Panzer Vor! Girls und Panzer is a popular anime in Japan about girls coming of age by participating in a martial art known as Tankery.
The 12-episode TV series has recently been released by Sentai Filmworks with an all new English audio recording and is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD, and an OVA (original video animation) Specials collection is due to release February 25.
“You may have heard of kung fu, but the girls at Oarai Academy practice gun-fu – really, really BIG gun-fu, in fact. It’s called Tankery, and it’s the martial art of operating armored tanks! And even though the Tankery program at Oarai has been defunct for years, the student council has taken a sudden interest in the art and no one they set their sights on is safe.
Which is how Miho Nishizumi, who transferred to Oarai specifically to stay out of tanks, gets drafted to join the newly revived Tankery divison. But it’s not all bad, because joining her in Team Anglerfish are her new found friends Saori, the highly receptive radio operator; Hana, a flower arranger turned gunner; Mako, their brilliant, but chronically sleepy driver; and combustible tank fangirl and loader Yukari. They may not be on the half-track to fame and fortune, and maybe some of them would rather shop for tank tops than become tops in tanks, but once their focus is locked and loaded, they’re absolutely driven. It’s mad, it’s metal and mayhem is guaranteed! It’s GIRLS UND PANZER!”
Girls und Panzer is a fun romp into a world where high schools operate aboard aircraft carriers and tank operation and battles are treated as martial arts. In the series, tankery is a girls’ sport and is said to cultivate politeness, gracefulness, modesty, and gallantry. The juxtaposition between cute and military is a strange combination at first, but it works after viewing just a few minutes of this anime. Through their adventures, the characters learn about friendship, facing tough challenges, good sportsmanship, as well as vintage tank tactics and hardware.
The tanks are based on real life World War II tanks so fans of military history will have a fun time seeing Miho’s Panzer IV battling the other tank teams T-34’s, M4 Shermans, Tigers and more. Tankery isn’t deadly, but it is as dangerous as any other martial art can be. Each tankery team that is encountered personifies (and stereotypes) the different countries from which their tanks are from. The Saunders Girls High School operates M4 Shermans and is brash, loud, friendly, and come in great numbers. The St. Gloriana Girls Academy is proper, enjoy a good spot of tea, and run Matilda and Churchill tanks. You get the idea.
Takaaki Suzuki, the same military advisor that worked on Strike Witches, lends his knowledge to this series but don’t mistake the two. While they do feature similar cute meets military themes, the Girls und Panzer story and development are quite different from that of Strike Witches, in a positive way. Fans of the original Japanese version of the series should know that due to certain licensing issues, the Russian language song Katyusha that had been prominently featured in one of the episodes, has been disappointedly edited out of the English language release.
The Girls Und Panzer TV series is currently available on Blu-ray and DVD. The series runs about 300 minutes and includes 12 episodes and special features.
A separate 6-episode Girls Und Panzer Ova Specials will debut February 25, 2014 and is currently available for pre-order. The OVAs feature more adventures of Team Anglerfish, ranging from a tour inside the depths of the aircraft carrier to their misadventures during a camping trip. It runs 74 minutes long.
Images and Video: Sentai Filmworks