Anime With A Side Of History: Girls und Panzer

Schools in Japan have an abundance of clubs(or teams) that students can join. These clubs become a way of life for the students and are often very militaristic. For example: baseball players regularly all shave their heads together. These clubs encompass everything from sports like: soccer, swimming, table tennis, or the aforementioned baseball. To martial arts like: Karate, Judo, or Kyuu-do. There is even lifestyle or hobby-type stuff like: flower arrangement or tea making/serving. In some schools or universities there are even manga/anime clubs, where you read, watch, and write/create.

So why do I bring all of this up? We’re here to talk about tanks, right? Well, yeah. Hear me out. The 2012 anime Girls und Panzer introduces us to a different type of High School club. Sensha-do.

Or, for those that don’t speak Japanese, Way of the Tank. 

Sensha-do is dubbed ‘tankery’ in the anime subtitles. The words break down like this: Sensha = tank. Do = way of something. The suffix “do”(pronounced: doh) is usually associated with martial arts. Or Budo/Bushido.(Do is attached here too. Way of the warrior) Examples: Aikido, Kyuu-do, Iaido, Judo, Kendo, etc.

Girls und Panzer Introduction

Welcome to Sensha-do

Hi! Don’t mind the pink M3

Girls und Panzer centers around Miho. A new girl in the city of Ōarai. She is quite nervous to be starting her new life and attending her new school. She is a clumsy and a bit jittery, but she manages to make two new friends shortly after arriving. This helps her start to calm down. However, this newfound calm is short-lived. As shortly after school starts Miho is approached by the student council president and vice president. They ask her to join the Sensha-do club. Miho is taken aback by this, as she thought that this school did not have a tank program anymore. In fact, that was one of the reasons she came to Ōarai in the first place.

After being approached by the student council, Miho more or less goes catatonic and ends up in the nurses office when she can’t function in class. She actually has a history with Sensha-do. Something that the student council seems to have caught wind of. Miho comes from a family that is quite revered in the international Sensha-do community. Miho also suffered some trauma while commanding a tank in her last school, Kuromorimine. This happened when she was forced to make a life or death decision that drew the ire of many. This trauma is why she had decided to leave tankery behind. And in doing so she was shunned by her own mother and sister. Miho now lives in Ōarai alone.

Later the student council president arranges a student body meeting prior to everyone picking their clubs for the school year. During this meeting, a video depicting Sensha-do is shown and they announce that the school is restarting their long since defunct Sensha-do program.

The video, done in the style of a propaganda film from war time, and it was narrated by the president’s staff. It depicted Sensha-do as the absolute best thing ever. With various points to try to boost enrollment, including:

  • Sensha-do is only done by girls and is studied by girls worldwide 
  • Sensha-do makes girls more polite, graceful, and modest 
  • Sensha-do training makes girls more feminine

This video does spark interest with many girls, as the propaganda has pressed many of the right buttons. But when the time comes to select her club, Miho does not choose Sensha-do. She could not bring herself to do so. Her newfound and very supportive friends, wanting to join the tank club but seeing that she is in distress, also choose the same club as Miho. As can be expected, this does not go well with the student council president, and Miho is summoned to her office. 

In the meeting, Miho is bullied and more or less threatened to join Sensha-do. To this, Miho becomes very nervous and uncomfortable. Her friends had both originally chosen Sensha-do, but decided to change for her. The pressure, and her friends’ caring weighed heavily on her thoughts. As her friends, that had accompanied Miho to the meeting, argued with the president’s staff, Miho relents and joins the Tank club. The president is pleased, and because she has experience commanding a tank, Miho is made the Commander of the whole Ōarai team. Something that she didn’t really want to do ever again. 

In the coming days, the Sensha-do team meets for the first time. Members were assembled from various other groups/clubs that had been disbanded or people that genuinely wanted to learn tankery. There was a group of volleyball players, a group of history buffs, a group of underclass girls, Miho and her friends, even the student council themselves. It was a complete band of misfits.

It was agreed that teams would be made, and everyone, already content with their inner circles, decided to stick with whom they knew. Miho and her two friends became a tank crew, with two more joining shortly after.

The only tank that Ōarai has readily available on campus is the Panzer IV. And it has seen better days.

The next step was to take stock of their tanks. Which was lacking to say the least. The Ōarai Sensha-do program was scrapped many years ago, and the tanks were sold or scattered around town like garbage. So the teams set out to find them, like doing a massive scavenger hunt. A handful were found in totally comedic places(because this is an anime.) From there, the work began to fix up the tanks and make them ready for a coming country-wide tournament, with the help of the automotive club(who would later join Sensha-do as well). Everyone was quite surprised that there was a tournament coming so quickly, and that Ōarai would participate.

Hiding in storage
O’ Char B1 of the trash lake. What is your wisdom?
How did this even get up here?

The individual teams chose their tanks, and after some familiarization maneuvers, began to paint and decorate their tanks as they saw fit. Kind of like decorating a school locker. Because these are high school girls, the results were definitely not militaristic. These once proud war machines now stuck out like a sore thumb*. But, they worked, and that is what mattered the most.

They’ll never see us coming

The girls had a lot of work to do, in terms of team building, strategy making, and just plain learning how to operate a multi-ton war machine effectively. The school hired a revered Sensha-do trainer to help them along the way. She arrives in a tank and in very fitting manner.

A combat air drop.

No respect for infrastructure and sports cars can be found in this anime.

The girls get their first taste of battle with a warmup match versus the English themed St Gloriana Academy, and it goes about as well as you can expect. An absolute rout. But as Miho comes into her own as a commander, and the other teams accept her lead, Ōarai stuns many in their quest to be the top school in the country. But this isn’t just about winning for the glory, there is also apparently much larger things at stake. Something that the student council is not very forthcoming about.

You might say, that the fate of Ōarai itself hinges on these girls and their ragtag fleet of armored vehicles.

*The girls would later repaint their tanks in more traditional colors

Historical Connection

The Schools and Tanks of Girls und Panzer

Ōarai Girls High School

Girls und Panzer showcases a wide variety of tanks from history dating back to before World War II. While most of the other schools in the national competition have themes based on countries, and largely use tanks from said countries, Ōarai uses a mishmash of tanks from all over the world. This is due to the fact that their tanks were salvaged from their schools long since defunct Sensha-do program. Perhaps it was also this disorganization that led to their programs demise all those years ago.

The teams are designated with animal names for ease of communications over the radio*, and each teams animal mascot would eventually be emblazoned on their tanks hull(after the repainting of the tanks).

*The names sound better in Japanese. Anglerfish doesn’t exactly roll off of the tongue.

Anglerfish Team

This team is comprised of a group of friends.

Tank Commander: Miho Nishizumi

Tank: German Panzer IV Ausf D(later upgraded to Ausf F2)

The Panzerkampfwagen IV, or just Panzer IV, was one of the most widely used German armored fighting vehicles in World War II. These medium tanks participated in engagements across most of the European theater, from the Eastern to the Western Fronts. The Ausf D was armed with the short barreled 7.5cm main gun and a hull mounted machine gun. The medium armor varied in thickness from 10mm to 80mm. The anime version was later upgraded to an Ausf F2 and was fitted with an anti-tank gun featuring a longer barrel.

Turtle Team

This team is comprised of the Ōarai student council.

Tank Commander: Student council president Anzu Kadotani

Tank: Czech Panzer 38(t)

The Panzerkampfwagen 38(t), a small light tank, was developed and produced in Czechoslovakia. It was adopted by Nazi Germany after the annexation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, and saw service across Europe with engagements in Poland, France, and Russia. This tank sported a 37mm main gun and 2 machine guns. The Panzer 38(t) had light armor ranging from 10mm to 25mm.

Duck Team

This team is comprised of former Volleyball team members.

Tank Commander: Noriko Isobe

Tank: Japanese Type 89B I-Go

The Type 89 medium tank I-Go was widely used by Imperial Japan during their invasion of China in 1937. The engagement was known as the Second Sino-Japanese War. The 1937 invasion predates the internationally agreed-upon start of World War II(1939), but many have theorized that this was a major tipping point in global threat. The I-Go had 6-17mm armor plating and sported a 57mm main gun. It also had a few machine guns as well.

Hippo Team

This team is comprised of a group of history buffs.

Tank Commander: Riko Matsumoto [nickname: Erwin. Based on German/Nazi German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Who was nicknamed the Desert Fox. He was feared, revered, and respected as a master tactician]

Tank: German Sturmgeschütz III

Image source A short barrel variant

The Sturmgeschütz III(or StuG III) was categorized as an Assault Gun and was based on the Panzer III chassis. It saw action as a tank destroyer thanks to its 7.5cm main gun. Like most tanks it was also fitted with machine guns. The armor plating was from 16-80mm thick. Whereas a typical tank had a larger rotatable turret, the Sturmgeschütz III, with its stationary turret was difficult to target due to it’s short posture. They were easy to camouflage or hide. This platform saw service all over Europe and northern Africa.

Rabbit Team

This team is comprised of first year students at Ōarai that are eager to impress their upper class seniors(Senpai)

Tank Commander: Azusa Sawa

Tank: American M3 Lee

Ðîòà àìåðèêàíñêèõ òàíêîâ Ì3ñ «Ãåíåðàë Ëè», ïîñòàâëÿâøèõñÿ â ÑÑÑÐ ïî ëåíä-ëèçó, âûäâèãàåòñÿ ê ïåðåäíåìó êðàþ îáîðîíû ñîâåòñêîé 6-é ãâàðäåéñêîé àðìèè. Èþëü 1943 ã.

The M3 Lee Medium tank was produced in two forms. One for the US, and one for the British. The US pattern tank was named for Confederate General Robert E Lee. While the British pattern was named for the Union General Ulysses S Grant. This tank saw service all over the world. It was armed with 1x 75mm gun and 1x 37mm gun, as well as Browning machine guns. The armor plating ranged from 38mm in the rear/sides to 51mm in the front.

Mallard Team

This team is comprised of members of the Public Morals Committee(or Hall Monitors). They would make their debut as a team later in the series.

Tank Commander: Midoriko Sono

Tank: French Char B1 Bis

Image source Destroyed Char B1 Bis

The Renault Char B1 Bis was based on the B1 heavy tank, that had upgraded armor and improved weaponry. The Bis had 60mm of armor on its hull. This heavy armor helped give it the classification of a “breakthrough tank”. It could charge enemy lines or fortifications and break through the defenses. The Bis had a 75mm Howitzer for a main gun, and a 47mm secondary gun. It also had machine guns for close-in support.

Anteater Team

This team is comprised of girls that play online games. Specifically tank simulators. They would arrive later in the series as well.

Tank Commander: Mai Nekota [nickname: Nekonya.]

[Note: This nickname is wordplay. neko = cat, nya = the onomatopoeic sound a cat makes(the equivalent of the western ‘meow’) She wears cat ears and her last name even has Neko in it].

Tank: Japanese Type 3 Chi-Nu

“How did we miss this?”
The Chi-Nu was found ‘abandoned’ in a parking lot.

The medium Type 3 Chi-Nu did not see combat during World War II, though it was designed as an answer to USA’s M4 Sherman. The Japanese Chi-Nu’s were all retained for the defense of Japanese mainland soil. It had a 75mm main gun and a machine gun. It was protected by 50mm of armor plating in its front, and as low as 20mm in it’s rear.

Leopon Team

This team is comprised of the automotive club members. The very club that has been repairing the tanks for the Sensha-do club. They volunteered their services as a tank crew because the Porsche Tiger is so troublesome.

Tank Commander: Rera Nakajima

Tank: German Porsche Tiger

They did a good job depicting the flaws of this tank.

The Porsche Tiger was a prototype heavy tank that was ultimately passed on. As it was prone to breaking down. Only a handful were built, and less than that actually saw service(only 1). It had an unorthodox power-plant which was difficult to maintain. There were also problems sourcing materials needed to build the special engines due to the war. The Porsche Tiger had armor as thick as 100mm and had an 8.8cm main gun. Of the Porsche Tiger hulls that were built, most were repurposed as Elefant Tank Destroyers.

[note: I had no idea what a Leopon was. When I was watching this, and this team was introduced, I had to google it. A leopon is the hybrid offspring of a male leopard and a female lion. Now we all know.]

Other Schools

St Gloriana Girls Academy

St Gloriana Girls Academy is a British themed school. This school uses British tanks and the girls are often seen drinking tea. This is a call back to various points in history, when British tank crews were observed drinking tea even in combat. This was mentioned in Band of Brothers(book and series) particularly during the failed Operation Market Garden

St Gloriana Academy utilizes MkII Infantry Tanks, otherwise known as the Matilda II. This pattern chassis was largely used prior to the start of World War II. But by this time the MkIII was more predominant. They also use a Mk IV Churchill as their command tank. These pattern tanks were largely used in North Africa, Italy, as well as closer to home. 

Image source MKII Infantry Tank Matilda II
Image source MKIV Churchill

Saunders University High School

This American themed school uses M4 Sherman tanks exclusively. The M4 makes up the bulk of their force, with the M4 Firefly variant as their heavy gun, and the M4A6 variant rounding their team out. The M4 Sherman was the USA’s most utilized tank in World War II. And they saw use by multiple Allied forces during the war. 

Saunders is the richest of all the schools. And this shines through with their equipment. Aside from their tanks, they also have support equipment and aircraft. Their fleet of aircraft includes: a C130, C5, L-1011, V22 and a KC-10 Tanker.

Image source M4A1 Sherman

Pravda High School

Pravda High School is a Russian themed school, and their logo is very similar to the Hammer and Sickle of the Soviet Union, though instead using office supplies to make the infamous logo of the USSR. They make use of various pattern T-34’s, and the heavy tanks: IS-2’s, and a KV-2 

Pravda also has a large supply of support and attack vehicles such as the Katyusha Rocket Launcher and even an MI-24 gunship.

The KV-2’s massive turret had to be manually turned
Image source An IS-1. The IS-2 used the same chassis, but had a upgraded gun

Kuromorimine Girls High School

Kuromorimine(Black Forrest) Girls School is a strict German themed school, and has the strongest Sensha-do program. Kuromorimine was the reigning champions for almost a decade before they were knocked off of the top rung by Pravda in the recent tournament. They use various German tanks from World War II including: Tiger I & Tiger II’s, Panzer III’s, Jagdpanzer IV’s, Panthers, an Elefant, a Jagdtiger, and a Panzer VIII Maus. In terms of inventory, Kuromorimine has one of the largest of all the schools. Falling just short of Saunders. They have some of the most powerful tanks off all the Schools.

Miho formerly attended this school prior to quitting Sensha-do. She would comment that Ōarai as a whole is much more aloof than the very militaristic Kuromorimine.

Tigers and Jagdpanzers
The Maus
Image source Tiger I
Image source Elefant

[note: There are more schools that get introduced in later releases. And there is one more school in the main series. I skipped Anzio High School due to their being glossed over in the series. I explain further below in the Thoughts section.]

Additional Historical Connections

Beyond the tanks: School Ships

In the Girls und Panzer universe, the high schools are not located on mainland soil. Instead they are all located on sea faring vessels. These vessels resemble real life historical aircraft carriers* from around the world, but their sizes are massive. In terms of dimensions, they dwarf their namesake warships.

For example: Take the Zuikaku of World War II history. It was approximately 257 meters long. The Ōarai school ship Zuikaku is approximately 7,600 meters long. That is almost 25,000 feet. Or roughly 4.7 miles long. And Zuikaku is one of the smallest school ships in the anime. The Ōarai Zuikaku is home to some 30,000 people. The ships are depicted as having a shallow draft, and towering over the waterline. The reason for the shallow drafts is so that the ships can make port using conventional piers. If it were otherwise, special docking areas would have to be built.

*One, a French themed school, is actually modeled from a submarine. As opposed to a carrier. Though at the time of typing this, I know nothing more about it other than what is found in the information below. It was not introduced formally in the main series, and was only seen in the OVA.

On these vessels are entire towns or cities, and some even have forests. They are extensions of the actual cities in Japan. So for example the Ōarai ship is home-ported in the city or Ōarai in Ibaraki, Japan. The ships are entirely self sufficient, with their own energy creation and agriculture systems. They have fisheries in their bowels. Larger ships even have industrial sectors on board, where they mass produce products for export.

Instead of fuel, these ships use a massive amount of electricity to traverse the seas, as well as power homes, businesses, and of course the schools. And they use many means of creating said energy. Hydro power is generated from the propulsion system, solar power via solar panels, wind power via wind turbines. They even generate power using the vibrations a car makes while driving on the streets on board the vessels. All of the ships functions are maintained by the students of the school. The sailors and engineers are all students working in a vocational capacity. Using on the job training as well as in class learning. The agriculture workers are all students in the agriculture fields. And so on.

In the main series, other than the fact that you come to find out that the schools were on a ship, not much is explained about these massive vessels. At all. Which left me with so many questions. And I was not the only one it would seem. The school ships were introduced in depth in an OVA where the girls tour the massive Ōarai Zuikaku. A great breakdown of this OVA and the make up of the ships can be found here and here.

Ōarai Girls High School

  • Ships Name: Zuikaku
  • Home port: Ōarai, Ibaraki Prefecture
  • Ships Design: based on Imperial Japanese Navy(World War II) aircraft carrier Zuikaku

The Zuikaku, a Shōkaku-class aircraft carrier, participated in many of the major Naval conflicts in the war. Including; the Pearl Harbor raid, the Battle of Coral Sea, the Guadalcanal conflict, and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. She was the last of the carriers that had participated in the Pearl Harbor raid to be sunk. Her end came in late October, 1944.

St Gloriana Girls Academy

  • Ships Name: HMS Ark Royal
  • Home port: Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture
  • Ships Design: based on the World War II HMS Ark Royal

The HMS Ark Royal has a namesake history dating back to the late-1500’s. It was the pennant number 91 Ark Royal that contributed to the defense of the North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea in World War II. Perhaps her most notable action was in 1941, when aircraft from the Ark Royal attacked and partially disabled the Nazi Kriegsmarine battleship Bismarck. This was an incredibly key action. The Bismarck was seen as a major threat to the North Atlantic, and finding and sinking her was made a top priority. The battleship had already taken out the HMS Hood. The pride of the Royal Navy.

The Ark Royal Swordfish torpedo attack that disabled the Bismarck’s rudder system, causing it to flounder, bought the Royal Navy time to catch up in force, and the Bismarck would be sunk. But not before weathering a pummeling from some of the Royal Navy’s heaviest hitters.

The Ark Royal succumbed after a torpedo attack in late 1941. The attack had left a gaping hole in the side of the carrier that widened with movement. Despite ship-saving measures the list that occurred was so stark that the abandon ship call had to be given. The list was 20 degrees when this call was given, and was at 27 degrees by the time the last of the crew had evacuated. Approximately 2 hours later the list had reached 45 degrees and the vessel capsized, rolling to 90 degrees and snapping in-two.

Saunders University High School

  • Ships Name: USS George Washington
  • Home port: Sasebo City, Nagasaki Prefecture
  • Ships Design: based on the United States Nimitz class aircraft carrier USS George Washington
101206-N-7103C-384.EAST CHINA SEA (Dec. 06, 2010) Sailors assigned to the Eagles of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115 move an F/A-18E Super Hornet on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73). George Washington is participating in Keen Sword 2010 with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force through Dec. 10. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David A. Cox/Released).

Commissioned on the 4th of July, 1992, the GW(Gee Dub) is a nuclear powered aircraft carrier that is still in service today. She has seen deployments in protection of USA during 9/11 in 2001 and subsequent deployments to the Persian Gulf. The GW garnered global attention in the late 2000’s for being the first US Navy nuclear-powered surface warship to be home-ported outside of the USA. Replacing the aging conventional Kitty Hawk in Yokosuka, Japan. The GW has contributed to the humanitarian efforts following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake in northern Japan, and the 2016 hurricane disaster in Haiti.

Kuromorimine Girls High School

The Graf Zeppelin never saw duty in service of Nazi Germany’s Kriegsmarine. Throughout the entirety of the war, it sat unfinished in the Baltic Sea with a care-taking crew on board. With Germany ready to fall in 1945, the caretakers scuttled the carrier. She would be raised by the USSR in 1946 and eventually used for target practice.

Anzio High School 

Image source The Aquila at the scrapyard.

The Aquila was a converted passenger liner. In her civilian life she was known as the SS Roma, and made trans-Atlantic voyages. She was in service as a passenger liner from 1926 to 1939, prior to her repurposing. Following her refitting, she never saw service to the Axis powers, despite being commandeered by the Kriegsmarine. She would later(1945) be sabotaged and scuttled by Italian special forces after Italy’s surrender in 1943. Later, the Aquila would be raised with the idea of repurposing her yet again, but instead was sent to the scrap yards.

Pravda High School

The namesake ship of the Kiev-class aircraft cruisers. The Kiev entered into the service of the USSR’s Soviet Navy in 1975. Given her short landing surface, she was primarily used for helicopters and VTOL-type aircraft. (VTOL=Vertical Take-off and Landing). But later received upgrades to accept some STOL-type aircraft as well. (STOL=Short Take-off and Landing).

The Kiev saw service during the USSR/Western countries Cold War, and at one point earned Fleet Flagship duties during exercises. Following the fall of the USSR, Russia claimed the aging vessel, but would soon after retire her. She would be sold to a Chinese firm and is now a museum ship at the Tianjin Binhai Aircraft Carrier Theme Park, in Tianjin, China

In pop-culture, the Kiev was mentioned in the 1990 cold-war movie The Hunt for Red October by character Jack Ryan. It was listed as one of the ships dispatched by Moscow to find the missing ballistic missile submarine.

Thoughts On Girls und Panzer

This series has been on my radar for about ten years, but I never gave it a go. I really had no idea what to expect going into it. I literally knew nothing more than it was an anime about school girls commanding tanks. Due to the frilly nature of these high school-type girly anime, It took a few episodes for me to get hooked. But once I did, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this was put together.

In the opening scenes of the first episode you get an action sequence where the animation looks quite CGI. It was almost off-putting. But perhaps it was the CGI tied with the bright and flashy war machines that just didn’t grab me. However, I am glad I stuck with it, because beyond that, the animation and art was really well done. Particularly in the battle scenes, which is what this is really all about right? There are a lot of first person scenes shown from the perspective of the individual tanks turrets or the the driver. They anime does a great job conveying things like speed and recoil in the action. It really is fun.

Aside from the obvious things like the usage of all manner of tanks from World War II history and beyond, there were a lot of things that added to the enjoy-ability of this show. For me, notably was the soundtrack. It was very upbeat, and consisted of military march pieces. These were significant to the country themes of the schools. For example: during the battle with Saunders Academy, one of the songs you hear predominantly during the battle is the U.S Field Artillery March. This caused me to laugh out loud. It fit perfectly because the US themed Saunders Academy uses American Sherman tanks. In fact the other schools have very fitting soundtracks as well. A Soviet themed school, Pravda, has a Russian sounding soundtrack. 

As a former military brat, Army/Air Force/Navy J.R.O.T.C.’er, band geek, Veteran, and all around student of history, I appreciate the work that was put in to this soundtrack. It really enhanced the experience.

Other things that added to this series for me were the tactics. Things like embedding tanks in snow banks or brush, city fight tactics, the use of pincer tactics, or just basic flanking maneuvers. It was all very well done, to me. The tanks that were on display were faithfully redesigned in anime form, right down to the tracks and bolts. Homework was definitely done to get it right. Even the minutia, like how tank commanders would communicate with their drivers inside loud war machines. Ie: kicking the drivers back or shoulders to indicate a course change/direction. This was explained early on in the anime, and it was a very nice touch.

The tournament that the girls compete in is set up like military wargame exercises. And the rules are basic. If a teams Flag Tank gets taken out, the other team wins. If a tank takes damage that would take it out of commission a white flag will comedically pop up from the tank, and from there that tank will be considered a wreck. Lesser damage is repairable on the fly. Things like a track break, can be repaired in the field. Things like a hull breach, or power-plant being destroyed will total the tank resulting in a white flag.

The tournament itself averages about one episode to an episode after the girls find their way. But one thing I did not get at the time was why they more or less skipped the contest with Anzio High School, the Italian themed school. In the series, they pretty much said “and then we fought Anzio, and won”. But then I learned that the Anzio battle was released in a longer OVA form. So I omitted Anzio and their tanks from this piece due to the fact that I did not have time to watch the ‘This is the Real Anzio’ OVA yet. So perhaps I will do an addendum to this entry at a later date. There are a handful of movies on top of the 4 OVA’s, with a final movie coming. So another look at Girls und Panzer is very likely.

It goes without saying at this point that I enjoyed this series a lot more than I was expecting to, and I would recommend it to anyone that is looking for a fun military style anime. Don’t let the frilly-ness steer you away. This is quite enjoyable. I am looking forward to checking out the OVA’s and movies when I have more time. But I will probably wait to watch the movies until the last one finally comes out. That way I can watch them all together.


An Ode to Hippo Team

If I was to pick my favorite tank crew in this series, the choice would hands-down be Hippo Team. The history buffs. There would be no challenge from the other teams or even other schools. Hippo Team are the only group of girls on Ōarai’s team that fit in the most with the whole idea of high school tank battles. They are well studied in historical battles, they regularly speak in quotes and references to battles and wars of centuries/decades-past(often in foreign languages), they dress the part, and they pretty much stand apart from the cutesy stuff that the other members of the Ōarai team portray.

This scene made me laugh hard. Actually, their whole dynamic makes me laugh. Apologize to the Finnish! [everyone bows].

Also, their mascot is a hippo that is more or less saying to everyone, “kiss my ass” with a big grin on it’s face. I would wear this on a t-shirt or a hat.

In the early stages of the series, when they first find their StuG III at the bottom of a lake, and after cleaning and painting it, they emblazoned “Veni, Vidi, Vici” on the front of the hull. The translation of this phrase is: “I came, I saw, I Conquered.” A confident quote attributed to Julius Caesar himself.

The girls nicknames are even references to historical figures.

  • Caesar: real name Takako Suzuki. Hippo’s second in command, as well as the loader. She gets her nickname from Julius Caesar. She wears a red roman style cloth.
  • Erwin: real name Riko Matsumoto. The teams commander. As mentioned above, Erwin gets her nickname from a German Field Marshall. She wears a military peaked hat and field jacket.
  • Saemonza: real name Kiyomi Sugiyama. Hippo’s gunner. She gets her nickname from Sanada Nobushige(or Sanada Yukimura). A famed samurai warrior who fought in many historic battles including Sekigahara and two sieges on Osaka Castle. She wears his symbol on her headband.
  • Oryō: real name Takeko Nogami: The StuG III driver. She gets her nickname from Narasaki Ryō, who was the wife of legendary Samurai Sakamoto Ryoma. She wears a Japanese Haori with symbols very similar to Sakamoto Ryoma’s symbol.

One YouTube user made this awesome AMV about Hippo Team and their StuG, set to Sabaton’s Art of War. Sabaton is one of my favorite bands and an absolute epic live show. If you are not familiar, their music is all about war history. From the Romans to the Blitzkrieg to the Samurai, and all over from there. They have covered it all.

I look forward to seeing more of Hippo team in the remaining OVA’s and movies when I actually can sit down and check them out.

Thanks for reading!

Images in this article without sources(including the cover image) were all screecaps obtained from here

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]

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All of these are true except for one:

Robert is: a Hobbyist, a Music Lover, an RPG Gamer, a Mustard Lover, Chaotic Neutral, a Japanese Speaker, a Veteran, an Otaku, a Table Tennis Player, an Anime Fan, an Aviation Professional, a New York Rangers Fan, a Chaos Lover With Loyalist Tendencies.

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