It's been a long, long wait since before Christmas, but now at last we're ready to be regaled with the closing episodes of Girls und Panzer.
Having left us hanging not too far into Oorai's national final against Kuromorimine, we return to the action with a bang - quite literally. With a disadvantage in terms of both numbers and firepower, Miho is going to have to play smart rather than strong to have any hope of winning this particular battle, and luckily she's prepared to do just that. Cue the copious use of smokescreens and ambush tactics to both play to Oorai's own strengths and their opponents weaknesses, retreating when required and setting themselves up to attack only when the conditions are favourable towards them.
As the tide looks to very slowly but surely turn in Oorai's favour, Miho is revisited by an old spectre as an attempt to cross a river goes awry for one of her team's tanks. Faced once again with the decision that saw her banished from her family's team, there's little hesitation this time around when it comes to doing what needs to be done, and thanks to the help of all involved the group escape before their opponents catch up to them. From here, it's onwards to the town and some urban warfare, although Kuromorimine have a distinctly powerful surprise in store for their opponents...
It is perhaps over-blowing the quality of this episode, but my heart tells me that this penultimate installment of Girls und Panzer is nigh-on perfect - its tank-based action looks as great as ever, the tactics deployed are fascinating, the key characters pull through to add something to proceedings (be it drama, emotion or comedy) and the sense of tension and the competitive edge as events unfold is palpable. In short, this is everything that made me fall utterly in love with this series in a nutshell, and it's great to see that the intervening months haven't dulled its proverbial blade. Roll on the finale!