Kantai Collection Episode 01 – Review

Kancolle Anime Ep 01 - Review Title

Introduction

Hast thou not gone against sincerity?
Hast thou not felt ashamed of thy words and deeds?
Hast thou not lacked vigor?
Hast thou exerted all possible efforts?
Hast thou become slothful?

[The Gosei – traditional subjects for daily meditation at Japan’s Naval Academy.]

From the depths of the oceans rise a mysterious fleet which drives mankind from the world’s seas. Only one thing can stand against this “Abyssal Fleet” – Kanmusu (‘ship-girl”), girls who possess the souls of warships from years past. Thus our introduction to KanColle anime begins with a brief battle between the two sides and we are introduced to some of the main characters –  Akagi (fleet aircraft carrier), followed by the lead character, Fubuki (name ship of the Fubuki class destroyers, Special Type (see explanation below)), and the newest member of Torpedo Squadron 3. Fubuki is then introduced to the other squadron members: Mutsuki (name ship of the Mutsuki class destroyers, predecessor to the Fubuki class), Yuudachi (Shiratsuyu class destroyer), Sendai, Jintsui, and Naka (all Sendai class light cruisers). These and other Kanmusu will be the force which will take back the seas from the Abyssal Fleet under the leadership of the largely unseen Admiral and Fleet Flagship Nagato (name ship of the Nagato class battleships) while Fubuki tries to fulfill her dream to become strong enough to be Akagi’s escort destroyer.

Note:

At the end of this review, we have included additional information which may help to clarify things in the anime which anime-only viewers might find puzzling.  There are also a couple reference links along with listing of the Kanmusu appearing in this episode (cameos included) and some of the WWII weapons we identified.

Impressions

Bear

Sometimes you watch an anime and you immediately know that this is going to be something special, sometimes it takes a few episodes before you know whether you’ll even like it. Now how do I feel about KanColle? Frankly, I don’t know at this point. Part of my problem is that I had superhigh expectations for it and the delays and lack of a show of this type in the interim just exacerbated them. Do I like it? Yes. Is it great? Not as great as I’d hoped at this point, but it’s only been one episode.

Where is it lacking? My problems are in the actual battles and the enemy. I had hoped we’d see battles that, even if they didn’t replicate actual WWII battles, at least gave the feeling of them. Here we basically see melees with few tactics from either side. The Abyssals just attack randomly or stand around waiting to be attacked. Now, TBH, I don’t have a good grasp of naval tactics beyond “crossing the T” but I just don’t get the feel that I’m watching a naval battle here. Another negative is that Fubuki gets dumped into the fleet with no one coordinating her arrival nor explaining her situation to the rest of the kanmusu. But then Akagi knows about her from the Admiral so what are her special circumstances? Very contrived IMO. I also wish the “outfits” were a bit more realistic looking but that’s probably nitpicking. I’m just spoiled by Girls und Panzer.

One thing about this show is that the game references and the ship girls seems to be off-putting to the anime only viewers.  I think this is partly because they are comparing it to shows like Strike Witches and Arpeggio. The actual shows to compare it to are more in the realm of Mahou Shoujou (magical girls).  Think of the launch sequence in terms of the magical girl transformation rather than putting on say a mecha.  The “outfits” are more symbolic of the magical girls wands than actual weaponry and their power is unrelated to their appearance.  If you think of the show as more in that subgenre then you may find the show to be more enjoyable.

The SOL aspects are fine as is the characters and animation. I didn’t feel the girls had the same chemistry that I did with the girls in GuP though. Not bad, just not as good yet. The sequences of the girls being armed and launching as well as those of them sailing were well done and exciting to watch. The background music manages to not be intrusive but certainly enhances the “heroic” nature of the scenes. I could watch a whole show of just Akagi and Kaga’s archery.

One problem that an anime only watcher, such as myself, is going to have is that the inside jokes and references are going to go over our heads. The only reason I know about the penguin, for example, is because daikama explained it for me. Also Sendai-chan’s love of night fighting. Though some things that are related to the actual ships are things that a fan of WWII militaria might enjoy researching for themselves. To my mind that adds a bit of spice to the show. Another issue is going to be whether there are too many characters for the length of the show. A lot of them are going to get short shrift or the stories will be so spread out that we really don’t get to know any of them very well.

A decent start and I hope it gets better from here. I do think it has a lot of potential.

daikama

Those who read my KanColle Franchise and Anime Primer know that a primary concern of mine was how the anime adaptation would balance trying to please its core audience (i.e. those who play the game) and anime-only viewers such as Bear. After watching Ep. 01, I think it’s fair to say that the anime took the “safe route” and landed squarely on the “core audience” side. That’s not to say that anime-only viewers cannot or will not enjoy the show, but I definitely think those who play the game will get a lot more out of it if Ep. 01 is any indication.

Bear mentioned a couple game references in the anime (e.g fail penguin), but those were just the “tip of the iceberg”. There were a LOT of game references – including frequent use of game dialog. For the most part, I thought the game dialog was sufficiently integrated into the story, but there were also a couple of times I thought it was forced – included just for the sake of pandering to core audience. Fine I suppose if you are part of the “core audience”, but I do wonder whether anime-only viewers found some of the dialog misplaced or simply odd.

The battles in my opinion were pretty good for the most part. Obviously if one isn’t willing to buy into the Kanmusu concept (including “water skating”, equipment rigs, etc.), the battles will not go over well. At all. Frankly, I liked some of the weapon imagery – particularly CVs (aircraft carriers) as archers with the arrows transforming into planes. Still, there was one thing I thought did not transfer well to anime. I found Sendai’s, Jintsuu’s and Naka’s tiny gauntlet “cannons”, well, too tiny when seen in action (FYI – you don’t see that in the game. Game battle graphics are very basic). Not a big deal, but something I noticed. In other instances, I thought the anime again pushed the game references too far. For example, while I thought Hibiki’s battle start line was perfectly fine, Atago’s cameo went too far. I don’t mind if the staff/director felt her trademark “Pan-paka-pa~n!!” had to be included, but ditch the pose and at least have her guns, you know, actually aim at something.

Visual quality in general was pretty good – a noticeable step up from the norm with CGI handled fairly well apart from a few missteps. The docking sequence looked good, but it also had an odd part – specifically the chains dragging equipment from beneath the sea. Storing metal and wood items in seawater is generally a bad idea so I thought about it some more. If you consider that the Kanmusu represent the spirits of WWII IJN vessels (the vast majority of which sank during WWII), then bringing forth equipment/rigging from the sea symbolizes the spirit of those ships being raised from the depths to defend the homeland once again (well, defend in terms of the latter part of WWII anyway). Assuming that’s the intent, some very nice, appropriately subtle, symbolism on the anime’s part. Kudos for that. I very much enjoyed the background music, especially the piece around the 16:00min mark when Akagi and Kaga leave the docks. Definitely interested in the OST for this show.

In addition to the overabundance of game references, I think the anime tried to accomplish too much in too little time – especially character introduction. Despite my familiarity with the source material, the presentation still felt rushed. Also, I’m not really thrilled with Fubuki’s “clumsy rookie” plot line. The “rookie” part is fine, the “clumsy” part, not so much. I think they took that too far. Poor (ship)girl can’t even “sail” (OK – ski/skate), and the admiral knows this. Yet she’s sent up against a fierce “boss level” enemy because… why? Then again, it’s not that surprising since when anime goes the “underdog route” or “inept rookie route”, it tends to do so big time. At any rate, I’d rather they just left the “clumsy” part on the cutting room floor.

When the KanColle anime adaptation was first announced, I knew enough not to expect another Girls und Panzer (and warned potential viewers as much). The KanColle game concept is simply too different. I had hoped for something on the level of Strike Witches. Unfortunately, unlike Strike Witches (which I thought had a strong opening episode), KanColle anime did not have as strong of a start to the series. To be clear, I did enjoy the first episode – especially the first two minutes or so at the start. Very well done! Still, a large part of my overall enjoyment stems from playing the game (e.g. LOL at the part about Kaga & Akagi being victorious without getting damaged. I can only wish. Sure wasn’t the case for me with those two during the Fall 2014 Event). In the end, I have to agree with Bear on this. It was a decent start, perhaps even a good one from a game player’s perspective, but one with room for improvement.


Notes and Additional Information

Ship Class Abbreviations

Battleship (BB), Aviation Battleship (BBV), Armored/Regular/Fleet Aircraft Carrier (CV), Light Aircraft Carrier (CVL), Seaplane Tenders (AV), Amphibious Assault Ship (LHA), Escort Carrier (CVE), Heavy Cruiser (CA), Aviation Cruiser (CAV), Light Cruiser (CL), Torpedo Cruiser (CLT), Destroyer (DD), Repair Ship (AR), Submarine (SS), Submarine Aircraft Carrier (SSV), and Submarine Tender (AS).

Partial List of Game References

  • A few examples of game dialog used in the anime:
    • Yuudachi says “Poi” a lot in the game as well. It’s just what she does like Kuma says “Kuma!”, and Tama says “Nya~!” a lot.  (From KC wiki). “Poi” is added onto the end of a word to signify a comparison or resemblance rather than the ‘valley girl’ version of like which is more like a verbal comma. For example kodomoppoi would mean something similar to child-like or childish.
    • When Yuudachi told Fubuki “Come on, let’s have a wonderful party!” right before the battle, that’s a direct quote of her start of battle dialog in the game.
    • Hibiki’s “The name “Phoenix” isn’t just for show” is her start of battle line.
    • Kisaragi’s “This is damaging my hair” is taken from her library intro dialog – Nooo~ really …the sea breeze will ruin my hair.”
    • Mogami’s “It looks like my back cannon broke.” loosely quotes her moderate damage repair docking line of “Dang, my stern cannons got damaged a little bit.”  The variance could be a translation issue.
  • Fubuki “sparkling” at “Café Mamiya” right before Yuudachi pokes her is a reference to “sparkling” where Kanmusu game pics literally sparkle (similar look) which indicates they have high morale and thus get significant bonuses to accuracy and evasion.
  • Café Mamiya refers to the supply ship Mamiya (a real IJN food supply ship in WWII) who is an NPC. In the game, you can use Mamiya’s food item (the item icon looks kind of like a parfait) to boost fleet morale. The game also has Irako (also an WWII IJN food supply ship) who has a different food item though with the same effect. You can also use both at the same time for a bigger morale boost.
  •  Kitakami & Ooi – In the game Ooi is a total siscon for Kitakami (they are sister ships), and is very protective of their relationship to the point of being YANdere towards the admiral.
  • The “chibi” pilot shown in the anime flying the “Kate” torpedo bomber refers to chibi’s” (know as “fairies” in the game) that accompany most, if not all, of the games equipment items. They are just there for “fun”.
  • Naka the “idol” – Naka’s “idol status” stems from the similarity between her ship number and real life Japanese pop idol group AKB48.
  • “Fail Penguin” – When you attempt to craft equipment in the game, not only is there a chance you won’t get what you’re trying to build (i.e. you get something else), but you might fail to build anything at all.  The failure percentage can be high depending upon the formula used.  When you fail, an image of a penguin in a box pops up on screen accompanied by appropriate music  Thus “fail penguin”.
  • What are Kanmusu/how did they become “spirits of WWII IJN ships”? As far as I know that’s never been clarified, and I think the ambiguity is on purpose.
  • What is the Abyssal Fleet? Some players think they are the US WWII counterparts (there’s evidence of that from their equipment such as the “Abyssal Hellcat Fighter” and even enemy “boss” names such as “Midway Princess”), while Fubuki, Ganbarimasu! manga suggests that they are sunk Kanmusu transformed by anger and regret. Personally, I think it’s probably US WW II ships. Too many obvious hints towards that.

Anime-Only Additions/Changes

  • Fubuki’s admiration (infatuation) with Akagi is entirely anime only/not from the game.
  • Abyssal Ship Force Fields are not in the game.  I’m not sure why that was added by the anime.  In the game, as noted above, the Abyssal ships have WW II era type weaponry.  No force fields, laser cannons, etc.

Partial List of WWII References

  • Fubuki as a “Special Class Destroyer” – Launched in 1927, Fubuki (“Blizzard”) was the lead ship of twenty-four Fubuki-class destroyers, built for the IJN ( Imperial Japanese Navy) following World War I. When introduced into services, these ships were the most powerful destroyers in the world. So much so that they were designated Special Type destroyers”, which is why Fubuki is often called that in the anime.  More information about the Fubuki-class destroyers here.
  • Type 91 Armor Piercing (AP) shell
  • Mitsubishi A6M Zero “Zeke”/”Zero”
  • Nakajima B5N “Kate” torpedo bomber
  • Aichi D3A “Val” dive bomber
  • Type 93 torpedo “Long Lance” torpedo.

List of Kanmusu in Ep 01

  • BB: Haruna, Kirishima, Nagato, Mutsu, Kongou, Hiei
  • CV: Shoukaku, Akagi, Kaga, Hiryou, Souryuu
  • CA/CAV: Atago, Tone, Mogami
  • CL: Kuma, Tama, Ooyodo, Sendai, Jintsu, Naka, Kitakami, Ooi, Yuubari,
  • DD: Fubuki, Mutsuki, Akatsuki, Hibiki, Ikazuchi, Inazuma, Wakaba, Shiratsuya, Shigure, Murasame, Yuudachi, Arashio, Kagerou, Samidare, Shimakaze, Kisaragi, Arare (or Ooshio), Michishio, Ayanami(?)
  • Other: Mamiya

 Reference links

Wiki: IJN Ships, Kancolle Wiki: List of ships


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13 thoughts on “Kantai Collection Episode 01 – Review

  1. I couldn’t get through the “slice of life” aspect as it bored me to death. I had to fast forward to the action and even that didn’t capture my attention. The clumsy new girl in school concept made me face palm and cringe too. Wtf is up with the little pilots in the planes, are they characters too??

    I never liked strike witches either, so perhpas it’s the entire concept of anthropomorphized war machines that doesn’t fly with me. =/ Production value is solid though.

    • @Miaminights: Thanks for the comment and sorry to read you didn’t enjoy the show. As I mentioned in my review, this definitely is not going to be a show for everybody. A viewer must buy into the whole Kanmusu concept first and foremost (and that include the weapon/equipment imagery). It’s like if you’re going to watch a vampire or zombie movie, you’re going to have to accept the concept of “undead”.

      Even if one does accept the Kanmusu concept, as I noted above, I’m not surprised that some anime-only viewers didn’t like the first episode. There is no question in my mind that Kadokawa took the safe route here and focused on pleasing the existing fan base (which to be accurate would include more than just game players, but primarily game players).

      I’m not surprised at all that the SoL moments didn’t work for you, because on some level they didn’t work for me either. I understood why they were done in terms of X character doing Y thing, but the term that comes to mind is “spammed”. Too often such moments were just “there”, and involved too many characters which had insufficient introduction, if ANY real introduction, other than “here’s another character”. As I mentioned in my KanColle primer, I was concerned about how the anime would handle the large cast (23 + cameos). Including cameos, you had over FORTY (40) game characters appearances in the first episode alone. That’s what? Roughly two characters per minute?

      Like you I also didn’t like the “clumsy” aspect. Now Fubuki as a battle untested recruit – fine. But the clumsy part is like adding sugar on top of a bowl of saccharin. It’s overkill in my opinion, unnecessary overkill. Just have Fubuki sail (ski – whatever) normally, then she can freeze up in her first battle. The “school part”, however, I thought was was fine. It’s a naval base so good enough for me. Just more training.

      As I noted in my review, the “chibi” pilot was a 100% game shout-out. FYI – there’s more about that in the Partial List of Game References section under the Notes and Additional Information heading. I agree that it was unnecessary and detrimental from an anime-only viewer standpoint (i.e. WTF). It’s confusing if you don’t have frame of reference (i.e. know what it is) and adds nothing to the story other than another game shout-out. But it did work for at least some of the core audience. I read a forum comment from a game player that he loved the chibi pilot (known as a “fairy” in the game) in the anime. Personally, I would not include any game “fairies” in the anime.

      I never liked strike witches either, so perhpas it’s the entire concept of anthropomorphized war machines that doesn’t fly with me.

      This sub-genre (mecha/weapon-musume) may indeed not be for you in the same way some genres are not for everyone. Frankly, I would be surprised if those who did not like Strike Witches did like KanColle anime. KanColle isn’t exactly like Strike Witches, but taking everything into account, I think it’s more like Strike Witches than Girls und Panzer, Arpeggio or anything else I can think of. That’s why in my KanColle Primer I recommended those unfamiliar with the franchise not to expect another GuP or Arpeggio. Furthermore, given the presentation, I am not surprised that some who DID like Strike Witches did not like this first episode (see flaze35 comment below).

      If you plan to continue watching the show, keep this in mind. 70% of the anime is supposed to be SoL moments with 30% action battles. It’s only one episode and the anime adaptation may improve. With the introduction over, hopefully it will settle down a bit, limit the game references and give viewers a chance to get to know the characters because that needs to happen for the SoL moments to work.

  2. -A couple friends and I watched the first episode together, and by the first half of the episode, we had taken to calling the (clumsy) main character the “special” destroyer.
    -The characters bored me. I feel like they grabbed a handful of tvtropes and used those to make the cast.
    -The cgi looked out of place in a few places.
    -They used bombs where torpedoes were needed and torpedoes where bombs would have been more appropriate.
    -The first episode needed more world building. There are no civilians shown, so it doesn’t even feel like the girls are protecting anyone, much less humanity. I also would have appreciated more background on how the fight has been going up until the first episode.
    -I wouldn’t mind if the combat strayed further from real naval battles (considering they appear to move significantly faster than any actual ship). The way it is right now, it feels like they can’t decide whether to slow down the pace and implement real tactics, or speed up the pace and make it Strike Witches on water.
    -I think the biggest disadvantage KanColle has for anime-only viewers is the implausibility of the show. One of the two people I watched episode 1 with has seen a total of two anime: One Piece and Seitokai Yakuindomo (and bits and pieces of other shows I happen to be watching). Being new to the genre, he couldn’t get used to things like: arrows splitting into planes, pilots flying those planes, tiny arm cannons, etc. At least with Strike Witches, he understood (somewhat) because they were using actual guns.

    Overall, it was an underwhelming first episode. I intend to watch this to the end, regardless of quality, but I’m hoping it gets better.

    • @flaze35: Thanks for the comment. Interesting perspective since you do like Strike Witches, but are not a KanColle game player (at least I don’t think you are LOL). Some thoughts about what you wrote.

      — Re. Special Class Destroyer: I also thought they overdid that comment. It worked fine in a few instances. For example, when Mutsuki meets Fubuki. Bit of WWII/IJN trivia. The Mutsuki class destroyers were replaced by the Fubuki class, and thus Mutsuki is naturally a little intimidated by Fubuki’s presence. I also thought it worked when Sendai called her that and Fubuki replied “… it’s… Fubuki”. Bit ‘o humor there and gives a hint of Sendai’s character (she gets carried away when thinking about night battles – see KanColle Primer for the reason). However, I do think they spammed that far too much. I’m not going to bother to re-watch and count, but I do wonder if Fubuki was called “Special Type Destroyer” as often as her actual name. It is NOT that prevalent in the game. Far from it. Fubuki’s introduction line is simply “Nice to meet you! I’m Fubuki! Thanks for having me!”

      I suspect (and it is only a suspicion/guess) that it comes down to a national pride sort of thing. That’s the only reason I can think of. As noted in the Partial List of WWII References section of the review, when introduced, the Fubuki-class destroyers were so advanced for their time that they set a new benchmark for naval destroyers. “TL:DR” = I agree, they over did that. A couple of times is fine, but the constant references was detrimental in my opinion.

      “The cgi looked out of place in a few places.”

      True, but then again, that’s “par for the course” rather than anything unusual for CGI in anime. Even a show that did CGI well in my opinion, GuP, had it’s rough moments early on. Overall, I thought the CGI integration was above average at least. I’ve certainly seen worse. Hopefully they will continue to improve on that.

      “They used bombs where torpedoes were needed and torpedoes where bombs would have been more appropriate.”

      Interesting comment because I did not get that impression. Do you have a specific scene in mind as an example (time mark would help – e.g. “battle scene at 21:30 min”).

      “The characters bored me. I feel like they grabbed a handful of tvtropes and used those to make the cast…The first episode needed more world building.”

      Combining the two because I think they are related. Had they done a better job, as is in more substantial and focused on a few core characters, then I think the characters would have seemed less “tropish”. There are “tropish” characters in a lot of shows, but the better shows give you something beyond that. To do so takes time, not “here’s another character, moving on…” Currently, there are about 149 different ships/characters in the game. Certainly a number of them are non-distinct, but it surprised me how just a few lines of dialog gave many of the Kanmusu distinct and likeable personalities. Players definitely have their favorites and that’s not simply due to game stats. Even though I can’t understand Japaneses apart from a few common phrases, I can pick up a lot of a Kanmusu’s personality solely due to tone, volume and inflection of what’s being said. There are personalities here beyond tropes – some I think are quite fun (Sendai for one example), but see point above about how you need to give those unfamiliar with the franchise sufficient time to get to know the characters.

      “I also would have appreciated more background on how the fight has been going up until the first episode.”

      That I think was sufficiently stated though perhaps it could have been made more clear. In short, the fight at this stage has not gone well. The anime starts with humanity + Kanmusu making the first successful effort to take back the seas.

      “I wouldn’t mind if the combat strayed further from real naval battles (considering they appear to move significantly faster than any actual ship). The way it is right now, it feels like they can’t decide whether to slow down the pace and implement real tactics, or speed up the pace and make it Strike Witches on water.”

      I think that’s a good observation and one I agree with in general. Keep in mind that a naval battle is not going to be nearly as fast paced and frenetic as an air battle. Still, you’d be surprised at how fast a WWII ship can move at flank speed. CV, Fast BB, CL, DD, CA – most ships could travel at least 30kn (knots) or more (usually more for CV, CA, CL, DD) at flank (full) speed = 35mph or 55km/h. Typically destroyers were the fastest. WWWI IJN DD Shimakaze (who is in the anime – she says “You’re slow!” during the PE run) had a flank speed of 40.9kn = 47mph or 75.7 km/h. Personally I didn’t find the Kanmusu moving too fast in the anime.

      As for the tactics, I would not expect much here beyond possibly fleet composition and formation (e.g. line ahead, line abreast, double line, etc.). Where I agree with you is the “presentation speed”. Viewing the battles was sort of no-man’s land – not quite fast or slow enough depending upon what they were going for. I think a good part of that has to do with, well, the presentation. Again, too much focus on cameo and in game dialog. Atago’s was the worst as I noted above. DITCH the damn pose and show her AIMING her guns at something – perhaps even HITTING an enemy vessel. There was also a bit too much standing around just to say something which interrupted the “flow of battle”. Strike Witches has its battle pauses, but they are usually short. Sometimes a character will start to say something then have to dodge a beam in mid sentence. That adds realism to the fights. Lastly, just to be clear, I did not think the battles were terrible. They had some good moments and some nice visual elements. But yeah, room for improvement.

      “I think the biggest disadvantage KanColle has for anime-only viewers is the implausibility of the show.”

      Now that is an interesting statement. On one level, I can see that. The Kanmusu concept is different. It’s more extreme than what you see in Strike Witches (or Sky Girls for that matter). It’s more nebulous than the mental model concept in Arpeggio, not to mention that in Arpeggio you have actual ships separate from the Mental Models = not really mecha-musume on a visual level. Upotte went the whole way with girls ARE guns, yet they remained in “girl form” and didn’t ingest ammunition on screen or something = again, from a visual stand point, not really mecha-musume either. The “water skiing” (I hated when they showed skating motions BTW) is visually… strange to say the least. No doubt that KanColle and the Kanmusu concept take some suspension of disbelief.

      On the other hand, I’m not sure it’s that much more implausible than say One Piece were Luffy turns into rubber-human after eating some strange fruit. “It’s magic” so people accept that since “fantasy magic” has been used in stories for centuries, no, probably a couple millennia or more. If you think about it from a real world standpoint, a LOT of anime/fictional stories require significant suspension of disbelief. A few examples that come to mind: any sort of “undead”, fantasy creatures (e.g. fire breathing dragons), magic (not the illusion kind – the *poof* fireball kind), teleportation, transformation (especially from big/small to small/big creatures + changing elements (e.g. human to steel guy)), magic (not a typo – duplicative for a reason), time travel, and dimensional travel/warp gates. That’s a pretty long list and not all inclusive.

      To be clear, I am NOT surprised at all that a number of anime-only viewers have difficulty buying into the Kanmusu concept and corresponding equipment/weaponry imagery. Perfectly understandable. I think it’s one of those things a person likes or they don’t. However, I do have to give pause when other shows containing one (often more) of the above types of implausible concepts are considered “plausible” in contrast.

      [Edit] P.S. Sorry for the long reply. XD You comment just gave me a lot to think about.

      • Glad my comment actually added something to the discussion. lol

        21:25 is where I think torps would’ve helped against all those…sharks.
        22:43 is where I don’t understand the significance of using a torp. I guess shaking the ground she’s standing on suddenly made her shield more vulnerable? (Also, why is there a small rock platform in the middle of the ocean?)

        When I said background about the war, I meant things like: Where is the base they deploy from? How do they expect to retake the seas when they deploy from a base on land? Where is the enemy’s base? What is their goal? How are other nations faring? It might be too early to ask some of these, and maybe I missed some of these things. I felt like I could relate to SW immediately since they were basing plots off WWII events, but with KanColle, that’s pretty much out of the question, unless they intend to take over southeast Asia and destroy the enemy base in Hawaii. XD And then the reinvigorated enemy would start pushing back for a chance to make a season 2…nah (because we all know who won that fight). Ofc, assuming the rest of this show doesn’t turn out to be a complete ship wreck (see what I did there?), I’d fully support a season 2.

        I guess you’re right about the speed of the girls’…water skating. After rewatching a couple scenes they’re not that fast.

        Plausibility is indeed an extremely subjective thing. I think it’s because KanColle’s premise is so unique that some people like my friend might have trouble accepting it, without ever questioning fruits that grant superhuman abilities. I mean, before hearing about KanColle, I would never have imagined girls wearing turrets on their arms/hips/back, and firing arrows that turn into fighter squadrons. With devil’s fruit powers, it’s simply a matter of: oh, I found this fruit, now I can eat it and dominate the seas. It’s similar to the first spiderman trilogy where Peter gained his powers after a spider bit him. That being said, KanColle is probably more realistic than One Piece, considering nobody can fly by pumping their legs, deflect cannon balls, survive countless lethal wounds, lose 5 gallons of blood, or counter three swords with a blade shorter than a butter knife.

        I think one of the things I really like about SW is the maps. Every once in a while, they’d bring out a map showing where a Neuroi is, or what their target is. You can imagine my face when they showed that one map in the movie that marked the Karlsland hives. This probably sounds really trivial, and obviously, we don’t want a geography lesson, but I really enjoy looking at maps and seeing them used in stories to explain the current situation. Unfortunately, the one featured in KanColle episode 1 isn’t labeled, so I have no idea where it’s showing. (Map can be found at 11:42 and 19:20. There are probably a few more.) On an almost completely irrelevant side note, some of my favorite maps come from Iwo Jima by Richard F. Newcomb.

        • I can understand your friends reactions. This is probably not an anime that one that someone who isn’t used to them would like or even understand and it is a sub genre that is fairly unique. As I mentioned in my impressions, you sort of have to look at this as a magical girl show variation. Instead of cute dresses and wands when they transform you get gun turrets and torps. 😀 Their opponents as much the same in that they lack an understandable reason for existence. They’re just there as opponents. So I think trying to make real world sense out of it is just going to give you a headache. If I can buy girls sprouting ears and tails and flying around with propellers on their legs I feel I can buy into this one, but that’s just me. I can understand why others may not. There are some shows I have a real problem with things that others just accept so it’s an individual thing.

          I agree about SW giving more of a feel for location though the rock she’s standing on is not uncommon in the western pacific. There is a whole area off of Vietnam that that country and China are sparing over that’s basically just a bunch of rocks barely sticking up above the water and I there’s an area near Japan that is the same (Senkaku). Japan also has disputes with the Russians over some of the Kuril islands. So maybe they’re referring to them. So are the Abyssals Russia or China? 😛 I’ve been wondering if the map they show where the Abyssals are actually is one of those disputed territories.

        • @flaze35: Glad my comment was useful

          — Re. torpedoes at 21:25: The “shark things” are actually Abyssal Destroyers. It is a bit confusing when they look so much different than other Abyssal ships. FYI – There’s a trend in the game where the more powerful/advanced & higher class Abyssal ships are more (but by no means completely) human like. Since DD (destroyers) are at the low end of naval ship classifications (in naval slang terms often referred to as “tin-cans”), the are the least human like Abyssal ships.

          Anyway, using dive bombers against all types of ships (including supply ships) was quite routine by both sides during the Pacific War. This doesn’t strike me as anything unusual at all. Also, typically you’d try to save the more powerful torpedoes for the capital ships (BB/CV).

          — Re. torpedoes used at 22:43: My understanding is by that point in the anime, the only enemy left is the boss – the Anchorage Princess (she was the final boss in the game’s first event back in May 2013). Now you have a good point about torpedoes vs. “ground” enemies (e.g. an island base or something). In later KC game additions, there actually were “island type” bosses (know as “installation types”) such as the “Midway Princess” and “Airfield Princess” (pretty much Henderson Field on Guadalcanal). In the game, both them are in fact immune to torpedo attacks. Bit ‘o realism there.

          However, two things I can think of here. First, it’s “Anchorage Princess” Looking at the term anchorage (from Wiki)

          An anchorage is a location at sea where ships can lower anchors. Anchorages are where anchors are lowered and utilised, whereas moorings usually are tethering to buoys or something similar. The locations usually have conditions for safe anchorage in protection from weather conditions, and other hazards. The purpose of resting a ship at sea securely can be for waiting to enter ports, as well as taking on cargo or passengers where insufficient port facilities exist.

          So it’s not really an island (i.e. at sea) though it does kind of look like one in the anime. At any rate, perhaps splitting hairs a bit, but if you go by “anchorage” definition, torpedo planes do make sense – especially if you view the “island” is part of her. Second, it’s a bit hard to tell, but the anime-only added force field seemed to cover part if not all of the “island as well”. Hitting those with torpedoes might help to weaken it against other attacks. Not sure if this is convincing or not, but that’s my take on it. I do agree visually you need a little suspension of disbelief. Anime should have left out the “island” part if you ask me. By the way, I thought the anime did a very good job with Anchorage Princess’s design apart from the “island”. Quite foreboding/threatening.

          “When I said background about the war, I meant things like:..”

          True, there is a lot of background information missing, though as I noted above, not everything is explained even in the game or other media. In terms of how they take back the seas, you have a base from which you sortie your fleet(s) and launch attacks against enemy strong points/bases. That may sound simplistic, but it mirrors the game and to some extent even RL WWII. US started offensive operations launching from Pearl Harbor before establishing more forward ports/bases. An analogy would be taking out SW Neuroi hives (though there are probably more Abyssal bases than Neuroi hives in SW). However, here I think there will be only one Kanmusu base for simplicity.

          Map wise, it might be a bit wonky since I don’t think you’re going to get a solid frame of reference like in SW which pretty much just tweaked RL maps (though I agree doing so helped give viewers a frame of reference + additional background/world-building). Here, the RL location references are more obscure – especially in terms of one place’s location relative to another. I like maps as well (REALLY helpful when reading WWII history), but I’m sorry to say I think you’ll be disappointed in this respect.

  3. Curious as to what you guys think of this. http://theglorioblog.com/2014/05/01/the-unfortunate-implications-of-kantai-collection/

    Personally, I think it’s ridiculous how the writer is making a big deal out of a work of fiction. I agree that Japan should face reality and acknowledge its wrongdoings, but producing an anime that simply makes references to WWII ships is, in no way, denying history. It’s not like the government created the anime as propaganda. Perhaps it wouldn’t be as popular if Japan didn’t censor its textbooks as much, but considering how many people around world like us exist, the series would still exist and there’d still be fans.

    The writer is also unhappy about the glorification of these warships. It is the girls being glorified, not the ships they represent, and even then, no more than you’d expect the protagonists to be glorified in any other story. Also, even if the ships were being glorified, it’s the people operating the ship that killed, not the ship itself. I think the biggest reason why they chose IJN ships instead of any other nation’s is so that Japanese people would feel a connection to the game. If the game were made by US developers for a US demographic, they probably would’ve used USN ships.

    Games like Medal of Honor and Call of Duty glorify the allied forces all the time, even though the allies weren’t exactly perfect heroes of justice. Unlike KanColle, where you simply fight aliens, the goal of those games is to simulate WWII, yet I rarely see people complaining that it doesn’t show or imply scenes of allied forces raping women or killing prisoners. Does this mean we’re denying that it happened? No. What feels like half the nation and nearly every high school textbook glorifies FDR as the greatest president ever, and he’s the guy who put Japanese-American (and other Asian-American) citizens in internment camps. Abe Lincoln freed the slaves, but that certainly was not his priority when the civil war started. He just wanted to keep the country together.

    Japan may have committed more/worse crimes than the US overall, and the US may have done a better job acknowledging what truly happened, but that is completely unrelated to whether or not Japanese developers/studios/etc should produce media referencing WWII. (Hurray for freedom of speech and capitalism.) Once again, KanColle is not government funded propaganda. A better way of restating the author’s complaint may be: KanColle’s popularity in Japan is a result of the Japanese government’s failure to properly acknowledge certain crimes in WWII and un-censor textbooks in regards to the war. However, this statement fails to vilify KanColle to the author’s satisfaction.

  4. What do I think of that blog post? Not much. One blog post he references http://wrttn.in/0c540b does provide some refutation of his points but, all in all, his trying to connect a game with political and moral issues is extreme and non sensical. If he wants to go after an anime that does fit his thesis then I”d suggest he go after Zipang which I think does fit his criteria of glossing over the events of WWII. I don’t know how deep his knowledge of anime is but he seems to have totally missed the Yamato animes also. No different from KanColle except the ship isn’t personified as a girl in those animes. As for the ships, your right. Can you name me one ship that committed a war crime? They may have been used to commit them but they’re just hunks of metal with no volition of their own. It’s as ridiculous IMO as charging a gun with murder. Hell, the game isn’t even about WWII. It’s just using those ships as a starting point based on their stats to create a game. As for the girls? Welcome to otaku culture.

    You mentioned FDR. The blogger mentioned Pearl Harbor, but FDR attacked German ships without a declaration of war. The only difference was that he was one of the “good guys”. What’s going to be his next beef? Civil War reenactors who portray Confederates? Also, this guy is from Belgium. I recently saw some history on the Belgian Congo. The Belgians have just as much to atone for in terms of historical atrocities if not more.

    So basically, I agree with your points for the most part, but the popularity of the game I think has more to do with the girls and interest in WWII vehicles than any resurgence of jingoism in Japan. That’s a whole other issue.

    • Oh, don’t get me wrong. I don’t agree with “KanColle’s popularity in Japan is a result of the Japanese government’s failure to properly acknowledge certain crimes in WWII and un-censor textbooks in regards to the war.” I just meant that the writer is trying to make readers overlook common sense by appealing to pathos. I’m sure its popularity is due to the girls and WWII ships.

  5. My thoughts pretty much mirror what Bear said – I think little, very little, of that blog post for multiple reasons. NOTE: This is going to be long, but there’s a lot for me to address coming from someone who has a strong interest in WWII and is playing the game.

    The author goes out of his/her way to “prove” that KanColle is a “failure” as a game – “The game hardly seems like a game, with frustrating difficulty, waiting times and a taxing focus on grinding being the order of the day. The random number generator is king in Kantai Collection, making it a game for exceptionally lucky people.” Uh… no. I’m not an “exceptionally lucky” person (wish I was) – certainly not with KanColle given my overall drops/construction attempts. Occasionally, yes, I’ve had some brief streaks of luck, but overall, I’d say I’m on the “unlucky side” when it comes to that stuff. But that’s the way it goes – kind of like real life. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. Kancolle takes TIME AND EFFORT, and yes, even some thought – more than some people are willing to give which is perfectly fine. It is a very “grindy” type of game, but grinding is nothing new for games. It’s quite common in RPGs for example. Years ago, I played an “old-school” ARPG called Diablo II in which I grinded for hours and hours… and hours trying to get a couple of runes drops which never happened. Oh well. No question that KanColle, like any grind heavy game, is not a game for everyone. Again, that’s perfectly fine. Grinding games are not for everyone, just like how all games/anime/manga/LN are not for everyone. However, given the popularity of some of these games, clearly they are for SOME people.

    As I mentioned in my KanColle Primer, the game does rely heavily on RNG (random number goddess). However, there’s considerably more to it than that. You have to understand the game mechanics for one thing, and you can’t just spam random crafting recipes ad nauseum. Again, if you go about this game haphazardly, things will NOT turn out well. To suggest it’s ALL luck/RNG is frankly insulting to the amount of time, effort, thought and planning I’ve put into the game to garner the success I’ve had – including clearing my very first event. In preparation, I asked veteran players a couple questions to get a better idea of what I needed to do, formulated a plan, then spent time and effort executing that plan. My success was NOT solely due to being “exceptionally lucky”. I had leveled the right ships, focused on obtaining the right equipment, and used the right fleet combinations and formations to match what was necessary to succeed. I cleared the event, and in my opinion I EARNED that; it wasn’t handed to me by RNG’s grace. If anything, while clearing the event, I was exceptionally UNlucky when it came to ship drops. I had to grind after the event to fix that. Frustrating? Sure, but that’s the way it goes. Again, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. Such is the nature of grinding games and patience is required.

    It’s not surprising that the author dismisses KanColle as a game given the assertion that the “only draw” is the cute girls – an assertion at the heart of his/her argument. No question the cute girl aspect is a draw for many. However, for me it is NOT the only draw by any means. As someone with a strong interest in WWII, the WWII elements are definitely a main draw. Would I be playing KanColle if it was WWI, 18th Century or even modern warships? Very doubtful. As I stated in my “Why I like Girls und Panzer” comment, my interest in GuP would be substantially less if it didn’t feature WWII tanks and other references. Period. The same goes for Strike Witches. The WWII based setting is big reason I like the series. How shocking. Someone with a strong interest in WWII likes shows /games with WWII elements. Who would have guessed? There are other things I like about those two franchises, but it sure is a significant factor beyond any “moe” parts. To be clear, I do NOT like every show/game/whatnot simply because it has some WWII or even military element. Obviously there are limits, but my point here is simply that such references can be, and often are, a draw for me.

    Even IF the main draw is the cute girls, does that really explain the sole reason for the popularity of these franchises? There is a torrent of Japanese games, anime, manga – whatever dripping with cute girls. So why are these particular franchises so popular compared to many others? Are the girls just so amazingly adorable compared to the others that people simply cannot resist? Really? I think not. Perhaps instead, it’s a variety of other factors including, yes, the WWII element – something beyond the ”cute girls” factor. At the risk of being repetitive, again, I am not, repeat not, dismissing that cute girls are a draw for many. Obviously that’s true, but I do think there’s more to these franchises than only “cute girls” – at least for some including myself. I’ve dropped or simply just passed on a large number of anime/manga/games containing nothing more “cute girls” (doing cute things or otherwise).

    I’m just now getting to the two major issues I have with that post article: the conspicuous lack of other WWII based anime, and IMO the ludicrous premise that games/shows like KanColle and Strike Witches are effective propaganda tools which alter viewer opinion about WWII. On the first point, I think it’s more than fair to say that the author doesn’t like “cute girl”/”fan service” type shows. I guess Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio doesn’t have enough “cute girls”/”fan service” to incur the author’s wrath despite an attractive, fan favorite “tsundere heavy cruiser” in Takao and a cute loli in Iona. The Fleet of Fog for the most part are the bad guys, but those two along with Haruna, Kirishima and Hyuuga ultimately join the good guys to protect/save humanity. So why isn’t Arpeggio mentioned? I would think that the author, an anime blogger, would know about Arpeggio anime. It was pretty popular and fairly recent. The same goes for another very popular and recent anime entitled Girls und Panzer which features WWII tanks/frequent references, national themed schools, and yes, cute girls. So why does Girls und Panzer get a pass?

    BY FAR the most conspicuous omission that comes to mind has to be Zipang. As both Bear and I noted in our Zipang First Impressions/Episode 01 review, Zipang has some very noticeable and in our opinion, disturbing WWII revisionism. It’s also a “serious” type of show and intended to be taken as such without any “cute girls”/”fan service”/etc. I have to wonder WHY Zipang was not mentioned if WWII revisionist history in the author’s main complaint. Is it simply that the author is unaware of Zipang (it is old), or something else?

    The second part and biggest issue is simply the author’s mantra of shows like KanColle and Strike Witches equal WWII revisionist history propaganda tools. Does anyone really, I mean REALLY, watch these shows or play the game and then suddenly go “WOW! This changes my entire perspective on WWII!” Having watched/played them, I can say with absolute certainty that my answer is NO. Did not change a DAMN thing in terms of how I view WWII. Then again, I can separate a game/fictional story from the real world. What makes his/her argument all the more ludicrous in my opinion is how a LOT of people promptly dismiss these two franchises – mocking them as “silly”, “stupid” or simply “cute girls/fan service trash” without any further thought about them. While by no means an exhaustive search, I have yet to read similar comments dismissing Zipang. Wouldn’t something people consider “serious” and “thought provoking” be more effective in terms of altering opinion on a serious subject? To put it another way, while I do get the claim of symbolism & whatnot the author is trying to foster, Strike Witches and KanColle seem to me a hell of an obtuse, roundabout way to promote revisionist history – if that actually is the intent. Ya know, the creators might just be trying to make some money here rather than any political statement.

    Clearly Japan continues struggles in coming to terms with its WWII past. No question work remains on that front. However, the article strikes me as much of a rant against fan service shows/games which the author finds distasteful as putting forth some dubious claim of WWII revisionist propaganda. Sorry, I’m not convinced. At all.

  6. How about that episode 3 though…everyone complaining. XD Wouldn’t say it was the best writing but I’d be happy if they kept the tone of the show somewhat serious. I’m beginning to wonder if they really do intend to mirror WWII a little.

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