It's game on for Ooarai Girls Academy's first practice match against the tankery experts and obsessive tea drinkers of St. Gloriana Women's Academy - given their proclivities, you'd almost think they were British or something!
As soon as the match starts, so begins "Operation Sneaky Sneaks" (so named by team commander Miho), in an attempt to make up for the group's lack of experience and the strength of their hardware by, as the name suggests, being sneaky and luring their opponents into a trap. While this looks set to work well enough, the marksmanship of Miho's fellow tank teams is such that the tables are quickly turned, leaving Ooarai's team outflanked and seeing them lose a couple of their vehicles in short order.
Given this disadvantage, Miho decides that it's time to play some guerilla tactics, making the best use of their home turf to try and turn the tide by darting into the town itself and using their knowledge of the area to arrange ambushes wherever possible - something that, amazingly, the residents seem to rather enjoy even when their homes and workplaces are being half destroyed by the tanks marauding around the streets. While this tactic is effective to some degree, ultimately it's only Nishizumi's team left standing in a final, desperate face-off. With the match over, there's time for some short (and rather shoehorned in) family drama surrounding Hana and her mother, before we head off to a national tournament and hopefully more hot tank-on-tank action!
If I came into this series finding it impossible to envisage how GIRLS und PANZER would work, now I can see why - taken at face value it's totally bonkers, with tanks tearing up and down residential streets and laying waste to everything. Embrace this insanity however and this episode was a fantastic advertisement for what this series can do - its tank battle was in turns fascinating and scintillating to watch all the way through to its dramatic climax, while the unfolding action also made for some hilarious moments thanks to the show's ability not to take itself too seriously. In short, this is a perfect recipe for top-notch entertainment, and it seems like there'll only be more to come with the show making a point of fast-forwarding through any domestic drama to keep its focus on those fighting machines and the deployment thereof. Great stuff.