As what I hesitantly call the dark-horse anime of the season, Girls und Panzer has managed to remain surprisingly strong in the face of such intimidating competitors as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and Psycho-Pass. There are definitely plenty of valid reasons why—the skirmishes themselves are well thought out and animated, the characters are likable (if not terribly memorable), and it has yet to bog itself down with glurgy melodrama; even the most somber of scenes are accompanied by hilariously outdated Nazi helicopters and spunky old women, two things guaranteed to improve any show simply with their combined presence.
But belligerent old women and Nazi aircraft are only two parts of a bigger variable in the “why the fuck is this show so good?” equation, a variable that encompasses that broad descriptor of “novelty”. To put it in other words, Girls und Panzer isn’t just the one gimmick of girls engaging in competitive interscholastic tank battles; it’s a slew of gimmicks thrown at the audience one after the other faster than you can say “Holy shit, it’s a giant aircraft carrier!” It’s only when looking back and examining each of these events with the utmost scrutiny that a startling realization begins to emerge: This is why it’s really fucking good, and Episode 8 perfectly illustrates why with the the inclusion of Katyusha, Pravda’s adorable sensha-do president/reference to old war songs. (more…)