Been a little longer than I would’ve liked, but now we’re back with Girls Und Panzer Episode 9: “We’re in Deep Trouble!”
We don’t pick up right where we left off—not quite. We’re treated to a little flashback to explain the revelation we got at the end of last episode. The Student Copuncil is meeting with a shady-looking government official (who I’ve seen some fans not-so-affectionately refer to as Tankery Hitler.)
We’ve finally met our villain! He drops the bomb on them that they’re planning on shutting Oarai down at the year’s end; something to do with budget cuts, and closing schools that are deemed underperformers. It hasn’t distinguished itself in any, and losing students, thus there’s no incentive to keeping in around.
However, when he mentions that the school once had a good senshadou team, the light bulb goes off in Anzu’s head. She decides then and there to bring it back, and makes the point to the official that he wouldn’t close down the school that win’s the year’s championships, now would he?
Now, as we return to our girls trapped in the cold church as the cease-fire time ticks down, we know why we must win. It’s the only way to save the school. Of course, Anzu admits that she thought there would be better tanks around the school to give them a better chance, as expecting a new team to win it all is a tall order. But there was no other way they could even hope to save the school, so they had to go for it. Better to go down fighting than to give up, after all.
This also explains why they forced Miho into joining the team. Having someone like her involved was really the only way they could even hope to succeed.
As the news sinks in, the girls realize what this means. The volleyball club would never get reinstated, Mako wouldn’t get her extra credits, and worst of all, they could all end up in different schools, separated from all the close friends they’d made. For Miho and Yukari, who each had finally found groups of friends they were happy to spend time with, this would be all the harder.
Miho, as a leader is supposed to do, immediately tells them all that they can’t give up. As bad as things look, it’s not over yet. She wants to do senshadou with them again next year, and for that to happen, they must win.
She succeeds in raising people’s spirits for the moment, and they resolve to fight to the end, carefully. Miho orders everyone to continue with their repairs, and they get to work.
Meanwhile, outside our spectators are still watching what’s essentially a paused match. Miho’s mother, deciding this was a waste of her time, moves to leave, but Maho convinces her not to. It’s not over yet, and unlike her mother, she won’t count Miho out of it just yet.
And over in the enemy camp, Katyusha is trying to decide what she’ll make Oarai do when they surrender, as she eats and then takes a nap. Her back and forth with Nonna here is pretty great too.
Back with Oarai, the repairs are coming along, for the most part, but they also need to gather intelligence for their planned breakout.
To that end, two pairs of scouts are sent out: Yukari and Erwin, and Mako and Sodoko. The former pair are the most military minded members of the team, so they are up for it, and they’ll be able to effectively recognize enemy tanks. They also have fun with it, singing a Japanese marching song as they walk—one that’s ironically about freezing to death in the snow. It’s just the latest historical military song referenced by Girls Und Panzer.
Mako and Sodoko were chosen because they both have 20/10 vision, and they bicker as they mark enemy positions, at least up until it gets them noticed and they fall back.
However, things get a bit worse as a blizzard rolls in, making things all the tougher for the already freezing Oarai team, which is also running out of food. Laying on the Stalingrad parallels pretty heavily here.
The scouts return with a great deal of information, and they start to formulate a plan.
With the storm still ongoing, however, the officials announce that there’s a chance the match will have to be called on account of weather. (We also get a cool view of the display screen for those watching the match.
As a beautiful rendition of another classic Soviet song (Polyushka Polye) plays, we see that Oarai’s morale is dropping rapidly on account of the conditions, while things are just peachy for the well-prepared Pravda girls. With nothing to do but wait, it’s hard for Oarai to keep spirits up at all, and many start slipping into exhausted despondency. Being able to see Pravda having fun as they wait is only making it worse.
They’re losing their will to fight on, and Miho is finding it harder and harder to cheer them up. Then, Momo reminds her that as the commander, it’s up to Miho to find a way to motivate them.
So she makes a decision, and does the only thing she can think of: Start doing the dreaded Anglerfish dance. It’s embarrassing, and ridiculous, but it manages to snap everyone out of it, and soon they join in out of solidarity.
Although, Miho’s mother, watching on, looks like she wants to be dead. But she doesn’t matter right now.
They’re soon interrupted by a Pravda envoy, and they inform her that they will not be surrendering.
Katyusha, a bit irritated upon awakening that they essentially just wasted time, is all ready to crush her opponents.
Oarai gets ready to go, and as they formulate some final plans—we aren’t told what they are yet—Miho and Anzu have a nice moment, where Anzu thanks her for getting them at least this far.
Both teams are set, and Oarai prepares to put their latest plan—Operation Jelly Jiggle—into effect. Katyusha has left an opening in her surround, intending to force Oarai to try and breakout there, and thus fall into a trap. She is extremely confident in her plans, as fits her character thus far.
But thanks to their reconnaissance, Miho is aware, and decides to break out straight through the enemy formation.
There’s a bit more buildup, and then as the music swells, they charge out in formation, right at the Pravda center.
Turtle Team is out front. Anzu takes over the gun from Momo—who, remember, can’t hit the broad side of a barn—and they start to fire.
They take out a tank, to Katyusha’s fury, and the rest of the team streaks through the opening.
However, now Oarai has Pravda tanks firing on them from both ends. Most of the team veers off, but the Turtle Team in their 38(t) volunteers to charge the four tanks ahead of them, to try and take them out. It’s risky, but it’ll buy the rest time and reduce the amount of fire directed at them.
With its smaller gun, the 38(t) has to get in very close to do any damage, and they do just that, getting in among the enemy formation and firing at any vulnerable areas they can get to.
It’s a short but furious engagement, which sees them take out two tanks and damage two others—Anzu revealing that when she finally decides to do something, she’s a great shot.
But as they start to pull away, they are suddenly struck from long range and knocked out hard—sniped by Nonna, as she orders Pravda forces to regroup.
They did what they had to though, and now Miho is able to press on with their plan.
Oarai, the clear underdog, has completely won over the crowd.
Katyusha then orders all her tanks to close on the retreating Oarai group—apart from her flagtank, which she orders to remain hidden in the empty town.
Oarai goes into a series of complex evasive maneuvers, and Katyusha orders her tanks to fire with their machine guns to try and spot them through the snow without wasting valuable, and limited, ammo.
There are some great shots of the tanks driving through the snow, and Miho orders her tank as well as Hippo Team in their Stug to break off from the main group and hide behind snowbanks as the enemy passes by in pursuit of the Oarai flagtank and its escorts.
They do this, with Anglerfish & Hippo moving toward the town as Katyusha, Nonna, and most of their tanks chase after the other three Oarai tanks. They’re aware that two Oarai tanks slipped away, but Katyusha is purely focused on the flagtank now.
Currently not under fire, Miho still needs to find the enemy flagtank in order to have a shot at winning. So she enlists Yukari once again to scout, and she heads for higher ground to search.
As the chase continues, Pravda’s arguably most powerful overall tank, their IS-2, arrives, and Nonna, their best gunner, switches to it so as to swiftly close this out.
The next few scenes move quickly as an instrumental version of Katyusha plays, with Yukari scouting from atop a tower, and spotting the flagtank.
During this, Rabbit Team bravely positions itself as a shield for Duck Team, the Oarai flagtank, and is quickly taken out by Nonna in the IS-2. (This is definitely one of my favorite sequences from the season, when you combine the music with what’s going one.)
The crew of Pravda’s flagtank realizes that the enemy has found them, and they get ready to move, as Oarai’s remaining tanks scramble to buy time for them to end the match.
Mallard Team, the flagtank’s last remaining escort, moves into shielding position as the Pravda flagtank asks for permission to leave the town. It’s denied, on the assumption that it would be too easy a target on the open snow plain. Their job is to keep running until Nonna takes out Oarai’s flag tank, and they’re certain it won’t be long.
They do have some backup in the town, the massive KV-2. However, it’s not particularly accurate and slow to fire, which allows Anglerfish and Hippo to take it out and resume pursuit.
Meanwhile, Mallard Team is eliminated, leaving Duck Team all on its own to try and survive long enough.
There’s not much time to work with, but fortunately Miho picks up on the enemy flagtank’s pattern of movement throughout the town and comes up with a plan. She orders Hippo to cease pursuit—they aren’t ideal in chasing anyway, without a moveable turret, but we don’t see just yet what the plan is.
Over in Duck Team’s tank, they’re a bit overwhelmed, and feeling hopeless, but they quickly pull it together and press on.
We get a quick cut of Hippo Team making a very sharp maneuver, then see the Pravda flagtank still circling around town. They notice that only the Panzer IV is still chasing them, but assume the Stug had a malfunction
Duck Team is doing its best to stay alive, and it’s going to come down to which team lands a good shot first.
Up above, Yukari informs Miho of its direction, and Miho prepares to end this.
She has Hana use their machine gun to induce a right turn from the Pravda tank (often machine gun shots were used to sight before firing a main round, so the flagtank likely assumed that was the case and thus turned.)
This sends them right where Miho wants them.
At the same time, though, Nonna is getting the Duck Team in her sights. She fires.
Simultaneously, as the Pravda flagtank approaches, the Hippo Team’s concealed Stug III fires.
As the commanders of both teams look out over the battlefield, and both smoking flagtanks, the episode ends, leaving us on a nice little “well, who won?” cliffhanger.
This episode was a great one, pushing the plot forward by really hammering home to our characters what is at stake, and from that we get an awesome battle scene. Also, in terms of the musical score, this episode might be the best so far, and this is in a show with a consistently amazing soundtrack. We also get to see, once again, how Miho is able to use her cleverness to turn a situation where her team is clearly outmatched into one with a real chance of victory. In terms of her tactics, and her utilizing her enemy’s flaws.
Next time, we’ll see how this battle ended, then quickly press on to the final episodes!
Hope you enjoyed this, and if you like great fiction, I’m currently Kickstarting the seventh and final book in my Galaxy Ascendant space opera series. Get all 7 books for only $14! The better this does, the more productive I’ll be able to be at getting more awesome stuff out.
Also, for my more anime-inclined readers, I recently announced my next book series, the light novel isekai series, Light Unto Another World! It’s going to be awesome; not your average isekai. The cover art for the first book will take you to the announcement so you can learn more, and I’ll soon be sharing the cover art for Volume 2 here as well.