Well, that settles that. Operation MI (historically the IJN planned invasion of Midway Island and, of course, the Battle of Midway) is officially on schedule. Only question that now remains is how “grim-dark” the anime will get in terms of Kanmusu sinking. Certainly Akagi has a death flag waving over her head. Fubuki raised one for herself as well (doubtful as that may be). However, I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. The bulk of the episode revolved around Fubukin’s quest to get to level 70… I mean raise her skills in order to reach a “major remodel” per the now MIA admiral’s plan.
First let me give credit where credit is due. Last week I wondered about the admiral’s orders to have Fubuki remodeled since it seemed to imply they could do that at whim. Nope, and kudos to the show for being consistent with Yuudachi’s Kai-ni remodeling. Constant practice, training, etc. result in higher skills (higher level in game terms) with Fubuki finally glowing (literally) signaling she’s ready for her sort of kind of Kai-ni remodel. I also liked how a big part of Fubuki’s training involved practice exercises with Akagi and Kaga. It completely makes sense to improve Fubuki’s AA (anti-aircraft) abilities if she’s going to be Akagi’s escort. It also matches up with Fubuki Kai-ni’s primary improvements (see below). They even had yellow practice planes to differentiate from the normal ones used for combat. Nice attention to detail. Finally, the training scene with Akagi and Kaga was in essence a well-integrated game reference (practice exercises aka “PvP”).
Then there are the not so good parts (yes, plural). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention yet another forced Kitakami x Ooi moment. Bad anime! Stop doing that! The “marriage” scene, complete with “I saw you in a dream” (in a wedding dress no less) for me was completely out of nowhere to put it politely – and this is coming from someone playing the game. Given other viewer comments, I’m not the only game player with that reaction. I suppose the director/script writers felt obligated to offer some explanation for the admiral’s highly focused attention on Fubuki, especially since it tends to push Fubuki as the main character (including repeated ”special” destroyer references). However, I think this is one game reference (see below) the anime should have left out. I LOL’d when Mutsuki replied “That’s all?” Yep, 100% with you Mutsuki.
In my opinion, simply going with Fubuki Kai-ni’s improved abilities, particularly her max AA stat and AA equipment, as the reason the admiral thinks Fubuki is so important would have been a much better way to go. It should be noted that while Nagato’s comment that Fubuki is “not particularly better equipped or faster than the other ships” is correct in terms of her default and Kai models, saying “she doesn’t change much” in terms of Kai-ni is simply incorrect. All of Fubuki’s main stat maximums are above average upon Kai-ni remodel. Her AA stat is currently 3rd best (1 pt. from tying with 2nd best) among all 69 destroyers. She also gets a Type 94 Fire Director which is very good equipment if a player didn’t get Akizuki during the Fall 2014 event.
Another issue I had with Ep. 10 was Fubuki’s obsession with training – obsessed to the point of just stupid (both Fubuki and the over-the-top presentation). The early battle was one of the worst thus far in my opinion. Despite being hit a couple of times to the point she’s about ready to sink, Fubuki keeps charging at the Abyssal Ho-class CL practically to melee range until the Ho-class CL fires off one last round… which miraculously misses Fubuki… to no one’s surprise. You’re not fooling anyone KanColle anime. Like other Fubuki related plot lines, this one comes across as too forced. It doesn’t help that just a few episodes ago, the anime set her up as the “book smart”, tactically wise (in theory) flagship of the now defunct veteran “Unit Five”. So much for that. She’s back to her rookie ways because the “plot demands it”. It’s also another Fubuki confidence crisis which at this point is starting to get repetitive – especially since we just had that last episode. Frankly, Fubuki in Ep. 10 made Mutsuki’s character, among others, look good by comparison.
Unfortunately, I’m not done with Ep. 10’s issues. Last episode ended with the admiral dead/missing/whatever. I guess the answer is the dead, though, like some viewers, it seems that the Kanmusu don’t really care about that at all. I had hoped the anime would go somewhere with the admiral’s disappearance, but evidently not. Granted at the end Fubuki thinks about the admiral, but overall it’s still very much “business as usual”. Sure Nagato has to guess what “AF” meant, but that wasn’t a big deal – easy enough to figure out which was the case. Besides, it’s not like the first time Nagato has muttered that she doesn’t know what the admiral is thinking even when the admiral was around. As it stands, I find it odd/jarring that they just eliminated the admiral and… that’s it.
Overall, for me Ep. 10 ends up in the same category as Ep. 09. Not the worst, but certainly not one of the best KanColle episodes, and one which could (arguably should) have been better. Oh well, on to Midway. I just hope the OP isn’t as spoilerific as I fear.
Well, I was somewhat surprised what the upcoming battle is based on. It’s going to be Midway (MI). I just thought, since it wasn’t the IJN’s finest hour that they wouldn’t go there. They even gave a reference to the actual events before the battle. By that I mean the designation “AF”. That was the Japanese code word for Midway and the Americans managed to determine it was Midway by a subterfuge. Here it’s Nagato trying to determine what the Admiral meant by “AF” through reconnaissance in force. There’s even a hint about radio traffic which was used by the American codebreakers to determine that the strike would be at Midway.
Now Fubuki is back in Torpedo Group 3 and no longer a flagship (thankfully), but now she’s fixated on getting a remodel. But, as Nagato pointed out and we see later, Fubuki really isn’t anything special and won’t change that much even with a remodel. Being the named ship of her class she’s the oldest, so she’s also the least advanced, not that that overrides anime logic of an MC. She does get upgraded AA armament, which her RL counterpart never got though she did serve in an AA role at Midway but was with the main force and not the carriers. Though the scene where Mutsuki tearfully confronts Fubuki in the dock was moving, I think that shows a failure in Fubuki’s growth. Mutuski’s fears for Fubuki stem in part from the loss of her close friend Kisakagi. I wish they had used something like that for the reason Fubuki felt the need to be better. As it is, her actions seem to be more self centered both in the battle and how she’s been treating her friend. Agree with Sendai’s sentiments after Mutsuki left.
Obligatory Ooi/Kitakmai yuri routine. No comment.
Now we do have another yuri romantic attraction confirmed Mutsu=>Nagato, much to Nagato’s surprise. They don’t show if Nagato reciprocates though. Mutsu doesn’t get much screen time, but lately she’s had a few cute scenes (the squirrel bit and then this one). I’m all for this pairing actually.
Now Fubuki tells Mutsuki about why the Admiral picked her and it was all because of a dream??? And a Ball Gown! Though that might be Fubuki’s own fantasizing. What else does he use? Soothsayers? Omikuji ? Now, Fubuki’s explanation about what her dream is, isn’t stupid. I just think it would have been better if there was more emotion attached to it. Your mileage may vary. Now someone should have told Fubuki that you never say “I’ll never leave you”. You’re just raising your own Death Flag though she’s probably exempt due to plot armor.
I totally disagree with how they had Akagi ask Fubuki to be her escort. Yuudachi had already been assigned and it seems like Fubuki is being picked because of Akagi’s feelings rather than some objective criteria. She’s a fleet carrier and one of the most important weapons they have. She can’t let sentiment dictate her actions. I’m backing Kaga on this one totally, though the “test” was less of a test than a training exercise to powerup Fubuki. If it was a test, Kaga should have called it by the second round. Again, only my preference, but I would have preferred that sequence as a training exercise since we haven’t seen her training for AA up to this time. Oh and talk about “hitting the wall”. That’s going to leave a mark. 😛
Bottom line is that I didn’t hate this one and I don’t dislike the trope of the raw recruit becoming the heroic veteran, I just somewhat disappointed in the way they’ve gone about it. I will admit that I’m probably being too harsh in that regard. That’s a problem when your expectations are set too high. Taken “as is” without critiquing it in relation to the rest of the story it was a good episode.
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
- Remodeling = larger bust size joke: Partly due to changes in game character art and often parodied in Fubuki, Ganbarimasu! manga such as here and here. (LOL… Ryuujou)
- Ship leveling from Practice Exercises (aka “PvP”): As mentioned before, KanColle PvP isn’t like PvP in most other games. It’s primarily a way to help players level ships along with perhaps newbie admirals figuring out/testing some game mechanics. Though a player is limited to 5 practice matches per 12 hours (your list of “opponents” reset every 12 hours), it is still a very effective and easy way to level ships.
- “Marriage” system (aka “waifu ship”):
- The Marriage System introduced to on 14th February 2014 (Valentine’s Day Update), and allows you to marry your favorite ship (aka a “waifu ship”).
- In terms of game play, there are a number of benefits for a waifu ship:
- Anti-submarine, Line-of-Sight (Los) and Evasion stats are uncapped and will continue to rise with each level up. (Uncapping evasion stat is significant).
- Luck increased by +3 to +6 upon marrying. (Luck is the hardest stat to improve in the game. Unlike other stats, it does NOT rise with increase in levels).
- Fuel and Ammo consumption are reduced by 15% (significant for Yamato-class BBs).
- Maximum HP is increased by a few points (amount varies between ship classes).
- Ship level is automatically increased to 100 upon marrying and is capped at 150 rather than the normal level 99 limit.
- After completing a series of quests, each player gets one “marriage ring/document set. You can, however, “marry” more than one ship. Additional rings/documents can be purchased for 700 yen per set (Kadakowa/DMM are trying to make money here).
- Admirals with multiple “waifu” ships are not uncommon.
- Fubuki Kai-ni:
- Unlike Yuudachi, Fubuiki’s character design does not change dramatically upon Kai-ni remodel. That’s not entirely unusual though Kanmusu designs do typically change noticeably to some degree. Fubuki Kai ni happens to be one which changes less so while Yuudachi Kai-ni is arguably the most dramatic Kanmusu design change.
- The anime did deviate from Fubuki Kai-ni’s game character design.
- The anime version is a mix of her Kai and Kai-ni remodels – mostly Kai, but it does include the Type 94 Fire Director (thing on her left wrist).
- Why didn’t the anime follow Fubuki Kai-ni’s character design like it did for Yuudachi? Don’t know.
- One possible reason (a guess on my part) could be an “inside” joke of sorts playing off the fact that Fubuki Kai-ni for the most part looks pretty much the same as her other versions.
- Another reason could be that blurring the Kai/Kai-ni distinction allows for the anime to put forth the rationale that Fubuki is “special” is because she’s the admiral’s waifu ship more easily given her significantly improved Kai-ni stats.
- As noted before, while Fubuki Kai-ni’s other stat maximums increase significantly, the biggest change in her max AA (anti-aircraft) stat. She also gains a Type 94 Fire Director. When combined with an AA gun such as the 10cm HA, the Type 94 fire director allows a ship to do an “AA cut-in”. If triggered (it’s not automatic), an AA cut-in can shoot down a high number of enemy planes. With the anime headed towards Midway, no doubt that’s an important ability.
- Mutsu’s “Watch out for fires” line: This is a reference to a few of Mutsu’s game lines including her introduction (“Don’t play with fire too much, ok? Please…”). That game dialog is based upon the fact that IJN Mutsu was sunk due to her magazines exploding after a fire occurred in her third turret on 8 June 1943. The fire was allegedly started by a disgruntled seaman who had recently been accused of theft charges.
Partial List of WWII References
- Operation MI (the Battle of Midway):
- “AF” was the code word the IJN used for Midway. While the US had been able to break the IJN codes, they didn’t know what “AF” stood for. The US codebreakers thought it might be Midway and to confirm it they had Midway send a message in the clear that their water purification system had broken. The Japanese obligingly transmitted a message stating that “AF”‘ was short on water allowing the US to be ready for the attack.
- The Battle of Midway decisively changed the balance of power in the Pacific Theatre. In an age where the aircraft carrier was now queen of the sea, the IJN lost four of its then available six fleet aircraft carriers. Despite what some may argue, that’s far beyond the losses suffered by the IJN at the Battle of the Coral Sea which was actually a tactical victory for the IJN. Frankly, had the outcome gone the other way, I think the US would have been hard pressed to continue with the “Europe first” strategy.
- As it happened, for various reasons which have been long debated and the subject of several lengthy books, the Battle of Midway resulted in a decisive victory for the US. In exchange for the standard/fleet carrier (CV) Yorktown, the US sunk four IJN CVs – Akagi, Kaga, Soryou and Hiryuu.
- The damage suffered by the IJN goes beyond the material loss. A lot of the best IJN pilots and aircraft mechanics were lost as well, and the IJN was simply not able to replace both man and machine quickly enough to counter USN military buildup. To somewhat borrow a phrase, while it wasn’t the end, I think it’s fair (and accurate) to say that Midway represents the beginning of the end for the war in the Pacific – certainly so in terms of the IJN launching another major expansionary effort.
- Despite the surprisingly large victory, the war in the Pacific was far from over. Years of hard fighting lay ahead on both sides with the brutal Guadalcanal campaign just a few months away.
- 10cm High Angle Gun: – Considered to be one of the (if not the) best Japanese AA guns of WWII.
- Type 94 fire-control director: This IJN fire-control director system was used in conjunction with AA guns. A quick (but by no means exhaustive) search on wiki listed this fire control system used in conjunction with 12.7cm (5”) AA guns on Hiryuu, Soryuu and Mushasi.