War and pizza are the atmospheres of Girls und Panzer, a short OVA episode finally settling the score of who is better on the battlefield; Ooarai Girls’ Academy or their Italian themed rivals the Anzio High School team. While tanks are hardly my field of expertise, the oddly wacky and genuinely informative nature of this OVA titled Girls und Panzer: This is the Real Anzio Battle cracked a smile across my face.
Girls und Panzer has a unique concept of girls in high school who practice tank warfare as a sport. The premise is the rivalry between two competitive schools and the combination of the two had me raising my eyebrows. Both teams face off against each other in a one-on- one battle to ensure victory and to settle the score once and for all.
Tanks and explosions have never favorite subjects of mine, but Girls und Panzer takes the combination of a high school sport and tanks to create something rather fun and unique. My first assumption was at best I’d just see a bunch of girls running around acting silly and have the tanks destroying everything in sight. What I got in return is a rather clever combination of two different elements that were given a strong presentation and carried an intellectual flavor along with it. There are several points throughout the episode where the girls talk about the kind of tanks they will be using for the competition. Mentioning names, the strengths of the tanks, and even showing pictures through visual cues in books or blueprints so the audience knows the kind of war machine the girls are referring too.
This bit of insight and general education and breakdown of tanks surprised me and had me paying closer attention to when the girls spoke. During the competition phase instead of just barreling directly into battle, the anime takes it one step further by mentioning different strategies to get one up on the enemy. One sequence features decoys set up by the opposing team and the plan of attack they have to ambush the other high school. This is presented with the same forethought of visual cues showing where the tanks are located on the map, how they will move forward, and with a brief explanation of the strategy taking place.
Girls und Panzer is colorful in its presentation too. There are celebrations that take place and the explosions of a tank firing sound well grounded. The tanks were easily the best pieces in this anime and they did not disappoint. Each tank had a distinctive appearance and even a small stamp to show which high school team it represented. Several tanks are used from large, barreling pieces of machinery featuring power to smaller and faster versions used to zip around the battlefield. Seeing high school girls zip around in tanks firing at one another had me laughing at the ridiculous situation, but easily entertained from the explosions going off every couple of minutes.
The only drawback is that Girls und Panzer: This is the Real Anzio Battle felt way too short once it was all over, but it ended on a good note. It’s a treat to see such a crazy idea given life, executed well, and then delivered seriously with just enough humor to make the whole escapade a fun adventure.