Girls und Panzer: This Is The Real Anzio Battle! OVA (Cert PG)
2 Discs DVD/Blu-ray Combo (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 39 minutes approx.
After the popular TV series and spin-off feature length movie comes this special OVA episode to keep the Girls und Panzer flag flying high. Unlike the film This Is The Real Anzio Battle! is canon, fitting into the chronology of the TV series during episode 7, the omission of this contest from the series creating uproar among fans of the manga.
Quite why this decision was made is unknown but given the making of the series was fraught with production issues perhaps it was a victim of time restraints. Nevertheless, the silver lining to this cloud is that this adventure is afforded a whole extended episode to itself, allowing the story to be told from start to finish without interruption or being compromised during time limitations.
In episode 7 of the TV series we saw the trials and tribulations of our schoolgirl heroines of the Oarai Girls’ High School Sensha-Dou team leading up to the battle against Italian themed Anzio School but not the battle itself which is rectified here. Anzio’s team is lead by Commander Chiyomi “Duce Anchovy” Anzai (apparently the Japanese can only associate pizza with Italy), determined to end the winning streak of Oarai!
As per their usual tactic, Oarai’s Yukari Akiyama sneaks into Anzio to gather some intel, avoiding detection despite the obvious use of a video camera and the obvious tank nerd level questions about their weaponry. Yukari informs her team that Anzio are saving up for a secret weapon, to be paid for by cutting back costs on food, a move that hasn’t gone down too well with Anzio students.
This weapon is revealed to be a Carro Armato P40 tank, only a few of which were built in real life making this a bit of a coup. Now they know what they are up against, Oarai work out the best strategy to counter the P40 and engage in a training match to test out these tactics in play. Ahead of the battle, Anzio pays Oarai a visit, where team Anzio’s Carpaccio recognises and old friend on Team Oarai in Hippo Team Commander Takako “Caesar” Suzuki, ensuring a fair contest is held.
Aside from Sensha-Dou Anzio’s mission is to bring Italian culture to Japan and as mentioned earlier, this equates to just pizza which is lazy stereotyping even for anime, but at least they don’t say “mamma mia” and talka by ending every worda with “ah”. Which already discussed Anchovy and Carpaccio, another team leader is the less subtly named Pepperoni; I assume “Spaghetti” and “Mozzarella” were given the day off.
Not that any of you really care about any of this, you’ve only want to hear about the tank battles, correct? While the obvious highlight of the TV series, the battles would suffer from chapter breaks or being truncated to fit a single episode (when not excised completely like this one), so again this OVA’s equity is increased by be able to deliver what the fans want, giving us almost twenty minutes of tank-on-tank action.
Once again a smooth blend of 2D and CG animation, the tanks zip around the playing fields and local woodlands that are their battleground like rally cars around the Top Gear track in the hands of The Stig. I don’t know much about tanks but surely a vehicle weighing a few tonnes should not be able to pull off doughnuts like boy racers in a supermarket car park?
But this is anime and not only have such precedents been set in the TV series but they have been surpassed in the film too, so taking issue with this egregious flouting of the boundaries of dramatic licence is a tad redundant. That is not say this is a complaint as it provides some amusement and adds plenty to the excitement of the battles akin to those crazy car chases from any number of US cops shows in the 70’s and 80’s.
The two sides are easily distinguishable with Anzio in sandy brown coloured tanks and Osari in their usual combat green which helps in keeping track of who is who. When not emulating Starsky & Hutch, there are battle strategies at play, and Anzio score an early point with cardboard decoys that coast Anzio some ammo, luring them into a trap. Anzio also have the bonus of their tankettes, smaller models capable of faster speeds and a wider range of manoeuvres than their larger counterparts.
Originally released in Japan in 2014, this is a belated UK release but on that comes with the slight caveat of running less than 40 minutes and with a paucity of extras, which understandably might make some fans hesitant to open their wallets for this. MVM have in their wisdom made this a DVD/Blu-ray combo pack and it retails at a reasonable price, as to not do too much damage to the bank balance. Then again, Christmas is coming soon…
I doubt this will be much of an issue to the Girls und Panzer fans out there though, who are well catered for with this further chunk of moe fun and action to complete their collections. Newcomers will be baffled so check out the TV series first if this tickles your fancy.
English Language 2.0
Japanese 2.0 w/ English Subtitles
Clean Closing Animation
Rating – ***
Man In Black