January 31, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep04

It was only a week ago that Kantai Collection took a dark and unexpected turn, leaving us to wonder just how the rest of the series is going to go.  Now we get to find out, and I'm thrilled to no end!  Of course, I'm one of the few as more and more it appears that people are less than impressed with the show.  Longtime reader Ben has an interesting discussion about his dissatisfaction over at his place, based at least in part on an ongoing e-mail conversation he's having with me.  He's given the show somewhat more thought than I have... this should come as no surprise to longtime readers of The Pond.  Over-analysis is not my forte.  Indeed, it would probably prove counterproductive to these writeups.  That's not the case for all shows, of course.  High School of the Dead greatly encouraged deeply introspective thoughts, for example... mostly of the "Dear God, why doth thou torment me so" variety, it's true, but still.  But enough of this jibber-jabber, let's get to the good stuff!  And by "good stuff", I mean the anime.  Provisionally.

Mutsuki is pulling Hachiko duty, waiting for her sister to come back from W Island.  If I was feeling particularly cruel, at this point I'd link to a gif from that episode of Futurama.  Yeah, you know the one.  I am not, however, a cruel duck, no matter how people may portray me.  Well, that and I started bawling like a little baby while I was looking for just the right gif to link to.  I'm sure my neighbors upstairs think I'm a morose drunk, crying into my beer at 1:30 in the morning.  No beer, no drunk, just Seymour.

The seasons change around her.  Spring turns to Summer, which changes to Fall.  The snows come in the Winter and the thaw indicates the return to Spring.  Through it all, Mutsuki sits on the quay, waiting for her sister to come home.  Through the passage of time, the base changes, the shipgirls stationed there change, Admirals come and go, but Mutsuki waits.  One day, her eyes get heavy, she rests her chin on her knees, and she goes to sleep.  And she meets her sister again.

...oh.  Holy crap.  I'm sorry.

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January 23, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep03

Last week, we had a training montage.  Fubuki The Clumsy needed to improve, and fast, before she got kicked out of the fleet.  This was, of course, done, because it's not that sort of show, right?  Also, a fight was brewing to boot... exciting times ahead!  Heck, why wait?  Let's get on with the show!

We begin this brand new episode with...

...a flashback to "a few days ago," aka "the end of last episode."  Nagato has just informed the light cruisers of Torpedo Squadron Three that they and their destroyers will form the basis of the first offensive against the Abyssals.  I'd just like to point out that this scene is just seiyuu Ayane Sakura having a four-way conversation with herself.  She actually does the voices for eight of the shipgirls, and you'd better believe I'm looking forward to that scene.  Jump back to now, and it's time for the mission briefing...

...where Mutsuki discovers that her older sister Kisaragi will be in on the mission as well.  Yay for family!  Also, yay for delays in construction!  Mutsuki is/was actually the name-ship for her class of destroyers, but Kisaragi was completed before her sister.  Eh, stuff happens.

Cutest collection of warships ever!  Good lord, they'll adorable the Abyssals to death.  What we've got here is Torpedo Squadron Four, joining The Fellowship for this operation.  Briefly, the plan is for The Fellowship to sneak in and attack W Island...

...shown here and please pay no attention whatsoever to the resemblance to Wake Island.  Merely coincidental, that.  Anyway, The Fellowship is to sneak in and attack Wake W Island at night, cause as much mayhem as they can and then withdraw, bringing the Abyssal ships known to be stationed there out after them.  Then Torpedo Squadron Four will ambush the Abyssals, The Fellowship will turn around, and the massacre will be total and complete.  There's no risk of being detected ahead of time, so all is right with the world.  It'll be a piece of cake!

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January 17, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep02

After having been hiding from the weather for the past couple of weeks, I ventured forth into the frozen wastes of Northern Illinois this evening for a lovely dinner with The Librarian.  I mention this for no other reason than to make an interesting bit of filler for this, the top paragraph of the Second Episode writeup for Kantai CollectionIn the first episode, we met half of the entire Imperial Japanese Navy and none of you, my readers, seemed to notice that I used the opening monologue from the movie Pacific Rim to describe the background the anime presented us with.  That made me sad.  I only had to change two words, to boot.  Perhaps I'm not as clever as I thought I was.  In any case, that was then.  This is now, and I'm probably even less clever just from the ongoing march of time killing off brain cells.  Hopefully not measurably so, but how would I know?  I leave that as an exercise for the reader.  Maybe one of you will tell me, but I can understand if you don't... after all, it might be more entertaining that way!  "Hurr durr... stupid hair girl stabs dead guy with pointed stick."  And I've just gotten distracted fixing a youtube link at that episodic recap and now I've got the soundtrack of Les Miserables going through my head and I'm going to give up for now and pick this up later.  Okay, it's later now, let's get this show on the road!  Raise anchor, all ahead flank speed.  Damn the torpedoes!

It is not late, it is very early.  The sun is not up.  Nary a shipgirl is stirring.  But yet, here is Our Heroine, Fubuki, out doing physical training.  You've gotta put in the effort if you wanna be the best around.  Nothing's gonna ever keep you down.

Except for having all the agility of a giraffe wearing ice skates, that is.  That and not being able to hit the broad side of a barn from the inside might have something to say about it.  Which would make for an interesting show, I've gotta say.  Everybody else goes to war, while Our Heroine stays behind.  She has to deal with being useless, particularly when the other ships come back damaged... or don't come back at all.  She'd feel completely worthless.  Then, as the Abyssals make one final push to smash the fleet, she'd be sent out, along with whatever shipgirls were left in desperation.  Finally, she'd have her chance to make a difference... to be a hero!  And then she falls over, takes a few crippling blows, and is forced to watch helplessly as her friends, her home, and her hopes are destroyed in front of her eyes.

The end.

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January 10, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep01

Wow, here's a shock, I'll be doing episodic writeups for Kantai Collection!  Sure, I've said I'd be doing them, but I'm really, really doing it!  As has been previously stated, it's not like this show is perfect for me or anything... the spirits of Japanese naval vessels from World War II reborn into the bodies of young women.  Throw in a rubber duck and a F1 car and we'll effectively have all of my serious hobbies all in one place.  And then The Pond will collapse in upon itself, forming a black hole of blog; all writing therein will be self-referential... nothing from the outside will intrude, nothing from the inside will interest.  So, kinda like MySpace, then.  Of course, that almost certainly won't happen... why would a F1 car show up in this show?  I've said it many times before, however: if an episode of anime contains both a rubber duck and a F1 car, The Pond will shut down.  If the duck is driving the car, I'll close it right then and there.  If they're in the same episode, I'll finish the series.  Somewhere, one of my readers is on the phone to SHAFT, trying to make this happen.   And I don't blame them, really.  I'm actually a little excited about the possibility: it's not like most blogs have a defined and announced endpoint.  Brickmuppet isn't going to close his when he graduates from college.  Ben's not going to close his when the Texas Rangers win something.  Steven isn't going to close his when the ducks invade.  But if one animator out there that was on the production staff of Rio Rainbow Gate! is still holding a grudge, he has the power to end me.  That's kinda fun to think about.  Know what else is fun to think about?  Kantai Collection!  Let's have me stop bloviating and get right to the recappin'!

When I was a kid, whenever I'd feel small or lonely, I'd look up at the stars... wondered if there was life up there.  Turns out I was looking in the wrong direction.  When alien life entered our world, it was from deep beneath the Pacific ocean. 

A fissure between two tectonic plates.  A portal between dimensions.  The Breach.  I was 15 when the first Abyssals made land in San Francisco.  By the time ships, jets and tanks took it down six days and thirty-five miles later, three cities were destroyed.  

Tens of thousands of lives were lost.  We mourned our dead, memorialized the attack, and moved on.  And then, only six months later, the second attack hit Manila.  And then the third one hit Cabo.  And then the fourth, and then we learned that this was not going to stop.  This was just the beginning. 

We needed a new weapon.  The world came together, pooling its resources, throwing aside old rivalries for the sake of the greater good.  To fight monsters, we created monsters of our own.  The Fleetgirls program was born.

Oh boy.

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January 04, 2015

First Episode Writeup #4

I find that I'm enjoying these one episode writeups!  There's no long-term commitment involved, I'm not devoting myself to watching the entire series, I can pull out every joke I can think of and use 'em all at once, it's great!  Even better, if I miss a plot point or something, it doesn't matter!  For example, in my very first series writeup (Ga-Rei Zero) I completely missed the significance of the blue butterflies and the gray-haired prettyboy in the first episode... who knew he'd be the Big Bad?  As an aside, after re-reading that series of writeups, I should go redo them in my improved style... hm.  Food for thought.  Anyway.  We're not here to discuss that series, we're here to discuss a new First Episode Writeup!  What poor show gets the patented Wonderduck treatment this time around?

People call them brother and sister.  Sure, there's a 20 year age gap between them, at least, but that's not too strange, right?  Right?  Neither is the glowing way she looks at him, like the look an adoring golden retriever gives her master, that's not weird for a little girl at all.  What IS weird is the perspective on this shot, which makes it look like the two of them are walking in front of a projection of the City of Townsville town below.  Never mind the viola case she's holding... yes, I said "viola."  Not violin.  Viola.  Because the viola doesn't get enough love in this world, it's such a mellow sounding instrument, not all squeaky and screamy like the violin.  If it turns out to be a violin she's carrying, so be it.  Until that time however, it's a viola because this is my writeup, darnit.  Meanwhile, in another part of the anime...

...a graphics glitch has rendered another young girl's shotgun useless.  So many things in that sentence I never thought I would ever type.  For such a great looking show and trust me, it is though we haven't quite gotten to that part yet, that's a fairly egregious mistake... particularly because it occurs twice.

It turns out that the young girl, who is named Triela, is paired with an older man as well, named Hilshire.  They seem to be part of some sort of paramilitary/police special forces unit, and their target wasn't there... which means it's at the other target.  A target that...

...is being watched by yet another heavily armed young girl/older man combo.  Her name is Rico, which seems like a fairly unlikely name for a girl.  His name is Jean, which means that the two of them should probably switch names.  There's also a lot of regular agents standing around looking inconspicuous.  Inside a nondescript apartment in the building being cased...

...a bunch of malcontents and neer-do-wells are gathered.  They've just received word that their other safehouse has been hit, which rendered it not so safe.  Oh, and the informant said that young girl did most of the damage.  The man on the right rolls his eyes and looks dubious at this news.  And rightfully so... little girls being used as assassins?  Preposterous!  What are they gonna do, hit us with Hello Kitty and My Little Pony plushies?  The doorbell rings and someone we will call Skippy goes to see who's there, chuckling under his breath: "Hello Kitty plushies."

Oh.

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