Thursday, 11 October 2012

GIRLS und PANZER - Episode 1

There are few cooler human inventions in this world than tanks.... so how about a series featuring cute girls driving, err, cute tanks?

That said, it seems that the protagonist of Girls und Panzer really wants to stay as war away from tanks as possible, and despite some rousing opening scenes as we watch some female tank-driving teams trying to outmanoeuvre one another, we're quickly brought back to earth by following the clumsy yet cheerful Miho Nishizumi as she embarks upon her life as a high school student.  Despite being the only girl from her particular neck of the woods at her new school, luckily for her she soon makes a couple of close friends in the form of Saori Takebe and Hana Isuzu, who duly take their new buddy into their charge.

However, even these bonds of friendship are quickly put under strain once the school's student council enter the scene, insisting to Miho that she take up "Tankery" on account of the heritage of her family as accomplished tank drivers.  Of course, this is exactly the pastime that Nishizumi joined this school to avoid, and things only become worse as her friends become enthralled by a promotional video inviting as many girls as possible to join the school's Tankery club as an elective subject.  Even when her friends swallow their ambitions to support Miho, the student council are having none of it, and ultimately it seems that our heroine has no choice but to become a tank driver once more - a high-pressure decision for her, as the only person with any kind of experience in the Tankery group.

In spite of its utterly daft premise (made even more insane by the final establishing shot which closes out this first episode), this opening gambit for Girls und Panzer actually seemed kind of fun. Some of its elements are as bizarre as its concept - Nazi girl, half-missing glasses moe and all - and its slice of life aspects are sickly sweet, but there's some real promise in its "girls and tanks" idea underneath it all, and moments like those opening scenes and the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek Tankery propaganda video sold me on what this series could offer on top of some pretty and colourful animation.  Hopefully there are some fun times ahead, and even if all else fails - well, tanks are still cool.

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