Ok back from watching the E3 Nintendo Direct let’s look at some anime.
So… Sports stories are a thing. You have your usual tales, the lead was from a school that takes it waaay too seriously and got disenfranchised despite being good. Judgmental parent who was an icon of the sport, a group of underdogs facing vastly more seasoned opponents with the very school on the line if they don’t win the tournament. Ok that’s all here… but what if the sport was war games involving actual tanks.
First coming out in 2012, Girls und Panzer is an anime and manga franchise about a fictional sport called sensha-dō or tankery as it’s called in the dub. It involves the maintaining of WW2 era tanks for use in a sort of war game sport. Also their girls’ schools are on big ass air craft carriers for a reason that is offhand addressed later on but it’s not important.
Miho Nishizumi arrives at Ōarai Girls High School to try and get away from some traumatic experience involving tankery. We learn she is from a family famous for tankery, but her plans are crushed when the student council (which you know in anime is all powerful) use her as a means to try and restart their schools tankery team. Reluctant at first her quickly growing group of friends helps pull her into it as she’s the only one with real experience.
What follows is a surprisingly close example of what you think of with a sports story. Which I found surprising given said sports was all girl teams driving tanks (as don’t worry I don’t recall any gratuitous scenes of fan service so no long up skirt shots). As I pointed out there’s more going on to the student council’s desire to win the tournament than just a whim on a famous family member showing up. There’s also more to the characters themselves. While we do meet the varied personalities of the other tank teams (and not just the ones of the protag school) we learn more what drives the members of Miho’s team, bits about their families as their friendship grows over the course of the tournament.
This does lead to the climax of Miho facing off against her old school being watched by her judgmental mother combining a personal goal and a school goal together for a somewhat suspenseful climax. But it is also the underdog story which is made clear multiple times as they face off against very much better armed opponents, though also does a good job of working out how to overcome them.
The tank battles are a very good watch as they work out and enact strategies and counter strategies which puts it above many of your standards sports anime which would have to come up with some (profanity) super powers to make it more interesting. Nope none of that here, no magical bond with the tanks. Nope it’s the story of an underdog team facing off against the best with strategy and tanks.
The series seems to be popular given there is a movie and even additional extra episodes and maybe I’ll look into them, was rather cute and yeah I enjoyed seeing them overcome superior equipped and numbered opponents. Just a shame we couldn’t get the Russian song in and have to do with the Tetris song.