September 3, 2022: Trouble with Chovy's Story

Earlier this year (right around the time before I got Corona Virus for the 2nd time of my life) I began a little project titled "A Summer with Chovy". It was a fanfiction based off the anime/manga series Girls und Panzer which is a series involving various all girls schools participating in tank matches and representing different nations and their tanks from the World War 2 era. It's a very light hearted and generally fun series that doesn't take itself too seriously and the character designs for the girls in particular are really well done for this sort of military Otaku theme. It's not difficult to find a specific waifu from the huge cast of characters in the series. In my case, I went a story involving one of the Tank Commanders of the Italian themed schools who goes by the name of Anchovy (Chovy or her real name Chiyomi Anzai).

I made a page entirely dedicated to the reasons why I find her intriguing. Something I didn’t add to that page however is the fact that she has two entirely different personalities when it comes to the original manga of Girls und Panzer (which is consider non-cannon at this point) and the Anime with the other manga tie ins. The original Anchovy was a more savage and ruthless character compared to her now cannon personality which is more charismatic, easy-going, but cunning. Even after several defeats in Sensha-do, she remains graceful to her opponents and team. One particular thing that actually inspired me to do the fan fiction in the first place was the fact that in the spin off manga, it’s shown and implied that she wears glasses when she’s not playing the role as Duce for her Sensha-do team. I always thought it would be cute to believe that while she was charismatic and inspiring as a Sensha-do commander in public, she was actually reserved, quiet, and humble in private. Threads on anime specific topics on /k/ will sometimes bring her up from time to time and generally, Anchovy tends to be a favorite among the Girls und Panzer fandom. Some people imply she’s secretly perverted while others claim she is very love shy despite craving it. One thing that can be agreed is that she is without a doubt a dork. A very cute dork to be precise. So I figured: Why not write a love story for her?

At first, I had high hopes for this fan fiction. It was to be as light hearted as the show with a little bit of edgy humor sprinkled on but not to the point of it being too tasteless. I wanted to make an effort to try to stay within the bounds of the show’s universe and stay within the lore as much as I can. This meant having to take into account all the events that happened in the anime up until the last movie that was released (Girls und Panzer Das Finale 3) which ended on a cliff hanger. Unfortunately, it’ll be a few years before the next part of the Das Finale saga will be released but given that Anzio Girls High lost the tournament in Das Finale 3, I don’t see how they can really expand on the Anzio characters anymore at that point. The only issue being that since Anchovy is on her last year on the team, she probably wouldn’t be around after the sage is complete so I had to set up a time (summer vacation) to have this story take place (right before she theoretically graduates). This helped and bhindered my story telling to be quite honest.

At first, I felt doing this sort of romance story would be easy. I would try to focus away from the series’ focus on tankery like in some of the spin off manga and do something kind of related to Anzio Girls High other activities such as cooking. While I did intended to include some of the other Anzio characters into this story such as Carpaccio and Pepperoni, I also wanted to mix in cameos from the other schools just because some of them are really quite interesting as characters. While the whole Sensha-do tankery is a major part of the world building, I wanted to keep it out of the story at first until the later part of the story when our Protag (Tomio) would get involved with it in someway. Staying true to the lore, boys are not involved in Sensha-do what so ever. Perhaps in other countries but certainly not in Japan. Sensha-do tankery is seen as a girly sport intended to make girls better wives in the long run and make them more graceful (somehow lmao). So I had to figure out a way to get him involved without actually having him engage in tankery combat like in the anime/manga. Another issue I ran into had to deal with the fact that Anchovy wasn’t going to be tank commander anymore at this point. She was on the verge of graduation and honestly didn’t really have a purpose to direct her team anymore. Carpaccio and Pepperoni would be good replacements for her but they both have their own strengths and weakness that wouldn’t really work in terms of being a tank commander for the entire school. I thought of some ideas to getting around that by introducing another character (loosely based off the appearance from one of the team members in the anime, and gave her a backstory which would in theory, differentiating her from her teammates (in a sense making her an outcast) but having her own skills that could potentially land her the spot as the new Duce for Anzio’s Sensha-do team.

It’s that damn lore that keeps holding me back from trying something new with these characters and though I didn’t really have issues when it came to writing stuff for the characters involved with the Pizzeria where Anchovy worked, I struggled with getting all of these subplots to somehow work together for what was supposed to be a stupid love story. I couldn’t just drop the Sensha-do aspect of the story entirely because then it wouldn’t feel like an authentic Girl’s und Panzer story. If it was just Tomio and Anchovy falling in love, what else would there be besides that?

To summarize the plot I initially had in mind, Tomio would meet Chovy, they would become close, eventually become lovers, Tomio and his friend from school would have some history with another Girls und Panzer character Alisa (who is somewhat of a brat but heart broken character in the series from the American themed school) who was going to be a sort of antagonist to the story (though she’s not entirely irredeemable and has her own share of personal problems and insecurities). Alisa is one of the tankery commanders from another school and at some point, she runs into Tomio again when he’s with Anchovy and they would somehow set up a Sensha-do duel at the end of the story. Then once that is done and over with, Anchovy would graduate and leave the country for college but not before saying her goodbye with Tomio. This in turn would lead into a sequel series titled “A Winter With Chovy” where she would come back to Japan during her winter break and reunite with Tomio along with her old friends from Anzio. That was supposed to be the plan I had with this fanfiction.

So as much as it pains me to give up on this fanfiction for the time being, that doesn’t mean I don’t have the desire to revisit the idea sometime in the future. I’m debating on redoing the whole fanfiction entirely and addressing some of the issues I had with the plot and characters. Another thing I figured I might do first is try my hand at writing my own stories that don’t rely on the lore of an established series. In other words, I would make my own setting and rules for something original. It’ll probably be harder to write something at first but I wouldn’t be restricted as much as with doing fanfictions. At least I hope that’s how it will go from there. I’ll make more notes as I start the brainstorming process for that “original” story when I get the willpower to start with something.

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