This is the ending that fans might not have needed, but definitely deserve.
Ooarai’s team manages to defeat the Maus through a team effort, but Turtle Team’s tank is damaged and disabled. The main Black Forest force descends on the town. In the fierce fighting, Ooarai’s tanks are dispatched, but Leopon’s team blocks off a doorway, cutting off Miho and Maho’s tanks from the rest of Black Forest’s forces. A tank duel ensues between them, and Miho barely emerges victorious, winning the match in the process. The Ooarai crew and their fans celebrate their victory, ending with a parade through the town.
- We begin by commenting on the highly novel, innovative means Miho uses to take out the Maus. Miho is willing to adapt ideas that are useful regardless of whether they are hers or not, bearing to mind Grand Admiral Thrawn from the Thrawn Triology. Similar to Miho, Thrawn is able to turn battles in his favour through charisma and skill, and plagues the New Republic for a short period of time in the Expanded Universe.
- Drawing inspiration from Saori, Miho decides to use the Hetzer as a wedge, immobilising the Maus. The Type 89 is then sent in to stop the Maus’ turrent from rotating, buying Miho enough time to shoot the Maus’ weak spot. The effort of taking out the Maus disables the Hetzer; the latter ignites, and the Student Council bid Miho the best.
- In the absence of field infantry, artillery and air superiority, Ooarai is able to take down the Maus. Ordinarily, the appropriate reaction would be a concerted artillery bombardment and/or air strike, but, seeing as these are absent, we will presently accept Miho’s unusual strategies. Of course, having air power would rather defeat the purpose of Panzerfahren: recalling how Black Forest organises their armour columns, a single strafing run from an A-10 Thunderbolt would end a match in less than 10 seconds.
- The first years make a reference to Kelly’s Heroes, a war-comedy from the 1970s and acting as yet another clever callout to existing, famous war films. I was most impressed about the first years’ opportunity to shine in this episode, indicating just how far they’ve come since running away back in episode four from St. Gloriana’s onslaught.
- Elsewhere, the Volleyball team are able to dispatch a Black Forest tank before drawing their file. The teams that did not have a significant chance to shine do so in this episode, and the Volleyball team is no exception, showing that the Type 89B is a capable weapon in the right hands.
- The Jagdtiger is a German heavy tank destroyer, equipped with a 128 mm PaK 44 L/55 main gun that could down any Allied tank during the Second World War.. Carelessness causes it to fall into a dry canal, warping its main gun and giving the first years a firepower kill. The first years are taken out at this point, as well.
- After Miho and Maho head into a derelict school, the motor club move their Porsche Tiger in front of the entrance, buying time and taking a severe beating before crumbling. It puts up an impressive fight: its armour survives a sustained pounding for several minutes before it is taken out. Its usefulness does not end here; despite the mobility kill inflicted on it, it acts as an obstruction and prevents Erika’s column from entering.
- The final fight is a staged as a classical duel between Miho and Maho. Despite the seemingly calm appearances of both combatants, the emotions and tensions can be felt in this scene.
- Miho goes into the final battle with the
RX-93 v Gundam Panzer IV Ausf. F2, and a crew that is willing to follow her to the ends of the earth. (Char’s Counterattack jokes will abound for only one more image, I promise.)
- Maho and her company operate a
MSN-04 Sazabi Tiger I. Very little is known about her crew, but their performance might be the difference between a victory and loss: their gunner will miss a vital shot a handful of times in their upcoming battle.
My heart was racing throughout the entire episode, something that insofar, no anime has been able to do. This honour is reserved for The Dark Knight Rises and Skyfall, two movies that were able to keep me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and as such, when an anime is able to invoke the same sense of excitement, it would not be unreasonable to conclude that the anime is well-crafted. From start to finish, this finale was a hugely satisfying watch, as we see Ooarai strive to fight off total annihilation through a combination of teamwork, ingenuity and determination. Miho’s decisions and methodologies allow her to keep her team composed even against overwhelming odds: not even the deployment of a prototype super-heavy tank is enough to keep them from putting in their best efforts. Moreover, it appears that Miho’s tendencies as a leader are now propagating through the entire team, with all of the tank crews beginning to adapt to situations and attempt to make the most of it, whether it is the first years’ capable use of terrain to annihilate the Jagdtiger, the volleyball team’s successful diversions or the mechanics team’s last stand against the enemy column, each and every team has illustrated that they have, for better or worse, completely embraced Miho’s unique approach to Panzerfahren. As the other units buy time for Miho, she enters an abandoned courtyard for one final confrontation with Maho. Subsequently, the one-on-one battle is about as good as it gets for armour. Miho’s final move is the same as against St. Gloriana, and this time, having a superior main gun, she is able to succeed in taking Maho out. It is a tense few seconds, but a glorious final outcome for the episode.
- I included this screenshot of Miho because it’s perhaps the most serious we’ll get to see of her in the entire series. The final duel resonates with me, and in fact, fits surprisingly well with Aurora from Char’s Counter-attack. The entire scene has all of the same emotions as when Char and Amuro’s final duel become increasingly personal in nature.
- After a short-lived period of griefing the Black Forest Armour, the volleyball team experiences a catastrophic kill, although owing to the safety precautions in place, no serious injuries result.
- As the remainder of Ooarai’s crew and the audience watch on, Miho chooses to go with a risky manoeuvre that had previously failed, completely wrecking the Panzer IV Ausf. F2 before going in for their final shot.
- When the dust settles, Maho’s tank is immobilised. A duel-type showdown was not within the scope of my predictions, but in retrospect, acts as a suitable means of settling the series.
- Thus, the end result is consistent with what I was expecting. It is not cliché in any way; I believe the world people are looking for is ‘spectacular’. ‘Awesome’ is a reasonable substitute.
- This is the ending we’ve all been waiting for, and I imagine that a great number of people have been wondering why I was unable to put out the reflections to this episode sooner. The answer to that is that I have been inundated with exams over the past week, so I have not had time (until now) to quickly go through the episode and obtain screenshots.
- Miho and Maho shake hands as a gesture of sportsmanship before parting ways. I rather wish the parties at AnimeSuki would do the same now that the serious is over: these rather uncivilised discussiosn going on at AnimeSuki presently includes whether or not Black Forest is penalised for their loss, as well as whether or not Shiho will disown Miho after this battle. For the present, owing to inconsistencies between the anime and manga, we will leave these as open-ended elements that do not require discussion.
- I’ve waited a very long time for this scene. The anime might have ended, but there are still three OVAs to be released, and of course, the constant, never-ending fights on AnimeSuki continue. Recently, it’s gotten to the point where moderators have intervened, and I am left thankful that I am not involved.
- Contrary to what is being thrown around at AnimeSuki, I will conclude that Shiho is reasonably impressed with Miho’s performance. We recall that golf-claps originate as a polite means of quiet applause without interrupting the golfer’s focus, and Shiho is seen using one here out of polite congratulations rather than sarcasm.
- Girls und Panzer Season two potential? Nothing is to say that one is/is not likely. If a second season is to be made, I would hope for competitions against international teams, as well as greater exposition into Miho’s relations with Maho and Shiho.
Girls und Panzer is, for good reason, the top anime of the Fall 2012 lineup, reminding viewers that their prima facie expectations of a series may not necessarily be an accurate indicator of what an anime has the potential to be. I myself came in with moderate expectations and an open-mind, something that would later prove to be a viable decision. Having started the series later than most, I eventually caught up and found myself in great anticipation of the final two episodes. When said episodes delivered content that exceeded expectations, I was most impressed. The series ultimately reflects on the quality and quantity of research that goes into ensuring the minute details are correct, with the end result that the technicalities are polished, consistent and fun to observe. From a story-and-characters point of view, we have high school girls (common) doing Panzerfahren (completely unexpected): while this potentially had the risk of being reduced to cliché and unoriginal story, the directors of Girls und Panzer are able to completely avoid this. The story is standard, but the character interactions are not unrealistic, themselves being fun to observe. Thus, I conclude that Girls und Panzer represents what anime in general should be: unique, refreshing and most importantly, fun. Lacking any major fanservice and yuri during its main run to distract from its primary goal, the series is entirely dedicated to telling an underdog story and their journey towards the top. armed with a solid story and premise, reasonable animation (while generally good, the CGI moments are a little rough) and a fitting soundtrack, Girls und Panzer ends up being one of the most novel and innovative anime I’ve seen for a while. Individuals looking for a series with a great deal of mechanised warfare would do quite well to pick this up, although truth be told, this series could be enjoyed by almost everyone, save the most closed-minded of self-proclaimed anime critics.