is obviously a show in which plot follows premise. The story itself is "classic sports movie": our heroine, Miho, a reluctant former tankist, must get back in her groove and lead her Ragtag Bunch of Misfits
to victory against the haughty champions
or her school will be closed. The creators will get no prizes for originality; what they do will
prizes for, however, is creating great characters. The protagonists are rounded, three-dimensional, and believable. Even minor characters are more than mooks; the tournament is a window on their lives as much as it is Miho's trial - as the many ensemble darkhorses
attest. My favourite was Kei, leader of the "American" tank team, and Cavalier Competitor
. The viewer will find plenty of people to root for.
When we turn to the panzers, we find similar quality. The level of detail is enormous
, but, helpfully, Yukari
will keep non militaria geeks informed. Each tank is lovingly - and beautifully - drawn and rendered. There's a wide selection - KV-2s, Shermans, an almost-useless Type-89, and lesser-known tanks like the Jagdtiger
all make appearances. Then there's the little details, like the screens the spectators watch, built on Krupp K5 railway gun chassis. The setting does require some suspension of disbelief, but this is easily given; when the show began I wanted to know exactly why schools in the GuP
universe are built on giant aircraft carriers. When it ended, I still wanted to know, but this time it was because I wanted to explore the setting further.
Some might feel political analyses of a show like this are unwarranted, if that's you, then skip this paragraph. The setting is handled deftly - no, beautifully. A show where tank combat is a school sport might attract accusations of militarism or conservatism. Neither element is present; indeed, the effect of the show is not to glorify war, but to sanitize it into nothingness, in much the same way children play at pirates. Nor is the show markedly sexist as some seinen-timeslot anime can be; the creator is notably puritan, and GuP
does not so much pass The Bechdel Test
as obliterate it with a 75mm gun.
All in all, it's fun, funny, and exciting. Dive in - you won't regret it.