Girls und Panzer Phase Erika
This is a Girls und Panzer spin-off series specifically focusing on Erika as its MC. This was released in 2017.
This spin-off manga is well deserved since the main story barely covers her. She is a fairly important character and does take over as the commander of Kuromorimine once Maho graduates.
This review will contain some spoilers as I couldn’t make a review without some.
It is no secret that Erika is a huge, HUGE, fan of Nishizumi Maho. The official weekly 4-strip manga even suggests a possibility of romantic feelings from Erika toward Maho.
And, as soon as the manga begins, Erika is in awe as she enters Kuromorimine school for the first time. It is revealed quickly that she is a big fan of Nishizumi style as well as Maho herself.
Erika herself proves to be a decent commander as well, and perhaps rightfully so she expects to eventually become the vice commander.
But there is just one problem. Someone is in her way: Nishizumi Miho. From get-go, she does not like Miho. Her timid and shy demeanor simply make Erika pissed off.
Perhaps, most importantly, Miho does not display any form of desire to win.
To her credit, she does try to understand Miho. However, Miho’s system as well as philosophy is not inline with what Nishizumi style stands for. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite.
In other words, Erika cannot like Miho. There is simply no way.
Sadly, this 3-volume manga does not dive deep enough into the issue and simply concludes once an official match with Jatkosota ends. It is also worthwhile to note that this manga is the only one that features Jatkosota school as an opposing team.
This fact is important because GuP fans never really get to see Jatkosota school in its full glory. Why the obsession over Jatkosota?
That’s because it’s where Mika is, a genius tank commander in her own right.
I believe the reason any spin-off manga hardly ever covers Jatkosota is due to lack of lore. There is Mika and her BT-42. Her crew members are Mikko and Aki.
Beyond those official lore, there isn’t much to Jatkosota school.
Der Film does add slightly more lore to the school as, a new character, Rumi, appears who graduated from Jatkosota school.
Even so, there are just so many aspect that are missing from official lore regarding Jatkosota school.
This spin-off manga does try to fill the missing pieces, but personally, I do not believe the author did a good job.
My verdict on this manga is Pass it.
Well, there are free scanlation available, so you might as well read it. If you are going to spend money and collect the books though, I don’t feel it’s worth it. The story does not really cover or conclude anything other than a well-known fact that Erika worships Nishizumi style and Maho.
Additionally, this manga doesn’t also cover good points (if any) for Erika. She is pretty much a villain here. She is not an excellent tank commander, doesn’t have quick wits, and strategically inept. She can copy Nishizumi style though to perfection though. I suppose that’s enough to carry over as the next commander of Kuromorimine.
Her only good point, if you can call that, is her desire to win.
Now, having stated that, I am going to speak my mind here.
I firmly believe that Erika was one of main driving forces that drove Miho out of Kuromorimine. She clearly does not like, or perhaps even hates, Miho because Maho clearly favors Miho. Erika wanted Maho’s attention but Miho was getting all her attention.
It is more of jealousy, meaningless jealousy at that given the fact that Miho is Maho’s little sister who is neglected by their mother. I believe Maho feels that it is her duty to look after her sister who has pretty much no one to rely upon.
Sadly, Erika never gets it.
Thankfully, Miho does find her place in Ooarai. I am quite thankful for that since she is a victim of many circumstances. The official anime does a crap job of deciphering her inner feelings.
According to the light novel, Miho had always felt alone. She had talents but not the kind of talents her family wanted. Additionally, she was heavily overshadowed by her elder sister, Maho. Her elder sister was everything her family wanted whereas she was everything her family did not want.
Her timid and shy demeanor was a result of being rejected and neglected. Her non-existent desire to win was also a result of the same stuff since the way she won tank battles was not the way her family wanted. Her family wanted pure Nishizumi style (A refined blitzkrieg tactic) out of Miho but her style was more of trickery and heavy calculation.
Fatefully, her style was just perfect for Ooarai.