Nobody likes traffic jams
Girls und Panzer may definitely be the surprise of the season. And while it’s easy to classify it as “Cute girls driving big tanks” I think it’s really moving a bit past that. The humor is really off the chart, but not because it’s all set up, or standard jokes, but because it’s realistically ludicrous. They treat this whole thing as if it’s the most normal thing for girls to do, but they still act with awe and wonder at what they’re actually doing. And of course, they’re Japanese high school girls, in sailor fuku, driving tanks around and shooting at each other! Just go with it!
You might not enjoy it as much as Hana, but you’ll still enjoy the show if you just go with it.
Since there’s not too much analysis in this show, let’s try a humorous recapping of the plot! This week starts off where last one ended, with the Panzer IV bearing down on a sleeping figure in the grass as they’re being chased by all the rest of the teams. It turns out to be Mako Reizei, the lethargic late girl that Miho helped to school. Somehow she hops up on the tank moving full speed, and then Saori pops up and says “Oh, it’s you Mako. You’re supposed to have class.” She hops in with the rest, because it’s dangerous outside the tank, don’tcha know…
But the IV runs into a rickety suspension bridge that’s their only escape route, and as Hana’s trying to drive them across it, she veers and snaps a cable, and then they get partially hit, knocking Hana out. Just about when Miho’s gonna fall on the sword and try driving, Mako jumps into the driver’s seat and gets them moving! Sure! No problem, she’s got a manual for it! With that, the IV decides to go on offense, first taking out (Famous Generals) Team C in the StuG, then (Volleyball) Team B in the Type 89, and finally the 38(t) of the Student Council’s Team E. In an attempt to retreat, the geeky girls of Team D in the M3 get stuck in the mud and break a track, immobilizing themselves, so Team A wins! Go Nishizumi Style!
Afterwards, in a celebratory bath, they decide to mix up the positions in the tank. Saori the radio op, Hana as the gunner, and Yukari as the loader, and they convice Miho that she should be the Commander, even though she’s not sure about it. That just leaves a driver, but Mako says nope, she’s taking Calligraphy… until Saori mentions that she doesn’t have enough credits to get promoted to the next year, and the Sensha-do class gets bonus credits. Realizing she needs the extra credit, Mako agrees to be the driver. And to celebrate finalizing their team, they go to a… department store! (wait, what?) Well, you gotta accessorize your new tank, with some cushions and maybe some slippers, and air fresheners, and some water bottles. But Yukari puts her foot down at painting the tank.
And then we find that the other teams all painted their tanks! Pink! Gold! Red and Yellow! The Volleyball team went a little understated with just some pictures of volleyballs, tho. And to move things along, they set up a real match with another school for this weekend! But they have to be at the school at 6 AM, and 6 is just too early for Mako to get up (of course, Yukari has to point out that’s when they have to BE there, so she has to get up earlier), so Mako quits on the spot. Been nice driving with you girls, but no way. Saori has to step in and remind her that she’ll fail, have to repeat the grade, AND call her “Senpai”, and while Mako’s struggling to say ‘senpai’, the coup de grace: Her grandma will be mad. That does it, Mako stays.
Now, the last thing to do is to come up with an overall strategy for their fight against Saint Gloriana. And they decide that Miho should be the overall force commander! Miho reluctantly accepts, and helps determine the strategy, although Momo gets annoyed at anyone questioning her planning. If they win, Miho will get a great prize (if you’re the kaichou), but if they lose, she has to dance the Ankou Dance, which is apparently the most embarrassing thing ever. In solidarity, the rest of Team A pledges to do the dance with her if they lose. Now they just need to get Mako to the match on time!
We just came to pick you up…
But it’s not easy. To get her there, it’s an all out effort by Team A. Saori tries to wake Mako up, but she’s not budging. Yukari comes by with a bugle, but that doesn’t do it… until the Panzer IV rolls up outside the window and *BA-BLAM!* THAT gets her up! They then have an impromptu parade down the street, which is just surreal, giant tank rumbling by stores, obaa-san’s coming out “Oh, a Panzer IV, it’s been a while since I’ve seen one of them”, people wishing them luck. And apparently to have a match, the giant ship they are on docks at their home port of Oarai. And remember how huge their ship is? About 5 KM long and 1.5 KM wide for the deck? Well, it’s small compared to Saint Gloriana’s, which looks to be about 2 to 3 times bigger! And it’s a big event for the town, which has set up viewing stations in the city to watch the match. Next week, we get the fight!
I mentioned the OP and ED last week, well, the ED got a little more special. While last week it was chibi-Team A in the Panzer IV bouncing along in their chibi tank, this week it’s chibi Team E in their chibi 38(t)! And the song is really growing on me, cute and poppy, and always with the image of a little tank bopping along.
The only bad this week is that they basically had to extort Mako into being the driver and then again into not qutting. Hopefully she’ll get with the program, and be more dedicated.
No ugly this week, but we’re getting that fight that we saw for the cold open of Episode 1 next week, which might mean a return of that horrible CG texturing that was so tough to look at. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson.