Girls und Panzer – 04

Quite the impressive dance for something that was presumably learned in minutes. Or is this dance like the Macarena of this world; everyone knows it?

So this is our first Girls und Panzer post since the First Impressions post; I guess we were caught by surprise, and recently decided that a show this fascinating couldn’t be ignored. Also, as great a show as it is, I don’t like blogging Hidamari Sketch, so I’ll stop doing that; that show just doesn’t work well for blogging. Girls und Panzer has been one of the surprise hits of the season, and this 4th episode was its best one yet.

At least it wasn’t as gratuitous as a similar scene in Top Gun.

I’ve noticed that Girls und Panzer has been well-received by a lot of people who normally don’t appreciate the girls-as-weapons genre represented by Strike Witches and Upotte!! (girls with weapons is a very common trope, but these shows exercise it at a completely pure level, even beyond works like the excellent Gunslinger Girl). I am not one of those people, being an unapologetic and rabid fan of Strike Witches. Still, there’s nothing inherent to the genre that excites me, and the cute-girls-doing-cute-things bits in the 2nd and 3rd episodes of Panzer had me bored. The training battle in the middle wasn’t particularly exciting either. So I went into this 4th episode of the show highly skeptical that Girls und Panzer would live up to the standard set in this genre.

I admit I was being foolish.

The talent behind this show gets it. Just because a show’s premise is a gimmick doesn’t mean that it can rely on the gimmick’s novelty. It still needs sound fundamentals, things like writing and direction, to succeed. Strike Witches doesn’t owe its success to its famous war on pants, it does to its visceral and thrilling aerial dog fights and its lovable cast of well written characters. When girls with tanks is the primary gimmick of a show, it needs to do more than just have cute girls doing cute things with tanks. Specifically, the tanks have to be fun to watch in action, shown in a way to make us excited. Girls und Panzer delivered with some of the best tank battle action I’ve seen in anime.

I don’t even remember her name, but I’ve taken a liking to this girl. She has fire in her eyes and, er, spark to her teeth (when you can see them).

Obviously, I can point to the show’s heavy use of CG as part of the reason for its success. It’s not that the CG is particularly pretty – it’s pretty good CG, but it still has the uncomfortable uncanny valley effect with the cel shaded characters and backgrounds – it’s that the show takes advantage of the technology to produce shots that would be prohibitively difficult or expensive with regular animation. The battle featured a few extended first-person shots similar to the show’s very first shot, as well as good use of a tracking shaky cam during the initial chase that led to the failed ambush. Common in live action, rare in anime, these shots fit perfectly into the flow of the action, taking us into it by providing an on-the-ground view from where all the action was taking place.

Beyond the cinematography, the battle was just composed particularly well. One of the most important things that a director has to make sure in an action scene is the audience having a proper understanding of what’s going on. Most anime directors simply don’t seem to get it, with, for example, common overuse of extreme closeups causing confusion in characters’ relative positions, and not to mention complete ignorance of continuity errors from shot to shot. There was little of that in Girls und Panzer. We were able to get a feel for where the combatants were and what they were trying to do. This was especially impressive during the final showdown when Nishizumi’s team took down 3 of the final 4 by outmaneuvering them and taking advantage of the cover of corners. The show was trying to prove to us that Nishizumi really is the Panzer genius that the other girls make her out to be, and it worked. How often in anime do you get to marvel at someone’s use of tactics and also understand exactly why those tactics allowed her to win? The best I’ve seen might have been an episode of Code Geass in which Lelouche caused a landslide in order to defeat Cornelia’s better equipped posse of mechs. But that was pretty simple, based on creating chaos and confusion; certainly not a careful and methodical take down as in this show.

This top-down shot was also used nicely to let us have a feeling for the battlefield.

Besides the visuals and direction, the battle was also well structured, with excellent pacing that had it introducing a new surprise each time it threatened to get stale. This being the first match, I had expected the team to get slaughtered early on when their ambush backfired. But then Nishizumi made a plan B on the fly, and the fight went into the streets, catching me completely off guard. From this point the match kept seesawing back and forth, and when the lead St. Gloriana Academy tank stood victorious, having survived 2 direct hits thanks to its superior shielding, I was genuinely surprised. Girls und Panzer is the best action show I’ve seen all year.

An important lesson learned by these girls: not all concealment is protective. The shell punched right through the fence before exploding.

Much of the final third of the episode focused on Isuzu and her disapproving mother who wanted her to pursue flower arrangement instead of tanks. There was a nice line about how Isuzu wanted to work with “stronger flowers” – that is, her teammates – but I found myself not caring much. None of the girls have received much character development, and I don’t feel a real connection with them, though I do feel for anyone getting thrown out of the house like that. The absurdity of this world where flower arrangement and tank battles are equally womanly endeavors is amusing, and fleshing it out even more instead of just pounding on that mismatch would be much appreciated. The battle had the nice touch of showing a store owner celebrating his shop getting crashed into. It gave us a better understanding of the battles, just when we had discovered (and in my case become confused by) the fact that the tank battles could spill out into city streets. Who’s subsidizing these matches, and for what purpose? I don’t need an answer now, but let’s see some steps to turn this into an internally consistent world.

At least the angler fish dance was great. I’m a little confused on the timeline of events, because the truck ride with the dance seems like something that should take more than an hour or two. But hey, I love seeing girls perform perfectly synchronized dancing while carrying on a conversation. And how about the use of the Battle Hymn of the Republic during the tournament lottery? What a nostalgic tune, one of many that I’m glad is in the public domain. Transition from this battle right into a tournament of battles does feel a bit rushed, but I can appreciate that this show doesn’t like to waste time. The fleet of Saunders tanks in the final shot looked menacing, the way an enemy ought to look. I hope that the combat in this episode was not just a flash in the pan. If it isn’t, I don’t mind its world building or characters; it’s all worth it to see more of these girls in tanks battling it out!

So, do they get to have as many tanks as they can afford in a team or something?

About

A math/science geek and a self-dubbed cynical optimist. I don't care if it's deep, if it can make me feel something or laugh, it's fine in my book. @lvlln
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50 Responses to “Girls und Panzer – 04”

  1. skylion says:

    Tank Lolis FTW! I have to agree with you on several points. Lvlln. I am an unabashed lover of Strike Witches, and a dear fan of Upotte! I am happy to see this genre continue.

    That angler fish dance. It was wonderful to see the Student Council President so into this dance. It makes me love her character all the more.

    I agree that episode 2 and 3 had some rather derpy moments, but it all comes out in the wash.

    I came in with expectations of this show to be a Lite version of Strike Witches. I am happy to see it stalk it’s own ground.

    Sorry to see you no blogging Hidamari. But I will enjoy your reviews of this show to the hilt.

    • skylion says:

      Oh,hey. I forgot to meniton. I just knew I would see a horde of Sherman tanks when I heard the first strains of Battle Hymn of the Republic. I’m a citizen of the US. We don’t do this kinda stuff in half measure. Hordes of tanks. That is the style.

    • lvlln says:

      I enjoyed Upotte, but that one could certainly be described as Strike Witches lite. It just didn’t do as good a job with the characters, and though the gun combat was much better than the average in anime, it still didn’t excel the way Strike Witches‘s aerial combat did.

      With episode 4, Girls und Panzer certainly looks like it is continuing the tradition of Strike Witches.

    • Highway says:

      I’m finding that the primary difference between Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer is the overall feel of the show. Strike Witches always had this undercurrent of these cute girls burning themselves out. And that made it really hard for me to fully enjoy the flight scenes, which were very good, and exciting, but knowing that every block, every attack, even every flight, was harming them in some way. That’s one of the reasons I haven’t really continued with Season 2, even though I found Season 1 very entertaining.

      GuP doesn’t have any of that, it seems. Yeah, we’ve got Miho’s mysterious past, with imagery of drowning, and now we’ve got Hana being disowned by her mother, but these seem like just things to overcome, temporary setbacks. Who knows what Saori or Yukari will have to do (if anything). But it’s not that same sort of desperation feeling to me.

      • lvlln says:

        Oh, you haven’t seen Season 2? It’s better than the 1st in pretty much every way, but if you were turned off by the burning out, that season might not be for you. Though sounds like you’d enjoy the movie, which unfortunately requires knowledge of S2…

        • Highway says:

          I don’t know if it’s so much as turned off, as much as I feel it will be depressing, so I’ve just been hesitant to watch it.

          • lvlln says:

            To be honest, I think it’d be a stretch to say any part of Strike Witches is “depressing.” A very bright & happy show.

  2. CarVac says:

    Cover is by definition protective; the fence was merely concealment. Or it would have been save for the flags.

    • lvlln says:

      Ah, I see. Thanks for informing me of the distinction; I think I’d heard of it before but I must have forgotten about it. I’ve corrected it now.

  3. Highway says:

    I’m loving blogging this show, too (my post for this ep is over 1500 words, sheesh), but more than that, I unabashedly love this show, and have from the very beginning. For me, Episode 2 is a laugh riot, from Saori pouting in the tank because it’s hot and cramped and Yukari’s Panzerhigh when Hana fires it up, to Aya’s asking on the internet how to drive a tank and getting those typical internet answers: “Google it, noob” and “First, you take off all your clothes” to Instructor Ami’s airdrop entrance, smashing a Ferrari F40! Or Erwin’s “Apologize to the Finnish!” for making fun of the StuG, finding the tanks in those places, and even Miho’s prance after a fun night with her friends.

    Episode 3 kept up the fun, but also added a cool battle. Another visual thing you didn’t mention, lvlln, is the cut-ins that they use in Eps 3 and 4. Episode three uses variable pentagons to place up to 5 characters around the edge while framing the center where the tanks are doing things, while Episode 4 uses the cut-ins of Erwin, Momo (the bemonocled Seitokai XO) and the Volleyball team captain (who I haven’t gotten a name to yet) to fill the bottom of the screen while all the tanks in the battle are framed in the now wider aspect top half. It’s a really creative use of the visuals, and feels very appropriate.

    The rest of the show seems set up now to have Oarai fight the three teams we’ve heard of: The American Sanders (first round), Russian Pravda (Semifinal), and a rematch with English Saint Gloriana in the final.

    I also really like the characters, and like especially how Saori and Hana really go out of their way to help Miho, from standing by her in front of the Student Council to distracting the Instructor from asking about Maho Nishizumi to pledging to do the Ankou dance with her if they lose (and following through).

    Top to bottom, the show is excellent, and a huge surprise for this season.

    • lvlln says:

      Yeah, I thought the heavy use of split screen was striking, but I didn’t write on it, because it’s not an uncommon tool in anime, and it’s relatively easy to do, unlike CG which is often poorly implemented when they are at all. That said, the split screen certainly goes well with this show, similar to the Sentai shows where it’s also common and makes sense due to different characters being in different vehicles at the same time. The symmetrical and clean shapes for the screen splits definitely remind me of Sentai shows, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was purposeful.

      • Highway says:

        In the case of the pentagons in Ep 3, I was actually struck by how they weren’t regular or symmetrical shapes, but were off by enough to give better framing for both the character’s face and the battlefield (although the middle part got kind of small when they had 5 or 6 cut-ins on screen). I really haven’t seen any Sentai shows, so I don’t have much to compare it to. :)

        The other really interesting shot I thought stood out was in the final scrum with Saint Gloriana, after the PanzerIV took out the first Matilda, cut around it, and zoomed off the screen to the left, only to come back in the frame to take out the last Matilda, which the camera had stayed focused on. It really added an element of surprise for the viewer, since it gave the impression that they were going to continue the hit-and-run tactic but instead pulled off a double ambush. I thought it was a really good use of a static camera position with limited field of view.

        • lvlln says:

          Yes! That shot during the quick double takedown was fantastic. As you said, it surprised us just like it surprised the enemy. It would have been easy just to cut away so that we could see the tank turning around, and I appreciate that they had enough respect for the viewers not to show it.

          It’s sad that such a basic camera technique impresses, but that’s just where the standard for action in anime is right now.

  4. Yippy says:

    I admit, I was skeptical of the gimmick and the generic-looking characters, but I’m really glad I took a chance with this show. It’s very thrilling and satisfying for some reason.

    I share your sentiments on Isuzu’s predicament. In fact, I still have trouble getting over the fact that the original trio became friends after two of them just said: “Hey, we’re interested in you-let’s be friends!” Friendships are rarely that clear-cut, I think. I do hope they manage do balance the superb action with some meaningful interactions…

    Speaking of interactions, I really like how the different crew in Oarai have their distinctive personalities and individuals. From the maniacal megane in the orderly Council team to the Rommel wannabe in the dramatic “Retro” team, I find myself becoming fond of all of them. I can’t wait to see them all working together soon. Btw, which team’s your favourite? Mine has to be the “Retro” team because history + schoolgirls is such a rare and beautiful sight. XD

    • Highway says:

      I’ve tried to think of a favorite team, but I really can’t come up with one, because they all have interesting points for me, and they all use their quirks effectively. The Volleyball team’s spirit, the History team’s devotion to their characters (“Which way should we go?” “Festina Lente.”) The First Years naivety and inexperience, and the mixture of the Seitokai’s offhanded casualness (Anzu), Maniacal fanaticism (Momo), and the competent one who gets everything dumped on her (Yuzuko).

      Someone pointed out early that they way Saori got Miho’s attention in the first episode – “Hey, Kanojo!” – is pretty much the same way a guy might try to pick up a girl. And yeah, their “Hey, we want to be your friend, cause you look lonely” start, going immediately to BFFs, was pretty unrealistic, but come on, look at the show! It works for the story, so just go with it!

      • Yippy says:

        I dunno, I’m the sort that values ‘realistic’ relationships in anime. If it feels weird, then it kinda dulls the awesomeness. Still, I’m willing to give GuP the benefit of the doubt. =)

    • lvlln says:

      Hm, I didn’t think hard about it before, but you’re right that the speed with which these characters became BFFs does test suspension of disbelief. However, that’s pretty much the MO for cute girls shows, and there’s an element of realism in it, since kids tend to make friends very quickly. In the case of Girls und Panzer (and even more so in Strike Witches), there’s also the wartime camaraderie at play; soldiers in the field often form very strong bonds very quickly, because that’s the only way to survive.

      I can’t say I have a favorite yet, but I liked the veni vidi vici tank team due to their audacity. There’s charisma in the loud color, the flags, and the general pompous attitude when they thought they were safe.

      • Highway says:

        Yeah, it also seems to be a normal thing in anime in general, where a transfer student is an object of interest for the rest of the class. We didn’t get the normal ‘transfer student introduction’, and that has kind of thrown me (I thought Miho, Saori, and Hana were first years, hadn’t noticed that she’s announced as being in class 2-A at the time) but going back and watching episode one again helped to clear some stuff up (and also made me laugh when the truck that randomly drives by to end the ice cream scene has a big pink fish on it).

      • Yippy says:

        Hm…your views do make sense, but I don’t recall them saying anything about a war. Or is it just me? And it wasn’t the speed which surprised me, it was more the manner in which they became friends. Saying “Hey, I’m interested in you since you’re clumsy” isn’t how I’d go around befriending people. XD

        Likewise, their confidence is infectious.

        • Highway says:

          I think what lvlln was getting at was that even without an actual war, doing things like driving a tank together tends to make you closer quicker just because of the dependence on other people it requires.

          Well, I don’t know if it was because Miho was clumsy, I think it was more because she was new and seemed a bit lonely. And it’s not like the whole class was trying to be her friend. It’s not hard for me to believe that a couple girls who are already friends would say “Hey, let’s talk to that new girl and see what she’s like.” And then finding out that Miho was already familiar with who they were because she wanted to make friends probably helped. I also get a little bit of the feeling that Hana and Saori don’t really have much in the way of other close friends, so that kind of also helps explain why they’d be more interested in making friends.

          I mean, I do admit that becoming that close that quickly is not what we’d be used to (and we can’t even say “Well, that’s Japan” because I don’t think it’s really that different there). But like I’ve said in the training comments, the show wants to move fast, and it’s not about someone who’s a loner changing to become friendly (like, say, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun), it’s about girls driving tanks. So they want to get to that part pretty quickly, and skip over the parts the audience is less likely to be interested in as soon as they can.

          (I think I’ve also got another comment in the spam filter)

  5. Highway says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention the icing on the cake with this show: You go through 22 minutes of sheer enjoyment, and then it finishes up with that almost perfect ED for the show! A happy poppy song, Enter Enter Mission! sung by the girls from Team Ankou, and bouncy chibi tanks! And they could have kept it as just Team Ankou the whole time, and it would have been fine, but just to kick it up a couple notches, they have been rotating the tank team, and using their correct tank (although Ep 3’s ED was before the 38(t) got painted gold). So we’ve had Team Ankou, Seitokai Team E, and this week was Volleyball Team B. The only bad thing about these so far is that I can’t figure out how to make a cute gif of them without the background being jerky and resetting, or using a ton of frames.

  6. Highway says:

    Oh, you ask about the subsidizing of the matches, apparently there’s a lot of info on the (Japanese language) website, that people have translated. The damages are paid for by the Sensha-do federation, and there is a list of rules including instant loss if you kill someone.

    • Highway says:

      Actually, it breaks the rules if you even fire at a person, not at a tank, so the penalty for an actual death might be something like run out of the sport.

    • lvlln says:

      Interesting, thanks for the info! I generally like to avoid checking out the source material, preferring to see how the anime handles the storytelling. Now I’m wondering for what reason such a Federation exists, and what its motives are, beyond watching cute girls fighting in tanks.

  7. HannoX says:

    I’m loving this show. Someone put in a lot of thought coming up with neat little touches. It would have been so easy to give the Oarai Academy team better known tanks like the long barreled Pz IV or the Panther. Instead they came up with ones like the short barreled Pz IV, the 38(t) and the StuG III. Then there was the St. Gloriana team using British tanks wearing red coats, drinking tea and having teapot & cup badges on the sides of their tanks. I wonder if the name of the Saunders team is a shoutout to Sgt. Saunders of “Combat!” even though he was an infantryman. If so, another neat little detail.

    And let’s not forget the humor. “Do guys really like meat and potatoes?” “That’s just an urban myth.” “They hit my store! Now I get a new one!” “I wish they’d hit mine!” Those lines and similar ones may essentially be throw away lines, but they are funny and add to the show.

    The animation team have also thrown in some realistic touches. Like how some members of the Oarai team panicked during their match with St. Gloriana. Poorly trained troops (which they were) would tend to do that when things are going wrong for them in battle. I’d thought from the very first time I saw those banners on the StuG III that they were a bad idea since they stuck up so high, negating its advantage of a low profile. And the animation team followed through on showing it as a bad idea, no matter how cool it may have seemed to the girls. I wonder if they’re going to repaint their tanks with a less obvious color for the tournament.

    I do wish, however, that they had taken another episode or so showing the Oarai team training before throwing them into the tournament. From their showing in their first match, they definitely needed more training before they were ready to compete in the big leagues. That would also have allowed time for character development and let the viewers get to know them better. Oh, well, it’s essentially a minor quibble and I suppose the creators wanted to get to more exciting tank on tank battles as quickly as possible.

    Panzer vor!

    • HannoX says:

      Oh, and the fleet of M4 Shermans after Shermans at the close of this episode. That illustrates the Sherman’s greatest advantage–huge numbers of them.

    • Highway says:

      Like I’ve argued for SAO, training tends to be boring. So you get montages (Like we did in Episode 3), or you bore the audience. I think they’ve partially gotten around it by setting really short time frames: “Ok, best thing to do is everyone hop in your tanks (that you’ve never seen before) and get to a battle!” or “Ok, we’ll set up a match for this coming weekend!” I can’t believe it was much time between that friendly match and the draw for the tournament either.

      Plus, having a friendly match did a great job in exposing what the weaknesses of the Oarai girls and tanks are: A couple of undergunned tanks, lack of fortitude (more training wouldn’t have kept the first years from abandoning their tank nearly as well as the humiliation from seeing that they completely let down the team, and need to work harder), lack of discipline (Momo firing blindly and getting battle madness) and the questionable decorations. Not just to us, but to them. It’ll definitely make whatever training they do from now be more effective. And we don’t really need to see that, in my opinion.

      • HannoX says:

        Actually, more training is exactly what’s needed to keep the first years from abandoning their tank and for Momo to have more fire discipline. Why do you think the military trains and trains, then trains some more? And training doesn’t have to be boring if done right. They could have done more tank battles amongst themselves so each team could learn to overcome their individual weaknesses and learn how to get the best out of their tanks. But I don’t suppose the Type 97 has any best to be had. A single episode of more training would have been all that was necessary to show Oarai preparing for the tournament.

        • Highway says:

          What I’m saying is that we don’t need to see it. They might need it, and they are probably doing it, but training is boring to watch, that’s why it’s usually a montage, and more often than not it’s just a vehicle to try to get exposure for a song. If they show improvement, then we’ll know they did the training. If they don’t show improvement then we know they didn’t. They did do half an episode of training already.

          If the goal of the episode was something like character development for maybe the instructor, or Team Ankou, that might be worth showing. But we’ve seen that Ankou doesn’t need training. Are we trying to show that Miho is growing as a leader, and whipping her charges into shape? That’s not really what she’s there to do. She already inspired the First Years to do better. And I’d guess that part of Anzu making Momo and Yuzuko do the Ankou Dance was to try to knock Momo down a peg (sneaky loli kaichou is sneaky).

          So really, I have no problems with them not showing us more training. If the reason to do it was to shoehorn in more tank action, well, they can do that with more battles instead.

        • lvlln says:

          Yes, one of the primary goals of military or police training is to get them desensitized to extremely stressful situations so that they can act like machines. When bullets are whizzing by your head, it’s perfectly natural to panic and hide, and it’s through training that one learns EXACTLY what to do, making one’s actions fully automatic. There’s no room to panic, because you’re following a set of well defined instructions that you’ve practiced countless times before. This is also one of the reasons that the chain of authority is considered so overwhelmingly important in the military. A soldier in a war zone can’t be expected to think rationally, so he has no business making decisions that subvert the orders of his superiors.

    • lvlln says:

      I honestly know nothing about tanks, but the attention to detail is both very welcome and not surprising. These shows take their hardware seriously. Upotte was very deliberate about the guns for the girls, and Strike Witches made it a point to have each girl be based on a real pilot and plane. I hope it keeps dropping bits of info about these tanks.

  8. BlackBriar says:

    This is a surprise hit of a show. It’s odd seeing young girls use tanks as if it’s second nature but this kind of combination shouldn’t be that shocking after watching animes like Senki Zesshou Symphogear, Upotte or AKB0048.

    The Saint Gloria’s school does seem to have a degree of arrogance but they’re not snobs which is a good thing. Their ship and tanks are double the size of those of the main girls. And who drinks tea in the middle of a match? That’s the sure sign of a bourgeois, high born child.

    The part that made me bitter was Isuzu’s mother being a bitch and pushing her one-sided views on her. She may be a parent but it doesn’t give her the right to dictate her daughter’s life on what’s acceptable or not.

    • HannoX says:

      The British drink tea in the middle of a battle, that’s who! The whole bit about tea and teapot & cup badges on the sides of their tanks was to play up the “Englishness” of the St. Gloriana team. It’s one of the neat little touches the creators put into this anime, as well as one of its humorous bits. After all, everyone “knows” the British are obsessed with their tea.

    • HannoX says:

      The British drink tea in the middle of a match, that’s who! The whole bit about tea and the teapot & cup badge on the sides of their tanks is one the neat little touches the creators put into this anime. It’s also one of the humorous bits since everyone “knows” the British are obsessed with their tea. It also shows off St. Gloriana’s sense of style and how they thought this match would be a cakewalk for them.

    • Highway says:

      I got the impression that Isuzu-san has some problem from her past with tanks, given her invective against them as barbaric, noisy, smelly, and fit only for scrap metal. Perhaps she wanted to do Sensha-do growing up, and was forced not to by her mother, or perhaps her friends abandoned her because she was following the family path of flower arrangement instead of doing Sensha-do with them. Or maybe something else entirely, but there was more to it than meets the eye, because it’s not like Sensha-do is positioned as a low-class endeavour. Her shock at Hana being not only interested in it, but in essence rejecting the Isuzu-style of flower arrangement, wanting to make more ‘powerful’ arrangements when her mother says that she perfectly embodies Isuzu-style already, is completely understandable to me. And Hana definitely knew this was a probability, given her stoic response and reassurance of Shinzaborou.

    • lvlln says:

      I really wonder to what extent wealth is allowed to play in the competition. Couldn’t a rich team buy loads & loads of top of the line tanks and overwhelm the other team? St. Gloriana’s team clearly had an advantage thanks to better defense in their tanks.

      • Highway says:

        According to that link I posted earlier, the federation determines acceptable levels of armor and ammunition. All the tanks so far have been WWII era tanks, and they were all in the same relative class as far as ability, of course with differences in role. And as a rule, all of the Oarai tanks are generally considered weaker or flawed in general use, but have some good points, like the StuG III’s (and even the M3) anti-armor capability, and I’m still speculating that the PanzerIV will get the gun upgrade it desperately needs since its gun got blown off by the Churchill.

        The Saint Gloriana team had an advantage, primarily because the one huge weakness of their tanks was ignored in this fight: They are slow, on the order of 15-16 miles per hour. Compared to the StuG, PanzerIV, Panzer38(t) and M3 at on the order of 25 mph. The Oarai girls really weak tank is the Japanese Type 89 that Team B uses. So without the weakness of their actual slowness, the big force discrepancy became the heavy armor of Saint Gloriana vs the underpowered gunnery of the Oarai girls.

        Note that all this information is what I’ve picked up through discussion about this show. But aside from the speed of the British tanks, nobody’s been complaining that the show is ignoring the real characteristics of the equipment.

        • HannoX says:

          If they’re allowed to upgrade their tanks, it’d be cool (and smart) for Oarai to strip the 38(t) down to its chassis and rebuild it as a Hetzer armed with a 75mm PaK39 L/48. I don’t know if the Lee could accomodate a 76.2mm high velocity cannon, but if it could that’d be the way to go with it. I don’t think there’s much they can do to improve the Type 89. Even a bigger gun (if it can accomodate one) isn’t going to do much to help it.

          You’re right about the Oarai team not taking advantage of the biggest weakness of the St. Gloriana team’s tanks–their slowness. If Oarai had gotten the StuG III and the Lee behind St. Gloriana (their other tanks remaining in front as bait) things would have turned out differently. But Oarai’s failure to even try to do that in their initial ambush is traceable to their inexperience. Besides, it wouldn’t have been credible for them to have beaten a highly rated team right off the bat. They did amazingly well as it is.

          • Highway says:

            Well, I meant more that it was ignored by the show’s writers. From the very beginning, the Churchill and Matildas should have been left far behind the PzIV, and then when the PzIV, StuG, and 89 legged it for town, they should have gotten there *minutes* ahead of the St. Gloriana’s team. So the “They disappeared” part was pretty believable, but the running gunfight wasn’t.

            Overall, tho, the writers did a terrific job of tailoring what happened to both the tanks and crews (especially after having Yukari talk about differences between tanks and crews in Ep2). Having Teams B and C each get the drop on a Matilda showed their strength in tactical thinking (which the Lee and the Pz38(t) crew don’t have), and having them both get taken out showed their inexperience in thinking it through and in battle (the 89 should have shot the Matilda and legged it again, not stayed and rejoiced). Meanwhile, Ankou lived up to their ‘A’ designation, with the only real surprise being how effective a gunner Hana was, and how well she and Mako worked together to place the gun in firing position. Mako being a brilliant driver isn’t too farfetched if she’s supposed to be a genius (and her shortcomings with being awake and general likability are what are preventing her from being a Mary Sue character, I think), and Miho’s obviously an experienced commander, so really the only stretch is that Hana doesn’t make noob mistakes with trying to track the gun, like when they take out the first Matilda behind cover from the Seitokai team, or that last shot after swinging around the Churchill. In both instances, Hana had the gun off axis and in position to fire for where Mako stopped the tank, from what I know, that’s a *really* complicated move. But it definitely made for great TV.

  9. Moni Chan says:

    From the website I watch this anime, sometimes the things that they say (subtitles) is in German on purpose. I find it awesome

    • lvlln says:

      Someone must be streaming Commie’s subs. They include both a German-inserted and normal version of the subs into their files. Quite amusing, but I prefer to watch it with the normal ones.

      • Highway says:

        I’ve been watching Hiryuu’s subs, and from seeing Commie’s normal track for Ep 4, I think Hiryuu’s are better. Plus, they don’t turn into trolls about people not liking their random german inserts. You just have to put up with “Tankwondo” rather than Panzerfahren (I wish people would just call it Sensha-do. We call it ‘karate’ and ‘aikido’ and ‘judo’ and ‘kendo’ in the US, why not sensha-do?).

        • skylion says:

          This is a mystery that I have been trying to solve myself. I think, generally speaking, people are a bit mentally lazy when it comes to new concept, so you have to wrap it up in something familiar. Tae-kwon-do being Korean, I can see how this becomes acceptable (sarcasm).

          • Highway says:

            Well, maybe partly is my affinity for Japanese since I’m trying to learn it, but sensha-do almost straddles the line of a proper noun or name. Perhaps the best way to have done it would have been at the beginning of the show do, on the first instance or so, use a translator note of “Sensha-do means lit. ‘Way of the Tank'” or “means Tank Driving”. I mean, it’s obvious by inspection what it is. The whole freakin show is about it.

            The CR name of ‘Tankery’ is by far the worst, to me.

            • skylion says:

              Yeah, I saw Tankery and nearly pooed myself with laughter.

              I say, if you are going to localize, then you best find the local term to fit. If there is no local term, then force feed the original name down throats until satisfaction has been achieved.

          • Highway says:

            I’m starting to think skylion is training spammy to eat my comments so I don’t catch up to him ;) (the counter goes up for eaten comments, they just don’t show up)

            I’ve got two caught right now.

            • BlackBriar says:

              Pfft…hahaha!! Maybe I’m a sadist watching the show from the sidelines but that sounded like an indirect declaration of war on the Motherfoshing Gandalf. Beware, skylion, you’ve got worthy opponent closing in on you.

              @Highway: Since most of us have gained titles and we’ve known you for some time on Metanorn, what title would you want to be known under? Just to be curious.

            • Highway says:

              Heh, I’ve tried to think of something, and just haven’t had any inspiration. If I had something I wanted it to say, I could probably convince someone on IRC to put a title in (like Kyokai if she ever came on IRC *hint hint* ;) ), but I just haven’t thought of anything.

            • skylion says:

              I’ve had far more evil plans, I’m sure; but it’s an off day so this is the best I could come up with ;-)

              Highway is a far better comment-er than I. But I will always be the Motherfoshing Gandalf.

              If we stick with me being in the lead and with the upcoming Hobbit film, then Highway shall be dubbed “Squirrely Radagast”. Cause it’s funny.

  10. PanzerJäger says:

    I love the show, it’s great to see these old tanks in action. The only real problem, even though its insignificant is that they say the StuG 3 has an assault gun, when its actually the 75mm anti tank gun that they were fitted with as standard. The assault version of the StuG had a hard hitting 105mm howitzer. It’s also worth noting that the panzer IV has the assault gun, this short barreled variant was effective against infantry and fortifications but the low muzzle velocity meant that against armour it had a slight disadvantage, but I love the Panzer IV, espically the long barrel Ausf. H model worth armour skirts. But that’s minor stuff and I love the show, and would love to see some tank destroyers like the famous Jagdpanther. I would hate to be in the 38(t) though, as when it was hit by shells the rivets had a tendency to become lethal projectiles that could kill the crew. Sorry if I have waffled, I just felt that some historical facts couldn’t go amiss.

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