Girls und Panzer – the anime 4

My full collection of commentary on GaruPan can be found in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, A Study in Command, Girls und Feminism, and the DVD

Possibly the most interesting character outside of the Ankou team is Kadotani Anzu, the Student Council President. Wikipedia describes her as manipulative, childish and carefree. Well, they got one right. She is certainly manipulative, but the carefree childishness is a front, part of the manipulation. Anzu is also short

The Student Council President Appears

The President Appears

but as I said in an earlier essay, she doesn’t let this bother her. Only after trying to climb onto a tank and failing does she call on Kawashima for assistance.

Yeah, I'm short, but I have tall friends

Yeah, I’m short, but I have tall friends

Her management style is to shove people into a situation and let them sort it out. It’s called delegation.

You guys go look for some for me.

I know they can do it.

You’d be surprised at how well that works out. Among other things, it lets the teams bond, and it encourages buy-in. This is our tank, there are many like it, but this one is ours. We found it, we recovered it, we refurbished it. We are now ready to fight our tank as a team.

They just didn't know they could do it

They just didn’t know they could do it

Part of the ability to manage is the ability to get someone into the right job, even if they’re not sure they want it. Anzu shows her skills here when, in the space of thirty seconds, she gets Miporin to accept the role of Team Captain.

How to railroad someone in two sentences and thirty seconds.

Nishizumi might make a good Captain

Episode 3, 16:24

Nishizumi, please be our Captain!

Episode 3, 16:49

Passed by Acclamation

Episode 3, 16:54
Passed by Acclamation

Notice that Kawashima Momo had no objection to being voted out as Team Captain. It’s almost as if she was in on the plan.

But Anzu doesn’t manipulate just to be manipulative, and she cares about her troops. When they lose the practice match against St. Gloriana, she’s the one who says they all had a hand in the loss, so they should all do the dance,

I guess none of them can get married now

I guess none of them can get married now

and she not only leads the dance herself, she looks like she’s having fun doing it.

When it comes to combat, Anzu is no slouch, either. In the match against Pravda School, she volunteers to take the old san.juu.hach(t) back against the lead tanks,

This will be exciting!

This will be exciting!

and succeeds in killing two of them.

If you get close enough, even a 38(t) can do the job.

If you get close enough, even a 38(t) can do the job.

Once they get the hetzer modification (hetzer, I am told, means baiter, AKA troll), Anzu leads her team on a series of darting raids on the rear of the opposing formations, not doing all that much damage, but spreading panic and confusion.

Seen any Oorai tanks recently?

Seen any Ōarai tanks recently?

Of course, other Ōarai tanks can play that game, and just for lagniappe, here’s the Volleyball Team irritating a Panther

The mighty Ducks

The mighty Ducks

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other two members of Team Turtle. In addition to Anzu (whose name means apricot in Japanese) the Student Council PR Officer Kawashima Momo (peach) looms large, but accomplishes little. She has one bad eye and can’t see out of the other. Her main job seems to be as enforcer for Anzu. On the other hand, the Vice President, buxom Koyama Yuzu (Japanese version of the citron) is always there, standing at Anzu’s side, looking worried. It’s her driving skills that let them slip in and out of the opponent’s formations. She’s the one who gets things done while the other two are leading.

In the end, Anzu shows herself for what she really is, a warm, caring person who really loves her school.

Arigatou Gozaimasu

Arigatou Ne!

So that’s GaruPan. I probably won’t write any more on it, at least until the movie comes out. I say probably, because the series is certainly worth re-watching. Every time I watch it I find something new. In Episode 1, Miporin is out of bed and has the bedclothes folded (panic breathing) before she wakes up fully and realizes, with a smile, I’m not at home any more. That’s the kind of life she was leading before she transferred. In Episode 12, the crew of the Maus and the volleyball team arguing out of their open hatches like they were tenement wives, and the Porsche-Tiger blasting by fast enough to swirl Miporin’s hair.

Ooari train station, from Google Earth

Ōarai train station, from Google Earth

Finally, is the incredible detail of the backgrounds, which, it turns out, are all taken from real locations around the studio and various places around the town of Ōarai, already recovered from the beating it took during the tsunami.

The anime version is much cleaner

The anime version is much cleaner

OK, not finally. I just remembered Kay and the Saunders team in Episode 12, with their boxes of 70-year old K-rations, their classic Coke bottles, and their ultra-large tub of popcorn. Director Mizushima Tsutomu has a true grasp of American culture. Oh, and Episode 10, the Search for Tanks, with one of the first years calling out what I think is the Japanese equivalent of “Any old iron”. This causes some good natured squabbling amongst the girls, at which point they turn back — missing the tank parked at the r/h side of the frame.

Pay attention, girls!

Pay attention, girls!

For more of my reviews, click the Anime tag, below.

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