DVD Review: Girls Und Panzer – The Complete TV Series

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If you were given the chance to join a tank class as an after school activity would you do it? Well that’s the decision made in Girls Und Panzer but what exactly did we think of the series and it’s UK DVD release by MVM Entertainment? Find out in our DVD Review of Girls Und Panzer – The Complete TV Series.

Synopsis:

You may have heard of kung fu, but the girls at Oarai Academy practice gun-fu – really, really BIG gun-fu, in fact. It’s called Tankery, and it’s the martial art of operating armored tanks! And even though the Tankery program at Oarai has been defunct for years, the student council has taken a sudden interest in the art and no one they set their sights on is safe.

That’s how Miho Nishizumi, who transferred to Oarai specifically to stay out of tanks, gets drafted to join the newly revived Tankery divison. But it’s not all bad, because joining her in Team Anglerfish are her new-found friends Saori, the highly receptive radio operator; Hana, a flower arranger turned gunner; Mako, their brilliant but chronically sleepy driver; and combustible tank fangirl and loader Yukari.

They may not be on the half-track to fame and fortune, and maybe some of them would rather shop for tank tops than become tops in tanks, but once their focus is locked and loaded, they’re absolutely driven.

Our View:

The wonderful thing about anime is that you can always expect the unexpected; Girls Und Panzer for instance is a series that swaps traditional after-school sports clubs, such as basketball or football, and replaces it with full-fledged war machines. It’s an interesting concept, especially as you don’t usually see girls in tanks, but when combined with the traditional high-school life and some local competition it makes for one entertaining series.

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Girls Und Panzer mostly follows Miho Nishizumi, a shy timid girl who currently has no interest in Tankery (Sensha-Do in the Japanese version) due to a prior bad experience with them. It’s worth pointing out Miho’s distaste for Tankery is not ‘fully’ explored until the later half of the series, but it just adds to her personality of being slightly mysterious. In the meantime however Oarai’s School President has started the Tankery Club back up again and insists that everyone joins. Reluctantly Miho, along with her new found friends, agree to join the club and so a new chapter in Tankery at Oarai High School begins.

The initial episodes see the Tankery Club get to grips with their tanks by having training sessions and practice matches with each other, but as the show progresses the Team is submitted into a national Tankery tournament. This is how the main storyline of Girl’s Und Panzer progresses, By being entered into a tournament and forced to win it by the Student Council. Each passing episode acts as a new match, with each presenting new tanks, new characters and entertaining battles, with the general premises being “who knew tanks could be this fun!”. This relatively blind story progression, just like with Miho’s distaste in Tankery, is lifted when a harsh reality descends upon the entire team, at which point loosing is not an option.

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Basically Girl’s Und Panzer is an underdog story, it sees a bunch of misfits from a school given tanks and entered into a tournament with the only rule of “not losing”. You could say it’s the ‘tank’ alternate of Bamboo Blade, however the only difference here is that the viewers know what they are fighting for, while in this series no-one knows until well over the half-way mark, at which point everything becomes clear. Fortunately the series is just fun and entertaining to watch on its own, so when the storyline does come into play it just re-enforces the reason for you why are watching Girls in Tanks.

Extras:

This DVD release of Girls Und Panzer contains quite a fair amount of extra features, so much so that it is spread over both discs as opposed to just being on the second disc. As you’d expect the usual inclusion of the Clean Opening and Closing animations are included but additional Two Bonus Episodes, a selection of Japanese Promotional Videos and a selection of trailers are all included.

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Depending on the kind of content you like will depend on what suits you best, for instance the inclusion of two bonus episodes is a nice touch however they are both re-cap episodes and are only available in Japanese, which is kind of disappointing since the entire franchise was dubbed into English. That’s not the only disappointing factor either, as the picture quality on these bonus episodes is slightly worse than the main episodes as they suffer from pixel distortion. It’s nothing serious (such as previous MVM releases) but it is noticeable once you are made aware of it.

Those wishing to enjoy some original Japanese promotional material will be glad to know that several trailers (and tv spots) are also included, all of which have been given English subtitles which isn’t something you always get on extras. What’s also interesting is that the Japanese trailers even give a brief overview of what to expect from the series, such as characters and the history of tankery. It’s also worth pointing out that the all of the different clean closing animations are included, so that’s ‘at least’ six different ending animations per disc. Basically for those unaware each ending animation sees one of the tanks driving across a road, it’s nothing excitement but each ending animation is different.

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Finally to round out the list of extra content is the inclusion of several trailers for other anime releases, these include Little Busters, La Storia Della Arcana Famiglia, Kokoro Connect & Accel World. Majority of the trailers (excluding Accel World) use the Opening (or closing) song mixed with clips of the series. It’s difficult to understand what maybe taking place within the series, but its nice to see this type of content included as it gives a brief idea of what to expect.

Specs:

Media: DVD 9 x2
Region: 2
Running Time: 2:32:18 (Disc 1 & 2)
Video: MPEG-2
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 448kbps (English & Japanese)
Subtitles: English (Yellow)
Resolution: 720 x 576 (576i)
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Widescreen
Frame Rate: 25 fps

Overall:

Girls Und Panzer is a series that sees a relatively small group attempt to take on the big-teams in a tank based tournament, along the way making new friends, exploring the joys of tankery and having a good time. It’s an entertaining series and it even comes with a few serious notes, for instance team-work and friendship are crucial to keeping up moral in a team, but more importantly it shows that no matter who you are if you put your mind to it you can accomplish great things. It might sound cliché, but these are all subdue elements that I picked up – on a high note it’s just an entertaining series with colourful characters and tactical battles which never see a dull moment.

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It seems like a lot of care went into the production of this series, mostly revolving around the Tanks themselves. It’s not a simple case of “this is a tank” instead each tank has a brief history explained, but more importantly each tank is called by its own name rather than simply “it’s the enemy tank”. Anime tank fans (if they exist?) will probably pick-up on this, but it just shows the devoation that the original Japanese production team did to make the series more engaged. Unfortunately while research went into the tanks not much explanation is given into the lifestyle of the world within Girls Und Panzer. Confused? Well each school is actually a ship and as such the top-deck is an entire town/city with the school in the of it. It’s not explained in the TV Series why this is (you just have to accept it) luckily this ‘lifestyle’ issue is later fixed in the upcoming OVA Collection, whereby an entire episode is dedicated into explaining the origins of these “school ships”.

In regards to this DVD Release by MVM Entertainment the picture quality is consistent with what you’d be expecting (although personally I’d choose the Blu-ray as it is an improvement) and audio levels remain consistent throughout with both the Dub and Sub being equally entertaining. The Discs even come pack with a variety of extra features, such as two episode re-caps, promotional trailers and text less songs – so there is plenty to keep you busy long after the series has ended. While there is a lot of positives to be had with this release there is also two minor problems to be found, first of all the Episode re-caps (Episode 5.5 & 10.5) are only available in Japanese and the that picture quality in both of these episodes suffers from minor pixilation/distortion, it’s nothing major but some will notice it. It’s interesting that the whole series has been dubbed into English, yet the bonus episodes are only in Japanese, but luckily these are only re-caps so you do not miss much.

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On the whole I wasn’t expecting much from Girls Und Panzer, but instead I ended up loving every minute of it. It has variety, detail and a lot of entertainment but at the same time it’s approachable from every angle. If you liked Bamboo Blade’s “underdog” approach to the storyline or alternative if you are looking for a “feel-good” series with a few twists then you’ll love Girls Und Panzer.

Score: review-stars-5

Girls Und Panzer – The Complete TV Series will be available on DVD from the 14th April 2014 with the Blu-ray expected to arrive on the 28th April 2014.

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About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

2 Responses to DVD Review: Girls Und Panzer – The Complete TV Series

  1. what happened to commenting on the dub and how good or bad it is ? it’s the bit I look out for most in your reviews 😦

    • Scott says:

      Had no real issues with either so didn’t spend time commenting on it, but both are good so it’s down to personal preference of which you prefer to watch (or listen).

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