Girls und Panzer (OVA)
The Girls und Panzer OAVs mostly feature half-length inbetweeners about various aspects of the world the girls in the show live in.
The Girls und Panzer franchise has been an interesting phenomenon to bear witness to, as it created the almost perfect mix of fun and nerdery, all the while giving fans of cute girls a veritable smorgasbord of choices, neatly divided into teams and then piled into tanks. It was curiously restrained when it came to fanservice, instead choosing to focus on the tanks themselves, both technically and historically. (With some limitations, of course -- this is a show that aims for entertainment first and foremost.)
Still, while one required a certain amount of suspense of disbelief to be able to swallow everything the TV series unloaded on us, I believe it left the viewers with some questions that needed answering. Questions about how the fight against Anzio went (Ooarai's victory notwithstanding, and this answer won't be provided by this particular OAV.) Questions about how the hell those giant school boats work. And also some questions you didn't even know you had before you watched this. Questions like... are the creators of the show Monty Python fans?!
That got your attention, didn't it?
But yes, this OAV series has a reference to a Monty Python skit in one of the episodes. That's one thing about this show; unlike the original TV series that was a drama with comedic elements, the OAV is mostly just comedy with a pinch of both real life and made up history. Most of the comedy -- Monty Python reference aside -- seems to be based on puns and wordplay, something the dub does an admirable job of keeping up with. (Which must've been an awful lot of fun for the translation team, I bet.)
I mentioned that the original TV series was actually quite sparse with its fanservice, and the OAV certainly ramps that up a bit. The first two episodes has the girls wear mostly swimsuits -- in fact, the first episode goes a little overboard with a disturbingly creative range of swimsuit designs and even a little historical lesson on various swimsuit styles through the ages. (Victorian Romance Emma actually confirms one of those styles.) Not that any of the swimsuits are needlessly skimpy, but the swimsuit shop itself is confoundingly large, and a lot of the suits themselves come with emblems of various millitary tank batallions. Then, in the second episode, it's off to a riverside area for some camping-related shenanigans and a small history lesson regarding millitary rations.
Try not to stare too much, OK?
Really, the only thing this OAV series has a shortage of is actual tank battles. You'll still see the tanks, but they mostly serve as background props this time around. The third episode actually give you an indepth look at the ship itself, an impossibly gargantuan seafaring vessel designed not entirely unlike a hangar ship, but with a whole city and surrounding countryside resting on its surface area. If you can get past the most likely event that a ship like that might not be feasible (never mind the damage it'd do to the underwater ecosystem even if it was), it's a surprisingly well-designed and even researched world the girls live in. The episode ends with a hotspring scene that, again, ups the fanservice ratio compared to the TV series, but not so much to make it an uncomfortable watch for people who aren't quite on board with that sort of thing, no pun inten-..
...OK, I admit it; I made that one on purpose.
The fourth episode is the one standout for being a mere five minutes in length. It's basically just the full version of that really embarrassing anko dance the girls were made to perform in the original TV series after their loss against St. Gloriana. There's not much else to say about it.
The nice thing about this OAV is that it's basically almost free of recycled material from the TV series. I say "almost", because episode five is potentially the one to use some, as it goes into a confirmably in-TV series event; namely Ooarai's battle against Pravda. It catalogues Yukari and Riko's recon mission during Pravda's siege, and yes, we do get another short history lesson on how soldiers around the world kept out the cold (or how they failed to.) How seriously you want to take lessons about keeping warm when coming from two girls wearing shorty-short skirts, though, well.... that's up to you. (Or hear two "Russian" girls use the word "duh".)
And the last episode is also one with a confirmed time stamp; namely after Ooarai's big victory in the finals, wherein the girls arrange a party complete with entertainment in the form of each of the teams doing performances outside of their expertise or comfort zones. This mostly consists of singing and stage performances, many of which are actually quite amusing, and even a little bit impressive. And weird. "PLEASE, BETH! TAKE OFF YOUR HAT WHEN YOU'RE ON YOUR DEATHBED!"
So, the question remains; is the OAV collection worth it? It's going to depend heavily on what you're looking for. Unlike the TV series, there is a grand total of zero minutes of actual tank battles in this OAV collection. They don't even drive said tank as much as a single meter (or foot, if you're an american.) The OAV collection is basically a bit of a break from the battles, instead focusing on taking a break, having fun and giving their surroundings a closer look. The completist in you should definitely want it, as it's enough new material in this series to cover a whole movie. (The total runtime is around 85 minutes, though that does include the opening and ending themes too, so...) But despite actual tank nerdery taking a back seat this time, the show still captures that exceptional level of outlandish fun and informative extravagance. If you got the original show on DVD or Bluray instead of just choosing to rewatch it on Crunchy every time you feel like it, you should definitely go for this collection as well.
Short, but fun. — Stig Høgset
Recommended Audience: The OAV series does ramp up the fanservice a bit compared to the original TV series, mostly in the swimsuit department. But don't get your knickers in a twist, GuP fans; it's still very tame compared to other shows out there that basically LIVE on said fanservice.
Version(s) Viewed: Region A/B Bluray, bilingual.
Review Status: Full (6/6)
Girls und Panzer (OVA) © 2012 Actas, Lantis.
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