“I can see the school ship. The lights in our classroom. Yukari’s home. The open field where we keep our tanks.” —Frodo, Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
In the aftermath of the match against the university all-stars team, Alice Shimada decides to transfer to Ooarai, yearning to experience life as a high school student. Anzu requests Miho to show Alice around and accentuate the strong points about the Ooarai school ship. Hearing this news, the other tank groups start considering how to best give her a warm reception by means of their specialisations, in the process growing excited as they consider how their own backgrounds might mesh with Alice’s interests. Miho is particularly excited at the prospect of having another Boco fan at Ooarai, but decides to simply present an ordinary high school experience for Alice. Unfortunately, Alice has been afflicted by sea-sickness, and so, Miho and the others try to help her recover. Once she no longer feels seasick, she sits through a few classes and meets the different teams. Of the teams, she warms up to Miho’s group; they take her to a local ice cream shop and visit a convenience store before having an extravagant dinner at Miho’s apartment. Later that evening, Miho and Alice watch a Boco movie together and Miho mentions that the single most enjoyable aspect as a high school student is the opportunity to spend time with her friends. The next day, Alice consents to transfer in but declines before the deal is sealed, when she learns that she won’t be able to face Miho in battle should she agree.
Girls und Panzer der Film is over, and this OVA acts as a nice epilogue to the movie’s events. Whereas the movie emphasised armoured warfare over all else, this OVA is a return to the more laid-back, slice-of-life side of things that the anime depicted in excellent detail; in fact, the OVA’s naming convention puts it as being seventh in line in the series of “[something] War!” OVAs that were released with the TV series back during 2013. Bringing back all of the different team’s eccentricities, it was most welcoming to see everyone relax and partake in their old lives following the match. Through the OVA, Miho’s normality despite being such a fearsome tanker and simple wish to be with her friends draws Alice’s attention; although the movie was not able to depict it, the OVA fills in the remaining questions about what happened post-game. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the movie, and although the movie would have benefited from having this integrated into its runtime (it would have only added another nine minutes or so), I’m surmising that the decision to make it separate was to encourage purchase of the home-release editions.
Screenshots and Commentary
- Before we delve into this modestly-sized review of twenty images any further, I want to make one thing clear: the correct spelling for Alice is “alpha-lima-india-charlie-echo”, not “alpha-romeo-india-sierra-uniform”. A lot of sources have been spelling Alice’s name as “Arisu”, but the Katakana アリス returns to the English equivalent of “Alice”. Therefore, Alice Shimada will simply be referred to as Alice in all my posts.
- This is a photograph of the winning team with Alice. One of the most notable achievements Girls und Panzer pulled off in my books was the fact that by the end of the TV series, even if I could not name everyone readily, I could immediately associate them with an interest, team name and tank. Not very many anime have succeeded in doing so, and at present, Hai-Furi‘s large cast has done very little to help me recall all of their names: I only can remember the bridge crew members by name.
- In almost all of my posts, I do not have any images of the volleyball club’s members in their volleyball uniforms: they’re usually seen manning their Type 89 against superior enemy armour. So, to rectify that, I’ve supplied an image of them here. Here, they wonder whether or not Alice is into volleyball, and failing that, consider turning their club into a hybrid group that might fit Alice’s interests.
- Momo asks the different teams to see what ideas they might have for welcoming Alice on board, and each team’s suggestions, mirroring their own interests (including the gamer’s proposed 24-hour LAN party), are promptly rejected. Miho, being the most down-to-earth of anyone, simply suggests that everyone conduct themselves as they normally would.
- When Alice arrives, she’s striken with seasickness: while there are numerous medications that can be purchased over-the-counter or via prescription to combat the symptoms, they usually have a range of unpleasant side-effects, too. This brings to mind a trip I took with my junior high class nearly ten years ago to the Pacific West Coast: while crossing the Strait of Georgia, the angry seas knocked out everyone save myself: I was standing on the deck of the vessel and gazed at the horizon to mitigate the effects.
- Anzu’s countermeasure proves to have only a placebo effect, as Alice is now distracted by the potato resting on her forehead. Here, Miho and the others learn that Panzerfahren teams for universities are located on land: Alice is unaccustomed to the motions of a boat, although the large size of the Ooarai carrier provides enough stability for her to recover.
- After being outfitted with a Ooarai’s uniform, Alice goes for a tour of Ooarai. I was half-expecting the other schools to be present, as well, but I’m guessing that of everyone, Anzio is present to offset the fact that they had limited screentime during the anime proper.
- So begins Alice’s tour of the facilities around Ooarai. I recall when I first began university many years ago, and the campus layout was completely foreign to me: after my first tour, I went the long way around the library trying to reach the bus stop, only to learn later that the bus stop was only a short walk away from the library.
- After seeing a tea ceremony, misogi and what appears to be ninja training, Alice remarks that all of the activities look quite interesting. In the background, a trainee manages to take flight on a kite, a callout to the book “Koga Ninjutsu Gokuhi”, where Genzo Hattori, a ninja, infiltrated a castle to torch it by means of descending unto it via a kite. This sounds perfect for a Mythbusters episode, and it is likely the myth would be busted, since a kite is inherently difficult to maneuver and unlikely to generate enough lift to slow a person’s descent.
- The history buffs share a conversation with Alice for the first time, and she’s familiar with everyone’s names, impressing the history club. She seems a little intimidated by the excitement factor that most of the clubs exhibit when meeting her for the first time and takes limited interest in the volleyball club.
- Shifting gears, Alice sates the first-years’ desires to be called senpai: this is somewhat of a big deal in Japan, since seniority is greatly respected. This concept is particularly prevalent in some types of anime, and has resulted in the meme “Senpai noticed me” (or any of its derivatives), although the precise origins of this line remains unknown.
- Unlike the others, Alice seems to be more comfortable around Miho and her friends; Saori asks if Alice would like to visit Ooarai’s Boco museum, and she agrees to hang with them after classes for a spot of tea.
- Tea turns to ice cream; Miho and the others bring Alice to the same ice cream shoppe that Miho visited during Girls und Panzer‘s first episode after befriending Saori and Hana. The first episode betrayed nothing about the anime, and while initial responses to the series were lukewarm, the increasing suspense and ferocity of armoured warfare won audiences over very quickly.
- Saori and the others prepare a spectacular dinner to celebrate the occasion of Alice’s transfer to Ooarai, featuring nabe and a variety of other foods. Nearly three years ago, when Ooarai defeated Black Forest in the championships, they celebrated with a fancy banquet and putting on a hidden talents contest. It’s quite surprising to look back and see that three years have elapsed so quickly: on the day I published that post, heavy rainfalls resulted in some of the most severe flooding in my area for the past century.
- With Girls und Panzer Der Film now concluded, the next biggest thing on my horizon is the thesis defense examination, set a little less than a month from today. This will be the toughest examination I’ve taken since my undergraduate defense and the MCAT, although unlike the MCAT, I’ve had two years of prep time compared to the MCAT’s four months; I’ve been reading papers on related work and studying my implementation since I started, so at least this time, I’ll have a little more readiness.
- With the evening meal over, Miho’s friends return home, while Alice stays overnight in a sleepover. Her Boco pajamas are quite adorable and also appears quite warm, bringing to mind the pajamas seen in Yuru Yuri.
- One of the reasons why Alice and Miho get along so well is because they’re both Boco fans. Miho suggests that they watch a movie together, and Alice immediately accepts. The spelling seems to vary, and most translations give the spelling as “Boko”. However, as the signs in the Boco museum spell it with a “charlie” rather than “kilo”, that is the spelling I’ve opted to go for in all of my posts.
- When Alice asks why Miho enjoys high school, Miho responds that it’s the opportunity to be with her friends everyday that make it fun. Miho’s reply evokes memories of my days in high school, which were spent with my friends as we discussed computers, games and Gundam while steamrolling through the classes. Although we continued to hang out in university, our paths also began diverting: it’s not implausible that Alice’s days as a university student can sometimes be quite lonely, especially if the others in the Panzerfahren club are not in the same major as her.
- We’ve reached the end of this post, and while it’s difficult for me to determine whether or not my Girls und Panzer Der Film review and its screenshot collection is definitively the first, I think it’s safe to say that I do have the internet’s first review of the OVA included with the movie. The page quote comes from The Return of the King after Frodo destroys the One Ring and is meant to evoke Miho’s feelings after saving Ooarai a second time. This post is now finished, and I will be returning to regular programming with the next post: the review for Hai-Furi‘s eighth episode will come out soon, and I’ll be wrapping up my thoughts on Valkyria Chronicles quite soon, as well.
Overall, Girls und Panzer der Film‘s OVA serves as a quiet, low-key and appropriate conclusion to the Girls und Panzer movie’s run. Alice’s choice of action here suggests that she now views Miho as another worthy opponent, and I remark that for the most part, high school students are generally bright folks (I back this claim up through my numerous presentations, where they’ve asked some rather interesting and thoughtful questions about my research). Her final decision to not join Ooarai is a bit of comedy near the end, and as such, the status quo at Ooarai seems to be restored. Where the Girls und Panzer franchise goes next is the biggest question now; the franchise has left itself open to future adaptations, and with a solid reception, a second season would be quite probable. With that being said, Girls und Panzer is equally well-known for its delayed productions as it is for delivering an incredibly entertaining product, so I imagine that any sort of continuation would occur quite far down the line. For the present, Girls und Panzer concludes on a high note, and after a three-year wait, the film and its extras have fulfilled expectations.