Genre: Action, Sports
Length: 12 Episodes
Set in a world where tank battles are a recognized and regulated sport called sensha-dou ('way of the tank', or, tankery). Nishizumi Miho has just transferred to Ooarai Girls High School after a bad experience with sensha-dou in her previous year. Miho looks forward to forgetting all about sensha-dou as Ooarai does not have a sensha-dou team. However, on her first day of classes the student council informs her that they will be restarting the team and she must join. Reluctantly she returns to sensha-dou and with some new friends prepares the woefully inexperienced team for the upcoming national competition.
While the premise is absurd (and some background details add to the absurdity) this anime makes it work.
There isn't a whole lot to say about the artwork. Its in the moe style that has become popular and tanks are rendered accurately. On the subject of the tanks: while everything else is done with traditional animation techniques the tanks are all CGI. This is noticeable in two early scenes but otherwise not. The use of CGI does have the benefit of giving the tanks a sense of weight which is a cool effect.
All the characters have unique designs (which given the large cast is to be applauded) which given the amount of characterization that needs to be done non-verbally is an asset.
The opening theme is "DreamRiser" by ChouCho. The ending theme is "Enter Enter MISSION!" and is performed by Mai Fuchigami, Ai Kayano, Mami Ozaki, Ikumi Nakagami and Yuka Iguchi (the voice actors for the main characters). Both are very catchy. Each school team also gets an instrumental theme that matches the school's military style.
A scene in episode eight, which featured the song "Katyusha", is absent from the North American release and was replaced with an instrumental version of "Korobeiniki" due to licensing issues. It really ruins the scene but in the grand scheme of things it is a minor issue but it still makes me rage at copyright law. The Katyusha rendition is very popular and can be found easily on YouTube.
There is more to sensha-dou (life) than winning- Miho comes from a prominent, and very strict, sensha-dou family. The focus on winning has led to Miho never enjoying sensha-dou until she entered Ooarai. This theme carries through to the end as Miho attempts to find her own conception of sensha-dou.
Family conflict- Three of the main characters have a difficult family life. Two of which are directly related to their participation in sensha-dou.
Scrappy underdog- Ooarai certainly is. Except for a practice match before the nationals the team is always outnumbered and outgunned (their tanks objectively suck). Somehow they pull through.
Its about girls driving tanks (really, isn't that enough?). Its a short, cute, mostly light-hearted action anime. Not overly serious and fun to watch.
Similar anime that I have watched: Bamboo Blade
You can watch Girls und Panzer at the Crunchyroll website.