Girls und Panzer 12 (Fin)

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By using the Turtle Team’s 38(t) as a chock and the Duck Team’s Type 89 as a turret block, Ooarai is able to defeat the Maus. They then proceed to split up the remaining Black Forest tanks. The M3 is able to take out an Elefant and Jagdtiger before they’re white-flagged, while the Leopon Team’s Porsche Tiger blocks the entrance to an office courtyard where the two flag tanks face off. Miho plans one last all-or-nothing maneuver, and her team carries it out perfectly, destroying Maho’s Tiger and winning the day.

We pretty much knew this series would end with a bang, but Girls und Panzer really outdid themselves in its final week, with outrageous tactical maneuvers, serious David-v.-Goliath action, and of course, the sweet taste of victory against the most insufferably arrogant of opponents. The methodical Maus takedown was just an appetizer. The first-years mastering narrow alleys to take out far larger, stronger opponents, along with that final showdown between Nishizumi sisters made this a joy to watch from start to finish. Plus, lots of guns go boom.

What was so satisfying about the win was that it wasn’t all that far-fetched; Ooarai lost all their tanks but their flag, and that last shot could have gone either way. Miho’s and Ooarai’s big win means more than just bragging rights. Ooarai Girl’s School was on the edge of the abyss, and the win saved it from shutting down. Miho’s sister admits total defeat, which couldn’t have been easy considering she’d been conditioned her whole life not to do so, and even Miho’s mom can’t help but applaud her wayward daughter. Auf wiedersehen, Girls und Panzer: you delivered exactly what your title promised, and then some.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Stray Observations:

  • One of several dozen cute/funny exchanges in an episode where the dialogue is as rapid-fire as the artillery: “Hey, you light tank! Get off my roof!” – “Don’t wanna. Also, the Type 89 is not a light tank.”
  • “Operation Kelly’s Heroes”? We really need to watch that movie again.
  • Anyone in that huge crowd rooting for Black Forest Peak was an ass. Unless you go to their school, you root for the underdog, same as March Madness.
  • Victory parades rule.

Girls und Panzer – 10

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.

Girls und Panzer – 08

Having beaten Anzio, Oorai moves on to the semifinals, where they’ll face the Russian school Pravda, the foe that defeated Black Forest Peak because of Miho. Her mother intends to disinherit her. The match will take place in the Arctic, and Oorai is outnumbered 15 to 6 by Pravda, led by the bad-tempered, hyper-competitive Katyusha. Miho wants to tread carefully, but the teams want to launch a single direct attack on Pravda’s flag tank to end the match quickly. In their haste, they’re drawn into a village and surrounded by Pravda. Katyusha sends an envoy, who tells them they have three hours to surrender. The student council tells Miho if they lose, Oorai Girl’s School will be closed down.

First, we just want to point out how silly it is to allow 15-on-6 mismatches. The Saunders team cut down their strength to make it a fair fight ; no such luck with Pravda. They’re playing to win, and they aim to crush their inferior foe like a bug; though their rendition of “Katyusha” is very lovely, and belies the fact Katyusha the girl is an insufferable little brat. Second: if your school’s future is on the line, why would the student council agree on the riskiest strategy to win the match – a direct attack on a team that excels at counterattacks – and only inform Miho about the stakes when they’re cornered and about to lose anyway?

Cornered is putting it mildly; two of Oorai’s six tanks are damaged, and in three hours they have ot make a move, the cold will play a factor. There’s no way they’re getting out of that abandoned church in one piece, unless perhaps all the other tanks form a physical barrier preventing the Russkies from hitting the flag tank. Even then, once those tanks are immobilized, the flag is trapped. While the news of the school being closed down if they lose comes out of left field and the girls are a bit foolhardy, this was nonetheless a rousing, fun episode packed with action and peril, aided by the harsh arctic settting.


Rating: 7 (Very Good)

Tank Cameos: Pravda’s main force is composed of 13 T-34 tanks, the mainstay of the Soviet army in WWII. The other two tanks are absolute monsters: a KV-2 (Kliment Voroshilov) Heavy Artillery Tank packing a 152 mm howitzer, and a JS-2 (Iosif or Joseph Stalin) with a 122 mm gun. Darjeeling watches the match beside her ACV-IP armoured car.

Girls und Panzer – 07

With Mako’s grandmother on the mend, the girls head back to the ship and prepare for their next opponent, Anzio. When Miho is hit by a barrage of requests for advice and help, the other members of Team Anglerfish divvy up the work. Despite the group making progress, Miho is doubtful their current compliment of tanks is good enough to withstand future matches. Isuzu discovers records of other tanks aboard ship, so the president orders the teams to search for them. They find a Renault B1 bis in a creek, and another tank in the bowels of the ship. Despite neither being ready in time, Team Oorai quickly defeats Team Anzio in the next round.

Miho comes from a very stern, serious family that values victory above all else and at any cost. The Nishizumi motto is “Forward Ever, Backward Never” (it probably sounds cooler in Japanese). So when she placed the welfare of her teammates over victory in a battle that, if victorious, would have earned her school its tenth consecutive title, and lost, she didn’t stick around an endure the storm of hate. She moved forward, away from her family, and to a new school. She thought she was moving on, but fortune put her right back into a tank, and she kept moving forward. Miho learns Mako’s parents are dead (of course they are), and that things didn’t end well between Mako and her mother (they fought the last time they saw each other). Miho doesn’t want thinks to end like that with her mom, when she inevitably meets an early end because she’s the parent of an anime character.

Joking aside, for an episode that had no tank battles, it was still very lively and entertaining. We liked how Hana, Mako, Yukari and Saori all took pressure off Miho by handling the many requests of their teammates. This was a nice time to expand our familiarity with some of the other teammates, as well as explore the ship and its bowels. Saori’s explanation for why they’re on a ship – “To cultivate the next generation of world leaders, and to strengthen independence and self reliance in youths” – is priceless. But the team also has a sheen of confidence about them after their first victory, and the episode quite abruptly closes with their second consecutive victory over Anzio. This episode focused on preparation, world-building, and characters rather than battle. And it did a good job with it.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Girls und Panzer – 05

In preparation for Oorai’s battle with Saunders, Yukari infiltrates their school and collects recon. Her cover is blown, but she learns what their flag Panzer will be. Still, Saunders is an exceedingly wealthy school with three teams, and they’ll be sending ten Panzer against Oorai’s five. The match begins, and Oorai soon learns Saunders is using a radio interception balloon to listen in, so they switch to cell phones and make the first kill.

While enjoying Panzer-shaped desserts delivered to the table by RC Dragon Wagons in a Panzer cafe, Miho and her team cross paths with her sister Maho and her flunky, Erika. Their exchange is, shall we say, chilly, with Erika calling Miho’s school “nameless” and their efforts an “insult to Panzerfahren”, while Maho says…nothing. She warns Miho not to soil the Nishizumi name in the coming battle. But while the confrontation is unpleasant  all Miho & Co. can do is keep their eyes on the immediate match against Saunders, which commences in the episode’s second half and will conclude (one would think in Oorai’s favor) next week. As always, the odds are against them.

The Saunders Panzer corps emulate the Americans in all things, including Shock-and-Awe with regards to their numbers, facilities and resources. But they also possess a healthy dollop of arrogance and overconfidence. Arisa listens in on communications, apparently unaware all that needed to happen for her to be getting false info would be someone on Oorai spotting her balloon, which is exactly what happens. It’s Oorai that draws “first blood”, so now it’s nine on five, with the Saunders Shermans spread out all over. Now that she knows what both Hana (being disowned) and Yukari (having friends for the first time) have invested in Panzerfahren, Miho is compelled to prevail. Thumbing her nose at Maho won’t hurt, either.


Rating: 6 (Good)

Car Cameos: Darjeeling and Orange Pekoe watch the match beside their vintage “Pink Panther”, a modified Land Rover used by the British Army’s Special Air Service.

Tank Cameos: As stated, an M25 “Dragon Wagon” Tank Transporter deposits tank-shaped treats to the girls. The Saunders team is composed of ten Sherman tanks, including one Firefly, one M4A1 76mm, and eight 75mm. Yukari spots rare M4A6s on the Saunders hanger deck.