With the seas under constant threat from the hostile "Abyssal Fleet," a specialized naval base is established to counter them. Rather than standard naval weaponry, however, the base is armed with "Kanmusu"—girls who harbor the spirits of Japanese warships—possessing the ability to don weaponized gear that allows them to harness the powerful souls within themselves. Fubuki, a young Destroyer-type Kanmusu, joins the base as a new recruit; unfortunately for her, despite her inexperience and timid nature, she is assigned to the famous Third Torpedo Squadron and quickly thrust into the heat of battle. When she is rescued from near annihilation, the rookie warship resolves to become as strong as the one who saved her.
Ever wondered why Touhou doesn't have an anime? This is why.
There are two perspectives you can watch this show from: Either you played the game, or you haven't. This show is clearly designed to appeal to the former, and does a great job at failing in everything because of that. The thing about making an animated series of something like Kancolle is that, aside from having the fans seeing their favorite characters being animated, it also gives a chance for them to see the characters develop beyond their limited personality trait in the game.
What happens in this 12-episode odyssey is the complete opposite
of that idea.
Before going any further into this series' embarrassing writing that makes Boku no Pico Shakespearean in comparison, there are several other notable aspects of this show that warrant mentioning: Music, for the most part, is pretty decent. Apparently there seems to be an unspoken rule that terrible shows must have a decent/good soundtrack. Though, having claimed that, it's actually pretty difficult to hear most of the soundtrack because the battle scenes barely last more than a single minute. And yes, I'm being pretty lenient with the term "battle scenes" because the visuals are legitimately worse than something from a Toei show. It's not even like YYY where 3DCG scenes were hardly noticeable- It's just literally everywhere in every battle scene in this show, and they're all so incredibly poorly choreographed that it makes you wonder whether a properly functioning human being was responsible for them.
As mentioned previously, this show is something that tries too hard to appeal to the existing fanbase with the smallest effort possible that it fails at its job completely- First, the characters. There are way too fucking many. How did Diomedea manage to include all these 50+ characters in this 12-episode show? The answer is, they didn't. None of them end up being actual characters, and all they get for lines is repetition of the same throwaway line they babble in the game ad infinitum. See, this is the difference between a game and an animated series that tells a story- In games like Kancolle, it's pretty difficult to actually express characters' personality aside from their throwaway lines, so to keep the game interesting, more characters are added to compensate for the lack of further development from the existing characters. But when you're trying to tell a story, that no longer applies- The more characters there are, the harder it is to focus on a certain character(s), and thus, it makes them as bland as they would be in the game when the point of telling a story is the complete opposite: Developing them beyond what would've been feasible in a simple click-and-win game.
These characters' gimmicks are also influenced by the fanon- Such as Akagi being a big eater in the show due to her consuming lots of resources in-game. Completely necessary addition, I'm sure. Fubuki, the MC, is incredibly boring and breaks personality several times in-series just to create unnecessary drama, which makes you wonder why the Admiral favors this particular character in the first place outside of her status as the main character. Everyone else can be summed up with a single sentence: Shimakaze likes going fast. Kongou likes speaking in broken English. Hibiki says one Russian word every chance she gets. Yuudaichi likes -poi more than -desu. Sendai really loves night battles. Naka won't shut the fuck up. Calling these protagonists cardboard cutouts would be an insult to cardboard cutouts from Akame ga Kill, so I'm not sure what to call them.
What about the antagonists, though? If you expected anything other than "incompetent mute cyborg zombies," then god damn is this show happy to disappoint. I'm not sure what the trend is with all these silent villains that have no real motives, but I guess writing any form of conflict outside of badly animated/choreographed battle scenes was beyond Diomedea's capability. And if that wasn't enough, the Abyssals are pretty pathetic at their job and manage to be as threatening as moving dartboards. I guess they manage to finally sink a character who had a total screen time of less than a minute, who happens to be a friend of a boring friend of the boring MC with a last-second sneak attack. Oh, the horror. It's especially hilarious when the show cuts to Abyssals looking ominous and evil with spooky music playing in the background when they're a complete non-threat.
And finally, the Admiral. It's pretty obvious that this Admiral character was designed to represent the viewer/player, which is why this character is never truly shown on the screen. Therefore, the character's motives/personality/appearance are all completely unknown because it's supposed to be “you.” I'm not sure why this is even necessary considering this character plays a very little role, but apparently it was- Which is why Diomedea decides to fuck that up too by giving this character an identity. Apparently the reason why the Admiral favors Fubuki (the boring MC) so much is that he has a boner for this character. Well, that's great. Now everyone knows that the Admiral is this guy who has a boner for Fubuki, who is the most boring character in a show full of characters solely identified by throwaway lines. What happened to ambiguity, again? Honestly, Wo-class is a much better representation of the viewer- Looking bored and stoned as fuck throughout the entire fucking show pretty much sums up my experience.
Aside from the poorly written characters with no effort put into them, there are two other things Diomedea decided to do to “appeal” to the existing fanbase of this series. One is tying in in-game mechanics like repair docks, buckets, upgrades, and etc. Not exactly necessary or hindering, but I'd think that alone should have been enough for references from the game instead of making every character what they are in this show. The second thing is "historical reenactment"- Since all the characters are based off of real life ships, the idea is that they would meet the same fate at the same time at the same place. This is sort of "foreshadowed" in the opening sequence where you can briefly see the real Akagi ship sinking and is a “major” plot point in the latter part of the series. I'm not exactly sure how this is supposed to be an appeal, however. Knowing what's going to happen in the show based on real life events seems completely uninteresting especially considering the flat characters and setting, and if it was any more focused by the series, it would just be yet another cliche'd "fighting against fate" plot line that's been done million times over, so I really don't get it. I guess it makes some people feel smug for knowing that this one character that may have been in the background in one episode will sink before other people do.
So outside of Diomedea's blatantly embarrassing fanservice, what else is there? I guess there's supposed to be a plot somewhere, but the pacing is so horrendous that it's actually difficult to remember what actually happened in this show. That being said, this show does few things that could be considered two of the worst things one can do when writing a story. The first is lack of focus- Just like several other shows, this show cannot decide what kind of a show it wants to be. It could be either a fun show about wacky hijinx, or a serious show with drama that may or may not be forced. If it stuck with one, and did just that, then it would have been fine. Unfortunately, Kancolle attempts to do both, and fails at both- I'm not sure why so many shows do this when both drama and comedy hinder each other most of the time, thus making their simultaaneous inclusion counter productive. I'd assume it probably sounded good on that used toilet paper they used for the storyboard for this show. The amount of sudden mood shifts in this show is transcendent, and this is made even worse with piss-poor pacing. For example, there would be a forced drama scene with Fubuki and her friends. Then it would immediately cut to Ooi and Kitakami doing their usual comedy routine. Then immediately cut back to the drama scene. Flawless.
The second problem ties into the first- Even the drama is completely forced. And even then, these supposedly sad scenes aren't even relevant or impactful. Because by the end of the episode, it turns out everything was fine all along, which makes the characters seem idiotic for worrying about it in the first place. This problem is especially notable with Fubuki breaking character and doing something reckless against the enemy because suddenly she decided that she wanted to feel important and have a personality. She obviously fails at everything noted above, but this scene itself has also failed at having any lasting impact. No one ends up getting hurt in the end, and everything was daijobu. Then she goes to train with moving targets, which really are as threatening as Abyssals considering how much damage Fubuki came out of it in the end. What a joke.
But wait, there's more. In the last episode, where everything seems "hopeless" because that one mean Abyssal just won't die despite it being only able to shoot out nearly harmless white balls in the protagonists' general direction as its masterful strategy, Nagato suddenly shows up to the rescue- It was all according to plan, apparently. Then when it doesn't work, a new shipgirl appears out of nowhere that got a brief "foreshadowing" (using this term extremely loosely) in the previous episode and comes to save the day- Then the Admiral literally uses repair buckets out of nowhere to get more shipgirls in the battle, and the show doesn't even try to hide its Deus ex Machina garbage writing at this point. Then Black Rock Shooter and Fubuki stare at each other before the former realizes this writing is fucking retarded and goes back down the ocean.
Basically, every single episode in this show can be summed down to this: 20 minutes of filler that may or may not include poorly written drama that ends up resolving itself the same god damn episode, and 2 minutes of poorly choreographed battle scene where victory is solely decided by shooting at things a lot with no strategy involved.
It's incredibly ironic that this show tried so hard to appeal to the existing fanbase that it only alienated them as a result, and ended up appealing to an entirely different group of people who watches shows based on anything but quality. Now, I think it's pretty notable to mention that some people seem to defend this show with claims like "What did you expect?" But that sort of claim would only be valid if someone criticized something like Hamtaro for its lack of drama. It's completely invalid here because it doesn't do either drama or comedy because it tries to do both and fails at both. Most criticisms for this show do not come from complaining about what this show doesn't have- It comes from what this show does have and that is fucking awful. Some might also claim "It's a game advertisement show so it obviously wouldn't be good!" What about Rage of Bahamut: Genesis? That was a show based on a Mobage, and it was one of the best shows of its season, so that excuse isn't valid either. Any show, no matter what it's based on or which studio's doing it, can have actual effort put into it, and that alone would make any show significantly better than this garbage. The fact is, this show is just a lazy, half-assed attempt to make money off a popular franchise while putting as little effort as possible. And just to emphasize on the point of "striking while the iron is hot," a second season is immediately announced by the end of the last episode. Subtle.
The best way to describe Kancolle would be that it's basically anti-Touhou. It's everything that Touhou isn't- Kadokawa also apparently decided that it didn't want to put any effort into their “game,” so they decided to forbid any Kancolle doujin game whatsoever because having to make anything that's more than a clicking simulator would be far beyond their talents. And then they get this show made just to make sure they can rake in as much money as possible before the popularity wears off. Considering how this show turned out, and how many of its existing fans reacted to it, I think it's pretty safe to say that ZUN made the proper decision. And I think it's pretty worrisome if all this makes a drunken man who can't even get human anatomy correct after nearly a decade seem like Albert fucking Einstein.
You know what's great? Cute girls. You know what's even better? Playing a game filled with them. Even better? The fact that they all have good artists and VAs. The best part? The diversity of girls makes it so anyone can find a favorite. You'd think it wouldn't be difficult to make a Kancolle anime considering there are anime with similar kinds of situations such as Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer, but instead of having a healthy balance of slice of life and battles, Kancolle just jumps around everywhere, making for a jarring experience.
The story is heavily divided, with multiple parts with their own
plot. The parts are segmented into episodes 1-4, 5+7, 6 , 8-9, and 10-12. It winds up being all over the place, tending to be a repeating pattern of slice of life, preparations for sortie, sortie, miracle, and end sortie. Kancolle also tends to tunnel vision on whatever the current episode's plot is and forces the issue. The only overarching drive in Kancolle is Fubuki striving to become one of Akagi's escorts. Honestly, it's how the slice of life elements and combat elements are thrown into the pot together that really inhibit the anime as a whole.
Fortunately, the lead designer is great. He really brings to life the ships of so many different artists in one cohesive style. The best part is that the faces are drawn similarly enough to where you can look at both the anime and game styles and see how they correlate. The music is also solid and features a wonderful op and ed. The battle music doesn't quite pack a punch, but still fits thematically.
The biggest issue with the Kancolle anime is how the characters are handled. For some reason the writers decided that having all of the characters keep saying in game lines and slightly modified versions of in game lines was a good idea when it actually destroyed life from the characters. Look, I understand that the lines were probably put in because they wanted an easy way to convey the character's personalities, but it's possible to do it without resorting to such an uninspired method. I don't want to continually hear Hibiki's Russian one liners all the time. I want her to speak full sentences, and if Russian words want to be added in at that point, that's fine. Also, the fact that the admiral is never seen and never talks bothers me a lot. It just makes it feel like it's that way for self-inserting purposes, which just saps any joy from interactions with the admiral.
Even with all of its problems, I did enjoy watching Kancolle; however, I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. It is definitely something that you have to enjoy from the start, otherwise you would just be bored. If anything, episode 6 was the most consistent episode thematically and consequently the most enjoyable. As someone who has loved playing the game for almost a year and counting, this was definitely a disappointing experience. If you are curious about the anime, give it a shot, as you might enjoy it still.
Kantai Collection, or kancolle, is a browser game on DMM where you play as an admiral in charge of a number of ship girls based on WWII ships. You send the ships on sorties and expeditions in your campaign against the abyssals who has taken over Earth's ocean, all while praying to RNGesus that your construction or sortie reward yields the ship you want. Its a nice timesink and appeals a lot to its target audience, with a strong fanbase that rivals that of Touhou. With such a large and dedicated fanbase, its extremely tempting to create an
anime adaptation to not only provide fanservice, but to also make a quick buck on its popularity. So they yielded and produced this anime. And how does it fare?
Why you may pick this up:
-Plenty of fanservice (ero and non-ero) for those who have played the game
-Ship waifus are now animated
-OP and ED (though to be fair, if you only want the OP and ED you can just search on YT or hikari no akari)
Why you may skip this:
-Anime does a poor job of introducing game to newcomers or to people who never played kancolle.
-Newcomers and people who never played kancolle will not get the references and fanservice
-Poor plot direction and pacing
Story-5: This is the weakest part of the anime. The story is best described as going through an existential crisis; it does not know its purpose for existing. Does it want to tell a gripping tale about a young maiden's perilous journey through Earth's Ocean with her fellow shipgirls, or does it want to be a Madoka clone, or a SOL comedy, or to introduce newcomers to the game, or to provide fanservice for current players? It has the distinction of being all of the above, and yet somehow being none of the above at the same time. It constantly switches between those identities, like at one point the anime is trying to push the fact that a shipgirl has sunk, and at the next the Akatsuki sisters are entering a curry competition, as if that sinking never happened. It should pick an identity and stick to it. We would have been fine with the anime if all 12 episodes were just the shipgirls seating around the Teitoku's office drinking tea and eating cake, and maybe have cameos from the abyssals as well. They may as well call themselves Headquarters Tea-Time. It’s simple, cheap, fun, provides fanservice for current players, while having many opportunities to introduce the game to newcomers.
Art-7: The art is decent during the non-combat scenes. The managed to make most of the shipgirls look moe enough to keep you going. Artillery designs are all based on art from the game and WWII ships, while all the girls themselves look cute enough, unlike some of their in-game counterparts. The main problem is the CG used during the combat scenes, or when they are water skating. It is extremely jarring to watch. The framerate does not make the animation smooth, and this makes the combat scenes very hard to digest, which in turn, makes admiring the shipgirls difficult. The Character designs somehow gets downgraded as they move in a 3D plane, and ruins the entire experience. Fortunately, these scenes are not prolonged, and we quickly return to the moe 2D girls.
Sound-8: One reason you may pick up this anime. Both OP and ED are enjoyable, and the ED is one of my personal favourite ED. The soundtrack used are enjoyable to hear when used during the scene is meant for, but are ultimately forgettable. Artillery firing packs a nice explosive punch to them, and all the VAs do their jobs well enough. The VAs in this anime deserve special mention, as they actually voiced multiple ship sisters, each with their own distinct pitch and tone you could’ve sworn were completely different voice actors. Honorable mention goes to Nao Touyama, who voiced the Kongou sisters, Atago and Takao. Her voices can be extremely different from each other, from Kongou’s Engrish to Atago’s playfulness, and yet she manages to do make all 6 characters sound like they have 6 different VAs.
Characters-8: Probably the main reason one might pick up this anime. Fans of the game should ALL have a ship they are extremely fond of, and Kadokawa has recognised this, even giving players the ability to marry the ships that they like. To see them animated, with their VAs saying new unique lines and interacting with other shipgirls, is like a wet dream come true to the player base. The story follows Fubuki, one of the special-class destroyers and a starter ship in the game, as she joins fellow destroyers Yuudachi (poi) and Mutsuki in taking the Ocean back for humanity, one abyssal at a time. The character development in this show suffers because of this, as these three are the only characters that receive any development, the rest being there to provide the viewers a chance to see their shipfus animated. While the other characters are lively and fun to watch on screen, they receive little to no character development. Backstories are left in history books since these shipgirls' history are based on their WWII counterparts, like Sendai's love for night battles since she fought most of her battles at night in WWII, or how Yamato's aversion to the word 'hotel' is based on her being used mostly as a hotel in WWII and barely used for combat. Enjoyable, but unless you have played the game, they are not memorable.
Enjoyment-8: As a huge fan of the game, my enjoyment of this anime is, of course, biased, since I understand all the jokes, fanservice, and references made in this anime. To see the shipgirls that I often used in the game animated is glorious eye candy, but was shattered when they transitioned to the CG. I also found that I enjoyed the SoL moments more that the action ones. Just 2 episodes of them making curry and looking for Shimakaze are better than 10 episodes of them fighting the abyssals.
Overall-7: If you are a fan of the game the anime is based on, feel free to watch this. While the CG is painful to watch, one can get over it through the love for their shipfus. For newcomers who wants to know more about the kancolle craze or wants to know more about the game, the English Kancolle wiki the kancolle forums, Himeuta, has FAQs and general information about the game. IF you are a newcomer, play the game and fall in love with the game or a shipfu first before watching, or else most of the jokes, references and cameos will lose its appeal. For people not interested in Kancolle but is a huge anime fan, do not bother with this. A poor story focus and lack of character development in a large cast of characters brings down the anime, with an ending not worth your time. If you want to investigate what the kancolle craze is about, himeuta or the kancolle wiki is more than enough. If not, you are better off spending your precious time watching other anime.
Kantai Collection: KanColle is an Action, Comedy, Slice of life, Military, Sci-fi anime based of the web browser game created by Kadokawa Games. The anime was created by Diomedéa Studio and was aired on January 8, 2015 to March 26, 2015 and lasting for 12 episodes.
The plot follows Special Type Destroyer Fubuki, a young girl who is a Kanmusu, girls who possess a spirit of a naval vessel within themselves and use these spirits to fight the Abyssal fleet who are threatening humanity from the sea. These girls live at naval bases, where they are taught to fight the Abyssal. Fubuki is a new
recruit at one of these naval bases upon her arrival she joins the Third Torpedo Squadron and is sent into battle despite having very limited combat training. While in battle, she is saved by Akagi, An Aircraft Carrier, and afterwards Fubuki decides that she needs to become stronger so she can fight at Akagi’s side.
The Show does a good job of explaining its story to the viewer by explaining the different kinds of Kanmusu and what the job in the fleet are. While the fighting is keep at a minimal, the focus of the show is based on Fubuki and her comrades while they train at the naval base which is interesting and funny at the same time. Now, because of the anime having so many character and character building, I going to only give the names of girls and what type of Kanmusu they are:
Fubuki, Voiced by Sumire Uesaka – Special Type Destroyer, a part of the Third Torpedo Squadron
Mutsuki, Voiced by Rina Hidaka – Destroyer, a part of the Third Torpedo Squadron
Yūdachi, Voiced by Yumi Tanibe – Destroyer, a part of the Third Torpedo Squadron
Sendai, Jintsū and Naka, Voiced by Ayane Sakura – Light Cruisers, a part of the Third Torpedo Squadron with Jintsū as Flagship.
Akagi, Voiced by Saki Fujita – Aircraft carrier, a part of the First Carrier Division
Kongō, Hiei, Haruna and Kirishima, Voiced by Nao Tōyama – Battleships, a part of the Second Fleet
Nagato and Mutsu, Voiced by Ayane Sakura – Battleships, Secretaries of the fleet.
Kitakami and Ōi, Voiced by Yuka Ōtsubo – Torpedo Cruisers
KanColle art style uses a bright blend of colors to breathe life into the show for the viewer. Each of the characters have been given a unique personality, making them stand out compared to one another and easily recognizable to the viewer. The show uses two different animation styles: one for the action scenes and the characters every day life. The use of a different style for the action scenes helps making them more beautiful and interesting to the viewer, thus making them some of the best parts of the show. The voice acting in this is very impressive because of some voice actresses doing multiple characters especially Ayane Sakura, as some of her characters have conversations with each other and the viewer is able to tell which character is talking by their voice.
KanColle is an anime where I did not know much about before watching, that has made me interested in the Kantai Collection game series. The story, while it not one of the best I've seen was still enjoyable. The characters have been designed with a lot of care in terms of looks and personality, and because of this care the art style over all was appealing to me. The message I got from KanColle is that as long you keep trying your hardest, you can achieve anything you put your mind and heart to. Finally, I love the character development of Fubuki over the course of the show as she always tries her best and doesn't give up.
KanColle is one of the anime that while looking at each part separately, like basic story or characters, is nothing special; however, when combined together makes a very interesting show. Anyone, both fans of Kantai Collection or newcomers, can enjoy its characters, art style and story. While there is better stories out there, I still recommend people to give KanColle a go as it takes a common idea and makes it something unique and new to people watching.
Who's that girl, the quiet one avoiding everyone and looking straight ahead? That girl who loves music? That weird girl who loves tech? What was her name again? Until you remember lets just say she is one fabulous anime girl with headphones.