Tank drivin’ girls. Period. I think the one thing I like about Japan and their anime industry is that they come up with the weirdest concepts ever and they somehow make it work. Obviously, there are instances where that isn’t the case, most commonly seen in over the top Anime. However, despite that, I find these weird concepts to be really interesting. Today we’re going to be talking about Girls & Panzer, everyone. Yes, you heard it right.
Girls and Panzer is a show with a ridiculous premise and setting, the show acknowledges this and embraces it to deliver great comedy. No matter how ridiculous the happenings or plot points, like friendly tank battles being held in town centres, or a man thinking it’s good luck that a tank crushed his shop, it plays it straight and just lets you enjoy it, without it pointing the joke out to make sure you got it. It mocks clichés by putting them into stupid contexts and then blowing them completely out of proportion. There will always be something there to make you laugh, the humour of the show is very consistent, and though it’s not the biggest draw of the show, it’s what helps to make the show so enjoyable.
The characters are incredibly likable and work perfectly within the context of the show. There are a large number of characters, but every single one, whether it be someone on the Panzer squad or someone on the opposing team, will bring a smile to your face at some point. These aren’t deep characters, but they don’t need to be, they often have stupid and ridiculous traits, but that’s the point, whether it be the girl who also sits on her lieutenants shoulders to put her above everyone because she’s got a complex about being childlike or the vice president who’s usually calm and collected who goes crazy when she’s battling in the tanks, they bring enjoyment by being so stupid.
The really surprising aspect about Girls and Panzer is how realistic yet still ridiculous the tank battles are. The people who choreographed the battles obviously knew the tanks involved inside out, providing startlingly realistic battles, all whilst the tanks are running around coloured bright pink or with Edo period flags. The battles are amazing in how much the intelligence of the realism and tactics conflicts with the bizarre and absurd nature of events. You will be entertained, and there is sometimes genuine tension in the battles, especially the later ones.
The animation of the battles improves greatly as the series progresses, in earlier episodes, the CGI looks awkward, but by the end it’s much better and used very well with solid animation, providing fast exciting action. The camera angles are done very well, particularly in the last showdown where I can only say they were perfectly done.
The animation as a whole started off fairly average, but as the episode count increases it’s obvious that the budget increased significantly, by the end the animation was excellent, it’s visually appealing and there are no mistakes or off-model characters. The soundtrack was strong on the whole, with some great military marches and themes that really added to the scenes and battles. The voice acting was strong, making sure to keep everything straight (and often hilariously over the top) so that the humour was conveyed correctly. The opening “Dream Riser” is an uplifting track which suits the series well, and the ending “ENTER ENTER Mission” is generic but rather catchy.
Overall, I’m not saying that Girls and Panzer is the best show out there, but it executes what it’s trying to do flawlessly. The show plays everything so honestly and with such earnest that you cannot be cynical about it, but wish to enjoy the show like it wants you too. This show is really the height of entertainment, and during the weeks that I watched it, despite myself I grew to love the show more and more.
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