The second episode switches from a mix of battle and “slice of life” (SoL) to straight SoL. Frankly, after a packed, busy first episode, a slower paced episode was what the show needed. Give anime-only viewers a better chance to know at least some of the numerous characters. Centered on a much needed Fubuki training arc, Ep. 02 did accomplish some of that though the focus is still somewhat scattered among the large cast of characters. For the central characters, I think the show did a pretty good job of establishing their personalities and, if any, idiosyncrasies along with some important relationships – including Mutsuki’s and Kisaragi’s, as the show lays the foundation for what is to come. Still, character introduction wasn’t all encompassing. For example, there’s not much yet for anime-only viewers in terms of Fubuki’s other classmates – Shimakaze, Ataksuki, Ikazuchi, Inazuma and Hibiki. While I’d prefer a little more character depth/background for the Sendai girls, overall I’m happy with “anime” Sendai and Jintsuu. Their characters fit what I imagined playing the game, and I like both in the anime as well. Naka is… Naka. For the most part, either you like her or you don’t. I’m just glad that Fubuki and Naka didn’t actually break into song.
As for the main plot line of Fubuki’s training, I think the anime did a pretty good job there. Normally I don’t like montages, but this one worked well in my opinion (including great BMG). It is much more credible for Fubuki to make progress in stages rather than *poof* instant badass. Points for that. Furthermore, I’m glad to see Fubuki’s training arc started immediately. She needs it if any future contributions in battle are to be credible. Also, I’m just glad to get rid of clumsy Fubuki. Finally, Ep. 02’s training illustrated the growing bond that occurs between those who fight in battle together. Torpedo Squadron 3 (TS3) handling Fubuki’s lack of combat readiness “in-house” reminded me of WWII oral history I’ve read where platoon/company veterans told rookies what they needed to do/know – something commanding generals or admirals are not going to do for every green recruit.
There were other things I liked in Ep. 02. As noted, the pacing felt less cramped. The comedy worked better as well with a few LOL moments including Ashigara senpai threatening Yuudachi with her 20.3cm (8”) cannons if she hears one more “poi” (I’m sure some viewers were backing Ashigara on that), Kisaragi taken out by Ashigara’s chalk “barrage”, Sendai bonking Naka on the head when Naka started to go into her idol shtick in front of Fleet Flagship Nagato ❤ (I’m sure a lot of anime viewers also appreciated that), and a jealous Ooi. As expected, the show incorporated some WWII references beyond game lines; the most prominent being the Fubuki class DD are top-heavy which is why Fubuki has trouble cruising. Another reference was the bath (docks) scale marked in kilotons (kt) rather than kilograms (kg). Ship-girls indeed. Speaking of the bath scene, I did LOL at the whole “banzai” skit.
Overall, I think the show did a relatively better job with game references though I’m sure anime-only viewers watched some scenes quizzically – such as the bath timer (yes, it can take 15+ hours of real time to repair Akagai) and instant repair buckets… which I’ll never view the same way again when playing the game given Akagi’s reaction in the anime. As for Fubuki ‘s reaction, complete with glowing aura, when she enters the bath… I have no idea what that was about. KanColle still struggles with integrating game lines, most notably for me Hibiki’s “khorosho”/”horosho” (Хорошо = good/OK in Russian). It doesn’t make any sense in context most of the time she says it. I’m not even going to bother with the “poi” count – I’ve read it was 18-23 depending upon if you count Ashigara sensei’s “pois”.
All in all, the word that comes to mind for KanColle Ep. 02 is progress. It didn’t have the action of Ep 01, but for the most part it did what the show needed – greater character focus. While the execution wasn’t exemplary, I did find it improved. I also liked the OP quite a bit, wonky CGI moments notwithstanding. Still work remains for the anime adaptation. Visual quality in general is still good, but CGI at times is sub-par to just bad (e.g. around 5:10 min). Game references/dialog are overused and even nonsensical at times. But progress is progress as the saying goes, and there are a lot of episodes remaining for continued improvement.
So after the introductions and battle of the first episode we’re given a breather with an SoL episode that shows how clumsy Fubuki is and, while well versed academically, how her lack of combat capability is dangerous to her and her squadron mates. We get a school room scene that shows the girls as school girls but also gives us some WWII references such as the technical information on the Long Lance torpedo. Not too different from Upotte! in that regard and it manages to carry off treating the characters as both girls and as weapons in a fashion that I, at least, can accept for the sake of the story.
The show does make a point of how well liked Fubuki is and how everyone is willing to pitch in to help her train (eventually even a reluctant and extremely jealous Ooi) . It’s a pretty standard trope of the eager newbie being helped by the “grizzled” veterans (well, not grizzled in this case ). This pretty much cements Fubuki as the main character. I do think her clumsiness is overdone. The director is just beating it to death though he didn’t shown her running into doors or falling out of her bunk. Now one thing that hasn’t been explained is what was she doing prior to coming to the Naval Depot and why she’s lacking in experience. She started to tell Mutsuki and Yuudachi in the first episode but was interrupted. That might have explained why she isn’t well trained in combat. Hopefully she’ll tell everyone at some point.
This episode has a number of slapstick humor bits with Fubuki running into a pole and Atago’s chest, Ashigara taking out Kisaragi with chalk for mentioning her striking out at a mixer, and Atago’s “strip banzai” of Fubuki. One piece of unintended humor is that everyone talks about Fubuki being top heavy whereas she is one of the least top heavy of the girls. Now Atago on the other hand… Speaking of fan service, the dock(bath) scene, I think, is going to be popular in the BD version. I can’t speak to the game related parts of the bath scene but if they could market what’s in that repair bucket they could make millions of yen. Just how Fubuki reacted to the bath made me wonder what they had in there. That was quite a sigh(?).
Now one of the worst parts is the one with Naka “training” Fubuki to be an idol. Though Ooi’s jealousy gets on my nerves, Naka is just down right annoying almost all the time and those scenes with her could be cut without any loss of continuity or entertainment. Maybe they play better in Japan where they seem to be head over heals for their idols.
Finally we go through a training montage that’s pretty standard for this type of story but it’s well done and has appropriate background music. Seeing Fubuki still struggling with her balance was a nice touch keeping her from becoming too competent too fast. Even the final test showed her still improving but not there yet with her missing her first shots at the target. Essentially this episode is the setup for the next episode’s battle by making Fubuki ready.
[Warning possible spoiler]
While this is basically a light hearted episode, one thing did disturb me and that was in the OP at about 1:27 where we see Akagi and Kaga. There’s a static sound at that point and if you freeze the display and step it you can see an overlay of burning carriers. Now Akagi is my favorite, so if this is a portent of what is to come I’m very worried that the show is going to get very dark at some point.
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
- Bath = Repair Docks: When you send them to the docks for repairs, many Kanmusu have game dialog saying something along the lines of taking a refreshing bath.
- Akagi’s Repair Time: As I noted, that is NOT a joke. Repair time is a function of ship class, ship level and how many hit points (HP or “health”) the damaged ship needs to restore. CVs are among the longest ships to repair. I’ve literally had a repair time of over 21 hours! In theory, repair times could be as long as 48 hours – again, that’s in real time.
- Akagi’s Appetite: This is actually part of fandom which ultimately became part of the game. Akagi now has the idle secretary line of “Um, Admiral? Is it mealti-No! Is it time to start the operation yet!?” It’s quite funny IMO.
- Her appetite and title as the “Bauxite Queen” (see below) is an affectionate joke and not mean spirited by the players (most players anyway).
- The truth is that Akagi is not the most resource hungry CV in the game. Kaga uses the most ammo of any CV (and more fuel than Akagi) while Taihou uses the most fuel of any CV and the same ammo as Akagi.
- Her appetite for bauxite (used to repair planes) earned her the nickname the “Bauxite Queen” by early players. That happened for two reasons.
- New players are often surprised at just how much bauxite (hardest of the 4 main resources to build up) can be used by CVs from sortie. Much of that has to do with people not getting air superiority (for whatever reason), but even then, it can go fast. Surprisingly fast.
- Supposedly, early on the game had a bug where Akagi or any CV used up far more bauxite for plane repair than they were supposed to.
- Unless you get lucky, very lucky, with ship construction, Akagi will easily be your first CV. She was for me.
- Instant Repair Buckets: As show in the anime, when you use these consumable items, repair time is essentially zero (technically a few seconds as the timer winds down rapidly).
- Given how long repair times can take, it’s easy to understand why players constantly perform expeditions and do daily quests to build up their repair bucket stockpile. While you can purchase them with real money, there is NO need to do so whatsoever.
- Currently, in preparation for the upcoming event, my repair bucket stockpile is over 400. I’m trying to get that to 500 for extra safety. The game limit is 3000(!), and high level players with over 1000 repair buckets is surprisingly common.
- Shimakaze’s Rensouhou: The three turret like familiars (almost pets really) you seen when Shimakaze enters the class room are known in the game as Rensouhou or Rensouhou-chan. They represent Shimakaze’s three twin 12.7 cm/50 naval gun turrets.
Partial List of WWII References
- Fubuki is “top heavy”: The large amount of armament combined with a smaller hull displacement than in the original Fubuki-class design created issues with stability. After the Tomozuru Incident, the top-heavy design of many Japanese warships was questioned and additional ballast had to be added. Later another design flaw was discovered and as a result, all vessels were reconstructed between 1935 and 1937.
- Fubuki is “heavily armed”: In addition to torpedoes, the main battery consisted of six Type 3 127 mm 50 caliber naval guns, mounted in pairs in three weather-proof, splinter-proof, gas-tight gun turrets which were far ahead of their time.
- Ashigara’s “hungry wolf” remark: Supposedly, this was nickname for the IJN CA Ashigara during WWII.
- Long Lance Torpedo: Highly effective torpedo used by the Japanese. It did use oxygen instead of air for an oxidizer for its fuel which make it’s wake less visible. The oxygen did create problems in it’s handling which the Japanese were able to overcome.