REVIEW: GIRLS UND PANZER OVA / CERT: 12 / DIRECTOR: VARIOUS / SCREENPLAY: VARIOUS / STARRING: MAI FUCHIGAMI, AI KAYANO, MAMI OZAKI, IKUMI NAKAGAMI, YKA IGUCHI / RELEASE DATE: JUNE 16TH
Put simply, Girls und Panzer is a 12-episode anime series about teenage schoolgirls driving World War II-era tanks. Learning the art of Panzerfahren (the maintenance and operation of tanks that is very much designated a woman’s activity), its phalanx of protagonists enter a tank battling competition against schools of varying international stereotypes. Once you get past the bonkers premise, the show is actually quite endearing, if a little light on conflict and lacking true consequences for characters’ mistakes.
Ranging from four to sixteen minutes long, the six OVA episodes collected here are supplemental to the main storyline of the series, and while meaningless if watched without having first seen the anime, neither do they add very much to it. Only the final two have any direct connection and as a result are far and away the most interesting of the collection. One is an expansion of part of episode 9 where the girls are engaged in a campaign of strategic manoeuvring in the snow when battling a Russian school, while the other takes place directly after the series ends and sees the teams engaging in a talent contest. The others are a lengthy sequence of swimsuit shopping; a disastrous barbecue on a camping trip; exploration of the warship the school community is built on and the girls performing the Anglerfish Dance (don’t ask) in various locations around the city.
Not being the target audience of the anime, I’m not completely qualified to comment on its quality. If I were a pubescent girly girl rather than a 30-year-old male geek, I may well have found the girls’ antics more entertaining and their megahertz voices less headache-inducing. However, I can say that like the series that precedes it, the episodes here are bright, charming and disposable.