This is, without a doubt, one of the worst animes I’ve ever seen. And I know even before I write this that I am likely part of a very small minority that feels this way (this show actually has a 7.64 on MAL and that blows my mind). Even for anime that I only find to be so-so, I can usually find some redeeming qualities to be positive about. This show doesn’t even give me that luxury.
I’m going to be completely honest here. I couldn’t even make it through two episodes. I made it a whole one and a half episodes in before I could not put myself through more. To put it in perspective, I’m an avid advocate for the 3-episode gospel, but this show was nosediving so fast I almost got reverse decompression sickness from it.
” I couldn’t even make it through two episodes.”
I really wanted to emphasize that part. I found it to be that bad. Let’s break down a few of the reasons together.
The World Building
I understand that part of anime can simply be classified as “Cute girls doing cute things.” Believe me, I get it. I’ve watched (and enjoyed) multiple anime that falls into this exact category. Girls und Panzer feels like it’s simply trying to be “Cute girls doing tank things.”
This is a world where girls and women participate in tank warfare exercises to make them “…a better wife, a better mother, and a better female worker.” The idea is sold as something that will get you a husband because a) It’s cool and b) The men love to see women in military uniforms.
In this world, women are lauded for their participation in these tank warfare games, elevating them to the same basic fame as, say, a modern day NFL player. There is even an interview with a reporter where the reporter basically asks “What’s your secret to winning?” The response boils down to “I never give up or run away no matter what.” I guess they decided to keep the realism from sports interviews.
Now, before you cry sexist for these complaints, please understand, I have no issue with what appears to be a world where the script is flipped and traditional gender roles are reversed. That’s not my issue. My issue is it’s done with the subtlety of a sledge hammer. I understand they have to try to set up the world in order to move to the story, but my god this was mishandled. But maybe now that it’s done, we can move on to something with a little more depth and sophistication, right? Right?!
So our hero Miho Nishizumi comes from a distinguished line of Tank Warfare maidens. And, turns out, she hates it. So she decides to pick a school (that is floating on an aircraft carrier, btw) that doesn’t have a “Tankery Club” as they call it (this is important). Boy, does she not know how anime works.
Word gets out that she’s at this school and, wouldn’t you know it, the student council has a thirst for blood and honor. They decide that they’re going to rebuild the school’s Tankery Club, and Miho can either join up or get kicked out of the school (this student council has that privilege). So of course, beloved heroine Miho has no choice but to face her destiny and, as the only veteran (this is also important), teach the other girls how to Tankery.
Much to the girls dismay, only one broken down and rusted tank is left in the shed of the recently revitalized Tankery Club. Not to worry. They’re on an aircraft carrier sailing through the ocean, after all. The tanks, somehow missing in this tiny community, couldn’t have gone far. The girls decide to split up and find the tanks, because they have to be ready for inspection the next day (again, this is important).
So let’s recap: Tankery program has been disbanded for years. Revitalized with a single veteran who knows what they’re doing. Tanks missing on tiny island. This is where the bubble finally popped for me, folks.
The Plot Crater
In less than one day, every team of girls finds the missing four tanks. One is in a forest (that was only found because one of the girls could smell it), one was at the bottom of a lake (that one of the girls dove into while wearing her tiny skirt school uniform), and the others I can’t even remember. So, giant rusted and broken tanks (that are missing critical parts) are in a forest, at the bottom of the lake, and other places I can’t remember. I guess we’ll miss inspection tomorrow, right? If you think that’s true, you haven’t been reading. Each team of girls manages to independently get their giant rusted broken down tanks back to the Tankery shed, where they then talked about how broken they are. That’s right, everybody. This is a show about superheros apparently.
Well, how do we prepare them for inspection? Logically, I guess we should clean them, right? Enter the very next frame on the very same day. Now all of the very broken tanks are in the yard and ready to be washed. Don’t worry, the girls have terrible aim with the water hose and manage to get each other all wet. Thank god they were in their white shirt gym uniforms, except for the one clutz who only had her tiny bikini on her. Silly of her not to come prepared.
And finally, we get to the part where I had to just turn it off. We aren’t even through the first half of the second episode when the girls decide to go to a…Tankery Store located on the…aircraft carrier that, up until that day had…no active Tankery club…And it was fully stocked with all kinds of tank parts, magazines and other Tankery things….I’m…I’m done….
Like I said in the beginning, I’m sure I’m in the minority on this one, but I cannot for the life of me understand how anyone can sit through this and rate it high enough to be a 7.64.