Girls Und Panzer – A salute to Yukari Akiyama
A closer look at the free-spirited Yukari Akiyama from the anime Girls Und Panzer. The humble, passionate, and eccentric personality she carries among her friends and on the battlefield deserves nothing short of a proper commendation.
This article contains extremely mild spoilers, but nothing that will ruin the viewing experience for first-time watchers.
One thing anime does better than its counterpart mediums is the wide range of characters given in any show. These characters usually differ from the main protagonists and have personalities that you probably wouldn’t find in real life. As bizarre or unusual as they appear to be, it is these select traits that make them the worthwhile characters we come to love.
They are the faces and identities who leave us gleaming in delight whenever they appear on the screen. The anime itself could have some form of mediocrity in any facet of its production, but as long as the characters we adore remain true, then we probably wouldn’t mind. They have the potential to single-handedly raise the appeal in any show they feature in and give us something to look forward to every episode.
One such character, Yukari Akiyama, from Girls Und Panzer comes to mind when talking about special characters who are relatable and simply a joy to watch. She may not be the main protagonist or have the most screen time, but she is an unforgettable character who has captured the hearts of many through her humble, yet quirky nature. Her attitude towards her friends and the art of Sensha-dō (tankery) is extremely endearing and is nothing less of spectacular. Let’s take a closer look at why Yukari Akiyama has earned the spotlight among the many girls featured in Girls Und Panzer!
Before becoming the loader for Ankō Team (Anglerfish Team), Yukari was pretty much a loner who did not fit in with other groups. During the initial tankery meeting, Yukari could be found distanced from the other girls, all by herself in the background. Joining a new club is already a nerve-wracking experience for most, but to join without knowing anybody is a new step of anxiety altogether.
Yukari’s love for tanks gave her enough willpower to pursue a passion she has come to cherish for years. Growing up with an unusual infatuation for tanks was somewhat of a burden for Yukari growing up. When the rest of the Anglerfish team went over to the Akiyama residence in search for Yukari, her parents told them it was hard for their daughter to make friends because no one understood her.
Her parents were so relieved to find out that Yukari made friends who shared the same attachment to tanks as their daughter. Yukari’s passion for tanks started at a young age, and as a result of that, her childhood lacked a connection with others her age. She stayed true to what she loved and didn’t pretend just to fit in. It was only a matter of time, during her second year at Oorai Girls Academy, before she would find a group of friends who were just as thrilled about tanks as she was.
Lover of all things Tank
It shouldn’t take much time to figure out that Yukari is absolutely in love with tanks and military culture itself. Despite not knowing anybody in the tankery club, Yukari doesn’t let that temporary state of awkwardness deter her from joining an activity she was born to pursue. Her constant devotion to all things tanks makes Yukari somewhat of an oddball in the beginning. Even her teammates, Miho Nishizumi and Saori Takebe are quick to notice Yukari’s change of personality when she channels her inner tank nerd.
Yukari, unaware that she sometimes gets a little carried away with tankery, can then be seen apologizing in an innocent yet embarrassed manner. Her excitement in an actual tankery battle against rival schools is like watching a newborn puppy run across a large stretch of grass for the very first time. She, along with the rest of the Ooarai Girls Academy, exhibit some form of nervousness but quickly vanishes shortly after.
Whenever their team is met against a new type of tank, Yukari cannot help but appreciate the sight of the metal mammoth before her. Even though the enemy tanks are ready to fire shell after shell to obliterate the forces of Ooarai Girls Academy, Yukari still cherishes the opportunity of witnessing and competing against the marvelous engineering wonders of tanks in person. On top of that, Yukari can often be seen wearing her iconic green military-style bag wherever she goes.
In Miho Nishizumi we Trust
Although Yukari truly cares about all her teammates on her tankery team, her outward affection for Miho Nishizumi is one of a kind. Due to her fascination with tankery, Yukari is somewhat knowledgeable of the tank news outside of her school. The highly renowned Nishizumi style of the Kuromorimine Girls Academy is a legendary fighting school that Miho’s family is a part of.
Before joining her tankery team, Yukari was familiar with Miho’s affiliation with the Nishizumi style and has held a strong admiration for her ever since. She admits to seeing Miho’s match against Pravda on TV and reassures her that her actions during the fight were absolutely correct. Miho’s leadership and unorthodox battle tactics during the 63rd National High School Sensha-do tournament have earned her the love and respect not just from her team, but from rival schools as well.
In the Japanese dub of Girls Und Panzer, Yukari holds Miho with such high regard that she calls her name with the suffix dono at the end. Although Yukari always talks rather politely in formal Japanese, she adds even more emphasis when regarding Miho. This further shows the strong sense of respect Yukari has for her commander, considering that dono is usually reserved for those perceived with high rankings, like a master or lord.
Yukari is willing to go through great lengths for Miho. During their first-ever match, Yukari tells Miho that she too would undergo the punishment if Ooarai Academy were to lose. The trust Yukari has for Miho does not waver and only strengthens as the girls continue to partake in tankery. Win or lose, Yukari believes in the comradery among her team and Miho’s prowess as a leader to overcome even the most formidable of challenges.
Like an action spy from a Mission Impossible film, Yukari goes behind enemy lines to convey vital information for Oorai Girls Academy. Due to their school being inactive in tankery for so long, Yukari takes it upon herself to ensure they get every bit of an advantage. Although the deception and espionage Yukari commits could easily be perceived as cheating, she reassures the rest of the Anglerfish team that it is well within the rules.
Yukari routinely risks her neck because she wants to put her team in the best position possible. It is this selfless duty Yukari carries out that proves how determined she is to secure a victory, and how much of a sacrifice she is willing to make for Miho and her the rest of Ooarai Girls Academy.
To put it simply, Yukari Akiyama is a cute character who embodies all the traits we want out of a teammate, colleague and friend. Her down to earth personality, combined with her irregular love for tankery grants Girls Und Panzer more meaning towards the rest of the characters and the subsequent story itself.
She is an irreplaceable member of the Anglerfish team and forever a fan favourite within the franchise. We expect her to bless us with her charming self once more in the upcoming third installment of Girls Und Panzer das Finale movies.