In a world like our own, Sensha-do, the art of tank combat or ‘Tankery’ for short, is a traditional Japanese martial art for girls. In every school there is a Tankery Club. Miho Nishizumi, a girl who has a long and proud family history in the art of Tankery, has just transferred into Ōrai Girls’ Academy in Ibaraki Prefecture…to avoid Tankery! The school’s Tankery club is believed to have been non-existent for 20 years! As Miho made new friends and enjoyed the start of her new school life in Ōrai Girls’ Academy, she is suddenly ordered by the student council to revive the school’s dead Tank Club and be their leader. Giving in to the pressure from the student council and her friends, they form the Tankery Club, marking the start of a formidable tank force.
School girls in Second World War tanks who compete against each other as a regular past time? Wow, the world really has changed! Quoting from the Tankery Club promotional video created by the student council. “An art that aims to make girls and women alike more polite, graceful, modest, and gallant. It could be said that learning tankery is to train the part of you that makes you feminine. Intense and strong like its iron, adorable like the clattering of its track, passionate and precise like its main cannon. If you train in tankery you will become a better wife, a better mother, a better female worker. You will become healthier, kinder, stronger and men from all over will like you. Everyone should learn tankery, and train their body and mind to become a healthier, more beautiful woman.” While I know the ‘propaganda’ wasn’t supposed to be funny, I couldn’t help hold in my laughter. Girls und Panzer certainly has an interesting choice of theme but surprisingly it works very well.
I think everyone agrees that you learn more stuff when you’re enjoying something than hunching over a textbook. Girls und Panzer starts out as Miho, the only experienced tank operator in the whole Tankery Club, teaching the recruits in practice tank combat battles. What’s educational yet entertaining about the show is that it gives you an overview on every tank there is, like how big the turret is and its’ main purpose which I think is pretty cool. When the student council signs them up for the national Sensha-do (Tankery) championship, they have no choice but to obey. This is where the action really starts! In epic strategic real-time team tank battles against top schools, the competition for the underdogs is tough. Will Miho lead her team and school to victory? Using specially made rounds, the Ōrai Tankery team battle against opponents who have a ton of experience and seem to represent “nationalities” too (e.g. The British team are graceful and are always seen drinking tea). In between tank competitions it is pleasing to see little scenes where they explore each member of Miho’s friends. Like going over to a friend’s house or hanging out in the tank café, every moment is interesting and even touching at times.
Overall this is one of the most enjoyable and intriguing anime I have watched in a while. With lively characters and epic tank battles, a decent plot and great animation, it is a high recommendation to all anime lovers. It is guaranteed to not disappoint. Au revoir and not to forget, Panzer vor!