Girls Und Panzer Das Finale Part 2 (Cert 12)

1 Disc Blu-ray (Distributor: MVM) Running time: 58 minutes approx.

Release Date: May 16th

Unless you have a fantastic memory, you may want to revisit the first instalment of Das Finale before watching this follow up as it picks up the story right from where we left it, which must have been a nuisance for Japanese fans since there was a two-year gap between releases! Fortunately for us here in old Blighty, MVM is only making us wait a month, although when part three arrives I can’t say.

Anyway, as you may (or not) recall, Oarai High School’s Sensha-Dou team is currently participating in the Winter Continuous Track Cup in order to help get Momo Kawashima get into university. The first match was against the French BC Freedom Academy team, and even with help from the newly added Shark Team, they are proving to be formidable opposition for Oarai.

When we left the action at the end of part one, Oarai had just evaded a BC Freedom ambush, sending the Frenchies into temporary retreat as they plan their next attack. In a sneaky countermove, Mallard Team takes advantage of the high hedges surrounding the BC camp and launches a series of covert attacks on their tanks by pretending to be the team’s transfer students, who have formed an uneasy alliance with BC’s snobby original students.

The plan works and the infighting sees the BC Freedom teams implode, allowing Oarai to take the flag tank out during the confusion and to victory. There is a brief break between matches to give moe fans their “cute girls doing cute things” fix (as if the antics during the matches aren’t enough) then Oaorai find themselves up against Chihatan Gakuen, one of the seven other academies to advance to the second round.

Getting two battles (or two halves of them) in one film will no doubt please the section of the audience for whom this is the draw, and indeed for this writer, it is where the personalities are better showcased. However, the creators (and production studio) Actas maybe over reached by opting to have a huge cast when perhaps the idea of Sensha-Dou teams being comprised of fewer personnel would have made for easier development and recognition for the characters.

Much like in the first part, the script makes the assumption that hardcore fans are the primary audience for this film series therefore they’ve taken it as read they are familiar with the expansive main cast. They still allow time to show them “at ease”, introducing us to the family of one girl whose life isn’t so easy, whilst attention is shared with the rival squads. The early focus is on the bickering within BC Freedom, which is expanded upon in a bonus OVA found in the extras of this release.

Chihatan, we are reminded, have worked with Oaorai before as allies in Der Film albeit on the losing end of the match. Chihtan have always been the underdogs from being left behind technology wise and reckless with their attitude, delineated via a song because anime. but after fighting alongside Oarai they observed the tactics Oaori used and learnt from them, taking Chihtan from also-rans to a potential threat.

Either way, it is another set of faces to remember, so I’ll help you out by telling you that Chihtan wear light brown uniforms, otherwise their character designs are off-the-peg and barely different from the others. Tactically, Chihtan lean towards amphibious attacks which would seem like sheer folly since Oarai have marine outliers Shark Team on their side. However, this is a new Chihtan and once again, the action concludes with another cliffhanger for Oarai.

Bringing the audience back into the cinemas is the clear objective here and the episodic format of this series is certainly one way to achieve this, but as we have learned from film trilogies, you can also have a complete ending to one chapter with the overarching story needing to be concluded. I say this because this isn’t an old time 1930s serial where have to wait a week to see if Flash Gordon can escape Ming’s death ray; it is an anime about girls in tanks, so not every film has to end mid-battle.

Six films is quite an investment for fans, especially when they are less than a hour in run time and their releases are so far apart, the question that springs to mind is why was this not a second TV series instead? The structure of both films thus far can be broken down into definite sections which would easily fit the format of a weekly 20-minute TV episode, implying the script might have been written with the same mindset.

Obviously, this is pure supposition on my part, but the beats and rhythms of these films present a compelling argument to support this theory. However, I expect the real reason is the improved animation budget which a battle concept like this essentially thrives on and the rewards are there for the viewer. Two films in and the production values have been consistently high, the measured use of CGI allowing for a subtle blend and not a jarring one.

Returning to the discussion about film vs. TV, there is a definite feel that we are just watching a transitional segment of a wider story, not something of any real substance per se. The matches and Oarai’s continue success in them is the main story, but so far there hasn’t been anything that has proven to be high stakes for Momo, nor have any of the obstacles to overcome added any significance or gravity to the mission.

In other words, I fear we’re in  period of treading water with repetitive instalments until the penultimate film arrives to setup the final chapter where it all really matters, as it should. I can’t deny there is plenty of fun to be had with Girls Und Panzer, but so far, little has happened story wise to make Das Finale convincing enough of being worthy of the cinematic treatment.

 

Extras:

English Language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Japanese Language DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

English Subtitles

TaiyakiWar! OVA (2.0 Audio only)

Clean Opening Animation

Clean Closing Animation

Japanese Promos

TV Series Trailer

Disc Credits

Trailers

 

Rating – *** 

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