After more than a year, finally some new Girls und Panzer action with the release of the highly anticipated Anzio Match OVA. Now that the OVA is out, does it measure up to the anime’s high standards? Let’s find out…
It’s Anzio Desu!
Wow… I really did miss this show! Right from the start you got a sense that the OVA’s overall tone was going to be on the light-hearted, less serious side. After all, the Anzio team is more concerned about lunch than their new “secret weapon”. Girls und Panzer always had a blend of light-hearted moments along with more serious ones, but I thought the Anzio match felt a bit less serious compared to the other matches – particularly the semi-final and final rounds. However, when you consider the overall ease in which the anime portrayed Oarai’s victory over Anzio, the OVA’s lighter tone actually makes sense and worked well. So even if it lacked some of the tension of the other matches, I though the OVA was tremendously entertaining and laughed a lot while watching.
All good things come to those who wait and we finally get to see the Anzio battle. Man, I’ve really missed GuP. So great to hear Dream Riser and Enter Mission! The OVA shows all of the things we love about Girls und Panzer, but gives some of the secondary characters a chance to shine. The extra length of the OVA (37 minutes vs 24) gives the director more space to show us the Anzio school and it’s girls while we were only able to see the other teams basically during the competition. That also allows for extra light touches to be introduced such as the food scenes. Imagine what we might have been shown if the equivalent time was available for the Pravda completion.
One of the things that had me intrigued about this story is that we already knew the ending having seen it in episode 7 of the show. The director had to keep our attention even though we knew the outcome, only letting things fall into place at the very end to align with the scene we already had seen, He managed to do a great job and had me laughing as I realized the Anzio tanks were coming together in the formation we had been expecting.
Now I will be honest and there are some things I wish had been different, but overall it was great. Normally I might complain more about some of the physical impossibilities of the tanks but I just can’t be as objective about it as I should be because I liked the show so much.
All in the Details
I remain impressed by how well the series pays attention to the small details and how said attention pays off. The OVA came across as well-integrated with the anime. The multiple cameo appearances are one good example. Ever wonder why Nekonya took so long to ask Miho about joining Oarai’s Sensha-do team, or how they managed to get the Tiger(P) out the ship’s hold? Well, now you know. Cameos with a purpose beyond nostalgia. I don’t mean to downplay the nostalgia aspect. It was great to see not only future Oarai teammates, but also fan favorites such as Darjeeling and Kay along with our favorite reconnaissance person – “Secret Agent Yukari” infiltrating Anzio.
As usual, tanks were highly and accurately detailed. Once again, the show helped non-tank/WWII “otaku” understand the hardware and tactics employed while at the same time giving the core audience plenty of “Easter eggs” such as the DUKW, Morris reconnaissance car, and SPA-Viberti AS.42 reconnaissance car. Oarai’s team practice was a smart addition. Scenes like that add realism to a story by showing the characters working hard to develop their skills rather than a sudden “power-up”.
Still, I wish Miho would NOT stand up in the cupola while tanks are firing at her. Baka Miho! That’s dangerous! That scene also had a subtle moment of foreshadowing. Anzu’s reply of “Maybe next time” to Yuzu’s request for some help immediately made me think of Anzu taking over as gunner for the 38(t) during the next match against Pravda. Nicely done, and I noticed a couple other similar subtle foreshadowing moments which also helped to integrate the OVA with the anime.
The director really knows his audience and did a great job of tying the OVA into the overall Girls und Panzer world. So many cameos from Yukari’s parents, St Gloriana, Sanders, Nekonyā from the Anteater Team, to seeing the Automobile club recovering the Leopon Teams Tiger(P). We even get to see another spy mission from Yukari! These are all touches that show that the director understands his audience and what they wanted to see. He even uses some of the cameos to fill in parts of the story (now I know how they got the Tiger(P) out of the hold which has been bugging me all this time). The little touches mean a lot too. We see Gloriana drinking their tea, but Sanders has a K-rations and old style coke bottles! Even the credits of Yukari’s spy movie had a few fun additions. Not only was her parent’s barbershop given credit but Circle K Sunkus, a Japanese convience store brand, was too. For WWII buffs they even throw in a reference to the battle between Michael Wittmann and Joe Ekins.
One minor issue was the number of stills they had (mostly food related). While I understand that from a cost standpoint, it was disappointing. Better that though than the action scenes.
Friends Old and New
I was surprised at how well Anchovy came across. I really didn’t expect to like her as much as I did. She’s quite earnest, fair-play minded and friendly. She reminded me of Saunders Prep team captain Kay in that regard. Anchovy was a lot of fun to watch, and surprisingly easy-going – which is good considering her gourmet obsessed teammates. I loved the bit about how she would always say some slightly positive statement, and then immediately correct herself (e.g. “This year, we’re going to reach the semi-finals… I mean win the tournament!” LOL).
Speaking of friendships, the long-standing friendship and new-found rivalry between Caesar (“Taka-chan”) and a very likeable Carpaccio ♥ (“Hina-chan”) was a nice surprise and well executed. Not only some good character background and development there, but I liked the little touches such as Caesar hard at work to improve her reloading time which ultimately played a role in the battle. It’s a shame that the anime wasn’t longer so we could see more of that for the various Oarai team members. Overall, I thought Anchovy, Carpaccio, Pepperoni and the rest of the Anzio team were fine additions to Girls und Panzer’s long list of characters.
Anchovy comes across much better in the OVA than I thought she would from what little we see of her in the original. One thing Girls und Panzer does well is really promote the idea of friendly competition and sportsmanship. I really expected her to be more like Katyusha from Pravda, since she was called Duce and Benito Mussolini (also called Duce) was rather a pompous ass. But then even Katyusha turned out to have a good side.
The girls of Anzio were a great crew. Loved they’re enthusiasm but they way they loved food it’s a wonder they could fit in their tanks. The Anzio school uniforms with the berets were great too, though we really didn’t get to see the other schools normal uniforms. Liked them better than the sailor suits that Oarai has (though the actual Oarai sailor students uniforms were really cute too). The epilog with Anzio missing the final by oversleeping was another tie in to the show that made a good ending.
Now it should be obvious what Anzio’s real expertise is – Food! Maybe they should try a cooking competition. We also know why they don’t have good tanks. They spent their budget on food! While they might not have great tanks their support elements are outstanding. Between the trucks, staff cars and support vehicles I can see where their budget went. Poor Anchovy. Playing second fiddle to pasta!
Pepperoni is a couple of slices short of a pizza in the brains department. It should have been obvious when she gave away Anzio’s secret weapon to Yukari that she might be a weak link in their command structure, and of course she follows that up by messing up Operation Macaroni.
Speaking of which, in retrospect it’s there are obvious flags that Caesar is going to play a larger role in the story. Who would have thought that Caesar would be a central character!? Not only central, but making a very good axis (no pun intended) to mount the story on. I should have known something was up when we see her practicing loading in the backyard of the house she shared with the rest of the history team. Having a friend and rival with Carpaccio on the Anzio team was another nice touch. Even the Instant Messages from Taka-chan were used to allow Hina to figure out that the Hippo in Taka-chan’s IM’s meant that she was the loader of the Stug III.
Not to be left out, Saori gets some screen time too with her cooking and Mako finding her textbook for her Ham license. The Disciplinary committee shows up being dragooned into manning the Char B1 Bis. Nekonyā is really freaky looking in the swirl glasses. I noticed in the OP that she doesn’t have them on (though she does have the animal ears) and she actually looks sort of cute. I can’t remember if she tried to talk to Miho in one of the regular episodes.
Oh, I like that they show Anchovy, Pepperoni, and Carpaccio in the ED. A break with the tradition of showing one or more of the Oarai team but just too cute.
Sensha-do is Back!
Team Anglerfish’s marksman gunner Hana did make winning shot again, but I really liked how the OVA gave significant time to the other Oarai teams. By far, for me the most exciting part of the battle was the TD dual between Taka-chan 😛 in the StuG III and Hina-chan in one of the Semoventes. It reminded me of Miho and Maho’s dual in Episode 12. The StuG III vs. Semovente duel got pretty intense and exciting even if not entirely realistic in terms of tank/TD combat.
The OVA did a great job with character/team skill progression in terms of fitting in with the anime. For example, the Rabbit Team’s actions and skill level matched precisely what I thought they would be at that point in the story. Watching the Duck Team knocking out all those tankettes was my second favorite part of the battle. Just as I hoped, they took advantage of their one chance at offensive glory against those pesky tankettes. Good job girls!
Team Turtle didn’t have much of a role to play this time around, but that’s fine given their large role in the upcoming Pravda match. I did LOL quite a bit at Anzu’s super relaxed attitude throughout the match. As for the Angler Fish Team, they did a fine job as usual. I’ll leave it at that since we’ll break down the battle and tactics further in a later post. Overall, Oarai performed well, and it’s easy to understand why they became overconfident in the next round against Pravda.
As for Anzio, I was surprised at Anchovy’s competence. She’s not one of the top Sensha-do team captains, but she did a pretty good job considering Anzio’s limited tank line up and teammates who have trouble remembering to put up 9, not 11 (LOL) fake tank decoys. Pepperoni was, well, spirited if not the most astute team member, and Carpaccio along with her Semovente crew are solid Sensha-do players. Anzio handled their loss with style and grace, and yes, I have to admit the post ED ending was quite cute.
If Anzio managed to buy a P40 by just saving half their snack budget, they must have gotten a great deal on ebay or that’s one hell of a snack budget! My money is on the size of the snack budget.
I’m so glad that the director gave more time to the other tanks and let us see how they had improved under Miho’s tutelage. I do wish Miho would keep her head down. Watching that shell wiz by her actually had me flinching One positive note about having so many tankettes in the match is that it gives the Type 89 and the Panzer 38(t) something to shoot at that they can actually take out.
Quibbles. Miho points out during their training that the Stug is most effective from cover and can take out tanks at 1500 meters, but the combat we see during the battle with the Stug is at ridiculous ranges. Basically a shoving match similar to the final with Kuromorimine where Miho and Miha are circling each other to get a shot in. Made for an exciting match, but didn’t show the Stug (or the Semovente) in the roles they were really meant for.
Pushing “In-Universe” Credibility
This is anime so I’m willing to suspend some disbelief (e.g. the tanks zooming around faster than they should), but there are limits as well. On a few occasions, I thought the OVA pushed the limits of “in-universe credibility” too far. The Panzer IV Asuf. D taking out the P40 from the front was a bit of a stretch, but I suppose I can overlook a few extra millimeters of armor penetration.
However, watching a couple of high-school girls right a 3.5 ton tankette with relative ease was a LOL worthy moment – and not in the good way. Same goes for the fact that the Type 89 had to aim for the tankette’s “weak points” to disable it. As noted in our Girls und Panzer: Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen Desu! OVA Primer, a Carro Veloce L3/33 has a maximum armor thickness of 15mm. The entire tankette is a “weak point”. The Type 89’s 57mm main gun is weak, but it’s not that weak, penetrating about 20mm of armor at 500m. Suggesting that “light weight” allows the tankettes to “shrug off” cannon shells is, to put it nicely, unrealistic. This wasn’t so egregious as to affect my overall enjoyment, but I did find it silly and rather unnecessary than adding any tension or excitement to the match.
One shot from even a 57mm gun should make scrap metal out of those CV’s
The tankettes driving backwards??? Come’on! Ok, that’s doable, but spinning around at high speed? Don’t think the treads would stay on the bogies at any speed doing that. And two girls upending a 3 ton vehicle?
Damn that was fun! Now where’s the movie?
After a long wait Girls und Panzer is back and the OVA does not disappoint. Copious amounts of humor, top-notch visual quality, likeable characters, exciting tank battles, proper pacing, excellent background music – all the things you’ve come to expect from the series are there. It’s neither perfect nor as good as the anime in general, but similar to the anime it does enough things right that its flaws are rendered mostly inconsequential by comparison. I’ve watched the OVA twice already and I’m sure I’ll watch it again. It’s just a fun ride plain and simple. I’m definitely looking forward to movie and hope there is another installment of this great series beyond that.
So long a wait, but so worth it! All the things that made Girls und Panzer my favorite series.
We hope you enjoyed the first part of our coverage of Girls und Panzer: Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen Desu! OVA. Please feel free to post your thoughts about the OVA in the comments section. Also, check out Parts II and III of our coverage – Tactical Review of the Girls und Panzer Anzio Battle: OVA and Tactical Review of the Girls und Panzer Anzio Battle: Manga.