Aug 24, 2019
"Why the fuck does a 12 episode series need a recap?!" was my initial reaction to "Girls und Panzer: Introductions!".
"WTF? There are TWO of these?!?!" was my next.
The first half of the first episode seems to confirm my worst fears: its opening salvo serves as a crucial reminder for the mountain of material contained in the previous ... five episodes. Following this, we're "treated" to an introduction of the many moeblobs littered around the show, giving us the full information shower on their unique moe quirks, including such juicy tidbits as what flowers they like, their favourite classes, and maybe what coloured buttons they prefer
on their shirts. Those agonising minutes induced me to give a grand total of about ... half a fuck, maybe? No wait, I think it was zero actually. Yes, I'm pretty sure zero fucks were given, including for the moeblobs' favourite tanks.
However, from there on, "Introductions!" miraculously started climbing out of the depth of Tedium Valley. First, they introduced the main tanks used by the protagonist's school, which gave some context for the strategies deployed, for example why certain tanks are used for scouting etc. Then they went through the battles that had taken place, and at this point I realised I'd grossly misjudged the value of these recap episodes: far from being the most useless recaps ever, they're probably the most useful ones ever!
Here's why: while watching the battles for the first time during the main show, I did not think much of them. Too many inexplicable events that happened during the battles made me rant "what bullshit is this?!" For instance, one tank shot at another at point-blank range and still couldn't take it out, and these recaps explain that it's because the attacking tank was a lightweight, bearing a cannon not powerful enough to penetrate the heavy armour of the tank it shot at. In addition to explaining the WTF moments, "Introductions!" also highlights other small details which enhanced my understanding of the battles, such as how important it was for some tanks to get in close to their targets, a detail that went over my head initially.
So for anyone interested in making sense of the battles of "Girls und Panzer", "Introductions!" make for essential viewing. But here's a thought: like other recaps, these are forged in the fires of production hell. Had everything gone to plan, these would not exist, and I would have given "Girls und Panzer" a mediocre rating, never knowing the amount of thought and detail carefully plotted into the battles. And as much I applaud production team for taking advantage of a bad situation and creating something useful, this begs the question: if there's so much detail here crucial for understanding the battles of "Girls und Panzer", shouldn't they get incorporated into the main series?
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