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Image courtesy of TV Tropes

On Thursday night I was looking for some fresh anime, but wasn’t up to tackling something serious like Shin Sekai Yori [1]. So I picked Girls Und Panzer with the expectation that I would mercilessly mock it on twitter for about half an hour before dropping it.

That isn’t what happened.

I’m actually enjoying it, and wondering how the hell this happened.

Girls Und Panzer has a very silly concept: tank combat as a martial art for girls. Some of the worldbuilding is equally silly, but oddly cool in places.

The cognitive dissonance is enhanced by having the main character Nishizumi Miho be an expy of Sakura Kinomoto, complete with the anime haircut, the plushy toys, and a close-to-matching uniform [2]. The family structures, and dynamics, are very different however [3].  The opening credits show this in a couple of places (watch for the black uniform with the white trim).

Some of the other shoutouts and expies are obvious, I suspect that there are many more.

Girls Und Panzer isn’t helped by the Loads and Loads of Characters, many of whom are getting little screen time and less dialogue.  That said, the core characters are reasonably engaging, amusing to watch, and are starting to develop some good interactions.

Surprisingly the tank combat tactics are fairly good: hull down when you can, and fire while stationary if you actually want to hit something.

However the unobtainium “carbon lining” that keeps the tanks intact, and absorbs hits is a purely silly way of keeping the show casualty free.

Despite all the problems I’m actually enjoying Girls Und Panzer and will follow it as the episodes appear on CrunchyRoll.  One possibility is that my expectations were so low that I was pleasantly surprised, and that I will drop it once the novelty wears off.

In the meantime, I’ll leave with one of the quite amusing ending credits [4].

[1] I’ve still only seen one episode of Shin Sekai Yori, and want to be considerably more alert before I catch up with it.
[2] At least once the official tournament starts.
[3] And darker. Many, if not most, of Miho’s toys are in bandages…
[4] The song is always the same but the team and tank getting the Super Deformed treatment changes in each episode.