Anime Review: Girls und Panzer

girls und panzer anime

When you think of the armored death machine known as the tank, you can’t help but think of high school girls. Okay, that’s probably the last thing you’d expect, but that didn’t stop Japan from basing an anime series around that novel idea. As Girls und Panzer shows, maybe they were on to something….

Year: 2012-2013
Length: 12 Episodes + 6 Episode OVA
Genre: Military, School, Slice of Life

Despite the fact that her family has a history in panzerfahren, Miho Nishizumi no longer has any interest in it. Due to the fact that they don’t have a panzerfahren course, she enrolls at Oarai Girls High School. So imagine her dismay when the Student Council tells her that the Ministry of Education has ordered high schools and universities throughout Japan to strengthen panzerfahren education. You see, the panzerfahren world cup is taking place in Japan in a few years, so a proactive approach is being taken to ensure success. Miho has desperately tried to avoid a situation like this, but now that it’s a required elective, how will she deal with the sticky situation?

girls und panzer characters

To me, slice of life anime are enjoyable, but after a while, it often starts to feel as if I’ve already seen all of these shows before. After all, you can only have so many shows taking place in school before it just gets tiring. Thankfully, Girls und Panzer isn’t exactly your typical slice of life, and the tank action adds plenty of excitement. There’s a surprising amount of combat, and even though it’s not overly extraordinary or anything, it serves as a welcome change-up from what we might normally get from shows like these.

Like a lot of anime, you can just go ahead and throw logic out the window. “Why is this school situated on a giant aircraft carrier?”, “Why are these girls sticking their heads out of the tank with live rounds exploding everywhere?”, “Who lets teenage girls commandeer tanks without adult supervision?”; like many other mysteries, there are no answers to these questions. All that said, these are some of the headscratchers that add to the entertainment factor and make this more interesting than it sounds.

Even with the inclusion of tank fighting, the plot feels familiar in certain ways, yet it’s still pretty entertaining, so I’m not complaining~

Miho, Saori, Hana, Mako, and Yukari form the main group of girls, and while they’re a fairly nice bunch, I felt like Miho and Hana didn’t contribute as much entertainment as the other three did. Miho’s your stereotypical main character, and even though she’s a tank wiz, I just plain didn’t find her as interesting as many of the other girls in this show. Hana is similar, but I’d almost go as far as to say that I found her borderline boring. Saori was a bit more charismatic, even though she fell well short of the remaining two main characters, Mako and Yukari.

Yukari’s the resident tank fanatic whose extreme enthusiasm brings some excitement to the group. She’s perhaps the most colorful of the main girls, and when you throw Mako into the mix, things get even better. Due in no small part to her perpetual sleepiness and overall disdain for mornings, she’s my favorite character. Her pessimistic attitude is easy for me to like, and she certainly helped to improve my impression of the main group.

girls und panzer mako

There’s some good and bad mixed in there, but where Girls und Panzer really comes up aces is with the many memorable supporting characters. Anzu, Erwin, Katyusha, Kay, and Momo are a few that stood out to me; and they’re a big part of why I enjoyed the show so much. They don’t get as much screen time as the other characters, but they definitely make the most of their opportunities.

Despite the fact that the tanks are rendered in CG, I don’t think things look especially awkward or too out of place amongst everything else, most of the time. The many panzer battles wouldn’t look out of place in a more serious military action anime, which speaks well of how the scenes were handled. It’s not the best-looking anime you’ll ever see, but the visuals are sufficient enough to get the job done.

^^ Besides the catchy themes, the music has a nice militaristic vibe that fits in perfectly with this show. A very nice touch was the inclusion of military-themed songs that represent the various schools. The Battle Hymn of the Republic was great to hear, but undoubtedly, my audio highlight had to be Katyusha. Having Katyusha and Nonna actually singing it was great, even though some native Russian speakers might complain of the tiny tyrant’s performance. Nevertheless, that song is probably something that will stick with me for quite a while. The music, in addition to some quality voice acting and tank sound effects, helps make for an overall solid listening experience, in my opinion.

Like Binbougami ga!, Kill la Kill, and other shows that have received reviews here, there isn’t any actual yuri in this anime. Yeah, I know. The reason this is getting a review in the first place is because it’s so easy to ship the various girls with one another, which harkens back to the final type of yuri. Miho x Yukari, Mako x Sodoko, and Katyusha x Nonna are but a few of the possibilities that aren’t too hard to imagine. It’s obviously not all that much, but it is something, I guess.

Sitting in a sweet spot as an action-heavy slice of life anime, Girls und Panzer has the military chops to appeal to action fans, all the while keeping a strong cute girls doing cute things vibe that blends together quite well.

SOUND: 7.5

girls und panzer anime


25 thoughts on “Anime Review: Girls und Panzer

  1. Have you looked into Hai-Furi? Similar premises but with naval ships. Much of the people behind Pander are involved, same large number of possible ships without actual yuri…

    But as you said, it’s another slice of life. Not sure if the novelty can hold it together when it’s quite similar to an older show.


      • There’s nothing wrong with that, so don’t worry about it.

        I watched the first episode, and I wasn’t especially enamored with it. Maybe that’s not enough of a sample size to judge it properly, but considering that I haven’t had the time to really watch many full-length episodes of any show this season, it was probably inevitable that I would miss some.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, okay, cool.

          Maybe having only one episode is a bit too small of a sample size, yes, but I also felt like Hai-Furi! failed to deliver the first few episodes.

          I hope you can manage to make some time to watch some shows this season. Real life is the hardest game.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I’m actually watching this one, so maybe there will be a review of this one as well, though done by me and not by Rock.

        However, I’m stuck at episode 4. Let’s hope for the best 😛

        Liked by 1 person

    • “Slice of Life”

      what….just what?

      The show has its “Sllce of life” moments yeah, but there’s very much a strong plot going throughout, and the naval battles…


      • If Rock considers Girls und Panzer to fall under the Slice of Life umbrella, then I think Hai-Furi! would be in the same boat (heh).

        You’re right, though, SoL is definitely not the dominant genre for Hai-Furi!


      • I think a show can have elements of multiple genres and can be considered any/all of those, so those labels can be misleading.

        For the show info, I usually just refer to MyAnimeList and go with whatever it’s listed on there~


  2. “Why is this school situated on a giant aircraft carrier?”, “Why are these girls sticking their heads out of the tank with live rounds exploding everywhere?”, “Who lets teenage girls commandeer tanks without adult supervision?”;
    It’s been too long, but the show explains this.
    They’re not live rounds, you should watch the .5 episodes, but I think they even said as much in the normal episodes
    There are adults watching over it. The show doesn’t really focus on that as much though (because who really cares to see adults all that much in this sort of show?)

    There, I answered those questions that you said were “unanswered”.

    The yuri is real tho. Especially when you take into account all the side mangas etc. Which ARE canon. Still, if you just watch the show, then yeah, it’s not much.


  3. I read the manga and really liked it, guess I will give the anime a shot.
    Anyone read the Ribbon Warrior spin off of this? It’s got a bit more yuri. And a foot thing.


  4. Patiently waiting for the movie to get subbed. I need more badass tank battles featuring cute and sexy quirky drivers. Some nice ships on the show but not as strong as in other shows. Still, what we got to work with was acceptable. My main girl is Hana.


  5. I love this anime soo much, and whats amazing is that the spin-off manga by Nanashiro Gorou and Seisaku Linkai is yuri


  6. Hey, Rock! Huh. One of my favorite anime on yurireviews! why hadn’t I seen this earlier? This show combines two of my hobbies: scale models of WWII vehicles and anime (so naturally, strike witches, arpeggio, and kancolle are clear shoe ins).

    I really love the animation here but for a completely different reason than mentioned previously: all the nuts, bolts, pioneer tools, tank controls, hatches are as historically accurate as they can be. Even the nuts and bolts on the underside of the Panzer IV as it goes over the camera in the intro appears to be correct! And they get so much right: loaders use a closed fist to push a new round into the breach so that the breach block doesn’t take their fingers off when it closes, many American tanks like the M3 Lee and M4 Sherman use a gunner operated foot trigger, the horizontal differential steering levers in the 38 (t), in the movie, the BT-42 uses the christie suspensions system that makes use of driven road wheels… the list goes on but I’ll stop here because you probably have that glazed look on your face that I seem to get all too often. =P

    There are a couple of little niggles: you can’t slap an armored upper hull to a 38(t) chassis and running gear to make it into a hetzer as the hetzer was widened and most of the tanks depicted don’t move as fast as they do in the show, but hey, they’re cute girls driving tanks on a giant oversized aircraft carrier, so i can live with it.

    I can’t wait for the second season, which I think has been green-lit. Perhaps the only way to make this series better is to have more overt yuri so I can put away the mil-spec yuri goggles. *sigh* suffice it to say, I’m a special kind of nerd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I like it when you have a tv show/movie/anime/game/whatever that’s centered around a specific topic and the creators themselves are big fans of that topic.

      It sounds like that’s the case here, and I think that, generally, those projects are treated as a labor of love and authenticity is an important part of it. Maybe only a small percentage of people will actually notice the small details, but those people will probably appreciate the attention to detail.

      Whether it’s a second season or another movie, I’m just glad that they’re coming back~

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s