Girls und Panzer Ep. 5: Veterans of Their Trade: Sherman Corps!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

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WARNING: The following post discusses spoilers from Girls und Panzer, Episode 5: “Veterans of Their Trade: Sherman Corps!” If you do not wish to be spoiled, please stop reading now. You have been warned.

Girls und Panzer Tanks

In Girls und Panzer episode 5, “Veterans of Their Trade: Sherman Corps!,” Miho and Maho unexpectedly run into each other. However, Maho only says one sentence; she lets her blonde gray-haired comrade do most of the trash-talking. As baseless as Little Miss Alpha #@*$%’s assertions are of Oarai being a disgrace to tankery, I can’t help but wonder whether there is some truth to them—or, rather, whether there was. What if Oarai Girls’ Academy was forced to shut down its tankery program and scuttle three of its tanks all those years ago because the team did something perceived as disgraceful or otherwise embarrassing to the entire art?

Girls und Panzer Maho and Comrade

I was wrong about Maho attending the Nishizumi School. She and her foul-mouthed comrade actually attend Kuromorimine Women’s Academy. This school is in slot 13 on the 63rd National High School Tankery Games tournament board.

Girls und Panzer tankery tournament competition board

Yukari refers to Maho’s school only as “Kuromorimine.” However, the part of the name after “Kuromorimine” (「黒森峰」) on the tournament board is identical to the corresponding part after “St. Gloriana” (「聖グロリアーナ」) in slot 10. Therefore, the school’s full name is likely Kuromorimine Women’s Academy.

This made me wonder what the Nishizumi School was, exactly. The gray-haired one mentioned “Nishizumi-style” tankery, so perhaps the Nishizumi School isn’t a regular school, but some kind of dojo for Nishizumi-style tankery. If this is the case, I wonder what sets Nishizumi-style tankery apart from other styles.

I didn’t expect Miho to be Kuromorimine’s former sub-commander. That’s really impressive for someone her age. It’s obvious she’s good, but I didn’t think a hardcore crew like Kuromorimine would have considered her sub-commander-good. She’s clearly an asset to any tankery team, so why have they let her go?

Yukari says Kuromorimine won nine championships consecutively—but not last year, when they only advanced to the semifinals. Did Miho quit last year, depriving them of an excellent sub-commander? Or did she make a mistake in the match that cost them the semifinal? If it’s the latter, could Kuromorimine have been hardcore enough to chase Miho and her tank off a cliff and leave her to drown? That could be what we saw in Miho’s nightmarish flashback in episode 1, as well as what we see each subsequent episode in the opening. It would explain Miho’s aversion to tankery in episode 1 and before. It would also explain Maho’s words to Miho during her television interview in episode 2: “Never run away, no matter the situation.”

Girls und Panzer Miho's Tragic Past
Girls und Panzer Miho's Tragic Past Girls und Panzer Miho's Tragic Past

Miho is under a lot of pressure, and the student council only makes it worse. Well, the president and Kawashima make it worse; the vice president seems too nice to do that, instead only worrying about their fate if they lose. The president shushes her before she can go into detail, though—very suspicious. And the vice president covers her mouth like she really wasn’t supposed to talk about it. What are they hiding?

Girls und Panzer Student Council

This episode introduces us to Yukari’s parents. They seem pretty ordinary, refreshingly so. (There’s an animation goof with Yukari’s mom. When she’s setting refreshments down for the girls, she speaks, but her lips don’t move. Whoops!) When Hana remarks on how wonderful she thinks they are, Mako spots a happy family picture, stares at it, and narrows her eyes. I wonder if that means her own parents are not so wonderful or dead. She does live with her grandmother, after all…

Girls und Panzer Mako Girls und Panzer Mako Narrows Eyes
Girls und Panzer Yukari and Her Parents

I think all the Oarai girls grew up a little in this episode. They’ve begun practicing harder, restored their tanks’ original, more practical colors and styling (I’ll miss their more colorful appearances, personally), and obtained handsome new uniforms. Even one of the youngsters looks older to me. They seem to be coordinating better, too. It’s really good to see.

Girls und Panzer Saori and Yukari Girls und Panzer Tanks
Girls und Panzer Tanks
Girls und Panzer New Oarai Uniforms Girls und Panzer Youngster Commander

Eventually, they’re off to game 1 of the 74th Tankery High School Tournament…

Girls und Panzer 74th Tankery High School Tournament, Game 1

…or is it the 63rd National High School Tankery Games, as shown last episode?

Girls und Panzer 63rd National High School Tankery Games Planning Facility

As you can see, aside from the “63rd” and the “74th” and the addition of “Game 1” in kanji, the kanji on the two signs is exactly the same. Is this a continuity error, or did we really skip eleven tournaments? Maybe the “63” or the “74” is mistyped, since the “6” key is next to the “7” key and the “3” key is next to the “4” key.

Kei, Sanders College High School’s tankery leader, appears to be a super-nice, super-outgoing American girl. Through her and the vice president, we finally learn the president’s name: Anzu Kadotani, or Angie, as Kei calls her. (I bet “Kei” is also a nickname, as it doesn’t make sense to me for an American character to have a Japanese name.) The vice president and Kawashima don’t like how casually Kei is addressing the president, but Anzu doesn’t seem to mind at all, or at least isn’t letting it show.

I think I’m starting to appreciate why Anzu is the student council president. Whether she’s being addressed too casually by the competition or threateningly invited to lunch with them, she hides behind a confident smile and a casual disposition, then goes along with whatever happens—a useful skill for navigating diplomatic situations and fooling rivals. The only thing that seems to faze her is talking about the consequences of losing in tankery.

Girls und Panzer Anzu and Vice President Girls und Panzer Student Council

I really like how forgiving Kei is of Yukari for spying on her tankery meeting. Actually, I don’t think “forgiving” is the right word, as she doesn’t act at all like she’s been wronged. Instead, she shows concern for the frightened Yukari and even invites her to visit Sanders anytime. It could be a trick, but for some reason, I don’t think it is. She has a big heart—I like that.

Girls und Panzer Mako, Yukari, and Kei Girls und Panzer Kei

Unfortunately, as super-nice as Kei is, she is also, in my opinion, super-naïve, in both the positive and negative senses—but especially the negative. I think it’s her right-hand women who are really running the team. While they’re calling out Yukari as an impostor back at Sanders High, Kei simply giggles uncontrollably at Yukari’s improvised identification. I don’t think she would have suspected anything had they not noticed. More telling, however, is how Kei is completely oblivious to right-hand woman Arisa’s wiretapping, not even becoming suspicious of her peculiarly accurate “female intuition” or noticing the listening device in the sky. Whereas Arisa and her short-haired comrade come across as authoritative, cunning, and dangerous, Kei, it pains me to say, comes across as little more than a lovable figurehead.

Girls und Panzer Kei and Comrades Girls und Panzer Arisa, Arisa's Comrade, Anzu, and Kawashima
Girls und Panzer Arisa and Comrade
Girls und Panzer Arisa Girls und Panzer Kei

As dirty a trick as the listening device is, I can’t help but think Yukari brought it upon her team by spying on Sanders. I think this match is more a battle of wits than strictly a test of tankery skill, with each side trying to outwit the other. Miho, of course, is clever enough to turn the leak against Arisa; however, I feel this was really Saori’s turn to shine. Remember when Miho made her the radio operator back in episode 3? Saori boasted about her fast text-messaging skills, but Hana didn’t think her talent would be very useful in tankery. Well, this episode totally vindicates her!

Girls und Panzer Yukari, Miho, Hana, and Saori Girls und Panzer Saori
Girls und Panzer Saori's Cell Phone

The episode ends in the middle of the match. The next episode will be the oddly numbered episode 5.5. Maybe the producers consider it part two of a two-part episode. We’ll see.

Girls und Panzer is currently streaming on Crunchyroll. New episodes air every Wednesday at 8 PM Pacific Standard Time for premium users. Free users will gain access the week after.

About Oscar Tong

Oscar joined oprainfall late September 2012 in response to a recruitment drive. He quickly discovered his job was much harder than he had anticipated. Despite the constant challenge, he has come to enjoy his responsibilities.

When he is not scrambling to meet a deadline, Oscar enjoys story-driven games with a strong narrative. He is especially fond of computer adventure games, role-playing games, and visual novels. He hopes the world will one day awaken to the power of video games as a storytelling medium.