Kantai Collection Episode 1 [First Impression]



Greetings, fellow teitokus! It’s happening, and the hype is real!



Kancolle 1 Img025Firstly, I have to admit that I don’t actually play Kancolle, at least not yet. I did try once, some time ago, but the whole lottery ticket process and the need to mess around with VPNs put me off a bit. So I ended up jumping on the bandwagon through the absurdly high number of Kancolle doujinshi that exist out there. It’s terrifying, seriously. Oh, and I’ve seen stuff like drama CDs as well, like the one where it’s just Touyama Nao talking to herself… uh, I mean playing all the Kongou sisters and then some. I’m so glad they milked both her and Sakura Ayane for all they’re worth in this franchise, they’re such great seiyuu. But yeah, so my knowledge is very skewed in that I only really know about the popular kanmusu – like Kongou, Atago, Tenryuu, Shimakaze, Kaga or Akagi. Nevertheless, Shimakaze is my eternal ship daughter, and admittedly I quite like Kongou and Mutsu as well. I can be a teitoku in spirit.

Kancolle 1 Img012For the uninitiated, Kancolle is basically an online browser game that has experienced a scary surge in popularity in recent years. Its domestic fanbase is huge, and if you go by how much space it takes up in Comiket it soars past both Kuroko and Touhou Project. Considering it’s basically a game with a plethora of possible different waifus, I’m not surprised – just like the 2D waifu simulator that is Fire Emblem: Awakening, except that’s not browser-based, free-to-play and automated. Anyway, an anime really wasn’t surprising – it was almost inevitable, and it will equally inevitably cater to its fanbase first and foremost, which is both good and bad as I know barely enough to understand it. So I hope it has a good plot, because that’s what I’m gunning for here, but it can probably go to shit and still top this season’s DVD/BD pre-order rankings, which it’s already doing. This franchise is the finest example of a cash cow I’ve seen since Saber.

Kancolle 1 Img023I remember reading somewhere that this will be about 70% slice-of-life and 30% action, and we got a bit of both for this pilot episode. It does look like it’s set to follow in the footsteps of similar predecessors like Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer – so with Kancolle, military moe now rules the land, sea and sky! This is practically an original anime series, so they could have done whatever they wanted – but the parallels to Strike Witches were quite strong, and if they’re going to take that kind of direction I don’t really mind. There was surprisingly little ecchi, but yuri exists, at least on the Kitakami x Ooi front. And they’re setting up Akagi as a senpai-crush for Fubuki as well. I don’t know if that’s a ship (ha ha ha) especially as many of the doujins are basically teitoku x kanmusu, but I can guarantee it will be one from now on. Actually, about Fubuki – the fact that they made her the protagonist is a great indicator of how they’re taking this forward. They’ve gone down the route of having a fresh new kanmusu join the base, make new friends and learn how to be the best kanmusu ever, so that promises a light and fluffy sort of setting. And Fubuki is one of those nice, quiet girls who tries her best, and doesn’t have any distinguishing characteristics as far as I can see. I think this is the one concession they’re making to people who don’t actually play the game, like me – it’s not much, but we can learn about stuff through Fubuki, because she doesn’t know shit either. Like how she struggled with the water skating – it was unfamiliar to both us and her.

Kancolle 1 Img026Speaking of unfamiliar things, I had fun playing spot the kanmusu! I don’t think I did very well. The very first one we saw should be Haruna, and I saw glimpses of Atago and Shimakaze too. Why did she only get a few seconds on screen?! The unseen teitoku’s waifu seems to be Nagato in the control room, and Mutsu was next to her. And I recognized Kongou, Hibiki and Hiei from the sortie, as well as Akagi and Kaga who I think are being made out to be distinguished veterans and aces whom Fubuki will end up looking up to and wanting to be like, even though… she’s not an aircraft carrier. To be honest, I actually had no idea who Fubuki was until this anime happened, even though I knew about Sendai and Yuudachi from her division-poi. Sorry Fubuki. Poi. I don’t know how I feel about her as a protagonist itself – I find that I tend to like the kanmusu who have some sort of distinguishing feature – be that an eccentricity or whatever, like a cute character design or an odd way of speaking like Yuudachi or Kongou (you either love or hate that Kujou Karen-style Engrish, and I love it). Fubuki just seems a bit… bland for now.

Kancolle 1 Img051The plot was fairly paper-thin. We got the bare basics, but I’m hoping something more unfolds soon – a la Strike Witches we’re never going to get straight answers as to the Abyssals, but I’d like a bit of a story at least. It was kinda excusable this week though – they had to introduce a plot, the setting, lots of characters as well as stick in a battle at the end in order not to bore people to death. Although it felt forced in the sense that it was a shit decision to send a Lv 1 Fubuki out to fight a boss. Pull yourself together teitoku. The battle itself was surprisingly fluid, and they did lots of nice in-out switching with the CGI. Reminds me of those Sidonia days! And those monstrosities were quite unnerving when you realize that it’s a bunch of cute girls going up against them. These naval battles will definitely be an upgrade compared to the in-game experience though, purely because they’re so dynamic – game battles are pretty much automated with limited movement if I remember right, so we’re better off here so long as you can get used to the skating. It’s not new however – it’s been used in other Kancolle media before, like that one manga with Asashio and Shimakaze. From the character designs to the battle scenes, you can tell Diomedia are at least taking this seriously – if only because they’d otherwise be mauled by an army of unsatisfied fans. Also, money.

Kancolle 1 Img048

fubuki ganbarimasu

So yeah. I hope there’s plot, because that’ll influence my decision on whether to blog this or not – it’s hard to strike a deal with slice-of-life sometimes. I’m still very excited for this though, enough to stick with it for another few episodes at least – and no way am I jumping ship until Shimakaze gets some proper screen time. Let’s see what they can do.

Possibility of Watching: Guaranteed
Possibility of Blogging: Very High


I love cute things.

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12 Responses

  1. The Traveler (@IWHBYT) says:

    What are you talking about, Vantage? Shimakaze was there the whole time, she was just… 2fast4U! :D

    *ahem* Now then, I’m ever so thankful to you for covering this :) I even finally worked up the resolved to make a comment! Anyway, there are so many possibilities with this series. It could really end up being a shockingly faithful war story, without having to be grim at every moment. After all, friends make everything better, even war. So I could totally see there being battles where it’s dark as night, but once they’re back at base they’re sunny as day, if not with some mild cloudiness due to injured friends.

    One thing I’m really curious about is whether these girls are as big as their original warships! Perhaps they even have human scale bodies (which would make Nagato an 8 ft. tall girl) that fuse with bodies that are as large as their warships? One reason I’m thinking of this is that we never even see Teitoku. I know showing his/her face would be odd since (s)he’s supposed to be us, but we don’t even see a body.

    • The Traveler (@IWHBYT) says:

      Erm, I made a mistake. I remember the FAQ said not to promote blogs and such things… I think this counts as that. Could you delete these comments, please? :s

      • Vantage says:

        Do you mean the Twitter link on your online handle? That should be fine – by ‘not promoting other blogs’ I’m pretty sure Eva means blatantly advertising another site in a comment without any other purpose, like talking about the episode. I’ve removed the link though, in case you’re still uncomfortable about it.

    • Vantage says:

      2osoi4me ;_;

      The battles themselves feel surprisingly dark, for a show which can get as fluffy as it has. The clouds turn all grey, and the Abyssals seem positively evil! A night battle would be the perfect time for some kind of twist to happen, beyond having Sendai strut her stuff. Given that the kanmusu can be patched up without too many issues, I’m not too worried about normal injuries – but rather the irreparable ones, that will mean the kanmusu has to be dismantled. If they’re going to take the same line in the mangas as to what happens when they’re dismantled, then maybe we might be in for some feels.

      It would be very strange if they were as big as their original warships – that would mean that the Abyssal about to eat Fubuki in this shot would be massive! And I have a feeling we won’t ever get to see teitoku, with all his orders being given through Nagato. It’s like how Strike Witches practically has an all-female cast!

      • I must agree that I’m very happy with the way the Abyssals are being presented (ironically this is due to an on-going manga about a Shinkaisei-kan collection I recently read)! In addition to what you mentioned, Anchorage Hime looks a little oddly proportioned and I think that’s on purpose. Speaking of night battles, can you imagine just how awesome it’ll look with all the glowing the Abyssals’ have going on and the flashes of gunfire from the Kanmusu?

        According to the in-game description, when a Kanmusu is dismantled or used for modernizing, they just lose their gear and become a civilian. Still, the thought of that is pretty sad for someone who’s part of the only military force in existence that can save the world. Going by that, you’re probably right that they aren’t as large as their original ships.

        Still, it’d be neat if they had bigger bodies a la the style of Shingeki No Kyojin. It would explain why our military wasn’t effective. Then again, we’ve seen lots of instances of very powerful, human sized opponents beating the life out of modern military. I hope we get to see a flash back of that just to ground the effectiveness of the Kanmusu for other viewers who can’t suspend their disbelief enough.

        • Vantage says:

          It feels like they have enough of a budget, so I’m definitely looking forward to the night battles :D And it’s interesting you make that reference to Shingeki actually, because my main worry with bigger bodies would be that they’d start looking more abnormal instead of cute. I’m still getting used to the water skating as it is!

          About dismantling – I read in a doujin that they apparently lose their memories of life as a kanmusu after being dismantled. This is the problem with educating myself through doujins, isn’t it… that, as well as the realization that the ecchi is a lie.

          • I’ve reached a stalemate: On one hand, if according to the game they live civilian lives once their equipment is dismantled/used for modernization, then they have to be at the human scale! On the other hand, what ARE the pilot that Akagi launches—dwarfs?! O_o

            I’m even more excited for the revelations behind key mysteries than I am for the story :D Since you love the Kujou Karen-style Engrish give this a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wucuqR5ceVQ It’s just over a minute, but you can find longer versions if you like it!

            The doujins that explainin the mysteries are certainly interesting. The hentai is a lie. As for the ecchi… it depends on which Kanmusu it is o_o

            • Vantage says:

              KONGOU DESU~

              I do love the Engrish. You could even say it’s a… burning love. Cough. A potential source of ecchi other than the usual bath scenes might be the ‘damaged’ kanmusu states, which is basically them in various states of undress. Though that did happen to Sendai this episode, and they never made anything of it.

              • Bail'ee says:

                Ah! So that’s what you meant. I think they know to to veer away from focusing on the torn clothing. In fact, I don’t think any of the Kanmusu have lines where they try to playoff their torn clothing as sexy. They’re all either upset or uncaring about it because it’s a battle.

                Once they are back at base, however, there’s plenty of opportunity for fanservice and even a select few Kanmusu showing off their ecchi side due to the various ways their repair/refit routines can be animated.

                Speaking of fan works, it’s so difficult not to read the longer fan works that I come across now. I keep having to tell myself that there’s “no point” ;_; It’s not that I couldn’t separate the various interpretations of a single character from the anime’s, but since the anime is here I can do better things with my time than read long fan works. Both feed my hype right now though.

                The hype is real… and it is a struggle.

  2. Lichtbringer says:

    I knew nothing about the game, so I am pretty confused. o_O
    What a weird anime.

    • Vantage says:

      It’s essentially extended fanservice for those who play the game, and it’s popular enough for the producers to take that stance with it when making it. I’m pretty sure I missed a good few references in this episode that only those who play the game could have understood. But hey, if you like cute girls in a show where you can ship the ships, then why not stick around?

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