Girls und Panzer der Film Review
Girls und Panzer is a series about tankery — military-themed sports that use tanks. The ideal was novel, resulting in a show filled with entertaining over-the-top tank matches. Never falling behind, the film effortlessly recaptures the spirit of the TV series and is every bit just as good.
Despite the Ooarai Girls High School’s victory in the tournament, the Japanese Ministry of Education still opted to shut down their school. Miho and her team however still have one last chance; in order to keep their school open, they must face their toughest foes yet — an university tankery team. To win this battle, they will need to enlist the help of their previous foes and to save Oorai once and for all.
I personally think this movie falls along the line of “continuation of a series that doesn’t need one”, but the movie is so damn fun and entertaining it’s just hard to complain about it either. As you can see in the synopsis, it uses the same premise from the series, only difference is the higher stakes. The storytelling is definitely serviceable but nothing to write home about, but of course long time followers of the series will know that you are not just here for the story but for the tank battles, and boy does it delivers.
“Tankery” is a team sport that involved tank battles from opposing teams and to achieve victory, one needs to rely not just on the highest tank specifications, but also wits. It’s like a mechanical chess game with tanks and it’s one of the most entertaining stuffs I have ever experienced. The movie sure as hell knows that is the series’s strength too, so it literally turned up that aspect of the series up to eleven. The movie has longer tank battles, more large-scale battles, complex tactics and even more ridiculous physics-defying tank maneuvers.
Indeed the keyword here is “entertaining” — filled with jam-packed action and thrilling tactical warfare, there was not one moment in the entire 2 hours of the movie I feel bored.
If you are trying to enjoy character developments, let’s just say this movie is something that required character investment from the TV series to work. For Miho’s teams at least, it’s satisfying to see how much they have grown. Older teams displayed their veteran experiences while the newer teams formed in the TV series no longer looked as amateurish in the movie. It’s satisfying because we had been following their journey from the very beginning when there were just a gathering of misfits with an unwilling leader, to a cohesive team with an united front. Outside of that, you will see the same style of hilarious, quirky characterizations that we all come to love in the series — eccentric characters that attempt to act in an over-the-top fashion to their country counterparts. Interactions are generally fun and lighthearted and their dynamics accentuate the already extremely entertaining movie.
As far as visuals are concerned, I have no complaints with it. The crisp animations, dynamic cinematography, meticulous designs and CGI all works harmoniously in tandem to contribute to the movie’s best aspect — the tank battles. This is actually the main reason why the movie, no, the entire series is so good, because the visuals are always on point. They are excellent in handling the dynamic atmospheres during tank battles, and the movie obviously delivered on that front too.
Audio is something I have praise for too. The series’s music is like a huge tribute to marching songs all across the world, though I notice the movie’s use of it’s music with impeccable timing. There are times when the movie went without music for an extended period, but makes the realistic sound effects stand out as a result. These “build-up” to those adrenaline-pumping moments where a more tense and energetic piece would settle in, like when they are about to pull off high-octane maneuvers with their tanks. In short, the movie is exceptionally good at choosing when to be silent, and when to be loud. The rattling of tank tracks, clanking of steel, roaring of engines; paired up with a matching set of timely orchestrated tunes only makes the tank battles even more pronounced. Even the series’s repetitive use of “Panzer Vor!” doesn’t seem as blatant in the movie, probably because it did it’s work with it’s rearranges and didn’t overstay it’s welcome.
Girls und Panzer der Film honestly isn’t a particularly special movie by any means. Yet, I had the most pure fun throughout the entire two hours of watching it. The choice to reuse the same template from the series, but turned up to eleven was an excellent one. The movie is a grander, large-scale version of the TV series, and is exactly why I think it’s even better. Providing over-the-top, non-stop insanity, it’s truly been awhile since I have been this entertained.