Oprainfall writes: "In Girls und Panzer episode 9, “Last-ditch Effort!,” the girls find themselves not only trapped by Pravda, but rapidly losing their morale and energy to the intense cold, as well. Oryou compares their predicament to the Hakkoda Mountains Incident of 1902, during which 199 members of a 210-member military expedition died trapped in a blizzard in Japan’s Hakkoda Mountains, where they were to undergo cold-weather training. (There is a fictionalized account of the incident entitled Death March on Mount Hakkoda: A Documentary Novel.) The girls are similarly ill-prepared for the cold.
Further worsening their morale is learning of their school’s imminent closure. I was wrong about the school ships being private institutions—they’re directly administered by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). The MEXT representative said Oarai had been losing students and lacked attractive programs. Oarai does look like a pretty ordinary school, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, except it’s a school ship, which is inherently high-maintenance, and MEXT is low on funds. It and other supposedly low-performing school ships could be victims of a weak economy. At least St. Gloriana, Sanders, and Pravda can offer cultural and language immersion, and Kuromorimine can offer elite tankery training. Much as I hate to admit it, I can see why MEXT would want to shut down Oarai."