It’s the day of Oorai Academy’s tankery championship battle with the illustrious Anzio Girls’ High School. A chance to take a peek behind enemy lines, and ingratiate oneself with the delicacies of tactical planning glossed over in order to get to the meat of this match in the series proper. As witty as Girls und Panzer: This is the Real Anzio Battle! is with the comedic grandstanding of Anzio’s commander Duce Anchovy, and presenting Oorai’s snooping as a propaganda film, it’s hard to connect with any of it when you’re as unfamiliar with Girls und Panzer itself as I am.
No, this one is strictly for the fans, feeling warm towards characters all but reliant on the prior context of the anime series. The strongest I felt towards any of the girls on either side was frustration with prickly loli girl Duce’s constant yapping about Anzio’s superiority. Still, she does it in the most majestic of settings, beneath Romanesque arches and under the eyes of stone angels to treat the eyes of architecture enthusiasts.
It’s a pity that this attention to detail slips by the time we get in the tanks. This OVA seemed unwilling to invest any effort in the battle itself, although the episode’s intention makes a do-over of the conflict the unavoidable climax. Instead of instilling some extra insight or panache into this stage of proceedings, the battle is over in a flash and comes off anticlimactic, whether you know its outcome already or came in uninitiated and hoping to see the teams firing on all cylinders.
As it stands, the forest environment in which battle commences are too repetitive and lacklustre to give any excitement to proceedings. It all ends up looking like a free-to-play tactical RPG, complete with the first-person views of fuzzy-edged enemy tanks in overlay crosshairs. In between, the incessant flicking between team perspectives leaves no room for any character’s natural charm to shine.
Without the second half, this would have been a neatly packaged gift box of extra material for seasoned Girls und Panzer fans. But a poorly executed apex and rushed ending leaves a viewer felling underserved, especially if, like me, you’ve now had a key plot point of the anime series spoiled.
Clean closing animation & also available from Sentai Filmworks