Girls Und Panzer (which I reviewed at Bureau42, not here), was a show that I absolutely loved. It had a sports anime plot for a sport that didn’t exist in the real world, Sensha-do, the art of Tankery: the art of crewing and maintaining a tank, and succeeding in combat using that tank – though Sensha-Do competitions are not to the death.
The original series pitted the Sensha-Do team of Oorai High School against the teams of numerous other schools – each themed around the tanks of other countries that took part in World War II – the US (Saunders), UK (St. Gloriana), Italy (Anzio), Germany (Kuromorimine), and Russia (Pravda) in order to win the national championship and ultimately to save the school from closure. Through wit, moxy, courage, and skill, they managed to succeed and won the championship.
After opening with an exhibition match between Oorai teaming up with the students of Chi-Ha-Tan Academy (which use Japanese tanks and which openly takes the piss out of Japanese Banzai charge tactics during World War II) against St. Gloriana and Pravda. However, following the contest, the students of Oorai learn that the regulatory body in charge of the schools had lied to them – they had no intention of saving the school and was planning to close it anyway, as the agreement was a verbal one.
After some desperate politic-ing from Oorai’s Student Council president, Anzu Kadotani, along with getting the support of Sensha-Do’s regulatory body, we get a deal – if Oorai can beat a 40-tank collegiate team in an elimination match, the school will be saved. After Anzu gets it in writing this time, a plan is put together a large enough team – by getting the teams they’d become friends with over the course of the series to “transfer” to Oorai for the duration of the match – so the aforementioned teams all come over, along with the second new team of Jatkosota (who uses Finnish tanks).
This leads to one epic tank battle for all the marbles.
The animation for the film is glorious – the with a larger budget and (presumably) more time, we get more lush and detailed background art, and the CGI for the tanks is even more improved from the original show. We also have some super impressive sound design, with tank cannons having some real auditory kick to them.
Also, this time I watched the show with the English Dub (as I was watching it with my Dad), and I was super impressed with the dub. While the director did have the cast mimicking some of the vocal tick of the original characters in a few respects, it generally fits – the Team Captain of Pravda is more high pitched and childlike because she acts incredibly childlike, for example. In particular, the film introduces a running joke of two of the members of the Pravda team speaking (subtitled) Russian to each other, which their captain can’t understand, and constantly chews them out for.
That said, if you’re brand new to Girls Und Panzer, this ultimately isn’t the best jumping on point. There isn’t a lot of new character development for the cast of the original series – aside from the friendship that has formed between all the teams – and that development is based around having the original show.
Girls Und Panzer Der Film is available on Blu-Ray/DVD from Amazon and RightStuf, while the film is also available for streaming on HiDive. Buying anything through the Amazon and RightStuf links will help to support the site.
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