piece of cake, eh?

Just like in shonen animes, the enemies that they defeat or at least put up a formidable and close fight become their friend. After the first match with St Gloriana, I don’t know if Darjeeling has picked up a penchant of quoting idioms from all around the world because that is what she always does while sipping her tea watching Ooarai in action. Has she become an Ooarai fan because she seems to frequent their matches. Then there is that boisterous loud Kei that stereotypes what Americans look like in the eyes of foreigners. Arisa is perhaps the worst kind of character in the series, surpassing bratty Katyusha and even Erika because they are gracious in defeat and were professional. In times of trouble, a person’s true colour is seen. When you’ve got a chief like her in distressful times, team morale obviously goes all time low. So she serves as an important reminder that the higher ups play a vital role down the line that ensures the crew’s self-esteem and the team’s ultimate success.

I’m not sure about the fanservice but definitely I’m not here for this. There are a few scenes of the girls soaking in the bath with the obligatory white lights censoring out the necessary parts. Will this come undone in the BDs? Well, I’m not interested to find out since I’m more into the tank action. Besides, I don’t think many of them are that physically endowed, right? I don’t want the fanservice to ruin such a great show. On a trivial note, if this series did have a decent amount of fanservice, I would have nicknamed it as Girls UNDerwear PANtsu tease-ZER…!!! Haha!!! Really! I can’t believe I thought up of this one…

The series also does a good job in keeping viewers informed with some of the tank details, tank operations or certain information about the wars. Although I am blur when it comes to the explanation since I’m a total noob when it comes to this area, nevertheless I feel it is quite informative especially with Yukari as the tank and war nerd, she is quite knowledgeable about them. To a point that if she was in the army back in those old days, she might have led her country to victory! Oh wait, she isn’t a good strategist like Miho so it still is no use if she doesn’t have a good commander to make use of her good skills. With such information of the different tanks and different attributes they have, a good thing is that they don’t overwhelm us with such data and manages to let us enjoy the show without turning this into some tank documentary. I know the tank model numbers are a headache for me and I can’t even remember a single one of them. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying this show. Till this day, I can’t name the tanks our Ooarai girls have or even tell apart which team rides which tank despite obvious physical differences. I’m such a bad memorizer…

There are a lot of casts for a single season anime thanks to the several teams which at least have 3 people per team. As usual I couldn’t recognize Yuka Iguchi as Mako because she was putting on that sleepy-cum-dead and monotonous tone unlike her bratty and annoying Index from To Aru Majutsu No Index or Maria from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai. But I believe this isn’t the first time she has voiced such a role. I remember she did the same as Mero in Sankarea. Hisako Kanemoto (Ika in Shinryaku! Ika Musume) was the voice behind Katyusha. Although there is nothing wrong with her voicing this loli, I thought Rie Kugimiya would sound best to do this bratty loli. The rest of the main casts include Mai Fuchigami as Miho (Maekawa in Denpa Onna To Seishun Otoko), Ai Kayano as Saori (Ai in OreShura), Ikumi Nakagami as Yukari (Keiko in Futari Wa Milky Holmes), Mami Ozaki as Hana (this is her debut and her only other anime role is Fuuri Watanuki in SoniAni), Misato Fukuen as Anzu (Natsume in Hidamari Sketch), Kana Ueda as Momo (Rin in Fate/Stay Night), Mikako Takahashi as Yuzu (Rushuna in Grenadier), Shiori Izawa as Sodoko (Mayumi in Gin No Saji), Rie Tanaka as Maho (Suigin Tou in Rozen maiden), Eri Kitamura as Darjeeling (Dee in Kamisama Inai No Nichiyoubi), Ayako Kawasumi as Kei (Nodame in Nodame Cantabile) and Hitomi Nabatame as Erika (Margery Daw in Shakugan No Shana).

Because I like this anime, somehow the generic opening and ending anime themes sound quite likeable. DreamRiser by ChouCho is your typical upbeat and lively anime pop opening song while Enter Enter Mission by quintet voices of heroine team is a cute girl group anime pop. What is even cuter are the girls in chibi form riding their tank and bopping about. But the music that scores and personally my favourite are the background music. Most of them are those military and marching songs and I love the main theme, Panzer Vor which has this playful and fun feel to it. I can’t get help hum this tune each time I think of this series. So addictive that I can’t get it out of my head! Though there are a variety of other tunes from battle themes to casual and slow ones, the best ones are still the military and marching themes although I feel that some of them are just variations of Panzer Vor. So much soundtrack that they have to split it into 2 discs! The first disc is the main soundtrack while the second one contains other songs which include vocals (including Katyusha’s theme and the anglerfish song) and familiar military pieces written by other foreign composers such as Battle Hymn of the Republic, The British Grenadiers and US Field Artillery March.

I’m not going to bore you about the friendship and teamwork theme that sees Ooarai working their way to victory by beating heavy favourites. And also about that trust and believe thingy. We all know how important those are. Despite my triple (or even quadruple) thumbs up for this series, however I won’t say that I have turned into a tank enthusiast after watching this. Sure, cute girls and tanks are a weird but deadly-cum-amusing combination. Still not enough to turn me into a tank otaku in that sense. But I will definitely come back to watch Ooarai in action if there is going to be another sequel. Since they’ve conquered Japan, maybe now they can do so for the world? After all, they’ve got some experience taking on some ‘localized foreigners’, right? If tanks are kept for only sporting purposes and could foster greater ties and relationships among us, I don’t even mind and would even support it. Then maybe I should give Tanks Online a try…

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