Girls und Panzer

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"This is Tankery, not war. Your tank will cry if you're a bad person!" [1]

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Miho Nishizumi is a high-school student who has just transferred to Oarai Academy. On her first day at school, the student council recreates the tankery club - tank battles as a sport - which has been defunct for several years. While she has tankery experience, and her new friends are interested in joining, she doesn't want any part of it — she chose to come to Oarai specifically hoping to never be involved with tanks again. Pressure from the student council, however, causes her to reconsider, and with her new friends, she joins the tankery club.

Girls und Panzer is a 2012-13 Twelve-Episode Anime with a manga adaptation plus several spin-offs, as well as a movie, light novels, and a video game, about girls who operate tanks as a martial art. Among the manga, Little Army is a prequel about tankery in elementary school; Little Army 2 follows one of the girls from Little Army but is set six years later, beginning just after the main Girls und Panzer series (the main character sees a news broadcast about Miho's victory). Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! ("It's the More Love Love Operation!") shows side-stories revolving around daily life aside from tankery and providing more detail of the characters' development. It's often, even usually, comical, and frequently though not always uses 4-Koma and weird Imagine Spots. Lots of Les Yay, too. Ribbon no Musha ("Ribbon Warrior") covers an alternate tank sport, Tankathlon, which among other things is limited to the lightest tanks and "tankettes." Phase. Erika is another prequel, dealing with middle-school tankery; even then, Erika regarded Miho as the rival she needed to overcome. Gekitou! Maginot-sen Desu!! ("Fierce Fight! It's the Maginot battle!!") is set between the St. Gloriana match and the tournament's beginning, as the Oarai team tries another friendly match — this time against French-themed Maginot Girls' Academy — to get more practice.

Tropes used in Girls und Panzer include:

A-E

  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Powerful enough to order tanks and ammunition (and C-5M Super Galaxy cargo jets, in Saunders's case). Not powerful enough to save Oarai from budget cuts.
  • Alternate Continuity: There are a number of differences, particularly in sequence of events, between the anime and the primary manga. Just as one instance, in the anime the only tank immediately available in the first episode was the Panzer IV; in the manga, the Type 89B, Pz 38(t), StuG III, and M3 are also there in the garage from the start.
    • Duce Anchovy of Anzio has a very different character between versions. In the manga, she's arrogant to the point of nastiness, and a Sore Loser. In the OVA, she's more like Saunders' Kay, hugging Miho as well as shaking hands, and cheerfully shares a big after-battle party with the victors.
    • One odd little design difference is that in the anime, the girls' undershirts are marked with a cross. In the manga, it's instead an eagle looking rather like the Nazi Reichsadler, except that instead of a wreathed swastika it's holding a roundel. This implies a German connection at Oarai; no such link is seen in any of the other material.
    • Unlike in the anime, Duck Team's ambush of the Matilda successfully disabled it in the manga ... except that another St. Gloriana tank was behind the one "killed" and promptly took revenge. This meant Miho had to face three tanks, not four.
  • A-Team Firing: All of the Oarai tanks at first (given their relative lack of practice), but Momo never really gets better.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the match against St. Gloriana, the student council get their tread repaired and manage to get back into the fight just in time to save Team Anglerfish. Although Momo still missed her shot — at point-blank range.
    • In The Movie, when packing up their belongings to leave Oarai, the question of what to do with the tanks arises. Cue Saunders and their C-5M Super Galaxy (putting the Big in Big Damn Heroes) -- they pack out the tanks to hold them until the Oarai students get re-settled.
    • Later on in the movie, it's competition day, Miho has her school's 8 tanks and is going out of her mind trying to figure out a strategy to beat a 30-tank elite university team. Just before the match starts, reinforcements roll over the hill -- tanks from several other high schools, especially those they fought in the anime, temporarily transferring to Oarai to make up the numbers.
  • Big Fancy House: The Nishizumi and Isuzu families have them (apparently, tankery and flower arrangement pay really well, at least at the highest levels), but neither Miho nor Hana are entirely welcomed in them.
  • Big "WHAAAAT?!": Commander Kay is (very vocally) shocked to learn from Alisa that her intel on Oarai's movements is bad, and Oarai managed to fool them and isolate their flag tank.
  • Bling of War: Oarai's tanks' first paint-jobs are rather spectacular. Hot pink, gold, flags...they quickly learn that it's not very practical in their match against St. Gloriana.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Saori is an extremely rapid texter, which she suggests will serve her well in the job of Team Anglerfish's radio operator. Hana doesn't think it'll be that applicable, but it does come in handy when Saunders Academy is listening in on their radio transmissions.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Commander Nishi of Chihatan sometimes lets her enthusiasm get away from her. When the high schools band together with Oarai, she misunderstands the plan (to bring 22 tanks between the seven schools, to give Oarai 30 tanks to match the University) and brings 22 tanks herself.
  • Companion Cube: "Your tank will cry if you're a bad person," indeed.
    • There's a 4-Koma in which one of the Wrench Wenches is casual about being comparatively undressed[3]; after all, she says, there's nobody (no boys, she must mean) around to see her. But she gets embarrassed and covers her low neckline when told "the Leopon [Tiger (P) tank] can see you."
  • Conveniently Empty Building / Hero Insurance: Whole towns are evacuated to allow battles to take place in them, and their residents are amply compensated for the resulting destruction. One man is seen celebrating when a tank completely crushes his storefront.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Anglerfish dance. The movements look silly, the lyrics sound silly even when not translated, and the Anglerfish costumes are especially silly-looking. All that, while riding down a public street on a flat-bed vehicle, is a recipe for maximum embarrassment. (On the other hand, the costumes fit like a coat of paint, and those dance steps wave some quite shapely hips about....)
  • Cool Ship: Each Academy appears to be a converted aircraft carrier. Except that no country ever built an aircraft carrier (or any other ship) as freakin' BIG as these; one of the smaller vessels is over seven kilometers long. For comparison, the longest (real-world) ship ever built, the Seawise Giant, didn't even crack the half-kilometer mark, at 458 meters (1504 ft).
  • Covers Always Lie: The front cover of the Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! first volume shows a dramatic scene, Anglerfish Team looking battered but fiercely determined, except for Yukari, who appears to be dead or dying in Miho's embrace. The back cover has Chibi Yukari cheerfully announce, "The front cover is a complete lie!"
  • Covert Pervert: Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! has a chapter in which the rival schools' leaders have heard rumors that if Oarai defeats them again, they'll be made to do the Anglerfish Dance. Darjeeling and Nonna, though, mentally picture Orange Pekoe and Katyusha, respectively, looking shyly adorable in Anglerfish costumes....
  • Crazy Prepared: OVA 5 reveals this about Yukari ... and she apparently keeps it all in Hammerspace; she doesn't seem to be carrying anything, but then she pulls out an insulating wrap for use in Erwin's boots, as well as a handwarmer from a pocket that seemed totally flat, a (military-issue, of course) folding spade, a thermos full of hot cocoa.... Hana and Saori mention seeing her produce scissors, a sewing kit, and bandages, too.
  • Creepy Cockroach: A chapter in Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! had the girls of Rabbit Team come piling out of their tank in terror when they found a cockroach. The roach is never shown as a roach; instead, we see a capital letter "G" (for gokiburi) racing around, with a narrative note indicating the image was censored — apparently, cockroaches are just too disgusting to draw. In fact, they're too disgusting for their full name to be used, and almost everyone in the chapter refers to the roach only as a "G".
  • Curb Stomp Battle: What little is seen in the anime of the battle with Anzio implies it was this. Miho in particular is gazing at disabled Anzio vehicles with a calm smile, no hint of her usual dazed relief after a match, but rather as if she knew all along it'd be this easy. Plus, of course, that the battle isn't shown gives the impression it wasn't worth showing. The OVA "This Is the Real Anzio Battle!" reveals it was actually a bit harder than that; Anzio mostly had tankettes armed with machine guns which couldn't disable even Oarai's lightest tank — but used them cleverly for reconnaissance and distracting harassment. Also, the tankettes were so light that it was difficult to get a square enough hit to disable them. "They're immortal!" one translation phrased it.
  • Cute Little Fang: Katyusha. Two, actually, but they usually don't show at the same time, and even when they do, one side or the other will be more prominent.
  • Dark Reprise: "A Tense Situation" is a tense, minor rearrangement of one of Oarai's themes ("Panzer Vor"), and it usually plays when the tide is against Oarai.
    • "Stalemate on the Front" is a more melancholy variant. It plays when Mako learns of her grandmother's sudden illness, for example.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Lampshaded by Darjeeling in episode 10 of the anime: "You're a strange person. You make friends with all the people you fight." Becomes a plot point in Der Film.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Mikko of Continuation School from Der Film, although she actually Drives Like Crazy Awesome, dodging shots with outrageous skill and tilting her tank to keep going on the wheels of one side when the wheels on the other side have all been shot off.
  • Dull Surprise: Duck Team, with its commander, Noriko, crouched completely outside the turret for some reason, finds Saunders' flag tank, with Alisa standing in the hatch. And they just stare at each other, blank-faced, for more than twenty seconds, before either does anything.
  • Eek! A "G"!: The sight of a Creepy Cockroach (referred to as a "G" for "gokiburi") sends Rabbit Team bailing out of their tank like it's on fire. Momo chastises them for making such a fuss and delaying practice...while she stands well away from the tank. (Miho calls her on the hypocrisy.)
  • Enemy Rising Behind: Episode 4. Oh, my, look, there's a garage door starting to open. Let's park in front of it, ready to blast the tank inside. Why, no; we DON'T need to pay any attention to the exterior elevator behind us.... The St. Gloriana tankers really deserved to get shot in the back the way they did. Too bad for the Type 89 that its puny gun couldn't penetrate even the rear armor on the Matilda.
    • Becomes a Brick Joke in Der Film, at what looks like the same elevator.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Shiho Nishizumi isn't really "evil", but she's convinced that Oarai's victories are down to a combination of luck and their opponents' laxity (until they defeat Maho and Kuromorimine). Maho understands that it's due to Miho's skill, flexibility, and her ability to bring her team together, but Shiho isn't having any of it -- "That's absolute heresy", she says.
  • Evil Laugh: Alisa gives one of these when she thinks she's overheard Oarai's battle plan in detail. It obviously creeps out the other two girls in the turret with her.

F-J

  • Fair-Weather Friend: Miho was a valued member of Kuromorimine's tankery team, but when she chose to give up her tank (and thus the match) to save some of her teammates from drowning, her schoolmates turned on her (or at least were terrified into shunning her by the ones who truly scorned her).
    • A Friend in Need: The very day they meet, Hana and Saori are willing to stand by Miho's refusal to join the remade tankery team, and even be expelled with her, even though they'd like to take tankery themselves. (Which in turn inspired Miho to change her mind.)
  • Ferris Wheel of Doom: In Der Film, as a tactic.
  • Flyaway Shot: At the end of Episode 1, revealing the academy ship for the first time.
  • Foo Fu: Rather, "Foo-do". The Japanese (i.e. original) term for tankery, "senshado", means "the way of the tank", analogous to kendo (the way of the sword) or bushido (the way of the warrior).
  • Friendly Enemy/Friendly Rival: Even though schools have their rivalries, most of the teams and commanders are on good terms with each other (and the ones that aren't come around from the power of Defeat Means Friendship). When Oarai is threatened with shutdown in The Movie despite their victory in the high school tournament[4], everyone else pulls together to help them -- Shiho Nishizumi uses her influence to get Oarai a last-chance match against a university team, and the commanders of all the other high schools join Oarai for the resulting battle and bring enough tanks to make the strengths equal.
  • Friendly Fandoms: With World of Tanks. This developed into an official relationship, in which World of Tanks added Girls und Panzer-themed paint jobs (e.g. the Bling of War that Oarai used during their match against St. Gloriana) and (Japanese) voice packs.
  • Genius Bonus: In OVA 5, expanding on a few scenes in Episode 9, Yukari and Erwin march through the snow, singing a cheery song ... about being lost and out of food in a snowy wasteland. Then, while holed up against a brief blizzard, Yukari addresses Erwin as "Captain Kanda," leading to an exchange of comments that seem to have nothing to do with their task of scouting Pravda's positions, and both start laughing. The Internet cites at least three entirely different dates and inspirations for the song, "Yuki no Shingun" (Snowy March), but one possibility is that it's based on a military training disaster in 1902 in the Hakkoda Mountains[5]. A movie about the same incident included a Captain Kanda, so presumably their odd dialogue was quoted from that movie. This is never spelled out for the viewer. What brought the Hakkoda Death March to the girls' minds (aside from the fact that they're marching in snow)? The Hakkoda Mountains are in Aomori Prefecture -- which is where Pravda High School has its home port, and presumably where the current match takes place.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Not sure whether it counts more as this or Refuge in Audacity, but the mascot painted on Hippo Team's StuG-III grins over its shoulder as it presents its backside -- with a star-shape for an anus, just to rub it in -- to the viewer. Hippo is mooning anyone who looks at it.
  • The Glomp: Miho is on the receiving end of several: from Yukari after their first familiarization battle, arguably Saori and definitely Graceful Loser Kay following the Saunders match, Saori again after the Pravda match, Saori again and Anzu in the final episode when Miho has saved Oarai from shutdown (... until Der Film, that is).
  • Gratuitous English: When a gunner on one of Saunders' tanks realizes (too late) what she's seeing through her gunsight is a cannon aimed at her vehicle, she exclaims, "Jesus!"
    • Also, when the army officer praises Oarai's first practice match, she uses the English phrases "good job!" and "Very nice!"
    • Erwin might be expected to use Gratuitous German instead, but she agrees to one of Miho's plans with the words "Why not!"
  • Gratuitous German: The production company itself is called "Girls und Panzer Projekt", and the commands "Panzer Vor!" and "Panzer Halt!"
    • The Movie is entitled Girls und Panzer: Der Film.
    • Ludicrously, the first time "Panzer Vor!" is spoken, Saori mistakes it for a remark about "Pantsu".
  • Gratuitous Italian: When Oarai plans for the match against Anzio, they acquire diagrams and specifications for Anzio's known tanks — marked entirely in Italian.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Of course most of the dialogue is Japanese, which is not gratuitous, but the girls of Chihatan (themed after the Imperial Japanese Army) use Japanese commands to advance and halt, rather than German phrases as Oarai does. In fact, the commander doesn't recognize the meaning of the German terms during a friendly match with Oarai against St. Gloriana and Pravda, and has to have them explained to her.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Takako Suzuki, one of the history-buff girls of Team Hippo, uses Latin phrases because she's chosen the "soul name" (nickname) of "Caesar".
  • Gratuitous Russian: Clara (of Pravda) converses almost exclusively in Russian, much to Katyusha's irritation. The subtitles get pretty intense: her lines (and Nonna's, when she replies in Russian) are given in Cyrillic, Roman-letter Russian, and English. Nonna's voice actress is fascinated by Russia, speaking (and singing) very good Russian.
    • Katyusha knows some Russian, and occasionally even uses it in circumstances where one would think she'd instead default to her native tongue; at one point she hastily says "Nyet!" when a subordinate suggests taking an inappropriate risk.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Sexually Active Today?: Saori once claims to have a boyfriend in every port their ship regularly visits. Hana snarks that if by "boyfriend" she means "a place where you've eaten curry"... Later, too, Saori tells the first-year girls of Rabbit Team that they can consult with her about matters of "love" -- but when they ask how many boyfriends she's had, she goes into the Corner of Woe.
    • In the endgame of the match against Saunders, Saori advises Hana: "Shoot [at the flag tank]! Shoot until you can't shoot anymore! Shoot enough times until we're bound to hit them! Finding love's no different!" (Hana replies, "No. One shot, one kill," and makes it happen.)
  • Heir to the Dojo: Miho and Hana are heirs to family schools of tankery and flower arrangement, respectively. Neither of their mothers are entirely satisfied with them; see Inadequate Inheritor.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Maho has a severe, stoic demeanor, but she cares about Miho and her team in her own way. When she heard that Mako's grandmother was hospitalized on the mainland, she immediately offered the use of her school's helicopter.
    • Shiho Nishizumi shows a bit of one during The Movie. When the minister dismisses Oarai's victory in the tournament as luck, she slams her cup on the table and retorts that "There is no luck in tankery!" She also presumably gave permission to Maho and some of her squads to join Oarai for the subsequent battle.
  • Holding Hands: As they watch the final confrontation between Miho and Maho, the girls of Rabbit Team join hands, starting with the team commander reaching out to the girls on either side of her.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Subverted by Anteater Team, online gamers who find out their real tank's gears are harder to shift correctly than they expected from game experience. Played straight by Yukari in the first practice battle in Episode 3. She fires just three times, each shot knocking out a vehicle. How did she get to be so good a gunner? Episode 2 showed her taking the other girls to a "tank accessory" store, where she spent some time playing a tank battle Arcade Game that bears a remarkable resemblance to the original Battlezone. She's likely done that a lot, and aiming has less to do with physical strength.
  • Inadequate Inheritor:
    • Hana's mother is distraught that her daughter is involved with tankery (which she views as the antithesis of the delicacy and femininity that Isuzu flower arrangement should embody), to the point of telling her to not come home until she quits.
    • Miho herself is viewed as the inadequate inheritor to her family's tankery legacy. Her mother is threatening to completely disown her because she's not ruthless enough. Mom describes Miho's way of adapting tactics to circumstances and fostering Team Spirit as "heresy" that must be broken.
  • In Medias Res: The first episode begins with the opening stages of the match against St. Gloriana. Then, after a scene that looks as if Miho is about to get hit by a shell, the story cuts back to her first day of school at Oarai. The St. Gloriana match isn't seen in full until episode 4.
  • Insert Grenade Here: Generally averted, as tankery is strictly about combat between tanks, but during practice, Rabbit Team performs this maneuver with a fumigation "grenade" as part of their efforts to kill a cockroach which has taken up residence in their tank.
  • Instant Win Condition: In the tournament, the goal is to immobilize the enemy's flag tank. This allows Oarai to defeat their numerically-superior opponents.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: When Darjeeling sends the message to rally the other schools to help Oarai, Mika of Jatkosota School says something that implies she isn't interested in joining in. Come the big day, though, there's Jatkosota's BT-42. Aki calls Mika out on the apparent hypocrisy — and Mika responds, "We were just carried here by the wind."

K-O

  • Lampshade Hanging: After the tankery club is announced, one of the girls in the background says "I wonder if any boys drive tanks? It's just so weird to think about, when only girls do it!"
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: During the final minutes of the match against Saunders, Kay discards her army's numerical advantage by sending five of her tanks away from the final showdown. This is to make up for Alisa listening on Oarai's radio communications, which is a legitimate strategy in war, but as she says after the match, "This is tankery, not war!"
  • Locked Out of the Fight: In the final battle, the Leopon blocks the tunnel to the courtyard where Miho has led Maho, so Kuromorimine's other tanks can't simply swarm Miho -- it's flag tank against flag tank, making the odds more nearly even. Not truly even, given that it's a Panzer IV vs. a Tiger I, but....
  • Luminescent Blush: Hana gets one whenever she thinks about a tank firing. As she says when she asks to be the gunner:
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Hana: I don't want to forget that fierce feeling of numbness...

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  • Martial Arts and Crafts: Inverted, in that tank combat is treated as a feminine art form on par with flower arranging.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Caesar of Hippo Team is shown to practice divination. When Rabbit Team and Saori are lost in the depths of the school ship, Caesar phones Yukari to tell her, "West." Yukari and friends turn westward, and the next thing that's seen is them finding the lost girls.
  • Meaningful Name: Hana means "flower"; probably deliberately chosen by her mother, as the Isuzu family is known for their school of flower arrangements.
    • Erika, the second-in-command of Kuromorimine, shares her name with the titular flower of Auf der Heide blüht ein kleines Blümelein, as well as the woman who is described in the song (the singer's fiancee, whom he is reminded of when he sees said flower).
      • In a Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! chapter, Katyusha refers to this, identifying Erika as "the girl waiting back at home, I remember now!" Erika points out that the same description applies to Katyusha's name.
    • Commander Katyusha of Pravda shares her name with a Russian wartime song, as well as the iconic WWII Soviet rocket artillery (named after the song). Episode 8 has Pravda sing this song as their tanks head for battle.[6]
    • In a backwards way: the Hall Monitors or Public Morals Committee (depending on translator) have nicknames that invoke two cities that became notorious for immoral behavior. The two who speak most often are Sodoko and Gomoyo; the third, Pazomi, is named for a filmmaker whose very Squicky final movie's title referred to the cities. This is portrayed as a coincidence, because their nicknames are formed by dropping some of the syllables out of their actual names.[7] (Sodoko especially doesn't like being called by the nickname, except by Gomoyo or Pazomi.)
  • Medium Awareness: When Oarai's teams are assigned to their tanks, pictures of the team members (sometimes a group shot, others single) appear in insets to the image of each tank. One member of Rabbit Team, a bit crowded by the frame of the inset, has put up her hand to push back against it.
  • Miko: In the manga, the "recruiting film" shows tank operators dressed as miko, rather than like soldiers as the anime does.
  • Military Salute: Of course, military buff Yukari will do this. But she does it, too, in situations where real soldiers wouldn't consider it required or appropriate.
  • A Mother to Her Girls: Miho. See My Greatest Failure and My Greatest Second Chance below for shining examples. Her mother disapproves, but the club at Oarai adores her for it.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: To get rid of the cockroach "infesting" their tank, Rabbit Team kits itself out like a SWAT team with bug-killing gear. They also use tactical Hand Signals.
  • Mundane Utility: Team Anglerfish uses their tank as an alarm clock (sometimes it takes a 75mm blank round to get Mako out of bed) and also to go shopping for supplies on occasion.
  • My Greatest Failure: Miho has an odd one. During her last mission at Kuromorimine (before joining Oarai), one of the tanks under her command slipped into a river and sank. Miho jumped out of her tank to save the crew. She succeeded, but without her leadership during that critical moment, her team lost the mission and broke their winning streak. Most people (including Miho's friends at Oarai, when they hear the story) would call that a fair trade, but to the ruthless Nishizumi philosophy, which Kuromorimine follows to the hilt, it's a failure. The pressure caused her to leave tankery for a while.
    • My Greatest Second Chance: During the tournament final (against Kuromorimine, commanded by Miho's big sister Maho), it happens again. Oarai is crossing a river with Kuromorimine in hot pursuit, and Rabbit Team's tank stalls. Does Miho rescue them, possibly allowing her force to be caught, or abandon Rabbit to let the rest of Oarai get away? (Rabbit recommends the latter.) She ties their tank to the rest. Towed out of the river, they're able to restart on the other side. Rabbit tank plays a vital role in the final battle, taking out two of Kuromorimine's heaviest hitters by clever maneuvering.
  • My Little Panzer: Forget lawn darts and BB guns, these girls fight tank battles as a sport. Live ammo, no seatbelts or helmets, and inexplicably, no serious injuries. (Though at least one Kuromorimine tank crew would have drowned if not for Miho's intervention -- and they kicked her out for it!)
  • National Stereotypes: All the characters are actually Japanese, but most of the schools have "national" themes and their students tend to play into stereotypes of those nations.
    • Eagle Land / Yanks With Tanks: Saunders has more tanks than most schools, and Commander Kay fits the Phenotype Stereotype: blonde, blue-eyed, tall and well-endowed. She's also the friendliest and most boisterous of the commanders.
    • St. Gloriana's leader, Commander Darjeeling, is another blue-eyed blonde. She enjoys a Spot of Tea (her tank even has facilities for brewing tea built into it) and bears a Stiff Upper Lip as every good English Rose should.
    • Germanic Depressives: Kuromorimine (which translates as "Black Forest Peak") uses the Iron Cross as school insignia. It's the school that Miho left because she couldn't stand their "Win at all costs" philosophy -- when she saved the lives of one of their tank crews, they turned on her because she lost the match in doing so. Deputy Commander Erika is particularly dismissive of Oarai's — and Miho's — efforts and ability. When she sees the action in Miho's Greatest Second Chance above, she comments with disgust that Miho is "as soft as ever." [8]
    • That Russian Squat Dance: Some of the girls from Pravda do it. Pravda also goes into battle singing in Russian.
    • The girls of Italian-themed Anzio love to cook (and to eat, although they seem to always remain slim), and are far more efficient at throwing a party than they are at fighting a battle. Pasta FTW!
  • No Endor Holocaust: When one of Oarai's tanks ends up getting thoroughly trashed, there's always a shot of the girls inside or a radio conversation to confirm that everyone's okay.
  • Not a Morning Person: Mako. Five alarm clocks, a friend trying to pull the blanket away, and a bugle call from just outside her window couldn't get her eyes open. Even after the 75mm cannon fired a blank round, also just outside, she remained pretty sluggish. She says it's due to low blood pressure.
  • Not So Above It All: In Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu!, one of the trio of judges feels guilty because the courage and ingenuity Oarai shows move her to the brink of Tender Tears; she's supposed to be impartial. She's about to ask that she be replaced — and then she sees the other two judges sobbing.
    • One judge apparently enjoys imagining how irked Katyusha and the equally-petite Nina would be if she pretended to think they were Nonna's little daughters. She was just imagining it ... wasn't she...?
  • Oh Crap: Yukari realizes just a little too late that Hana's mother, not a fan of tankery, is especially distressed to learn that her daughter participates.
    • Darjeeling's shock when Oarai, after an unpromising start, manages to ambush two of her tanks, one of them an immediate confirmed "kill."
    • Alisa's reaction when the smoke screen clears and she sees she's charging straight toward the guns of the M3, the StuG III, and the Pz 38(t) ... and being flanked by the Panzer IV.
    • That certainly is a lot of Pravda tanks suddenly surrounding us, isn't it?
    • Maus. Katyusha looks scared even though she isn't fighting it (this time); Darjeeling, likewise a spectator, doesn't look frightened, but definitely not happy.
  • Opaque Nerd Glasses: Nekota (or Nekonyaa) - without them, as the opening credits and a very few other shots show, she looks like a Leiji Matsumoto leading lady. She also wears a Cat Eared Headband, presumably to play up her name.

P-T

  • Parting Words Regret: Mako and her mother had a big fight as their final conversation before Mako's parents died in an accident. After she learns this, Miho starts to think about the last conversation she had with her family...
  • Pass the Popcorn: Kei, during the final match in the tournament. (Being a walking Eagleland stereotype, of course her bucket of popcorn is as big as a KFC chicken bucket.)
  • Plot Parallel: Hana's subplot about her relationship with her mother mirrors protagonist Miho's plot about her relationship with her mother.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Lack of communication almost got the school shut down, because only the Student Council knew what the stakes were, and the team got careless in the Pravda match. Granted, the secret was kept to avoid pressuring them, but still.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Oarai's tanks have some of this vibe about them. The best were all sold off when the school gave up tankery, so what's available are the odds and ends too "worthless" to sell, and there's no national theme as with the other schools shown. Wait, a StuG III and Panzer IV were "worthless"?
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The student council threatened Miho with having to publicly do the embarrassing "Anglerfish dance"[9] if she failed in the practice battle. But when they did lose that battle, the council president said it was a collective responsibility -- so the student council danced, too.
  • Regional Riff: In the anime, most of the schools get musical themes associated with their tanks' countries of origin. St. Gloriana gets The British Grenadiers, Saunders gets The Battle Hymn of The Republic and The U.S. Artillery March, and Pravda gets Polyushko-polye and Katyusha, complete with vocals (replaced by Korobeiniki, better known in the West as the Tetris theme, in the English dub). Bits of Tchaikovsky also play during some of Pravda's non-battle scenes -- when Katyusha first comes to meet Oarai, there's a snippet of "The Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy." Kuromorimine gets Auf der Heide blüht ein kleines Blümelein and Panzerlied. The Movie adds the Finnish-themed Continuation High School with Säkkijärven polkka, Italian-themed Anzio High School with Funiculì, Funiculà and Fiamme Nere, and Japanese-themed Chihatan Academy with Yuki no Shingun.
  • Repeat Cut: The StuG III's ambush of the Matilda, using their banners as camouflage, is shown first from directly in front of the Matilda, and then repeated in a view from just behind and slightly above the Oarai vehicle.
  • Serious Business: Tankery. Serious enough that Oarai's existence is on the line depending on their performance in the tournament. So is the question of whether or not Miho's family disowns her. In The Movie, it is revealed that promoting tankery is a matter of Japanese national policy.
    • In the Isuzu family, flower arrangement -- to the point that Hana's mother all but disowns her over joining tankery, because she thinks it conflicts with the delicacy that the Isuzu style should embody.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Yukari asks a question at Saunders's pre-match meeting (having snuck in to gather some intelligence), she gives her name as "Sergeant Oddball" when challenged. It doesn't fool anyone, but Kay takes it in good humor.
    • In the OVA "Survival War!", the girls are having a picnic of rations. A comparison to "luncheon meat" is made, and a recreation of Monty Python's "Spam" sketch ensues. (Appropriately, the girls recreating the skit are from Rabbit Team, who are known for their love of Western movies, and who have a Killer Rabbit as their mascot.)
    • Surrounded, in wintry weather, and offered a chance to surrender, Momo exclaims "Nuts!" -- in English, like General McAuliffe at Bastogne.
    • It's brief and unobtrusive, but a poster on a street corner at Oarai reads "Market Garden." This could be an ad for an actual market garden ... if it weren't that the poster's picture is of a man brandishing a rifle, with the bridge at Arnhem in the background.
    • The movies Rabbit Team watches the night before the final match. A scene from Kelly's Heroes, transformed into anime, is actually shown and foreshadows their tactic against the Elefant. Judging from the DVD cases on their table, they also watched Patton and Battle of the Bulge, as well as a couple of others. The girls are all crying as if these were sentimental films.
    • In Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu!, when Katyusha thinks of Nonna's "Katyusha diary" as a list of grudges against Katyusha, the words "Death Nooote" appear at the top of the Imagine Spot.
    • The first page of a Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! chapter starring St. Gloriana's Darjeeling, Orange Pekoe, and Assam looks an awful lot like the famous image from Abbey Road. The Fab Three?
  • Sibling Rivalry: Miho and Maho would much rather not be rivals, but it's enforced by their mother. Shiho is determined to see Miho's "heretical" tankery style crushed, and she implies that she might cast Maho out of the family if she fails. When Miho and Maho finally face off, Shiho decides they both demonstrated such strength of their respective styles that she reconsiders. In Motto Love Love Sakusen Desu! she is shown regretting having pushed them against each other.
  • Significant Birth Date: Everybody on Goosefish Team. Saori and Hana's birthdays were mentioned in episode 1, the others are All There in the Manual:
    • Miho was born on the anniversary of the Second Battle of El Alamein
    • Saori was born on the anniversary of Operation Barbarossa
    • Hana was born on the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge
    • Yukari was born on the anniversary of D-Day
    • Mako was born on the anniversary of the day Germany invaded Poland
  • Sobriquet: It doesn't get as much play as usual examples, being mentioned only once, but Katyusha and Nonna are nicknamed respectively "Snowdrift" and "Blizzard." Also — and this doesn't appear at all in the anime, only in manga versions — Darjeeling, her loader Orange Pekoe, and her gunner Assam are collectively nicknamed "The Noble Sisters."
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The Saunders girls' names are transliterated 'literally' in the English dub of the anime (Kei, Arisa), and are spelled in more 'conventional' Western style in other media (Kay, Alisa). And some subtitles and references spell it "Sanders".
    • "Ankou" usually gets translated as "Anglerfish" in-series, but at some points as "Goosefish" (a specific type of anglerfish).
  • Take That: In Episode 7, Saori is exploring the ship with Rabbit Team when one of them asks why the school is on a ship. Saori rattles off a minor Info Dump of the official reasons, but finishes, "So basically, it was an overreaction to the government's lack of action on educational policy." On behalf of the government, Ouch.
  • Tank Goodness: The High Concept of the series is "Cute Girls Doing Cute Things meets Tank Goodness".
  • Team Handstack: Just before the big battle against Kuromorimine, Miho goes to her tank and lays one hand on its front slope. The other four of her crew gather round and set their hands atop hers. She still doesn't quite grasp how highly they regard her, and looks from one to another of them in surprise.
    • Duck Team is earlier shown, in their volleyball uniforms, standing in a circle with their hands together. Dipping the stack a bit, they yell in unison, "Fight!"
  • Technician Versus Performer: Miho used to be a tankery technician (like her family) and came to hate it. The breaking point was when she abandoned her command tank to rescue the crew of a tank sinking in water; she rescued the crew, but was blamed for the loss of the match and breaking her team's winning streak. Joining the new club at Oarai showed her the performance side of the sport, which let her get back into it.
    • Oarai as a whole is an academy of quirky, plucky performers up against technically superior opponents.
  • Tempting Fate: Darjeeling boasts that whatever happens in St Gloriana's match with Oarai, she won't spill any of her tea. Miho's tactical improvisation makes a liar of her -- in her Oh Crap moment, she actually drops and breaks her teacup.
    • "There's no way a plan that Katyusha set up will fail!" To be fair, it was a good plan, and she had a back-up plan. Against Miho, it just wasn't good enough.
    • When the Automotive Club first has the Porsche Tiger running, Yukari comments admiringly on it. Then she mentions that it has a tendency to get stuck in the mud -- just as it gets stuck in the mud. The engine overheats easily, she says, and the moment after she speaks the words, smoke comes out of the engine vents. And, she adds, it may catch on fire. Guess what happens next?
    • Weaving back and forth behind the Maus, the Panzer III's commander laughs about how Oarai's guns can't penetrate that massive armor. She's cut off when a shot misses the armor and hits her less-armored tank while it's exposed.
  • Theme and Variations Soundtrack: Oarai's main theme ("Panzer Vor!") has a melancholy variant ("Stalemate on the Front"), a tense/minor variant ("A Tense Situation"), a peppy/quirky mix ("Cute Decoration of the Tanks"), a march ("Advance Oarai Academy"), calm/emotional variants ("I've made my decision" and "You're all my friends")...
  • Theme Naming: Commander Darjeeling, Assam, and Orange Pekoe of St. Gloriana are all named after teas. Their school's insignia, after all, is a teapot and cup.
    • Continuing the tradition is Rosehip from Der Film -- and the commander of the Matilda ambushed by Duck is named for a Kenyan tea, Rukuriri.
    • The Italian-themed Anzio High School has Commander Chiyomi "Anchovy" Anzai, Carpaccio (named for a pasta dish), and Pepperoni, although "This Is the real Anzio Battle" makes clear that these are sobriquets. (The school insignia is a pizza.)
    • The girls of the Automotive Club / Leopon Team are named after Japanese race-car drivers.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: During a conversation with the minister of education in The Movie, Shiho Nishizumi says that Kuromorimine is intending to fight Oarai again (and defeat them) -- and she's not about to let some bureaucrat take that chance away.
  • This Trope Is Bleep: During the "Spam" song in the OVAs, the word "Spam" itself is partly censored (i.e. "*pam"), presumably to avoid any trademark trouble.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailer for the English dub of Der Film implies that Kuromorimine will be among Oarai's "New Enemies". They are not enemies in the movie (they're joining Oarai against the University team), and if they were, they wouldn't be new enemies, since they were Oarai's opponents in the tournament final.
  • True Companions: Team Anglerfish. Miho is quickly befriended by Saori and Hana on her first day, and when the student council threatens to expel her for not joining the tankery club, they're willing to get expelled with her -- even though they'd been enthusiastic about taking tankery. This is part of what causes her to change her mind.
    • When Miho is threatened with having to do the "sea devil dance" ("Anglerfish dance" in the anime) if the team loses their practice meet against St. Gloriana, her friends quickly reassure her that they'll dance with her in that case. In fact, when the time comes, the entire club dances!

U-Z

  • Universal Driver's License: Averted -- Mako has a tank operator's license, but not a driver's license.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Alisa breaks down pretty hard when her radio interception ruse is discovered and exploited by Oarai, going from smug superiority to crying, whimpering about the reliability of the Sherman, and ranting about how Oarai is going to be shut down. She even pokes her head out of her hatch and shouts at her pursuers, not that they can hear her. She throws in a few remarks, too, about how the boy she likes doesn't seem to notice her feelings.
  • Wants the Work Done for Them: Momo insists on everything being done immediately and to her satisfaction, but rarely does any of the actual work herself (outside of Girls und Panzer der Film, when she has no other option). Since she's part of an Absurdly Powerful Student Council, she never gets called on her behaviour except indirectly by other Student Council members.
  • "Well Done, Little Sister / Daughter" Girl: Two of the five main characters.
    • Miho feels tremendous pressure from her mother and older sister to live up to the Nishizumi school of tankery. In fact, she initially transferred to Oarai Academy because they didn't have a tankery club, even though this required her to live alone. Impressing her family becomes part of her motivation in the tournament. In the end, they acknowledge her strength.
    • Hana took up tankery because she wished to become a stronger woman. Unfortunately, it didn't impress her mother, who thinks delicacy was a more valuable trait. Her tank-inspired flower arrangement turned things around.
  • Wrench Wench: The Automotive Club/Leopon Team, of course. But shots of the tank crews doing repair work on their vehicles suggest they're all developing at least a bit of this capability.
  • You Fool!: Kay is quite vocal about her displeasure with Alisa when she hears that she was listening in on Oarai's radio transmissions.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Leopon. Tunnel (see Locked Out of the Fight above). When Erika angrily orders her people to drag the disabled Leopon out of the way, its crew laugh and say, "Take your time!"
    • In the manga, someone, probably Nakajima, the commander, actually says, "You shall not pass!" as Leopon brings its gun to bear on the approaching Kuromorimine vehicles. In the anime, they just let the gun speak for them.
  1. The official translation of the second sentence was "The tanks would be sad if we forgot that," but the "tank will cry" version has become memetic.
  2. It turns out they're in worse shape than Oarai: they don't have even a single tank.
  3. Coverall peeled down to her waist, revealing a wife-beater undershirt; this is her usual style, seen even in the opening credits.
  4. Which was supposed to have rescued them from shutdown in the first place...
  5. 199 out of 210 men died, and eight of the survivors had to have limbs amputated due to the severity of their frostbite.
  6. Due to licensing problems (not copyright - the song itself is in public domain, but the performance on the soundtrack CD has Nonna and Katyusha singing, which would have required an additional license payment for the vocals if Sentai Filmworks wanted to use it), a different song replaces it for release in the U.S.
  7. Sono Midoriko, Goto Moyoko, Konparu Nozomi
  8. At least one account says that Erika was in the tank Miho saved from drowning.
  9. Supposedly, no girl who performs it will ever get a boyfriend, and it'll become an Internet meme she'll never live down.