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Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 15, 2014 by  



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“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” was much more than I expected and not only did I love this series, it left me craving for more!  An uplifting underdog story featuring female academy competitions with tank battles and carefully planned battle strategies, this is one series worth owning on Blu-ray!  “Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” is highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Sentai Holdings, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series

ANIME RELEASE DATE: 2012-2013

DURATION: 12 Episodes (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0, Subtitles: English subtitles

COMPANY: Sentai Filmworks

RATING: TV 14 V

Release Date: December 3, 2013

Directed by Tsutomu Mizushima

Series Composition by Reiko Yoshida

Music by Shiroh Hamaguchi

Original Character Design by Humikane Shimada

Character Design by Isao Sugimoto

Art Direction by Yutaka Onishi

3D Director: Keiichiro Yagino

Anime Production: Actas

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Kayano/Jessica Calvello as Saori Takebe

Ikumi Nakagami/Rebekah Stevens as Yukari Akiyama

Mai Fuchigami/Meg McDonald as Miho Nishizumi

Mami Ozaki/Caitlynn French as Hana Isuzu

Yuka Iguchi/Molly Searcy as Mako Reizei

You may have heard of kung fu, but the girls at Oarai Academy practice gun-fu – really, really BIG gun-fu, in fact. It’s called Tankery, and it’s the martial art of operating armored tanks! And even though the Tankery program at Oarai has been defunct for years, the student council has taken a sudden interest in the art and no one they set their sights on is safe.

That’s how Miho Nishizumi, who transferred to Oarai specifically to stay out of tanks, gets drafted to join the newly revived Tankery divison. But it’s not all bad, because joining her in Team Anglerfish are her new-found friends Saori, the highly receptive radio operator; Hana, a flower arranger turned gunner; Mako, their brilliant but chronically sleepy driver; and combustible tank fangirl and loader Yukari. They may not be on the half-track to fame and fortune, and maybe some of them would rather shop for tank tops than become tops in tanks, but once their focus is locked and loaded, they’re absolutely driven.

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In winter 2012 and spring 2013, the Japanese anime TV series “Girls und Panzer” captivated audiences in Japan for its cute girls who take part in tank battles and utilize tank strategies to take on their more powerful rivals.

Produced by Actas, the series is directed by Tsutomu Mizushima (“Big Windup!”, Genshiken”, “Ichigo 100%”, “xxxHOLic”), series composition by Reiko Yoshida (“Blue Exorcist the Movie”, “Gad Guard”, “Major”, “Kaleido Star”), music by Shiroh Hamaguchi (“Galilei Donna”, “Ah! My Goddess”, “One Piece”), character designs by Isao Sugimoto (“Kemeko Deluxe!”, “Sketchbook ~full color’S~”), art direction by Yutaka Ohishi (“Heaven’s Memo Pad”) and 3D direction by Keiichiro Yagino (“Blassreiter”).

And now, the popular series titled “Girls and Panzer: Complete TV Series” was released on Blu-ray and DVD in Dec. 2013 courtesy of Sentai Filmworks, with the two OVA’s slated for a Feb. 2014 Blu-ray and DVD release, while in Japan, a film is planned for release.

“Girls & Panzer” takes place where various high school academies compete in sensha-do (Tankery) competitions and one of the families that have dominated the Tankery scene are the Nishizumi family.

But for Miho Nishizumi, she has transferred to Oarai Girls Academy because it doesn’t offer Tankery and for her, to get away from it is the best thing she can only hope for.  Despite practicing and was involved in Tankery at a previous academy.

And immediately, she makes friends with Saori Takebe, a girl who loves to read women’s magazines on how to attract guys.  Also, Hana Isuzu, a refined teenager who practices ikebana (flower arrangement).

But as the group try to find out what club to join for the year, Miho is called by the President, Vice President and PR spokesperson of Oarai High School in regards to their selection for club activities and because of her experience, the president tells Miho that if she doesn’t choose Tankery, she and her friends will be kicked out of Oarai High.

Upset about what the President has said, Miho notices Saori and Hana arguing on her behalf and if anything, she is very happy to have friends behind her.  Not wanting to see them kicked out of school because of her, Miho decides to join Tankery if it keeps her and her new friends out of trouble.

But the real reason why the President of the school has put their hopes on Miho to join the Tankery club is because if Oarai Academy does not win the Tankery competition, their school will be closed down.

Meanwhile, Miho, Saori and Hana make new friends: Yukari who is excited about Tankery and a moody, always half-asleep Mako Reizei and the five together are able to make a great team and along with other Oarai Tankery members, they notice that Miho is actually a fantastic commander that can lead them during competitions.

But will Oarai Academy have what it takes to take on the favored academy to win the Tankery competition, Kuromorimine Girls High School, led by Miho’s older sister Maho?

And will Oarai be able to defeat St. Gloriana Girls Academy, Saunders University High School, Pravda High School and Anzio High School?

Find out in “Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series”!

VIDEO:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” is presented in 1080p High Definition and I have to say that Actas did a wonderful job with production of this series.  From the mechanical designs of the tanks, the focus on the treads and movements of various tanks is very well-done.  Character designs for each of the characters, environments of the towns and also each academy which sits on top of a huge ship, everything about this series is colorful, vibrant with beautiful art backgrounds.  But I was very pleased of the detail and the research that went into the creation of the tanks and how each tank operates.

I didn’t notice any banding issues or compression during my viewing of the series.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” is presented in Japanese and English DTS-HD MA 2.0.  For the most part, both soundtracks are front-channel driven and was hoping that for a series with a lot of action, it would have received a 5.1 lossless soundtrack.  But on its own, the series features crystal clear dialogue and music via the front channels.  Both soundtracks are well-acted, but it was interesting to see the directional change for the voice of Mako Reizei.  Where the Japanese version has her sounding like a regular teenager, the English dub emphasizes her moody and sleepy side with a lower voice, so that was very interesting but it worked!

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” features the following special features:

  • Introductions! – A full-length introduction episode that showcases the first half of the series but also the introduction of the various characters of Oarai Academy and other schools.
  • Introductions! 2 – A full-length introduction episode that showcases the second half of the series but also spotlights on the rules of Tankery and the various characters that are featured in the second half of the series.
  • Japanese Promos
  • Japanese TV Spots
  • Clean Opening and Ending Animations

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“Girls & Panzer” was an enjoyable and delightful series about a group of underdogs who enter a Tankery competition and must take on the best high schools.

Often in anime series, we are greeted with all-female competitions, may it be martial arts, softball, tennis, volleyball or even mecha series, but “Girls & Panzer” is different because it focuses on tank competitions and while we have the cute high school students operating tanks, the fact is that a lot of research went into the tanks featured in the series.

From the movements, strategies employed and just the overall mechanical design, you just don’t come across anime series like this.  And the efficacy of this series is because of it’s upbeat storyline of an underdog academy that puts its trust on the leadership of Miho Nishizumi.

Miho is from the proud Tankery family, the Nishizumi family.  But Miho starts out as one who doesn’t want anything to do with Tankery and just wants to enjoy life with friends.

And with each episode, we learn how awesome Miho is as a commander, but we also learn why she has kept away from a competition that her family has thrived in.  We also get a good amount of character building storylines that helps introduce us to various characters of this series.

At first, seeing so many characters compete per Academy/High School, I wasn’t sure how the writers would include them all and make a story that wouldn’t be so confusing to viewers, but they manage to keep the focus on the core 5 of Oarai High School, but giving us enough to know each group supporting Miho during competition.  May it be the Turtle Team, the Duck Team, the Hippo Team, the Mallard Team, the Anteater Team, the Leopon or the Rabbit Team, their inclusion was enough to understand the team dynamics and their strengths and weaknesses.

And the character designs, the beautiful art backgrounds and mechanical designs looked amazing on Blu-ray.  Vibrant colors, plenty of detail and no sign of artifacts or banding.  “Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” looked amazing in HD!

As for lossless audio, I wished that this action-driven series would have received a 5.1 lossless soundtrack but you get two lossless 2.0 soundtracks that are well-acted for both the Japanese and English soundtracks.

You also get two additional introduction episodes as well, included as special features!

Overall, “Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” was much more than I expected and not only did I love this series, it left me craving for more!  An uplifting underdog story featuring female academy competitions with tank battles and carefully planned battle strategies, this is one series worth owning on Blu-ray!

“Girls & Panzer: Complete TV Series” is highly recommended!






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