Twelve Days of Anime – The Brilliance of Girls und Panzer


Girls und Panzer was one of those series that I initially looked at as something silly, which I might enjoy in an ironic fashion. However, it quickly became one of my favourite anime of that year, and is now one of my favourite anime ever made. There is an intangible quality to this series, one set in a universe that seems utterly ludicrous at first, and yet works so well it is hard to find any real faults with it. By positioning the operation of tanks, and engaging in tank warfare as something only done by women the series is able to overturn particular attitudes and assumptions regarding tanks, and warfare. For a significant period of our history warfare has arguably been the domain of men, not because they were superior, but because that is what society proscribed. Tank warfare is similarly portrayed as inherently masculine – we just have to look at WWII films that involve tanks (Kelly’s Hero’s, Battle of the Bulge, and so on) to see lots of gruff men driving tanks and blowing each other up. While the realities of war have always been different from those portrayed in popular culture – men, women, and children are all affected, and take part in war in different ways – it is the popular perception of warfare, and particularly tanks that has remained within the public consciousness. Read more of this post

Favourite Anime of 2013


It’s always a difficult task coming up with a simple list of my favourite anime that aired throughout the year, the list always seems to extend over several pages, only to be pruned and cut down to a simple selection of the series and films I truly enjoyed watching. This year I have decided not to put the anime in any specific order, or even give them a number as I feel numbering, and ordering the anime to be rather arbitrary. Apart from one specific series the anime in this list have all been equally enjoyable for a variety of different reasons. Interestingly most of the really popular series, ones that acquired lives of their own are missing from this list, largely because I found them almost universally boring, or didn’t particularly interest me in one way of another. But before the list proper a few special mentions, series that I certainly enjoyed, but have not made it onto the final list for a number of reasons. Read more of this post

Girls und Panzer – Review

shot0257Girls und Panzer is absolutely brilliant and sits as a perfect example of how even the most innocuous series can be turned into a veritable masterpiece with the right direction, writing and a truly engrossing story that has been created by a group of people who truly love classic war films and all they entail. I, like many others on twitter, was quick to laughingly and quite ironically proclaim this series to be the best of the season and perhaps the year just before it premiered. However, having sat through the gripping action, wonderful character development, and truly superb soundtrack it is safe to say that I can now, entirely un-ironically proclaim it to be a spectacular success. I have never really had any problems with the ‘cute girls doing cute things’ aspect of many anime, finding the ordinary, if rather romanticized portrayal of Japanese school life often charming and entertaining. What we find in Girls und Panzer however is an entirely different take on this well warn aspect of anime, and while it still has cute girls doing cute things, the constant presence of tanks and the important part that they play in life helps to subtly change the way this anime portrays the lives of school girls. Read more of this post