The second installment of the Girls und Panzer graphic novels picks up where the first left off, mid-contest. Having encountered some difficulty the girls from Ooarai Academy’s begin “Operation More Sneak Around” against St. Gloriana Women’s Academy during their first tankery team practice match. The match ends with a close call defeat for our heroes. The disappointment is of course cut short by the appearance of the St Gloriana captain, Darjeeling whose conversation with Miho and gift of tea (apparently this means that Darjeeling views her opponents as worthy rivals) raises team spirits to the point that Yukari declares “Let’s win the next match!” on the spot. After a brief interlude that includes some reflective touchy-feely observations about gaining (or regaining in Miho’s case) a love for tankery, the next opponents and match are introduced: Anzio Girls’ High lead by “Duce” Anchovie and Vice-Captain Carpaccio. This match does reach a conclusion by the end of the second volume, and during the final conversation-confrontation with Anchovie (who does not approve of Miho’s fighting/leadership style) the Ooarai team finds out the origins’ of their captain Miho’s reluctance to join tankery in the first place.
The silliness continues as does the attention to detail and research, both of which I appreciate. The action is exciting and fun (no one ever really gets hurt of course). There is still some unexplained randomness, such as when the girls lose their practice match, they have to publicly perform the “anglerfish dance” which is apparently seriously humiliating. I say ‘apparently’ because there is only one panel actually showing the dance itself so it’s hard to tell what’s going on with that. The majority of the book concentrates on battle action and
One thing that did bother me a little is that during the St Gloriana’s match, the reader only gets to see and hear what the Ooarai teams is experiencing. Much the same happens during the match with Anzio, but at least there are one or two brief reminders that the other team consists of people and not just the tanks. The other potential negative that I noticed was that the girls on the Ooarai team do not often refer to each other by name, which makes it hard to remember names when they do appear. Especially during the combat scenes, which are extensive, there is little opportunity for personality traits to show other than Miho (the hero-leader) and Yukari (the narrator perspective). It’s understandable that during an intense fight, personal conversation would be limited, but even using names would add a little more personality to a section of story dedicated mostly to strategy and combat.