Roughly two years since the film and five years since the end of the main series, Girls und Panzer releases the last set of movies meant to tie off the universe. At least as much as I can figure, for now. GuP is one of those shows that just seem to be a hit for some reason, even if it’s just cute girls cute things in tanks. Like der Film, will be placing my thoughts before the (rather lengthy) summary.
Girls und Panzer was really what got me started on AniBlogging, and if this is how the franchise ‘ends’ I cannot wait to see its conclusion. I love the opening of the episode/movie, showing Ooarai in a tight bind with Momo understandably panicking and various commentators talking of their predicament. Azumi talking about her former school reinforces their strength, while Darjeeling’s comment, arguably the strongest of Ooarai’s supporters, only adds doubt later of letting Momo take charge.
A person I follow for GuP and military-themed AMVs on YouTube, CJ Spencer, noted that he felt a little uneasy in introducing Shark team, but like him, I warmed up quickly to them. A bunch of Yankī delinquents themed around pirates to fit with their ‘landship’. Their reaction to Momo being in trouble was priceless, and not only talks about them, but about Momo as well. Momo clearly cares a lot about the students of Oorai, that even if they are denizens of a bar in the bowels of the ship, she went and covered for them to ensure their continued attendance at the school.
Even if they do bully the second years of Rabbit Team. They are ‘roughnecks with hearts of gold’. That said, seeing them defeated at their own games by the Anglerfish crew was quite amusing if a little far-fetched for some challenges. Yukari and Saori were given, considering Yukari’s military otaku-ishness and Saori being an actual licensed radio operator weren’t much stretches. But then Mako’s finger strength as the driver, which made sense. Miho dodging Murakami’s blows due to her being an heir to Nishizumi-school and knowing how to dodge shells was weird. But Hana’s ability to drink shot after shot of ultra-spicy non-alcoholic rum and being able to outlast Ogin due to her dual Yamato-ness of being a gunner in senshadou and flower arranger must be some sort of metaphor of the perfect woman trumping the rough and tumble lass.
It was a weird match up but it really underscores how much of a low-key badass Isuzu is. That said one thing that amused me was Sodoko talking about the bowels of the ship being the ‘Johannesburg of Ooarai’. The girls are leered on by the maritime studies students there, and not even Sodoko’s position as the former head of the morals committee grants her a free pass. Had this not been a family friendly show, I’m pretty sure her walking in there with that armband would’ve had her beaten up at the very least.
But back to my main point, I’d be surprised if it’s referred to that in the official dub and subs, as it would probably be too close of a divisive point for them to make. Considering recent events with South Africa and the historically high crime rates in that city, I can see why Sodoko would call it as such. Just not sure if it’ll pass with the current SJW-sensitivity that is currently rooted in the current distribution companies.
BC Freedom Academy to me is another hit. I will be up front and say it, I didn’t really care too much about Anzio. I know Anchovy is a fan favorite, but Anchovy, Pepperoni, and Carpaccio is really all I know that school for. BC Freedom Academy is already established in the Ribbon Warrior manga, and it is from there that the back story for the school takes place. So many allusions to French society, from its school crest representing France, the name ‘BC’ that alludes to Vichy France, with the Cross that was commonly used to denote Free French Resistance, the divided line between the two, and the intense rivalry.
That rivalry did exist. In the Ribbon Warrior manga, but it was ‘mended’ by the end. Now, before I get waaay too far on this, the rivalry depicted in Ribbon Warrior (as per the wiki) and in das Finale is different. In Ribbon Warrior, it was more an allegory of the reintegration of Vichy France and the Free French Republic. Much like how France had to reintegrate together after the end of the war, the merging of the two schools (originally meant as ‘feeder’ schools or ‘support’ schools for Maginot Girls Academy, itself representing the French Third Republic) had some friction but it eventually sorted itself out.
In das Finale, depicting the French school as being divided through class lines made more sense since in order to adequately explain the Vichy vs Free French allegory, one needs to devote more time to BC Freedom Academy’s past. Not doable in about twenty minutes, so working with a well-known division within historical France, between the nobility (escalator students) and peasants (exam/transfer students) evokes a certain image. Andou going in for a brawl reminds me of the Storming of the Bastille and this was what they presented when Yukari ‘snuck’ in to do her espionage report.
There could really be actual tensions between Andou and Oshida, since Andou reminds me of France’s various colonial possessions (darker skin tone, black hair, rougher accent) while Oshida is of France proper. Marie keeps the calm and her name and cake does not bode well in this infighting, even though it was all a ruse.
So while BC Freedom Academy manages to pull a fast one on Ooarai, Oorai manages to even the odds by coming up with their usual crazy antics, specifically using the Mark IV as an impromptu ramp. Now, it wasn;t stated in the show, and people will remember how Ooarai’s various ‘camoflauge’ schemes worked for them against St. Gloriana and why Shark team would want to visually identify themselves with a great huge main mast and jolly rodger, but it seems that this is actually their radio aerial.
Smart and fitting their motif.
Speaking of fitting their motifs, GG Anzio, just GG. This is the SECOND match you’ve most likely slept through.
I love how many of the third years are now being shown their futures, with Maho in Germany, Darjeeling and Katyusha going to the UK and Russia respectively, and the transition of power between Turtle and Anglerfish as the leaders of the school. I do feel a bit sorry for Nishi and Fukuda. Trying to impart change against their charge crazy senshadou team is an uphill battle of Sisyphean scale.
Overall, I consider the first installment of das Finale to be fun and worthy of the Girs und Panzer name. Shark Team and BC Freedom Academy were instant faves compared to constant fan favorite Anzio, I’m loving Ogin and Andou for their rough-and-tumble attitude, and the premise is no weirder than the last. Rather than saving their school, they’re now saving Momo’s future prospects by getting her into university. I want to see this to its inevitable conclusion.
The movie drops us straight into the action, as the camera focuses first on the Anglerfish logo on the Panzer IV’s turret skirt armor, before it is shot away and revealing the main logo on the turret. The camera rotates to show that Ooarai is stuck in a pickle, trapped on a collapsing bridge and taking fire on all sides. Azumi comments on how strong her old school is while Darjeeling explains that one of the biggest obstacles to overcome must come from within. Back in the Panzer IV, Yukari explains she’s screwed up, and with their defeat here means the end for them.
Going back to before the match, Oorai has deployed several tracked drones with ground penetrating radar to search the ship’s bowels for another tank. Finding a possible match, Momo Kawashima is ecstatic before being interrupted by the members of the Rabbit Team. Asking what they’re all talking about, they give her a full front page scoop of her having to retake a whole year.
News spread quickly as most of the Ooarai students worry and the Senshado team in particular. Miho Nishizumi and Saori Takebe asks for calm and will address them once more information is known. It seems that the members of the Turtle team have all relinquished their roles to Anglerfish team, with Isuzu Hana being the Student Council President and Yukari Akiyama as the Vice President (Mako Reizei seems to just be a hanger-on in the room).
Revealing the truth behind the rumors, it seems that unlike Anzu Kadotani and Yuzu Koyama, Momo cannot get into a university. She is graduating, but not moving elsewhere educationally. It seems that rather than studying, Momo had been looking for tanks before the start of the Winter Cup for Senshado, a long postponed tournament meant to commemorate the founding of the sport. She had been devoting her time to finding a new tank so the school would be in a better footing and not be abolished again.
Explaining the situation to the rest of the team, they all are grateful but still unable to see that their beloved PR manager can’t go off into a university like most of the older girls. It seems the school that Yuzu and Anzu is attending has a special admission profile for those with talent, Saori suggests that she use Senshadou as her special talent. This is further reinforced by Miho, who notes that Maho was accepted into Niedersächsische Universität in Germany due to her prowess in Senshadou. Akiyama also notes that Megumi, Azumi, and Rumi (the Bermuda Trio) also enrolled to Selection University via sports scholarships.
With this newfound information, they all go for making Momo the team commander, win the Winter Cup, and get her into university through that route. Many are ecstatic, but others are a bit apprehensive with the easily flustered Momo as the commander, and ask Miho to guide her appropriately.
Forcing Momo to study for her exams, Sodoko (Sono Midoriko) leads the Anglerfish team below decks and explains that the lower one goes in decks, the more unruly the students get, to the point that the clear demarcation between order and disorder is referred to as the “Johannesburg of Ooarai”. It is a real lawless territory, where the halls are blocked by barbed wire (cut away by Hana’s skill with pruning shears) and filled with all sorts of stereotypical Yankī students. Confronting two who refused to let them go further about the dress code and the trash, they pick her up and kidnap her, leading to a long chase sequence through the bowels of the ships which lead them to a karaoke bar hidden behind a false wall.
The bar is inhabited by five girls who seem to be taking up the pirate theme as their Yankī. The girls within are either drunk or lounging, and after scoffing at the ‘safe’ drinks the girls tried to order, reveal where they got Sodoko was held, chained to a ball and chain and cleaning their toilet.
Attempting to leave, the Yankī girls confront them and finding out they’re the Senshadou team looking for a tank, they promise to reveal where it is after a duel. Mako also adds a condition to free Sodoko when they win. The first challenge is to untie a knot, by the karaoke enthusiast “Great Waves” Flint, which Yukari easily does. “Explosive Cyclone” Rum gives a semaphore challenge in high speed which Saori easily defeats. The next challenge is by “Fresh Whitebait Rice Bowl” Cutlass, the bartender, in a finger wrestling competition where Mako easily trounces her on. “Sargasso” Murakami, the beefy muscular girl tries to fight Miho, but is easily dodged due to her training.
Having bested the four of them, and unable to handle the loss, they surround the girls (where did you keep that grenade, Yukari?) they are about attack when held back by their commander, “Tornado” Ogin. Ogin proposes a last challenge, a drinking challenge featuring the Donzoko Club’s non-alcoholic rum, the Habanero Club. Taste testing it, Mako is instantly defeated due to its fiery taste, and Hana steps up the plate. The gunner matches with the pirate captain shot per shot, only to defeat her in the final round due to her patience and skill as a gunner and a floral arranger.
Giving in, they release Sodoko. In regards to the tank, Ogin is dismissive at first before Rum explains it’s Momo and the Anglerfish team explain the details to her. Revealing that they were about to be expelled before Momo came to cover for them, the Donzoku club members want to help. Asked about the tank they came up with their searches, they at first do not know what tanks are but after being described to them, they reveal a British Mark IV/V Landship being used as their smokehouse.
The yankī girls become the crew of the new tank and the automotive club restores the armored fighting vehicle to working order while the rest of the team enjoy the harvested meat from its former occupation as a smokehouse.
In various schools, it seems that they all look forward to the new tournament, as the various remaining leaders look to it as their capstone to their years, with Darjeeling going to the UK and Katyusha going to Russia. Erika Itsumi is worried about being the new Kuromorimine commander, Kay is hoping for a lucky draw while Alisa is wondering if she’ll be noticed by her crush with the tournament. Anchovy ralies her school to showing that Anzio is not weak, while Chihatan is still in their charge-crazy attitude much to the dismay of Nishi Ninuyo and her new advisor, Fukuda. It seems as though that Jakosota won’t be joining.
In the selection ceremony, Ooarai is matched against BC Freedom Academy, the subcommanders Ando and Oshida instantly start to fight at the convention hall floor while Marie, the main commander, remains aloof of the commotion. It seems that the original students (Oshida) and transfer students (Ando) fight all the time and having always been eliminated in the first round, there isn’t much data on them.
This leads Yukari to one of her famous spy missions, where she presents a highly fragmented school that is often fighting with each other. Ando and her group all had to pass exams in order to get into BC Freedom Acadmey while Oshida and her peers have all been sheltered from that.
Momo seems to be panicking at their preparations, but being addressed as commander is easy to knock her out, with everyone telling her to rely on them rather than worry about the trivial matters and to focus on her exams.
At the start of the tournament, the Shark team makes a flashy arrival with their landship. Making a first impression on the other teams, the rabbit team is bullied due to their comments about the Shark team’s crew. Momo thanks everyone for joining to help her pass into university, while it seems BC Freedom Academy has arrived, fighting amongst themselves even during the pre-match commander meet.
The match starts with Momo and the Hetzer as the flag tank. Deploying the Type 89 and the Porsche Tiger to scouting roles, the light tank and the (modified) Heavy Tank discover a platoon of Souma S35 Cavalry Tanks and ARL-44 Heavy Tanks, respectively. Trailing their respective finds, Momo comes up with a strategy that Miho agrees with. With their orders, Momo orders them forward with a Panzer Vor!
Crossing the river that bisected the map in the shallows, the mark IV gets stuck but is pushed by the M3 Lee. Murakami loses her temper at the 2nd years of Rabbit Team but Ogin calls her off. Back at BC Freedom Academy’s flag tank, it seems they’re well aware of the strategy being employed and put up a pretense of being laid back and not knowing what is going on. A signal is sent out to both the Souma and ARL detachments, who ready up and leave one of their respective divisions to pin the Type 89 and Porsche Tiger respectively.
When crossing the bridge to strike at the enemy flag tank, who seem to be pretty lax, Ooarai nonetheless is sneaking through to try to easily win the match. Sodoko, worrying, spots the Souma S35 platoon upstream from them and calls a warning right before they destroy the bridge before the Panzer IV. Managing to stay on the bridge, the ARL-44 platoon downstream from them cuts off the rear and Ooarai is trapped on a three-pronged offensive from the ‘examination’ Souma S35s, ‘escalator’ ARL-44s, and the command tank and her escort.
Calling back Duck (Type 89) and Leopon (Porsche Tiger), it seems that BC Freedom Academy knew what Ooarai’s tricks were and presented a fragmented front to lull them to a false sense of superiority. As the bridge starts to fall apart, and Momo’s chances of going to University along with it, Miho is hit by a stroke of genius.
Shark team is rigid in their adherence in the chain of command, but by asking them a favour through Momo, Shark’s Mk. IV moves forward to the opposite bank, and falls down, but is unable to fully bottom out due to its length. Now with an impromptu ramp set up (with Ogin and Murakami removing their jury-rigged sail/radio setup) the rest of Ooarai makes it off the bridge just in time before its collapse.
Forming a perimeter, they hold the advance of the Exam and Escalator platoons before Duck and Leopon arrives to pressure them from the rear. Retreating, the two teams reform, having gotten past underestimating the other. While Ooarai comes up with a plan, BC Freedom Academy advances to the rear to a new position whilst singing their school’s marching song, Le Chant de l’Oignon.
OVA OP Screenshots:
OVA ED Screenshots: