So, I did indicate I was going to do this later during my vacation, but having watched the 2nd episode now a few times, twice un-subtitled and now three times subtitled, I can’t really hold back wanting to talk about it. Using my new-ish format of thoughts first then summary.
First off, the second half of the fight against BC Freedom’s Senshadou team was brilliant. While the ruse undoubtedly worked against Ooarai initially, it cannot completely chase away the underlying resentment between formerly bitter rivals.
Saori’s observation that the turret of Mallard Team’s Char B1 Bis is visually identical to BC Freedom’s Somua S35 (actually it’s an enlargement of the B1’s own turret) and played a role in reopening that barely patched over rivalry. The chaos that ensued was amusing as the difference between the two platoon’s firepower and speed was evident. The S35s needed close in hits to disable the ARL-44s, while the ARL-44s needed one good hit on the fleet tanks to score one.
Marie and her command tank’s reaction to the reopening of hostilities between the two platoons strike me as a group who is well aware of the deep-seated hatred lying underneath that teamwork. The quick reaction upon hearing their escort tank’s rhetoric made their intervention between the two platoons even more remarkable. Also, Marie’s athleticism made me wonder just where those cakes are going.
They’re going to her thighs apparently.
In the end, the chaos that engulfed the formidable defensive positions in the bocage allowed Ooarai to surround and whittle the BC Freedom team down until Marie’s FT-17 was disabled.
In between battles we see a bit of the daily Ooarai life. More scaring of the second years and tutoring Momo. Being the oldest of many siblings and also acting as a surrogate mother on top of being the Student Council PR Manager/Secretary, she has neither the time or the environment to really put much effort into her studies.
The volleyball team also invited Fukuda over for dinner, having taken a liking to the first year Chihatan Academy student. Their comments about the dish and the various ways they enjoy it providing much insight to a fertile mind. Miho and Alice also spend a play date at the renovated Boko museum, where Alice is a year-long pass holder.
The next week shows snippets of the various schools defeating their opponents, with the most amusing in my eyes being the match between Koala Forest High School and Chihatan. Not because of its outcome, but mostly of the fact that the Koala’s commander being an actual Koala.
That being said, the actual match with Chihatan was a bit more edge-of-my-seat battle than BC Freedom. I think that’s mostly due to the common in-universe and even fan conceptions of their tactics. They are the quintessential 1930s Japan. Even their image song is more fitting to their school’s march (Yuki no Shingun) than any other contemporary ones.
Their use of actual tactics took everyone by surprise, noting how they’ve changed. Maybe in their actions though. Fukuda and Nishi have to do some rather creative phrases just to get their fellow banzai charge happy comrades to actually act like a proper armored unit. Still, what truly broke them was their entrapment in the ditch, where Nishi blows the cover off the whole thing that she and Fukuda have been slowly trying to get their school to do.
So, I can expect a battle that would be rather more to the death than the semi-finals against Pravda. An opportunity for the student to beat the master. With Chihatan finding the value in ‘retreat’, the battlefield being a dark humid night in the jungle with low visibility, it might be down once again to bluff, guile, and a bit of luck.
We’ll probably find out in 2024 with how the release schedule is going. Episode Summary will be brief.
The BC Freedom High School team retreats to a bocage in the battlefield, with Marie taking a leisurely picnic. The Ooarai team, a section having provided harassing fire to the retreating BC Freedom tanks, regroup and plan out their next moves.
It was pointed out that there is still some deep-seated animosity between the members of the BC Freedom student body, the school and team being a merger between rival schools and their current cooperation is only for the current tournament in order for BC Freedom to win.
Saori makes an observation that Mallard’s Char B1 shares a similar turret to the Somua S35, prompting Yukari and Miho to come up with a plan. While Leopard, Rabbit, and Shark keep BC Freedom;s frontline engaged, the rest of Ooarai breaks through the hedgerows of the bocade before drawing attention to themselves. When Oshida’s ARL-44 section moves to engage Ooarai’s main force, they come under fire from the rear, supposedly from an allied Somua S35. Initially seen as a misunderstanding, a second shell bounced off Oshida’s ARL-44 prompting her to disable her own ally.
General chaos ensues as Oshida’s ARL-44 platoon, consisting of the escalator students, engage against Andou’s Somua S35 platoon, consisting of examination students. Several tanks are knocked out and their focus wholly set against each other. Marie and het FT-17 crew intervene before a final confrontation, where she points out that Oshida had been duped. Quickly finding Ooarai’s FT-17, Oshida and Andou knock it out and the two reconcile.
This proves too late as Ooarai has thoroughly infiltrated the bocage, knocking out the escorting tanks with a few losses of their own, but in the end, Marie’s FT-17 runs into Shark team’s Mark V with Leopon’s Porsche Tiger and Anglerfish’s Panzer IV behind her. She was rather calm in eating her pastry as Anglerfish knocked her out.
Having advanced to the next round, Oshida and Andou apologizes to Azumi, and the two rivals vow to work more closely together to bring victory back to BC Freedom alongside Marie. Speaking of which, Marie seems to hold no grudges against being defeated in the first round and treated the victors to the best in French desserts.
Between matches, we see the rabbit team being bullied by shark once more, while Momo brings Saori to a printing shop. While Saori seems eager to modernize how the student council announces things, Momo emphasizes the need for following proper procedure.
We also find out this was her home and on top of her frail mother, she is the oldest of the children and acts like a surrogate mother. That combination as well as her duties in the Student Council makes it hard for her to academically excel, thus highlighting the need to put a tournament win as senshadou commander.
Miho also has a play date with Alice at the renovated and expanded Boko museum, where Alice is a year pass holder. Alice has yet to find a school, but wants to find one as soon as possible to be able to have a match against Miho once again.
The volleyball team also treats Fukuda to dinner, where the first year congratulates them for winning and asks for any pointers in their upcoming match. Though the topic was on the dish they’re sharing, Fukuda manages to pick up some insight.
With Chihatan winning over Koala Forest High School and advancing to the second round, it seems Ooarai’s commanders have to be on guard against a newly emerging Chihatan. Other schools advance in the tournament: Pravda High School winning over Viking Fisheries High School (Norway-themed); St. Gloriana Girl’s College over Waffle Academy (Belgium-themed); Anzio High School over Bonple High School (Polish-themed), Kuromorimine Girl’s Academy over Maginot Academy (Pre-War France-themed); Jatkosota High School over Yohurt Academy; and Saunders University High School over Blue Division High School (Spanish-themed).
Prior to the start of the match, Miho encourages Nishi to try her hardest and win, and taking that to heart, the two forces collide in the jungle. After sufficiently angering the Shark team by destroying their pirate flag/mast/radio antenna, the combined fire of the Chihatan team knock out Shark’s Mark V, prompting Caesar and Rommel to reminisce about the time their own brightly colored and flagged Stug III was singled out.
The combat stretches into the night, with Chihatan continuously denying Ooarai to obtain the high ground in the center of the map. Moving to a new location near a lake, Ooarai’s Char B1 gets bogged down in the bottom of a deep depression full of mud that requires the combined power of the Porsche Tiger pulling and the Panzer IV pushing to get it unstuck.
Chihatan’s scouts have figured out where Ooarai was making a stand and Nishi uses Chihatan’s Type 2 Ka-Mi amphibious tanks to attack Ooarai’s defensive line from the rear. One manages to score the Char B1 with the loss of its forward flotation sections, though even with its loss it is able to maneuver around Ooarai’s own fire.
The rest of Chihatan arrives and slowly move in against the Ooarai defenders. A coordinated volley against the Flag tank pushes the Porsche Tiger forward, allowing Chihatan to disable its tracks and a platoon making their way close to the tank to kill it. With the loss of three tanks to only one so far, Ooarai gives chase to the Chihatan forces, before being pursued themselves. Led on by tracers, Chihatan realizes too late that Ooarai were baiting them into a trap, Fukuda realizing the ploy but unable to stop it when all of Chihatan fall to the bottom of the deep muddy depression.
Unable to climb up the banks or one side, Nishi gives her team a bitter pill to swallow. They cannot continue to charge recklessly and must change as the battle calls for it. in order to win, they must retreat. The Chihatan tanks are able to break out of the incomplete encirclement, with Nishi noting that only through victory can they repay the debt they owe to Miho.