Panzer Vor! a tank nerd’s anime

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Al Curle, Staff Writer

The barrel of a tank’s cannon protrudes into frame where a formation of far away tanks can be seen. This scene is broken by a couple of anime girls in skirts climbing into the tank whose cannon was pointed at the formation. This juxtaposition of high school girls and battling armored vehicles is the driving force behind this show, Girls Und Panzer

Unlike sixth grade me, I am not an avid anime watcher, however, I have for all of my life loved tanks, so this show struck a chord with me. The creators of this show have repeatedly said that they, too, have a love for these vehicles as well. The models are meticulously replicated and historically accurate inside and out. 

For tank nerds, like yours truly, this is a dream. So rarely do tank nerds and history nerds get a show aimed at us that isn’t a Fury style gritty action movie or a documentary with 80-year-old war footage. It’s so refreshing to get a lighthearted, if a little cookie cutter, show with a couple of movies.

For all but the main team (yes this is a high school sport with teams), the teams are based off of a combatant in the second world war. The sport is called Tankwondo 

Saunders is the American team, Saint Gloriana’s is the British team, Pravda is the Russian team, and there are a bunch more all of whom are complete stereotypes of their nation and drive vehicles from that nation.

The main team is a modge podge of German, American, Japanese, British, and French tanks which somehow, with tons of plot armor, is a functioning team led by the main character, Nishizumi Miho. 

Miho is an interesting character as she both has great experience in the sport but, in the beginning at least, is very reluctant to participate. To avoid as many spoilers as I can, I’ll leave it there.

My favorite character, and absolute spirit animal, is Akiyama Yukari who is a nerd about tanks so much that she had no friends, same. Her room is shown midway through the series during some of the main crew’s antics (involving some friendly espionage), and Yukari’s room is my dream.

Her room is littered with model tanks, a German 88 millimeter flak round, and posters with tank aces. If you’re a tank nerd, you can go frame by frame gawking at all the memorabilia and models. It would be my dream room if I had the time to paint all those models.

While Yukari’s room of tanks galore is amazing, the plot has to be talked about. The plot is the standard sports competition plot and, while not terrible, is certainly not the drive to watch the show. They have to save their school from being shut down and to do so they have to be the champions in Tankwondo. In the end good guys win and the bad guys lose; it’s truly not the drive of the show.

The tanks are the main attraction; you come to this show to watch tanks do tank things and for some absurd anime logic. The lackluster plot doesn’t take away from the show’s worth because the plot isn’t why you watch the show.

Overall, if you love tanks and armored vehicles, like me, then you’ll enjoy this show whether you’re an avid anime watcher or someone who’s never watched anime before. Just remember to use subtitles, dubs are for the weak.

4.5 out of 5 paws