A few months ago, on a whim, I decided to watch some anime. I started with Howl's Moving Castle and My Neighbor Totoro, neither of which I had seen before. It was like a switch flipped in my head. I've watched little other than anime since then.
I especially enjoy light hearted serials, such as Girls und Panzer. It's a well written and beautifully animated 14-episode series. The plot is delightfully bizarre. In this alternate world, Japan's most popular sport for girls is the martial art sensha-do. This is the traditional martial art of fighting with tanks.
Girls und Panzer has developed a large fanbase filled with creative people. Let's look at some of arts and crafts that they've made.
I haven been unable to discover which artist is responsible for this great mashup of Girls und Panzer and the classic American war movie Kelly's Heroes. Here are Pvt. Kelly (Clint Eastwood) and Sgt. Oddball (Donald Sutherland) flanking Kay and Yukari.
There are at least two references to Kelly's Heroes in the series. While infiltrating a rival team, Yukari (brown hair) goes by the name "Sgt. Oddball." And in episode 11 at the 14:30 mark, the characters watch Kelly's Heroes on TV.
Here's a cake made by a Japanese fan. It looks just like the Hippo Team's elaborately decorated Sturmgeschütz III. The crew consisted of avid history buffs who were not fans of camouflage. In an early episode, their flamboyant style got them knocked out of a match.
If you'd like to make your own tank cake, here's a video that shows you how to assemble Turtle Team's Hetzer tank destroyer. It consists of layers of crêpe and cream cut and shaped into the form of that tank.
In our world, there are bars and restaurants devoted to particular sports, such as soccer and football. In the world of Girls und Panzer, there are sensha-do shops and tank cafes. In one episode, the main characters visit one and eat tank-shaped cakes. Patisserie Swallowtail White Rose in Tokyo briefly made and sold real-life versions of them.
You won't be able to squeeze inside your tank if you eat nothing but sweets all day. Try this healthy tank-shaped sushi. It's one of several made by the restaurant Naver in honor of the show.
Before I started watching anime, I was vaguely aware of the term "chibi," but probably wouldn't be able to define it. Now I can. It's a style of rendering characters to have small, round bodies or resemble children. This is a chibi-style image of the main characters composed by an artist named Bocchi.
The different schools against whom the main characters compete are styled after different nations that operated tanks during World War II. As an American, I found the depiction of the American-styled Saunders University High School funny.
Fans built a foot-powered model of the Turtle Team's Hetzer tank destroyer for a fan convention in Oarai, a real city that was the fictionalized setting of the show. You can view more photos here.
The people of the real Oarai have embraced the show. For the fan convention, they carved the show's tagline "Panzer vor!"--"Panzer forward!"--into a field in view of train passengers. Skip to 1:03 in the video and view more photos here.
Fans can be subtle in their references. This gearshift knob is made to resemble the one on the main characters' Panzer IV.
In the comments, please offer your anime recommendations.