Deconstructing Garupan: In Other Words, It’s Crap

Girls und PanzerI hate to be a Grinch or kill joy, but I am troubled at the amount of praise Girls und Panzer has been receiving. Some have even gone to great lengths to proclaim it as the best anime of the season, to which I must disagree. Out of general principle, I was never going to watch this anime, but after all the praise it has received, especially episode 8, I decided to watch a few episodes (4 and 8) to get a feeling of what it is all about. Suffice it to say, it’s not a masterpiece. Further, it doesn’t even measure up to its spiritual predecessors, i.e. Strike Witches and others.

The first problem with the show is its lack of any characterization. Every character, or every tank grouping, is a cliche. From the student council to a sports team to a moral committee. Having a cast full of cliches isn’t that big of a deal, as long as you give the characters some detailing and background. Unfortunately, this show has so many characters that I have no idea how anyone could remember all of their names. As a result of this nameless mass, no character seems to get any characterization, and instead we get more character introductions, as that will suffice the otaku masses. As a comparison, the titular Panzers seem to get more characterizations than the girls. In the two episodes I watched, the girls, on multiple occasions, would describe their Panzers with some detail, and then give reasoning as to the names of the Panzers. If nothing else, the title is apropos, as the girls are treated the same as the Panzers in the story. If I was going to go into a full on rant, I would say that this show is sexist, but I’ll let it go.

Then, there is the story. Granted, it isn’t the worst thing of all time, but it is, at best, elementary. Its overarching plot is relatively simple and could easily be found in a Muppets movie meant for 8 year olds. Further, the mechanism for the plot is a tournament of schools. Are we really prepared to call a tournament show a great show? Really? Some may say that the story and the characters aren’t important, but that they watch the show for the tank battles. Granted, the tank battles are all right, but they aren’t fantastic. They certainly don’t display strategy in any depth as some have proposed. Tell me, when has a battle been fought purely with tanks. Has anyone ever heard of airplanes, scout towers, infantry, or any of a hundred other military units.

So if anyone ever tells me that they like the show for any of the above reasons, then that person is full of shit. Nobody likes this show for any other reason than girls and military porn. Don’t try to fool yourselves, or make yourselves feel better by saying anything otherwise. I would have you all look up cognitive dissonance, but if you like this show you are probably too much of a moron to understand the concept.

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29 thoughts on “Deconstructing Garupan: In Other Words, It’s Crap

  1. You watched episodes 4 ad 8 by themselves and complain about the lack of characterization?

    First of all, the show doesn’t draw its strength from its character — it’s entertaining because it focuses more on tank fighting narrative. The “military porn” isn’t there for shits and giggles like in Upotte, it’s actually necessary over the course of the show. It’s usage, not showcasing. The show is more like Saki rather than Strike Witches.

    • If you read the post, even the tank fighting narrative you claim is the saving grace of the show is moot given the fact that tanks have almost never fought against themselves. There are always other military forces at play.

    • In regards to your second post: Touche. I’ll admit that the small sample size is only that, a small sample size. But this is just my opinion about an anime. Don’t feel as though I am attacking your manhood.

      • Yes, it is your opinion, that you posted for all to see.

        That, shockingly, may cause people who disagree with you to respond, especially since that is generally considered the point of blogposts.

        As such, whining that people are disagreeing with you, and pointing out that your methodology is, to say the least, suspect, makes you kinda look pathetic.

      • The problem here is not only the sample size, but the random selection of episodes as well. Episodes 4 and 8 are mostly battle episodes (against St. Gloriana and Pravda), though the latter does shed light on the Student Council’s motivations. Whatever characterization (which IS a glaring shortcoming of Girls und Panzer — which is a problem when you have 40-odd girls running around) for everyone has mostly been set in stone by that point in the interim.

        As for the show, nothing in it is original (take note the lot of us have comparing it more to SAKI rather than Strike Witches). However the execution of what it DOES have going for it, particularly of the tank battles, is where it really shines.

      • In response to the two previous posts, I highly doubt that watching the other 8 episodes that have aired would change my opinion. If 4 and 8 are battle episodes, and the battles are considered to be the best part of the series, then I can’t imagine what it would be like sitting through the rest of the series.

        Further, my logic is clearly laid out in the post. Calling logic suspect without any explanation makes me suspect that you only read the title.

  2. Garupan is very obviously a light hearted show and yet you are criticizing it as if it should be something like Hamlet. Interesting. And you base your review on just 2 shows too….even more interesting.

    • I never said it wasn’t entertaining. I can see that it is, and by all means people who enjoy it should continue watching it. However, to suggest that it is good would be wrong. It is at best a guilty pleasure.

  3. Oh wow, now you just made me laugh. So let me get this right: You watched two episodes which aren’t even related in the slightest and based on the limited amount of impression you got, you decided to call everyone who has a high opinion of this show a hypocrite? Really? You watched two battle episodes and complain about the lack of characterization? Hey, guess what! Why do you think were people impressed by said battle episodes? Is it because of the stunning CG (hah) or the incredibly intelligent (hah) battle process? Well, no. So why did they care about them then? It’s because of the context. GaruPan is a character-centric show and those battles only work so well because the show makes you care about the characters. It’s like picking a random episode of a sports anime and complaining about the lack of exciting things happening on-screen and I daresay GaruPan works in a similar fashion a lot of sports anime do. If you don’t care for the characters, there’s obviously not a whole lot of redeeming values to the battles – nevertheless, due to skipping the proper context, you never gave the show even a chance to make you care for the characters. Essentially, you didn’t even remotely get how this show works and criticize it for all the wrong reason.

    Anyway, this shit basically reminds me of jpmeyer’s piss-poor Horizon post with him watching merely two episodes, calling both the show and the fans bad all the while comparing the show to Game of Thrones. It was basically the same bullshit.

    • “those battles only work so well because the show makes you care about the characters.”
      Of coarse why wouldn’t you care about cute moe girls. You should visit /a/’s 24/7 GuP threads, full of moe fags and how cute the girls are and who has which waifu, why is Erwin so… why is Nonna that… I want Yukari to…
      PS: Horizon was a pile of shit

      • People on those forums and those praising Garupan on blogs likely have the same reasoning, or at least most of them.

  4. I agree with characterization and that they didn’t concentrate to give the characters any depth. You didn’t watch episode 7, it was the only episode that concentrated purely on the characters and their interaction which made it a great episode. The battles are fun but stupid and unrealistic, the show is probably supposed to be WoT the anime. The show is fun but you have to not to think too much about what’s going on – drifting Matilda, conversion kit for Hetzer, KV2 as fast as T-34… and that incredible plot armor all the time

    • I’ve mentioned this at least one other time in the comments section, but it not being good, does not mean it isn’t entertaining. I can see the value of the show and what it brings, but entertaining doesn’t mean good. People can like reality television because it’s entertaining, but, by and large, it is crap.

  5. I’m not as blind to call GuP the “best” show of the year, but I would call it the most entertaining if I were to pick a description for it.

    That said, decrying the people who watch this show that they’re “shit” when you’ve seen only two episodes of it without proper order is like eating only the lettuce in a burger and calling all burger-lovers shit. Even the most opinionated complete anime reviews which have the reviewers decrying its supporters I’ve found at least had the grace to watch the entire series they were reviewing in order, thus giving their *opinions* some credit at least. If they didn’t like it after seeing everything in the series, then there’s nothing to be done about that, different tastes and all.

    This particular “review” though isn’t a deconstruction in the slightest: how can you deconstruct something whose whole you’ve never even seen? It strikes me as a petty excuse to post something contrary to popular opinion when one takes a very small sample of something, judges it based on that sample and then proceeds to insult anyone who likes it. There’s also the fact that attacking people based on their preferences is one of the most tasteless things that can be done in terms of sharing opinions. Say you like or hate something if you must, but telling people they’re bad because you think the thing they like is bad is a logical fallacy.

    If we’re going to “properly” consider your opinion on the show, at least see the show as a whole, instead of cherry-picking episodes and basing impressions on that.

    • I could watch the whole thing, but considering the formula of the show and the simplistic plot, I doubt I would pick up anything new.

  6. As others have already exposed the flaws in your analysis and your method, I just wanted to say that I agree with them: your analysis is invalid and can be discounted.

    If you analyze anime shows like this, how can you call yourself a reviewer? I would never judge a comic book run of five hundred by picking thirty random comics, not understanding a bit of them because of lack of context, and then ending up dismissing the whole run as crap.

    I just don’t understand you…

    • I don’t check this sight that often anymore, so this response is past due, just like your comment as well, but I would beg to differ. Anime isn’t comics. Comics, say Batman, builds off itself over time.

      Many anime on the other hand, especially those of lower story quality, have maybe one or two episodes at the start and one or two at the end that deal with the plot, while the rest are filler for fan service that only tangentially relate to the plot. If you think otherwise, you are fooling yourself.

      Once I realized this and grew up a bit, I don’t know how you can watch crap such as this. That’s not to say there isn’t good anime out there that can go into deeper thoughts and meanings – see Death Parade as a recent-ish example, which I still watch, but I’ve watched way more than enough anime to know the good stuff from the bad stuff pretty quickly.

      Long story short – do better next time

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