Girls und Panzer
|Girls und Panzer|
Girls und Panzer is a 2012 anime released by ACTAS studios as part of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's propaganda campaign to make the JSDF seem sexy to young losers. Featuring the typical same-faced moe school girls and high-school setting, it might be mistakable for any other anime were it not for the addition of MOTHERFUCKING TANKS. Due to the inclusion of said tanks this show has reached a unprecedented cult-fan following. See /ak/ for more details.
It's not about anime-crazy tanks either: each of the featured vehicles is a CGI/cellshade rendering of a WWII-era war machine. Though it's debatable as to its level of accuracy to the real vehicles, the performance of each vehicle is generally close enough to real that the show is essentially normal-ville with steel treads and high-caliber guns.
The anime features 12 episodes and an OVA, with a further 6 OVA's of dubious value and a charming sub-series called Yukari's Tank Corner. In the summer of 2015 a sequel movie (with accompanying OVA) was released, and plans are in the works for a six-episode theatrical release of a second season. The series has additional manga accompaniment ranging from honest supplement materiel to barely concealed yuri-fests.
It also doesn't hurt the popularity of the series that in Asia, it has blended together with World of Tanks. There are official model products with GuP characters depicted on the box art, with decals from the show, as well as various ingame GuP-related DLC items.
The World of Girls und PanzerEdit
GuP's alternate timeline is very similar to our own, with a few major exceptions; firstly, simulated tank combat is an extremely popular sport for girls of all ages, and second that most major high schools are built on to gigantic travelling city- ships. The justification for the first conceit is that, in the post-Versailles years of the 1920s, the German government reframed tank training as an educational activity for young women to throw international observers off the trail of their growing rearmaments program. The idea stuck and apparently persisted well though World War 2, which happened as it did in our world, and the sport of Sensha-dou (a somewhat untranslatable pun -- it literally means "the way of the tank", analogous to e.g. kendo : "the way of the sword" -- officially translated as "tankery", also called "Panzerkraft" in some fan translations) is common to this day. Sensha-dou is seen as a valuable sport teaching teamwork, honour, tactical and mechanical skills, and gentlewomanly professionalism. In practice, what this means is that grade schoolers get to drive tankettes around and by the time they've hit university they're piloting 1950s-era heavy tanks like sportscars. Talk about a /k/ommando's dream world. (Also, while everyone talks about sensha-dou teaching valuable character traits to young women, it's still a high-stakes high school sport, with all of the attendant pressures from overbearing parents, government interference, and high-school drama.)
The second conceit, that all schools are built on city-sized aircraft carriers (large enough to have their own geography) is a little bit less well-explained. Apparently these ships are crewed primarily by students, with different students assigned to roles like engine maintenance, navigation, hydroponics, etc. Each school is functionally self-sufficient, though most have a home city where they have frequently dock, and they make regular trips around their home regions.
Ooarai Girls Academy
The school of our protagonists, in contrast to the other schools in the show; Ooarai does not theme itself after a specific country and fields a variety of vehicles. By the end of the show, the Sensha-dou club is made up of nine vehicles and crews:
- Anglerfish Team: the main characters, crewing a Panzer IV (initially an Ausf.D but later upgraded to an Ausf.F2 and finally to an Ausf.H by the end of the show)
- Turtle Team: the student council, crewing a Panzer 38 (t) and later on, a Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer
- Duck Team: the volleyball team, crewing a Type 89 I-Go
- Hippo Team: the history club, crewing a Stug III Ausf.F
- Rabbit Team: the freshmen, crewing an M3 Lee
- Mallard Team: the public morals committee, crewing a Char B1 bis
- Anteater Team: hardcore gamers that met online, crewing a Type-3 Chi-Nu
- Leopon Team: the automotive club, crewing a VK 4501 Porsche Tiger
- Shark Team: some sailors that hang out at Bar Donzoko, crewing a Mark IV Tank Male
St. Gloriana Girls College
The British school, its characters embody English stereotypes including lady like conduct and a love of tea. Unlike Ooarai, their are no specific teams, just a handful of characters and their vehicles, this will be the same for all other schools.
- Darjeeling and her leftenants: the command unit, crewing a Churchill Mark VII
- Rukuriri: face of the canon fodder, crewing an Matilda Mk.III
- Rosehip: the odd one out and resident speed freak, crewing a Crusader Mk.III
Saunders University High School
The American school, its characters embody American stereotypes ranging from love of food to being bombastic. They are also a very wealthy school, and as such field a very large number of tanks (reflecting American WW2 doctrine).
- Kay: team commander, crewing an M4 Sherman
- Alisa: dirty cheater, crewing an M4 Sherman
- Naomi: 1337 sniper, crewing a Sherman Firefly
Anzio Girls High School
The Italian team, and butt of all jokes. They embody Italian stereotypes ranging from military incompetence to love of pasta and naps. They are a very poor school, and most of the team members don't take Shensha-dou seriously, much to the frustration of their commander.
- Anchovy: Il Duce, crewing a Carro Armato P40
- Carpaccio: quiet sweety pie, crewing a Semovente da 75/18
- Pepperoni: fiery and easy going and a good cook, crewing a Carro Veloce CV.33
Pravda Girls High School
The Russian team, they embody Soviet stereotypes such as love of gulags and heavy armor. Their commander is the real star of the show with every other character being pretty underwhelming.
- Katyusha: loli Stalin, crewing a T-34-85
- Nonna: wants to be Katyusha's mommy, crewing an IS-2
- Nina: stronger than you, crewing a KV-2
- Klara: introduced in the movie and pretends to only speak Russian, crewing a T-34-85
Kuromorimine Girls Academy
The German team, they embody German stereotypes such as being humorless and efficient. Seen as one of the strongest teams in all of Shensa-dou, and the final boss of the main anime.
- Maho: the leader/guide, crewing a Panzer VI Tiger Ausf.E
- Erika: a freakin dork who should be bullied lovingly, crewing a Tiger II Ausf.B
- Koume: introduced in the movie, crewing a Panzer V Panther Ausf.G
The Japanese team, they embody Japanese stereotypes such as honor and Banzai charges. Introduced in the movie, they will die with honor... 天皇陛下万歳!
- Kinuyo: commander who cannot conceive of any alternative to charging head first into the enemy, crewing a Type 97 Chi-Ha
- Haru: quick to anger, crewing a Type 97 Chi-Ha
- Hosomi: has a weird hair style, crewing a Type 97 Chi-Ha
- Fukuda: try hard who just wants to impress her senpais, crewing a Type 95 Ha-Go
Jatkosota High School
The Finnish school, they embody Finnish stereotypes such as being weird and loving the sauna. Only have one vehicle and have a reputation of being thieves. Introduced in the movie.
- Mika, Akki, and Mikko: yeah that's it they're pretty bullshit overpowered actually, crewing a BT-42
All-Stars University Team
The Cold War America team, technically not in the same league as the other schools since they are university students, but compete against a coalition team made up of all the aforementioned high school teams during the Girls und Panzer movie.
- Alice: is totally of college age trust me, crewing a Centurion Mk.I
- The Bermuda Trio: three girls each commanding their own vehicle, those vehicles being M26 Pershings
BC Freedom High School
The French school (there's technically another one called Maginot Girls Academy but they're less interesting). Embody French stereotypes such as arrogance and civil unrest. Introduced in the supposed finale of the series.
- Marie: aloof aristocratic commander likes cake, crewing a Renault FT-17
- Oshida: part of the elitist faction, crewing an ARL-44
- Andou: part of the proletariat faction, crewing SOMUA S35
There are several minor schools mentioned in some way or another in the show or the manga, unfortunately there isn't as much to talk about as the other teams, but we'll see what happens considering that Anzio used to be a minor school as well.
- Bellwall Academy: postwar Germany
- Bonple High School: Poland
- Blue Division High School: Spain
- Count High School: Romania
- Gregor High School: Czechoslovakia
- Koala Forest High School: Australia
- Maple High School: Canada
- Tategoto High School: Burma
- Viggen High School: Sweden
- Viking Fisheries High School: Norway
- Waffle Academy: Belgium
- Yogurt Academy: Bulgaria
- Kebab High School: Turkey
The Rules of Sensha-douEdit
As a (technical) martial art, Sensha-dou has a slate of wonderfully nonsensical rules that would make any cold-hearted neckbeard weep tears of weebish joy. It boils down to something like this;
- All vehicles used shall be designs produced before the end of World War 2 (apparently more senior leagues like to push this)
- There are no restrictions on the weight class and armaments of tanks; in theory one team could field a team composed entirely of heavy tanks against a team composed entirely of scout vehicles.
- All vehicles used shall be closed-topped, and IFVs and support weapons are disallowed (no artillery platforms, though again, cheating is not unknown)
- All vehicles shall be equipped with reinforced carbon fibre armour, capable of protecting the crew from massive shocks and the impacts of enemy guns
- All guns shall be equipped with computerized shells that allow for hit detection and that somehow fail to injure crew- machine guns can be fitted with bullet versions of these
- All vehicles are equipped with a computerized scoring system which determines when the vehicle has received enough damage to be knocked out. "Enough Damage", of course, varies as plot and dramatic requirements demand.
- There are two match types: last tank standing, which is self-explanatory, and capture the flag, which involves destroying a selected 'flag' tank on each team.
- Teams are normally 10 tanks each, though matches later in tournaments allow for 15 to 20 tanks as well
- Teams aren't allowed to call on outside observers or intercept each others radio transmissions, though this rule is often circumvented. (though in episode 5 Yukarin states intercepting radio transmissions is not explicitly against the rules, so there seems to be a grey area here.)
Girls und Panzer and /tg/Edit
There are two official Japanese /tg/ games: one is a paper-model game called Battle in Ooarai, which features the main characters vs. St. Gloriana. The other is Panzer Vor, a more detailed chit-based game much like Advanced Squad Leader except with action-cards and moe-schoolgirls.
There is a Lafayette Academy quest thread, starring Gertrude Pool.
Lastly, and most humbly, there is the Flames of War adaptation being worked on by a certain jackass that fell in love with the series. It features the ability to play more balanced games with alternate tank numbers as to what is seen in the show, and tries to be as true to the series as possible without just plain breaking the rules. It is badly in need of a second edition.