Ooarai defeats Pravda and moves on to the finals against Black Forest Peak. They set to work getting two more tanks and teams into fighting condition (the automobile club’s Lion Team and the online gamers’ Anteater Team) and modifying their existing tanks. Miho, Saori, Yukari and Mako visit the flower show where Hana is exhibiting her work, and on the eve of the battle every team they’ve fought comes to cheer them on. The battle commences, and Ooarai is caught with their britches down by a crafty sneak attack by Maho’s far-larger force. Erika just misses taking out Miho and the flag tank, as the Anteater’s tank accidentally swerves into the line of fire.
When Miho leads her outnumbered, outgunned, outmaneuvered team to victory over the formidable Pravda school, it might be easier for Maho to dismiss if that victory was achieved because Pravda got careless and her sister simply got lucky. But she’s forced to hand it to Miho: she has real skill, thinks on her feet, and is able to effectively motivate and manage her myriad teammates. If anything, this makes their upcoming battle more interesting to Maho, but she is utterly committed to defeating her, and both her mother and Erika consider Miho’s methods “heresy” that must be stamped out. Maho doesn’t seem to care as much about that as just plain winning. Thus, defeat is not an option either side is considering. If Ooarai loses, it’s the end of their school (we guess second place isn’t enough to save it). If Black Forest Peak loses, the heretics have won.
While we only see the very beginning of the final battle (and a tremendous battle it looks to be), we really enjoyed all of the lead-up. Not only were new tanks found (and in the case of the Porsche Tiger, roundly castigated), and new teams formed (LOL online gamers), but Hana and her mom make up (a little), Saori gets her amateur radio operator certification, and Miho assures Yukari that her past isn’t a problem for her anymore. She didn’t just do what she did (save her teammates at the cost of victory) because it was the right thing to do. She did it because she wanted to do it (she is warmly thanked by a member of the Black Forest Peak team she saved back then). If that makes her a heretic, than go ahead and nickname her Joan of Arc.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Tank Cameos: For their match with Black Forest Peak, two more tanks join the Ooarai corps: The automobile club crews a VK4501(P), AKA Porsche Tiger, a prototype heavy tank armed with an 88mm gun and prone to getting stuck in the mud, overheating, catching fire, and breaking down. The online gamers man (girl?) a Type 3 Chi-Nu, armed with a 75mm gun. The Turtle team’s 38(t) gets a Hetzer conversion, while the Panzer IV gains armored Schürzen (track skirts). Black Forest Peak fields a Tiger tank and assorted Panther tanks and Jagdpanther tank destroyers.