The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Tag Archives: Girls und Panzer

Reflections on 2017, Welcoming 2018 with the Girls und Panzer 2018 Calendar

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours, and let every new year find you a better man.” – Benjamin Franklin

We’re now a short ways into 2018, and before we begin busying ourselves with making the most of another year, I’m going to take a few moments to look back on what 2017 entailed, especially pertaining to some of the learnings that were accrued over the past year. Most of these learnings apply to the workplace and interpersonal skills. It is always bewildering as to just how much one can learn in the space of a year, and during 2017, I came to appreciate the importance of good emotional maturity and problem-solving skills in individuals to be far more important than any technical skills. It was a strong reminder for me that being able to professionally and courteously interact with people is by far one of the most important traits that one can have: regardless of what profession one is in, our occupations ultimately deal with doing something of value for people, and as such, moving into 2018, I’m definitely going to be mindful of this as I work harder for a company whose aim is to generate more revenue and is looking to expand. 2017 was a bit of a difficult year that had also seen its share of enjoyment – from the challenges at work to the days spent in the mountains and my travels to Japan and Hong Kong, I’ve come to really appreciate maintaining a good work-life balance. I continue to lift weights and do martial arts, while at the same time, make time to sit down with a good book or game. Last year, I simply resolved to let things happen as they happened, and in retrospective, that didn’t turn out half bad.

As such, my resolution for 2018 remains quite unchanged: I’m going to keep doing everything I did last year, but better. I will continue to make the most of whatever happens, and further to this, I will take responsibility for what happens. I’ve heard folks remark that resolutions are usually vague and pointless in keeping, but looking back at last year, I did manage to keep all of them (I did end up volunteering for a pair of science fairs, for instance). As such, I contend that resolutions are not entirely unnecessary, and I’ll likely keep up the practise of being a bit more introspective than average in New Years posts graced with anime calendars so as long as this blog continues to be maintained. On the topic of The Infinite Mirai, it comes as a bit of a surprise that the blog has proven to be this resilient, and in the upcoming year, I will continue to write for it. That leads me to wish all of you, my readers, a Happy New Year 2018. While I’m not certain of what exactly this year will entail for my blog, I am immensely thankful for your readership and feedback. Let’s get it!

Miporin no Etymology, and a preview of Girls und Panzer: Das Finale

“My chi is mad focused, yo.” —Tanker, Battlefield 3

This post is a double-feature — with the release of a new Girls und Panzer trailer for Girls und Panzer: Final Chapter, now appearing to be re-designated as Girls und Panzer: Das Finale, there is an opportunity to look at what Das Finale is looking to illustrate, as well as answer a long-standing question about Miho’s nickname, whose derivation and meaning has proven to be quite elusive. It is reasonably well-known that appending -rin to the end of someone’s name has an endearing quality to it, typically used by younger females to make something sound cuter. By this reasoning, Yukari becomes Yukarin, Kaori becomes Kaorin, et cetera. However, in Girls und Panzer, Saori refers to Miho as “Miporin”, and this seems to break the convention somewhat — porins are, after all, beta barrel proteins that cross membranes to act as a channel that molecules can diffuse across. Their large size allows molecules to freely move through them, including water, sugars and amino acids, and as an interesting aside, UC Berkley’s Hiroshi Nikaido is accredited with the discovery of and extensive research into porins, earning him the moniker “Porinologist”. While it might appear possible that Miho’s nickname stems from this unrelated field, the lack of intersection between Girls und Panzer and porin research means that there must be another explanation of how Miho’s nickname came about. As it turns out, the -ho (ほ) in Miho’s name has a rougher sound from a phonetic perspective, and applying the usual conversion, which would yield “Mihorin”, does not convey a sense of endearment. So, a modification using the handakuten (半濁点, lit. “half voicing mark”) is applied: ほ thus becomes ぽ, which in turns yields “Miporin” (みぽりん). As per its name, the handakuten creates a shorter sound that comes across as less harsh and results in a name that sounds more endearing. This is not unique to Miho: Shioho is similarly nicknamed “Shiporin” by Chiyo Shimada, her longtime friend and head of the Shimada School, and there’s a Japanese movie titled Miporin no ekubo (lit. “Miporin’s Dimple”). With this particular question about the origin and meaning behind Miho’s nickname addressed, we turn attention towards Girls und Panzer: Das Finale.

  • The title of this post is a play on words, albeit a very pathetic attempt at creating a clever title requiring some Japanese to pick up: if read from a purely English perspective, it would look very strange. For readers familiar with Japanese, the proper title for this post would be ”みぽりんの語源” (“Miporin no Gogen”, or “The etymology of Miporin”), but I figured that “etymology” is similar enough to “ekubo”, and since Google-Fu consistently turns up Miporin no Ekubo, I figured that I’d go for something in between.

  • Here’s a secret bit of trivia: Miho and Hana are my two most favourite characters from Girls und Panzer. Hana’s inherited the president’s position by the events of Das Finale, and here, a keyboard resembling Apple’s Magic Keyboard 2 can be seen on her desk. I’ve recently upgraded to a 2017 iMac at work to compile and build projects faster, finally allowing me to retire my early-2015 MacBook Pro from active service. The new machine’s been great, but I’m still getting used to the small size of the Magic Keyboard 2.

  • While the tank battles will certainly be a part of the attraction in Das Finale, the movie raised the bar considerably with the inclusion of late WWII-era armour to give Miho’s crew a credible challenge to best. I’ve long noted that strategy is probably a viable alternative to overwhelming technological and numerical superiority – a battle fought on strategy can be even more exciting to watch, and the Anzio OVA demonstrated this point effectively, providing a thrilling match for audiences despite the firepower advantage that Ooarai possesses.

  • The song in the trailer, “Long and Shining Road”, is performed by Miho, Saori, Hana, Mako and Yukari’s voice actors. The opening song is titled “Grand Symphony”; it will be used for the first three episodes will be performed by Sayaka Sasaki, who did the Anglerfish Dance, and Choucho will return in the final three episodes to perform the opening. Music has always been of a high quality in Girls und Panzer, so I look forwards to seeing how things will play out in Das Finale.

  • Besides some footage for Das Finale‘s first act, the latest footage also showcases gameplay from Girls und Panzer: Dream Tank Match, which is an upcoming game for the PS4. I’m hoping there will be a PC version, since I’ve longed to match wits against the Nishizumi and Shimada styles with my own take on things in a proper Girls und Panzer game and show that Sun Tzu’s approach, combined with my own über-micro, could school both fairly easily. Of course, I’m not sure how likely a PC version is, but if one does not materialise, at least I have additional Battlefield 1 DLC and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to look forwards to.

As the folks driving Girls und Panzer‘s trailers are quite seasoned, the latest trailers betray nothing about what Das Finale will entail. What is known, however, is that Hana, Saori and Yukari have inherited the mantle of being the student council’s President, Secretary and Vice-President, respectively, and that there will be French tanks in the first part. The preview also showcases the new song “Long and Shining” road. With the plate set for December, I imagine that more previews will come out between now and the release date. Moreover, the trailer footage is only for the first part of the six planned movies. The shift from “Final Chapter” to “Das Finale”, however, is quite telling: the Girls und Panzer franchise will conclude Miho’s story, bringing things to a conclusion, and if there will be additional instalments to Girls und Panzer, these will likely take the form of spin-off series. Whether or not these speculations hold any water remains to be seen, and for the present, the largest question on my mind will be the release patterns; these affect how efficiently I can write about them. It is evident that a release pattern similar to Yūki Yūna is a Hero: Washio Sumi Chapter will be very conducive towards timely reviews, whereas a Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow release pattern will be a bit more problemmatic on my end. Regardless of the manner that Girls und Panzer: Das Finale releases in, the conclusion of Das Finale might also mark a pivotal milestone for this blog, as I may gradually step away from writing in order to do other things with my time.

Ōarai, Ibaraki: Home of Girls und Panzer

“There is never just one thing that leads to success for anyone. I feel it always a combination of passion, dedication, hard work, and being in the right place at the right time.” —Lauren Conrad

The last major anime locations post I did was published more than a year ago, for Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu Ka?, which was set in Colmar, France. In this post, we return to the Eastern coast of Japan just north of Tokyo in the Kantō region — it is no secret that the prefecture of Ibaraki is home to Ōarai-machi (大洗町), the setting for the series Girls und Panzer. In no small part thanks to Girls und Panzer, tourism in the town of Ōarai (which I’ve romanised everywhere else on this blog as Ooarai for convenience’s sake) has been bolstered by fans of the series, who’ve come to visit locations that feature predominantly in the anime. While Ōarai in Girls und Panzer plays host to several Panzerfahren matches, the economy of Ōarai in reality is powered by agriculture and fishing: rice and sweet potatoes, along with flounder, sardines, clams and whitebait are major products from the region (as Anzu’s penchent for dried sweet potatoes can attest). In addition, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency also operates a research center in Ōarai. The town of Ōarai was created from the merger between two villages in the Higashiibaraki district, Ōnuki and Isohama, on November 3, 1954: previously the two villages were established on April 1, 1889. Less than a year later, on July 23, 1955, Natsumi (a village in the Kashima district) was annexed by Ōarai and incorporated into the town.

  • It seems appropriate to kick this post off with an image of Ōarai station. Opened in 1985, the station serves an average of around 2690 passengers daily and is situation 11.6 kilometers from the terminal in Mito. This is one of the larger location posts I’ve made, featuring thirty images of the real world location and their corresponding depictions within Girls und Panzer for a total of sixty images. In keeping with the formatting of the other location posts, each real world image is followed by a figure caption, and the anime equivalent is posted below.

  • The building seen here during the finale, when Miho and the others ride through Ōarai following their victory at the championships. A cursory glance shows just how faithfully details are reproduced, with colours and even text closely matching the real-world equivalent. A Kumon tutoring branch can be seen here: I see branches in my country, and a looking further, the company’s origins date to 1958, when Toru Kumon’s son fared poorly in mathematics. Drafting hand-written notes, his son gradually became more adept in mathematics, and caught the neighbours’ attention. Today, the tutoring company is headquartered in Osaka and has locations in forty-nine countries.

  • In an earlier post, I remarked that I would not be keen on sifting through Google Maps to locate every spot in Ōarai, but I will occasionally do so here. This particular intersection is located at 大洗駅前通り and 県道106号線: the elevated rail carrying the Kashima Rinkai Railway Ōarai Kashima Line can be seen in the background here; the differences in lighting suggest that Miho and the others return to Ōarai by morning.

  • A very large majority of the scenes from Girls und Panzer set in Ōarai can be found in the third, fourth, seventh and final episodes: most of the events of Girls und Panzer are set aboard a vast carrier known as school ships in-universe. These gargantuan sea-faring vessels are self-contained towns helmed by students with the aim of preparing them for the duties of adulthood, and one of the OVAs, “School ship war”, deals with life aboard such ships in a manner reminiscent of Discovery Channel’s Mighty Ships.

  • The narrow streets of Ōarai provide a very claustrophobic environment for armoured combat: modern doctrine does not encourage the use of main battle tanks in armoured settings, since the buildings offer opponents places of cover, and also make it much easier to conceal anti-armour weapons, whether they be RPGs or IEDs. Instead, for an urban setting, IFVs and assault guns would be better suited for engaging infantry. Miho’s preferred tactic is to lure her opponents into urban settings with plenty of cover, knowing it will throw them off.

  • During Ōarai’s first match against St. Glorianna, a majority of Ōarai is cordoned off in order to provide the tanks with an urban environment, and below, a peace officier sets up a sign in front of several shops: the one with the colourful storefront appears to be a grocery shop, and again, a comparison between the two images illustrates the level of detail that went into replicating the scenery in Ōarai for Girls und Panzer.

  • The road to the brick structure visible here, for instance, is actually adjacent to the Brian Ōarai Store and a bakery of sorts. The building’s shutters here are closed, suggesting that much of the area has been cleared to facilitate the match, although the relative lack of shadows in the anime incarnation of the location shows that even in something like Girls und Panzer, not all locations can be rendered with the same graphical fidelity as something like Your Name.

  • This is another angle of the same location where Miho manages to make use of the close quarters to quickly dispatch a handful of the Matilda II tanks. At this point in their career, Ōarai Girls’ tankers are quite inexperienced and lose handily to St. Glorianna, even with Miho’s formidable skills in their corner providing a number of their kills. A part of the joy in watching Girls und Panzer was watching Miho’s leadership helping the different teams grow and unify under her direction, while at the same time, seeing Miho re-discover her love for Panzerfahren thanks to the environment her teammates cultivate.

  • The actual street is more densely built than the anime portrayal; the latter gives a much greater sense of space compared to the real world, but these locations do indeed match up: as the real-world image illustrates, it’s directly behind the brick building, and the house behind have very similar designs. The major difference, besides density, is the fact that the grassy field is not fenced off in Girls und Panzer. Placements of shadows suggest that it is late morning or early in the afternoon.

  • The final stages of the exhibition match are settled at this intersection, and while Miho risks a maneouver to reach the Churchill’s rear, her main gun does not pack enough punch to score a mission-killing hit on Darjeeling’s Churchill. Miho later uses the same technique against Black Forest to defeat Maho’s Tiger I, and again in the movie to overcome Alice’s Centurion. The realism of the armoured combat in Girls und Panzer is the subject of no small debate, but I’ve generally chosen to remain a spectator, preferring to focus on the anime’s overarching themes.

  • In the seventh episode, Miho and her friends return to Ōarai’s ferry terminal after visiting Mako’s grandmother. They travel through the streets of Ōarai by evening, and in the distance, the Ōarai Marine Tower is visible. Even with the low lighting, the details in the anime replication of the actual town is apparent, whether it be the small symbols on the house in the foreground,  or the placement of fliers on the telephone poles and vegetation growing out of the sidewalks.

  • A vacant lot adjacent to a Panasonic store serves as the site for some vendors to set up their stands on the day of the exhibition match. Careful inspection of the sign above the storefront shows that in Girls und Panzer, the brand “Panasonic” has been swapped out for “Nanasonic”: shows usually make use of this technique if they wish to present a product similar to that of a real-world brand without going through the procedure in order to acquire the permissions to use the brand, although there are some cases where shows may use brand name products with the company’s endorsement.

  • The sign welcoming visitors to Ōarai is visible from near the town’s post office, leading to the ferry terminal. I live somewhere landlocked, so there are no ferries: the nearest substantial body of water is the Pacific Ocean, and there are ferries that move between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. I’ve not visited Vancouver Island and Victoria for quite some time, but the island does seem quite picturesque for driving around on. At some point, I should rent a vehicle and drive the island.

  • The complex visible in this image is the Resort Outlet Ōarai, a shopping center near the Ōarai Marine Tower. Miho and her friends visit this facility to purchase swimsuits during the “Water War” OVA, as well as to relax in the aftermath of their match against St. Gloriana. The location also serves as the main event centre during this match, where Ōarai’s citizens congregate to watch the first match hosted locally in quite some time. Inspection of this image shows again that details are faithfully reproduced, whether it be the placement of rooftop chimneys or the number of arches in the buildings.

  • Sixty meters in height, the Ōarai Marine Tower is one of the tallest structures in the area. It provides a beautiful panorama of the area surrounding the town, and also serves excellent ice cream. With an admissions cost of less than 10 CAD, it’s a ways more inexpensive than the 18 CAD for ascending the Calgary Tower. While eclipsed by several buildings downtown, the Calgary Tower continues to offer an impressive view of the Calgary skyline: visiting the Calgary Tower is less costly than the 168 HKD (roughly 28 CAD) for an adult ticket to visit Hong Kong’s Sky 100 Observation Deck.

  • While the Resort Outlet Ōarai is perhaps a quieter mall, its staff are very friendly, and the mall’s proximity to the ocean, coupled with a playground, makes it a suitable point for families to visit. Since Girls und Panzer aired, there’s a small diorama in the mall depicting events from the anime. For folks interested to check this out, the mall is a mere fifteen minutes’ walk from Ōarai Station, although it will take around an hour and forty minutes to reach Ōarai Station from Tokyo Station.

  • Given the vast differences in population, I imagine that for a Tokyoite would regard the Resort Outlet Ōarai the same way I see the smaller shops in places like Cochrane or Bragg Creek in comparison with the largest shopping malls in the city. I’ve got a fondness for small shops, as they exude a much warmer atmosphere and oftentimes, have unique items available for sale that might otherwise be unavailable from larger shops.

  • The Ōarai Marine Tower is visible from the original image, but is noticeably absent in the anime incarnation: a bit of reasoning will find that the overhead image of the entire Resort Outlet Ōarai buildings was taken from the southwestern corner of the tower. The distance separating the two locations is only a hundred meters.

  • This is the interior of the Aqua World Ōarai, the regional aquarium. This large hallway serves as the site of a flower arrangement exhibition that Hana takes part in, and her display, a bold and expressive statement about her love for Panzerfahren, is visible in this frame. It is here that she reconciles with her mother, who feels that Hana’s involvement in Panzerfahren has allowed her to develop a more individualistic approach for arranging flowers.

  • Covering 19,800 m² and featuring an animal population of 68000, Aqua World opened in 2002 and receives around 1.1 million visitors annually. The aquarium is open from nine to five most days, and adults are charged 1850 Yen for admissions (around 21 CAD), making it slightly more expensive than admissions for the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller (18 CAD) or Calgary’s Glenbow Museum (16 CAD). The former, I visited during the Labour Day long weekend of 2016, while in 2013, Heritage Day in Alberta meant that the Glenbow Museum was free of charge; my last visit there prior to 2013 was back when I was still a primary school student.

  • A small side road here that Miho takes to enter Ōarai from a rugged countryside actually leads to the Ōarai Isosaki Shrine, which was established in 856, destroyed in a conflict between 1558-1570 and rebuilt in 1690. Designated a site of cultural significance by the Ibaraki Prefecture, the sea is visible from the site. Folks looking to visit will note that the Shrine is open from six in the morning to five in the afternoon, and there is no cost for admissions.

  • In Girls und Panzer Der Film, Miho and Chi-han Tan’s forces evade the combined forces of St. Gloriana and Pravda during an exercise near this location, and in the original anime, Miho directs her group into the town along this road. This particular spot is only some 120 meters from where the previous screenshot was taken: a hotel occupies the left of this image, while the warehouse to the right is a seafood processing factory.

  • The facilities that Miho and the Panzerfahren club are sent to are modelled after the old Kamioka Elementary School (旧上岡小学校) in Daigo, some seventy kilometers northwest of Ōarai. The wooden school was built in 1879, during the Meiji Restoration period and has closed as an elementary school. Its construction and historical value meant the site has been preserved, with television dramas and movies being filmed on the school grounds.

  • The official site encourages visitors to check out the old Kamioka school: there is no admissions cost, and the grounds are open from nine in the morning to four in the afternoon. Its location is admittedly reminiscent of the Atlas Coal Mine in Drumheller, although in the case of the latter, there is a ten dollar charge to walk the area: I was intrigued by the old tipple and coal mining facilities, and next time I visit, I will be purchasing the “Ghost Tour” package. The site is said to be haunted, and I am rather curious to tour the tipple’s interior, as well as some of the subterranean coal shafts.

  • By April 2016, Girls und Panzer fans had visited the site in such numbers that they were interfering with operations at the facilities, and were otherwise causing disturbances in general. The site’s caretakers have since banned cosplayers from the site, although standard visitors remain free to walk around and photograph the grounds. I’ve heard that some anime fans can be generally unpleasant; while I’ve encountered a few fans from the military-moé genre with whom I’d rather not think about, in general, anime fans are ordinary folks that I have no trouble getting along with. As such, it’s quite logical to suppose that in this case, it is the actions of the few that ruin things for the majority.

  • The interior of the Principal’s office is shown in the pair of images here. Details in the interior, from the wooden panelling of the room and placement of furniture, to framed documents on the walls, are highly conserved between the real-world setting and anime depiction. The only major difference is the Championship flag hanging on the left wall.

  • While I’ve tried my best to avoid duplicate photos in this locations post, the images illustrating the broadcast room have been recycled: no other anime image quite captures the real-world version quite as effectively, with its cramped setting and clutter. Compared to the TV series, Girls und Panzer Der Film seems to have improved on the artwork in different scenes, featuring much more detailed environs than its predecessor.

  • When the engines of Saunders Academy’s C-5M Super Galaxy are heard, the girls run out into the hallways, eager to receive the tanks they’ve come to regard as dearly as family. In these frames, note the posters on the walls, which are highly accurate renditions of those found in the actual school: on the right wall, the distant image is of the water cycle, while the image closer to the camera depicts a volcano’s magma chamber and movement of magma through the Earth’s crust.

  • I’m actually one flight of steps too early in the real-world image relative to the position that the anime equivalent was taken from. The multitude of moments from Girls und Panzer Der Film evokes memories of when I wrote the review for the movie some seven months ago. It was an endeavour taking me twelve hours to complete, but looking back, I’m no longer surprised that reviewing the film on such short order after its home release had no impact on my graduate thesis. I had largely finished the thesis paper by then and was in reasonably good shape to take on the defense, so I was able to take the day off to write the review.

  • Kamoika Elementary’s exterior is visible from this shot. For the curiously-minded, this is where the school is located: compared to previous location posts, I’ve included occasional links to Google Maps so that readers may use them as starting points to explore around. I remark to the fellow who spent a fair bit of time tracking down the locations from the “Anglerfish War” OVA, that tracking down the linked locations took a total of less than ten minutes, because I’m One With the Force and the Force is with me. I realise that Ōarai location posts are probably abundant in number, but nonetheless, when I received the request to write this one, I accepted, knowing that I could consolidate a side-by-side comparison of Girls und Panzer locations under one roof — my roof, to make them more accessible. Besides Girls und Panzer, I also have a request to do Flying Witch.

Even before the rise of Girls und Panzer, Ōarai drew upwards of three million visitors per year — its beaches and golf courses aside, the area also boasts an aquarium known as Aqua World, a marina, as well as several museums. In addition to the plethora of outdoor activities, Ōarai is well-known for its monkfish. Belonging to the Lophius genus, monkfish has a moderately firm texture and is somewhat chewy, with a mild, sweet flavour reminiscent of lobster. Monkfish can be prepared in a number of ways (common means include baking, broiling, frying, grilling, steaming or poaching), and in Tom Clancy’s Threat Vector, John Clark enjoys a finely prepared dinner of monkfish while on an assignment to assassinate a known terrorist while in Libya. With a population of 16823 as of September 2015, the town of Ōarai is a fine destination for visitors looking to partake in marine sports or try out the monkfish. The city can be reached by the Number 51 highway or through the Kashima Rinkai Railway Ōarai Kashima Line, for which there is a stop in Ōarai. With the town covering only 23.74 km², the area is quite small — dedicated fans will have next to no problem identifying all of the locations in Ōarai that featured in Girls und Panzer.

Reflections on 2016, Welcoming 2017 with the Girls und Panzer 2017 Calendar

“New Beginnings are in order, and you are bound to feel some level of excitement as new chances come your way.” – Auliq Ice

While news outlets, tabloids and popular media has painted 2016 as a particularly poor year for a variety of reasons, 2016 ultimately turned out quite remarkable despite a slow beginning marked with uncertainty was to what I would do during the transition from being a student to full-fledged member of society. On all counts, things went very smoothly: I finished my thesis defense and paper shortly after being offered a software position, and convicted back in November to close off my academic career. En route to the finish line, I travelled on several occasions — once to lend a hand to the Giant Walkthrough Brain in Kelowna, and twice to international conferences. With this in mind, I’ve completed not only my resolutions from last January, but I also managed to fulfil a dream I’ve had since 2014; travelling with a clearly-defined goal proved to be wonderful experiences, and after yesterday, where I had the opportunity to watch the Calgary Flames defeat the Phoenix Coyotes in a 4-2 victory in regulation time, 2016 draws to a solid close. 2017 opened with shrimp cocktail and champagne; following a short sleep, it’s time to read through my post from last year, note that 2016 was pretty damn amazing in spite of popular belief, and consider my resolutions for 2017.

From a life perspective, my main resolution for 2017 is to put forth my fullest efforts for my work as a software developer, learning all of the necessary skills to be effective at what I do. Beyond this, I will take a leaf from Calvin and Hobbes: It’s a Magical World and Pure Pwnage: Teh Movie — I’m just going to let stuff happen, take it in stride and make the most of whatever circumstances and situations I encounter. This will apply to health, career, finances and even relationships. Besides the more serious goals, I will also aim to diversify my activities in 2017: on top of resolutions carrying over from last year (finish reading my unread books and the games I’ve not yet finished), I will also see to volunteering for different events, bring back my old hobby of pencil sketching and, in the spirit of letting stuff happen, maintain an open mind to what I can be doing with my newfound time now that I’m no longer required to write conference papers or plan tutorial sessions. This brings my New Year’s post to its conclusion: I’d like to bid all of my readers a Happy New Year 2017, and thank everyone again for having stuck with this blog for so long. Without your readership, I probably would not be able to summon the motivation to put posts out, so here’s to everyone for making this blog a reality, and I look forwards to seeing what this New Year has in store.

Reflections Through a Preview of Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” —Seneca

Announced back during the Girls und Panzer Heartful Tank Carnival event back on August 28, Girls und Panzer is set to return with a sequel titled Girls und Panzer: Saishuushou (“Final Chapter”) at some indeterminate point in the future. The trailer has just become available on the ‘net, and over its forty-second run, showcases Ooarai’s students in their winter regalia. A group of Leichter Ladungsträger Goliath (Sd.Kfz. 302/303a/303b) units, essentially remote-controlled armoured mines, can be seen in the trailer’s opening moments, followed by students handing out newspapers carrying what appears to be breaking news. At present, it is known that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will be a six-part OVA (not unlike Gundam Unicorn), with the first instalment released to Japanese cinema in December 2017. However, what Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will entail is similarly a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. From a financial perspective, that Girls und Panzer would be getting a sequel is not particularly surprising, although from a narrative perspective, it will be quite intriguing to determine what will await audiences once this sequel does become released.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • These Goliath here are German mobile armoured mines, seen rolling in formation under snowy weather reminiscent of that seen in Tom Clancy’s The Division. Beyond the setting during the winter season and the occurrence of a large news event, the trailer does not tell much more about Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, leaving much speculation in its wake.

  • The student handing out the newspaper in this image bears a remarkable similarity to Sore ga Seiyū‘s Futaba Ichinose, minus the purple hair. The trailer has been available at 1080p, and as such, details in the newspapers can be made out. They suggest that the events will take place over the course of a day, leading some to (incorrectly) speculate that this will be an OVA. However, I present the counterargument that trailers do not usually tell the full story, and it is possible that these students are handing out newspapers with information that act as a catalyst for what will occur within Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter. Ergo, a one-day event being shown on a newspaper in a trailer does not sufficiently show that The Final Chapter will consist of a single OVA episode.

  • Ooarai is seen making use of barrage balloons to further broadcast news: barrage balloons were historically used to dissuade enemy attack by holding up cables that could disrupt aircraft operation, although modern aircraft can easily circumvent their function by flying at much greater altitudes than the balloons. Such balloons are not widely used in contemporary militaries, but such balloons have been re-purposed to carry nuclear devices higher into the atmosphere for testing purposes.

  • Whereas an immensely long wait would await audiences if Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter were to take the form of another film, a TV series would allow for superior accessibility, followed by an OVA series. As it stands, I am hoping that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will take the form of a  TV series — any wait extending beyond April 5, 2018 would extinguish the English-speaking community’s capacity to watch and review a movie short of flying to Japan.

  • Screenshots of Momo and some other students operating under night lighting conditions immediately surfaced on Twitter following the announcement of Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, and at the time, I noted in my DOOM impressions post that I would refrain from discussing this sequel announcement in detail until more information became available. Nearly four weeks later, a trailer has appeared, and I’ve made substantial headway into DOOM, having just completed Kadingir Sanctum.

  • That “more information” takes the form of a 40-second trailer, and as I’ve got ten screenshots in this here post, down from the original fourteen, suggests a screenshot density of  twenty-one images per minute, making this one of the posts with a large number of screenshots relative to the media length. The red lighting seen here is a common attribute in military settings active under dark: red light has a longer wavelength than other colours and disrupts night vision to a lesser extent. For civilian applications, astronomers also use red flashlights to consult star charts, and some stargazing apps now come with a night vision mode that renders all elements in red.

  • Going into a continuation, I personally was not expecting one to be announced so soon, but upon realising that Girls und Panzer Der Film‘s box office performance was impressive, such a development became much more plausible. That this will be a sequel is interesting, and I am looking forwards to seeing what directions Girls und Panzer will take next, but the prospect of another movie is not one I would enjoy: the wait for Girls und Panzer Der Film was not pleasant, especially on account of the social media reactions of the film’s contents and the knowledge that a chance to see the film for myself would require at minimum a half-year’s wait.

  • Girls und Panzer never explicitly provided a timeline for when its events occur, but using a bit of reasoning, Miho transfers to Ooarai in around March, and most of the events of the TV series and movie occur between April and August and September, respectively. The depiction of snowfall and winter uniforms suggests that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will take place in November or later, which is not particularly far away from the events of the movie.

  • Some viewers have suggested that the presence of winter uniforms indicate plans to make Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter a TV series. Winter uniforms alone are an insufficient indicator that there are plans to make The Final Chapter a full TV series: the Locodol OVAs featured new footage in their openings, despite no known plans to create a second season. With that being said, I see no evidence to firmly suggest that the continuation will be a single OVA and as such, I’m hoping that The Final Chapter will be a full-fledged TV series.

  • I was planning on doing a DOOM post now that I’ve crossed the halfway point, and that would have brought my no-anime-post-streak up to a month, but the Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter trailer released earlier today, giving me a non-gaming topic to discuss. With that in mind, the trailer is quite short, and in the absence of further intel, it’s time for me to return to ripping and tearing my way through DOOM. I cannot guarantee that I’ll be on top of Girls und Panzer-releated news as I had been for the film owing to real-world obligations, but I will do my best to blog about information as it becomes available, as well as Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter itself once it does come out.

Going solely from the title, it would appear that Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter will be the conclusion to the Girls und Panzer franchise. After the events of Girls und Panzer Der Film, the ultimate fate of Ooarai’s Panzerfahren team remained indeterminate — they had succeeded in saving their school carrier a second time, but the accomplishment itself disclosed little about what experiences Miho and her classmates would encounter in their future Panzerfahren endeavours. Ergo, a successful continuation would need to address what the significance of Ooarai’s accomplishments are for its students, and as such, Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter would have been ideally be granted a TV series in which to adequately explore developments for Ooarai’s Panzerfahren team. For the first time in living memory, the entire Girls und Panzer community’s perspectives align with mine: a TV series would be a fantastic means of creating such a narrative, and allow Girls und Panzer to utilise time as a means of presenting more strategically-driven Panzerfahren scenes, as opposed to the spectacle in the movie. More is known about Half-Life 3 than about Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter, for the present. With this in mind, I will be keeping two eyes on developments pertaining to Girls und Panzer: The Final Chapter.