"The year Oarai Academy revived its tankery program was also the year when Nishizumi Miho and Miyanaga Saki returned to tankery. The story of the tournament that year also became their story, the story of two girls who had once given up, but became willing to do whatever was necessary to win and accomplish what they set out to do."
What if Miho wasn't the only Oarai Academy student who gave up tankery as a result of unpleasant experiences with it? What if the game that Saki believed tore her family apart but is also her best shot at reconciling with her sister, was tankery rather than mahjong?Necessary to Win is a Girls und Panzer and Saki crossover by Theralion, featuring characters from the Saki series attending school at Oarai and other schools, as well as competing in the national tankery tournament. Note that all chapter numbers are those given in the fic, rather than those on Fanfiction.net's numbering; note For example, Chapter 7 would refer to the eighth chapter on Fanfiction.net; the first Interlude, listed as the seventh chapter on the site, is not counted for purposes of numberingNecessary To Win can be found here. It can be divided into a few story arcs.
Introduction Arc: (Chapters 1-6, Interlude 1) In order to return to tankery, Oarai must gather tanks from around the school ships, and recruit as many students as possible. But even having taken those steps and having recruited so many students, success is not by any means guaranteed...
Anzio Arc: (Chapters 7-10, Interlude 2 and 3)Oarai goes up against an opponent that's by no means the strongest, but still confident in their chances of winning against Oarai. Meanwhile, Miho is forced to confront the issue that caused her to leave Black Forest...
St. Gloriana Arc: (Chapters 11-14, Interludes 4 and 5) Oarai realizes that they must improve their skills and their arsenal to deal with progressively more difficult opponents. Their opponent this time is stronger, and is led by a girl from Hisa's past...
Pravda Arc: (Chapters 15-18, Interlude 6) Meanwhile, on the other side of the semifinals bracket, Black Forest goes up against the team that claimed the championship in the previous tournament. But Maho fears that this time, the battle is about more than a championship...
Saunders Arc: (Chapter 19-22, Interludes 7 and 8) The difficulty of Oarai's penultimate opponent is significantly above any of those they had faced before, leaving some to wonder whether they can continue winning. Unfortunately, the stakes are significantly higher than they expect...
The Finals Arc: (Chapter 23-28, Interlude 9) Oarai goes into the decisive battle, with many of its members having a goal to accomplish or something to prove. But even if they do succeed, what will the future hold...?
Each of the teams get one in Chapter 2, indicating why they're doing tankery and the search for their tank.
In Chapter 24, each of the teams is featured in greater detail, showing their thoughts on the upcoming final battle, as well as the possibility of the school shutting down.
Arc Words: The title is referenced at a few points, such as when the story discusses what must be done to win, whether winning is absolutely necessary, and whether the characters have what it takes to win.
Bittersweet Ending: Oarai wins the tournament, enabling it to stay open. Several other characters have accomplished what they have set out to do; Miho has found her own way of tankery, Saki and her sister have reconciled, Nodoka is allowed to stay a her current school, Mako gets the tardies stricken from her record, and Hana has gotten her mother to accept her doing tankery. Not all characters are satisfied, though; Saki and Teru's parents divorce, rather than getting back together as they had hoped, and in the end, many characters, such as Momo and Yumi, are forced to say goodbye to each other as a result of graduating. Some problems remain, as Miho's mother has not disowned her, but does not regret doing so, and the future of Oarai is by no means guaranteed. But the characters remain hopeful, and remain committed to working toward their goals, with Miho and Saki having come to enjoy tankery again.
The story begins with a few paragraphs of information that apply to both Saki and Miho, about how each left tankery, but returned once Oarai revived its tankery program. The story ends by showing what they accomplished.
In the first scene, Miho is called into the Student Council office to explain her decision not to take tankery; once she does, she leaves, and passes by the mahjong club, who's waiting for their meeting. In the end, she and Saki go into the office to tell the Student Council that they're going to their sisters' graduation ceremonies, and after leaving, pass by the new Student Council, before encountering Yumi and Momo.
Curb-Stomp Battle: Several in the first round, such as Oarai vs. Anzio, Black Forest vs. Chihatan, Saunders vs. Joghurt, and Pravda vs. Bosporu.
Darkest Hour: Oarai vs. Saunders. Octopus Team's tank suffers engine failure in the river, and Miho learns that not only will she get disowned and her friend Nodoka will have to change schools if they lose, but Oarai will get shut down.
Doorstopper: Necessary To Win is over 275,000 words long.
The title used as a reference to times when one has to win, and the what one must be or do in order to win.
Chapter 7’s title subtly refers to Oarai’s determination to succeed despite the odds, and Maho’s interest in seeing Miho’s performance.
Chapter 14: “Reunion.” It refers to Hisa finally recognizing Mihoko, and the Achiga girls’ impending reunion with Nodoka.
Downer Ending: Most matches end happily for the main characters, but the exception is Black Forest vs. Pravda. Pravda is defeated, dashing their hopes. Maho, by winning, validates Shiho’s belief that Miho is responsible for their previous defeat, and puts her at risk of being disowned.
One is implied between Ami, Kikuyo and Takako in the past, before a rift formed between Ami and Takako over Takako's methods of discipline. In an interesting variation, the conflict is between The Kirk and The Spock in this case.
Another exists between Nodoka's three friends from Achiga. Shizuno is The McCoy, highly energetic but not much for thinking things through, Ako is The Spock, typically being the one to consider the requirements and ramifications of certain things, and Kuro, being between the two, is The Kirk.
Fusion Fic: The Saki characters attend the Girls und Panzer schools and do tankery.
Hisa vaguely references Yasuko losing to someone younger than her in the past, a reference to Yasuko's defeat against Koromo.
Toki, while hospitalized during the match between Pravda and Black Forest, wishes that she could use astral projection to help Ryuuka know where to go in order to win, much like Ryuuka's ability in the captain match of the semi-finals of Saki.
As the Saunders team discusses how to deal with Oarai, Mairu suggests that they could afford to make some sacrifices to gain the advantage, not unlike how she favored giving up the vanguard match by placing someone who wasn't good enough to win but wouldn't go under 0, and having the stronger players recoup the losses. Kirame, the said sacrifice from canon, suggests that it would be a way for them to help the team, but Himeko, who, in canon, had reservations about the plan, tells Kirame not to sell herself short.
In Toki's final scene, it's pointed out that she can't see the future, a reference to her ability.
In Girls und Panzer, while spending time in town after their practice match against St. Gloriana, the girls run into Hana's mother, who disowns her after finding out that she's been doing tankery. Here, the girls just miss Hana's mother, although she finds out later.
Several canon matchups are different. Anzio loses to Oarai in the first round, rather than the second. St. Gloriana, rather than losing to Black Forest in the semifinals, loses to Oarai in the second round. Pravda makes it to the semifinals, but loses to Black Forest rather than Oarai; Oarai's semifinals opponent is Saunders instead.
During the semifinals, an incident similar to Rabbit Team stalling in the river happens (but to Octopus Team), and at that point, Momo is forced to reveal that Oarai is at risk of shutting down unless it wins the tournament. In the finals, Rabbit Team makes it across the river, but loses a tread and has to stay behind.
During the finals, Rabbit and Duck Team are eliminated early on, while the Maus quickly defeats Leopon and Turtle Team, forcing a change of tactics later in the battle.
One Steve Limit: Averted with a vengeance. Pairs of characters with the same names include:
Origins Episode: The Interludes function as this, with the characters in question telling their stories to others in the present, as well as flashbacks.
Plot Triggering Death: Mizuho’s death serves this role in the Miyanaga sisters’ backstory, resulting in Teru's shift in personality, and the family falling apart..
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Somewhat on the idealistic side. Characters persist against considerable odds and while they may not always succeed, the fact that they do so is considered admirable, and their efforts often bear fruit in and of themselves.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: Done somewhat more linearly than the original series. While Anzio is weaker than BC Freedom, which Oarai faces in the practice battle, the other opponents get progressively more difficult over time.
Chapter 4: While worried about how likely she is to win the tournament, Nodoka eventually shifts her focus to the present and concludes that the practice match is "a small step upward," toward her goal.
Chapter 7: Maho thinks “Despite the odds" against Miho, she's interested in seeing how she could live up to Mako R.’s claim that Oarai could defeat Black Forest.
Chapter 17: “For My Sister’s Sake” pops up in Maho and Kinue’s thoughts, in their determination to win for their respective schools.
Unreliable Expositor: What the storytellers of the Interludes say in the present day should not be taken at face value, although it’s more often due to them not remembering correctly than lying about it. In particular, there are several different opinions as to why Black Forest lost the last tournament, each of which is brought up by someone with a bias.
We Used to Be Friends: Ami and Takako were friends since they joined the Nishizumi School together, but had a falling out over Takako's methods of discipline.
Less than a week before Teru's graduation, her and Saki's parents officially divorced.
Whole Episode Flashback: The Interludes are this, showing the pasts of certain characters punctuated with brief scenes in the present.
You Keep Using That Word: Referenced In-Universe with Caesar joking about Rabbit Team getting “decimated” for fleeing the battle with BC Freedom. Azusa points out that not only is Caesar not serious (especially given that Hippo Team was also taken out), but decimation is only one in ten people.