The Ooarai Tankery team has themselves a new tank, and some new and inexperienced "troops" to pilot it - just in time for their semi-final match-up against the might Pravda at the national tournament!
Before that however, there's still time to prepare for this latest battle, and with the lottery used to choose locations effectively granting Pravda a home tie in their own snowy countryside it's clearly going to be a tough match in terms of both skill and physical endurance. On top of it all it seems that the student council has something that they want to discuss with Miho, although when push comes to shove they simply can't bring themselves to say it - clearly not good news then....
After Miho plans out her tactics for the big match, given that her own team are again at a major numerical disadvantage, she finds herself effectively over-ruled by her comrades in the build-up to the showdown - while Miho favours a cautious approach her team-mates, buoyed by their previous victory against Anzio and an excess of self-confidence and belief, want to go on all-out attack - something that Miho perhaps gives in to a little too easily. As a result, Ooarai go for the jugular from the outset, and seem to have their opponents on the back foot as they take out a couple of tanks and put them on the run... of course, "seem" is the opposite word here, as they eventually run straight into an ambush that leaves them surrounded and eventually penned into retreating into a single building while taking some substantial damage under a barrage. It appears that the game is up, and Miho is ready to throw in the towel, but as the student council finally speak up it quickly becomes clear that this simply won't be possible. Welcome to Stalingrad, Girls und Panzer style.
Now that we're back to the action, we also get to witness a complete return to form for the series - as soon as the tanks roll out we're treated to a real triumph of smart tactics and well-realised and rendered movement and action from the tanks, offset nicely with a helping of comedy and a bit of drama to keep the whole thing well-oiled and ticking over nicely. That a show can be utterly daft on the one hand yet tense and compelling on the other is an impressive juggling match of elements, and it's what makes Girls und Panzer what it is once you bolt it onto a clear love of the hardware and military history behind the mechanics of the show. It still amazes me that this show has become one of my favourites of the season, and I'm sure as Hell going to be sad when it's over.