Saori’s going for the harem route!
|A show needs to pull back from the action every once in a while to prevent audience fatigue, so naturally after 3 straight episodes filled with tank combat, Girls und Panzer went for a quiet episode of the girls back home, preparing for the next round. Unfortunately, the show isn’t very competent at building its characters or creating human drama, so this episode was rather ho-hum compared to the ones preceding it. That said, it still had some great scenes that showed off the production staff’s skill in cinematography, so it was not all a loss.|
Considering how much this society loves tanks, I’m surprised that they can get abandoned like this. Shouldn’t they be in museums?
I wasn’t paying much attention when they were picking up the 1st round of tanks, so I’m actually unclear on why they have to keep finding them around the ship, or why there’s an undiscovered batch now. This also means a new batch of girls, which actually doesn’t mean much, because the sheer volume of girls in this show has meant that only the main team has gotten any development. Miho’s back story was expanded a bit here, continuing the thread of the girl from the super intense family that puts too much pressure on her. The show makes her very easy to sympathize with, so I can’t help but like the girl. I wonder if the flashback is foreshadowing for Miho taking a similar action in a future match, perhaps costing her team victory again, but strengthening the bonds between her and her mates. Either victory or defeat can be satisfying, and losing that way to set up a 2nd season is one good way to end the season. Or perhaps Miho will save someone, get back into her tank, then kick her sister’s ass, showing that you can be a decent, sympathetic human being and still win. Yeah, that would fit right in to this cynicism-free world.
One nice touch with the world building was showing the sailor girls on the Oarai ship. We’ve been exposed to a decent amount of the city on top, but it’s easy to forget that the ginormous ship under it probably needs a sizable staff to keep running. The fact that those sailors were also young girls has me wondering if that’s a female-specific role as well in this world. So besides Girls und Helis, another possible spinoff might be Girls und Battleships.
This was also a truly wonderful shot, though the gif (click image) doesn’t do it justice.
While the combat was limited to just the final 10 seconds, there were still a couple of well constructed scenes within the episode. One was this voice over montage when the main girls were leaving the hospital and going back to their ship. Usually scenes like this will jump to the conversation to show it in real time. That’s a fine and standard technique, but such scenes have a tendency of feeling disjointed due to the fact that they’ll just jump from the start of the trip to the conversation, then to the end; showing all the steps of the trip and the real time conversation would extend the scene too long. In this case, we got to have our cake and to eat it too, by having the conversation layered over the slow montage. That’s efficiency! This also conveyed the passage of time very well, and the way the bus ride portion was shown all from the outside gave us a good view of the city surrounding their ship.
The training montage was short and sweet and felt very much like the classic training montage you see in sports movies. Except, of course, with girls in schoolgirl uniforms in tanks. I’m still unclear on the schoolgirl uniforms. It’s not that it breaks suspension of disbelief – okay, it kinda does, but hey, I’m a Strike Witches fan – it’s that military uniforms would actually make sense while still providing plenty of fetish fuel, as well as showing something different from what a dozen other shows do every season. Perhaps uniforms are not as glorious as tanks, but I’m sure World War 2 otaku would enjoy them as well. It’s such a missed opportunity. I do like the touch with the volley ball team uniforms, since athletic clothing at least somewhat makes sense, even though the short sleeves and pants don’t make any. It’s just another way in which this show of girls and tanks just isn’t as good when it’s about the girls.
These girls are clearly too weak to handle tank loading, another crack in the suspension of disbelief. It would be neat if it came up later in battle, along with the limited number of shells per team.
Girls und Panzer has earned a long leash by establishing itself as by far the best show of the season in the previous 3 episodes. So I’m not going to be as harsh on a transition episode as much as one in, say, Medaka Box Abnormal. The worrisome part is that the following episode will also start right after a victory, and the production team probably sees no problem with this. Come on, I would’ve preferred to be trolled by having the battle start in this episode then finish within 30 seconds in the next one. It’s the chink in the show’s armor: as much as the people behind it are on top of things with the action, they’re clueless to the same extent with regards to the drama and characters. Still, the density of action of episodes 4 through 6 was perfect, as was the pacing, and for more of that, a couple episodes like this is admittedly a small price to pay.
Hearing so much of the star of Strike Witches and the title character of Saki helped make this episode more enjoyable, no doubt. The student council prez’s confident nonchalance makes so much sense if you consider that she saved the world from Neuroi no fewer than 3 times in less than a year.