Jun 9, 2022
It seems like I'll be the first review that actually finished the manga.
Ribbon no Musha is a spin-off manga series that focuses on Tankathlon, a spinoff of Senshado sport in that only light tanks under 10 tons are allowed. This makes matches more flexible and less about number of tanks and who has bigger and better models, but rather about individual skill and maneuvers since obviously, the weight limit does make both parties at a more even playing field.
I like this concept, but Ribbon no Musha goes a little to far in terms of "fun" matches. It basically makes the matches chaotic, with various
factors that don't even involve individual skill and strategy half the time. This includes exhibition matches and random matches that have different victory conditions and rules in Tankathlon matches. Or wild card tanks coming in the middle of battle just to introduce more chaos or something. Tankathlon also has a lot of "dirty" play, like abusing certain rules, doing things like escaping into a crowd of spectators, or setting buildings on fire, all in part of a "strategy." It's up to the you if you think such novel things are used as strategy, but it is true that these random elements in Tankathlon make the matches a lot more chaotic than Senshado matches.
However, regardless if you like the Tankathlon format, Ribbon no Musha still is a great spin-off of GuP that captures the essence of the series. While there are a few schools like Tategoto high, which are manga-exclusive schools that don't appear in the main series, a lot of the schools that the Centipede team befriends and fights are from the original series. Characters from schools like Oorai, Anzio, Pravda, Kuromorimine, and St Glorias are shown in this manga, and I think that's where a lot of the charm comes from.
While Shizuka and Rin are good characters, the reasons why the matches they're in are interesting is because the characters that they fight are from the main series, and it gradually builds in some of the manga original characters like Tategoto High and Bonple.
Compared to other GuP manga like Pravda Senki, the manga definitely falls short in terms of creating battles that are easy to follow. Many times I lose track of what's going on in a fight because the storyboarding and choreography are a bit disorienting.
The manga, however, clearly goes for more stylistic choices anyway, like showing tanks and their combatants in suits of samurai armor, and when felling a tank, they'll show the person in the tank metaphorically cutting down their opponent in the sweep of their sword. Shizuka, the main character, is obsessed with...Sengoku era I believe, which is why the aesthetic is as such. However, with the aesthetic changes also come the fanservice. There's quite a few scenes where there's half-naked girls being shown. I mean, the imagery for Rin and Shizuka riding in their tank is usually shown as Rin being a horse with little to no clothes on and Shizuka riding on her like a horse. GuP is a lot more less cringe in comparison.
There's also a decent bit of psuedo psychological talks going on about Senshado as a sport, being a bit more serious, with Darjeeling at the head of these sorts of talks. Meh, I felt like it dragged on a bit too long, but it's ok.
It took me over a month to finish this series, so it certainly wasn't something that I was super invested in. Ribbon no Musha is honestly, a series riddled with flaws here and there, and I wouldn't have read it if it were for the GuP name. On the contrary, that means that if you're a fan of the GuP series, this is a good read
What did you think of this review?