For those of you that follow our Twitter, you should know that this year’s Naka-Kon haul had quite a bit of KanColle items associated with it. Well, that is because I am in love with the series. This small 12 episode anime has sent waves of love to all the fans who have watched the anime based on the insanely popular Chrome browser game Kantai Collection. Taking characters and enemies from the game, the anime moves into uncharted waters, trying its best to convey a sense of story. To the anime’s credit, it does that very well! The anime stays away from touching the Abyssal backstory, which is where these anti-ship girls come from the depths of the ocean to fight these fleet girls, it does give every fleet girl a chance at living life in the limelight.
The anime starts by giving us an introduction to the series by having us follow Fubuki, a peppy and hard gunning Destroyer that wants to leave her mark in the fleet by eventually becoming good enough to be an escort for her senpai, Akagi. While not entirely a fan-service anime, save for Shimakaze and every time a fleet girl gets damaged, the anime does an awesome job of balancing out moe with action. Plus it helps make anyone who loves WW2 naval history a bit giddy by bringing to life some of the most notable ships from WW2’s long and war-torn past.
Now this anime has a pretty strong list of characters and while it may be odd saying you enjoy an anime about girls who are warships, at least it isn’t as odd as watching Upotte… shivers. The anime carries itself nicely and it does pack a punch in the emotional department when it wants to. I never knew an anime of this caliber could be so darn emotional! I am never looking at warships the same again. The characters in this anime are so diverse in personality that it is hard to say you can only enjoy one. I know I personally enjoy all the battleship girls: Yamato, Akagi and Fubuki. Is it bad to say you sort of have a crush on them? Never mind… This is odd. Or is it? The voice work that the actresses put into all of the characters is a labor of love. I have yet to watch an anime with the type of voice talent (Besides Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi) this anime has to offer. Yamato’s voice actress in particular is one of my favorites. She gives Yamato such a varied range of emotions that you can really get to know her and fall in love with the character.
Speaking of falling in love, the anime promotes and ships several characters together. While it may seem cliche for a girl, moe anime is actually pretty cute and it develops the plot along the way for further progression of developing the many characters. I mean Kisaragi (one of the torpedo girls) actually dies or ‘Sinks’ in the anime and it leaves Mutsuki in a state of unshakable trauma that she blankly goes about her days to the harbor hoping to see Kisaragi. Kisaragi never does come back and it is this realization that Mutsuki has to face that let’s you know that this anime isn’t just a silly anime about girls who represent ships. It is an anime about friendship and companionship. It is an anime that will make you cry with Mutsuki as she pleads for her departed Kisaragi to return. While it’s tough to see this under the top ‘moe’ layer it is there. It stresses and conveys the value of trusting yourself and learning to see that you will always have someone that is there to help you up when you need someone. That knowing you have something or someone worth fighting for. I, for one, find this touching and I wish more anime could take a topic or genre like how KanColle uses moe/action and turn it into something beautiful.
Beyond the bond of friendship is also a sense of redemption. WW2 was a time where the world was at war and Japan was in a much different state of mind (i.e. an imperialist). In the anime, however, they fight not the Americans or the British, but against beings that would threaten the entire world. In this alternate timeline, these ships that would be at odds with one another now find themselves working together and fighting off a much greater enemy. Each and every Fleet Girl is a redemption of the ships that they represent and in bettering their lives, they better those ship’s memories. Not everything has to play out according to history and this is something Akagi’s character loosely talks about when she is having premonitions of the coming battle. Now my history is a bit rusty but that battle may have been an indirect nod to the battle in which the actual ship Akagi was sunk. Instead, she manages to change her course with the help of the fleet girls with her.
The anime has both beautiful animations and the backgrounds are just phenomenal. While the odd bits of 2D+3D are difficult to get used to, they do grow on you and improve throughout the course of the actual anime and they blend very well. The action scenes are just as impressive if not overly amazing! It has been a long time since I got so caught up in a fight scene that I was actually cheering the whole time. The last few episodes with the final fleet battle versus the Abyssal Wo-Class/Airfield Princess was incredibly epic. I mean, nothing beats seeing a fleet of highly armed ships coming in and messing crap up! Especially when Nagato and Yamato show up. The fight scenes are an essential highlight but it is also the more calming and scenic moments that I love about this anime. Its backgrounds and interior settings are perfect for the 1940’s fit and they are expressed so well that I have a hard time believing that this was all done for the sake of a popular game. There is a passionate amount of love put into bringing this game world into the real one. I mean, if you have ever watched a Studio Ghibli film you would know what I am talking about. While this anime may not have the same amount of detail, it does have enough for what it needs to use.
Now do you need to play the game to understand what the heck is going on? No. Do you want to play the game after the fact? Yes. I mean, I am working on getting the game to work as we speak and to also procure a copy for the PS Vita as well! With the popularity of the anime, it has also encouraged the game developer(s) to push the game further and in new directions. There has also been a second season announced, however, at the time of this article I have not found a set date for a release. You can bet that it will hopefully introduce the fleet girl, Iowa, which was introduced to fans via the new, KanColle Kai PS Vita game. However, while I have not played any of the games, the anime has more than well covered all the aspects I needed from the game. The animation is lovely, the opening superb and the simple fact that the anime can pull your strings while still retain a humorous outlook and moe vibe is amazing. I wish that we could see more quirky titles like this in the near future and I hope that the success in the KanColle Animation series will help to bring the game towards a western audience and for the eventual second seasons release.
KanColle can be enjoyed on Crunchyroll with all 12 episodes streaming HD. I can safely say that I would recommend this anime to anyone and everyone, just be mindful of a few English curse words and a few fan-service bits. If you have seen the anime or played the game, what did you think? Feel free to comment down below or on our official Twitter page!
Watch KanColle: http://www.crunchyroll.com/kancolle
Official OGZ Twitter: https://twitter.com/OGZ_Kausus