I guess I should have covered this anime a long time ago. After all, this whole site seems to be pretty much dedicated to the series. While true, that is not the focus of this site.
Either way, I should have reviewed this a long time ago. In this review, I am talking about the anime. Interestingly, the anime is the original source material. It was created to kickstart the franchise back in 2012. A four-volume manga was released almost at a similar time as well as light novel a short while later.
In Girls und Panzer universe, girls practice “safe tankery”. It basically means loli girls driving tanks into tank matches and they cannot die, at least not by shells. The official explanation of how such a protection works is some sort of advanced carbon walls inside of tanks. But let me make it simple for you. It’s anime magic, period.
FYI, only tanks that existed in World war 1 and 2 are allowed to be used. As long as a prototype exists during that era, it can be used. Another thing is that they cannot build new tanks. The tanks must be either found or purchased.
The story begins Nishizumi Miho’s peaceful days at Ooarai high school. Her peaceful days are painfully short lived because it ends in episode 1. She has transferred to this school to get away from tankery, and the school president demands her to lead a revived tankery club.
Miho has painful memories regarding tankery and wants to avoid it. Alas, she is easy to walk over and soon gives in. Soon, it becomes quite apparent that Miho is quite good ( I mean ingeniously good ) at tankery. Of course, there is a reason for that but it’d be a spoiler.
Ooarai school enters 63th National High School Sensha-dō Tournament. No one expects them to win. After all, Ooarai school’s tankery club had been inactive for 20 years. They no longer have the know-how as well as members to compete against other powerhouses. To make the situation worse, tanks Ooarai school has managed to gather are all throwaway junks.
It comes down to Miho’s ingenuity to make things tick.
That is pretty much it for the main series. Personally, I didn’t like the 12-episode anime series. I did watch the whole thing but my feelings toward the series itself was meh. I did like the safe tank battles while ignoring physics here and there.
What did get me into the series was the first movie (Der Film) where Mika’s BT-42 battled three Centurion tanks. It was this point where I seriously got into Girls und Panzer universe.
Having written that, this is probably the only anime series where I couldn’t care less about the main cast. I really don’t care much for Ooarai school or Miho. My favorite schools are Pravda and Anzio.
Speaking of which …
GuP (Girls und Panzer) is a cash cow. They released the anime version to start off, and the fans have literally filled the void since then. There are over ten spin-off manga series all of which over what anime has neglected to cover. Anyone wishing to use Girls und Panzer logo and its assets must pay a license fee. This applies even to garage kits and other merchandises. Thus, I call it a cash cow.
I do not believe the series is very popular but I do believe it has a sizable niche following which is reflected by quantity of garage kits, spin-off mangas, and other stuff related to GuP.
For me, the reasons I like Girls und Panzer is due to unofficial stuff and World war era tanks. Unlike 99% of anime out there where the plots are set in stone, GuP allows others to write their own stories. In fact, I think it’s what they want. They aired the official anime series along with few OVA episodes and movies and then left others to fill gaps.
Ribbon warrior and Saga of Pravda are shining examples of what can be done when given a setting and freedom to write/create. What this ultimately means that, even if the official series has finished airing ( has ended in 2013 ), the story continues to go on in spin-off manga which also means merchandise based on GuP will continue to be sold.
They also made a clever call to release a single movie every two years for the next decade which will keep interest level on this series steady as well as drawing new fans in every once in a while.
This kind of plan is not a short term strategy. I think someone decided to create his retirement plan when creating Girls und Panzer universe.