With the closing episodes to Girls und Panzer less than a week away, speculation has flared as to the potential outcome of the final confrontation between Ooarai and the Black Forest Academy. Justifications for both outcomes have been presented, and having alluded to an eventual discussion concerning potential from myself in earlier posts, the time is appropriate to carry out such a discussion here, of course, seeing as the situation on other anime sites is still somewhat unstable. The forums in question are on AnimeSuki, and seeing as I have no intention of getting my account banned, I’d figure I say it here: everyone presently involved in talking about the extent to which martial arts can be taken seriously are completely missing the point. This is an anime, and as such, is not meant to represent the real world.
- For the unfamiliar, tonkatsu is a Japanese food which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet that originated from Japan in the 19th century. A pork fillet or pork loin cut may be used; the meat is usually salted, peppered, dredged lightly in flour, dipped into beaten egg and then coated with bread crumbs, before being deep fried.
I am still split on the outcome (with respect to whether or not Ooarai somehow wins), given that both are equally likely. On one hand, Ooarai emerging triumphant would be a fitting conclusion to the series and represent the classic underdog story. Alternatively, having Black Forest win is more probable given their logistical advantages. Owing to these possibilities, there are some who have taken the speculation perhaps a little too seriously; some individuals have tried to analyse a short segment in episode seven, the flashback Miho has concerning her rescuing her team mate, and how the tanks themselves, as well as their deployment patterns, somehow reflect on Maho’s weaknesses as a commander. Other individuals have drawn conclusions from the manga, which deviates greatly from the anime in some parts. Perhaps one of the more notable instances occurred where individuals have taken to trying to guess the outcome based on the episode’s title. Given that people are generally making predictions from inconclusive sources, the discussions are essentially going nowhere. It is important to note that this is an anime, not the planning of another Normandy Invasion. As such, events that occur will occur to fit with the story the writers had in mind, and this is unlikely to change, regardless of the pseudo-analysis some individuals have felt necessary to partake in.
- This arrangement is bold, using a tank as the vase. The choice of colours evokes those of an explosion of some sort, potentially foreshadowing Ooarai’s fate, or perhaps, from a more optimistic perspective, Hana’s desire to make shots leading to these results.
- The montage depicting the girls with their closest friends is one of the more interesting parts of the episode. The nature in which the different teams share their meals together remind viewers of each team’s uniqueness. Miho and company are very close to one another, preferring to eat in at home together.
- The student council team is a little more casual and perhaps prefer a bit of downtime to hang out together, as they visit the local restaurant together.
- The history team does nothing outside of their domain, eating their meals in a traditional fashion.
- Gamers like to eat and game at the same time. Skewers allow this to be done with little problem.
- The first years are eating their meals in the company of an old war film of sorts: appropriately, they are an inexperienced but excited team.
This leads to the question of what I find is the likely outcome. I will partially disregard real-world military tactics and hardware specifications for my own thoughts: despite Girls und Panzer having an impressive degree of realism, I believe that the battle’s outcome will be driven by whatever motivates the plot. Some of the scenes in episode ten, including Hana’s flower arrangement patterns and the montage depicting all of the different teams sharing tonkatsu together, appear to imply an ominous path ahead. However, an optimist would probably argue that Hana is attempting to capture her interpretation of what she finds beautiful: a burning enemy tank. Similarly, the girls’ meals might be to reaffirm their friendships with one another, and how they have bonded with a common goal in mind. Because of the duality of these scenes, it is impossible to say for sure a priori what is likely to happen.
- In the event that Ooarai wins, I am going to do this to the next CRT monitor I find, to humorously indicate that my thoughts were totally correct and thus, pwn. Below is a somewhat more well-rationalised account for why I think Ooarai stands a reasonable chance.
This leads me to the last phase of discussion: what would I like to see in the finale? From personal experience, I am inclined to see Ooarai win. The justification for this is simple: it is always fun to watch an underdog win from a viewer’s perspective. Thus, I hold that individuals who want Ooarai to lose to keep things “realistic” are missing the point: Girls und Panzer is an anime, not real life. As such, the story should progress in a satisfactory manner to ensure that the viewers leave thinking the anime is worthwhile. We recall that Ooarai is to be shut down if they lose, so individuals would be mistaken in thinking there is a second season if that is the case. Lastly, the possibility of Ooarai winning is a non-zero value: despite Black Forest’s technological and numerical superiority, history has shown that guerilla tactics have proven remarkably effective against conventional warfare practitioners. I expect Ooarai to adapt this in response to the rising threat of asymmetrical warfare they find themselves in, and with the PV illustrates this is likely the case, unless Maho and company can counteract this, I imagine Ooarai will triumph. For the record, successful counter-guerilla tactics involve the use of the Hearts and Minds doctrine, a concept used to great effect by Field Marshall Gerald Templer during the Malayan Emergency to eradicate the communist insurgents between 1946 and 1960. It works, and given that Black Forest is unaccustomed to dealing with hit-and-fade tactics, things ought to get interesting.