March 29, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep12

So here we are.  The culmination of three months worth of Wednesdays, all coming down to this.  It's been a long and surprisingly entertaining run, going all the way back to January 7th.  Along the way, there's been a Cthulhu summoning, incontinent shipgrannies, a deep and kinda disturbing love for Mutsu has grown, and more comments than any two Series Writeups combined.  Seems Kantai Collection struck a chord with some folks, good, bad, or otherwise.  I've had long discussions about the series offline, seen more than the show's share of bullhockey get spouted in online forums... cheeseandrice, the historical misconceptions I've seen about what actually occurred during the real Pacific War have been enough to make me loathe the American education system.  Despite all that, the series itself has been consistently entertaining, if somewhat pointlessly fluffy at times.  Well, we're not making Haibane Renmei here after all.  Hell, we're not even making K-On!

Which is a good thing.  The show always knew what it was, though maybe not always what it wanted to be.  Historic melodrama?  Comedy?  Lightweight fanservice vehicle?  Tragedy?  All of the above at the same time?  Or just Kantai Collection?  Let's go with that.  That's good enough, I believe.  And if it isn't going to win any "Best of 2015" awards, well, that's okay too.  So the end is nigh, how will it all go down?  So to speak, of course... "going down" isn't a phrase you want to use when it involves warships.  Or maybe it is, if you're the type of person who thinks of anime "that way".  If you are... um... ew.

We pick up pretty much exactly where we left off at the end of Episode 11: the Battle of Midway has begun, and history is doing Bad Things to our Shipgirls, which is what you'd expect.  Three of the four carriers have been hit, only Hiryu seems to be able to fire arrows, there's an Abyssal surface warfare fleet closing in, and Akagi is in dispair as an anti-shipping bomb is headed right 'twixt her eyes.  One can rail against fate, but it seems one cannot defeat it.  And then... ...I keep getting distracted.  The past two hours have been spent watching WarThunder Fail videos, random AMVs, and falling asleep at my desk.  So I'm going to take a nap and pick this up when I'm done. 

I'm back.  Six hours of nap later, I'm back.  If you're wondering why this writeup has taken as long as it has, there you go.  Where were we?  Oh yes... bombs fall, everybody dies.


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March 23, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep11

So it has come to this.  Midway.  We've known all along that it must be the climax, and after all the waiting, it's here.  But will it be a repeat of history as we know it, or will the shipgirls make their own way through the timey-wimey stuff?  Only the Production Staff knows for sure, and they ain't tellin' yet.  It's a shame some aren't giving the show a chance... I suspect we've got some surprises ahead, and the production staff has earned themselves enough credit to be allowed to take their shot.  I'm still betting against the historical ending, but it would be stunning if they pulled it off.

Last episode ended with Fubuki getting her remodel and being named as Akagi's personal escort.  We begin this episode with a... flashback?  Wha?

Akagi is practically dragging Kaga as explosions occur all around them.  Both are badly damaged, quivers empty, flight decks broken, stockings torn, hair a complete mess.  It's clear Operation AF has gone terribly, terribly wrong.  History repeats, it seems.

Only Hiryu is left standing, while the killing blow for Soryu is about to land.  There's nothing to be done for it.  Abyssal fighters crowd the skies, each looking to drop a carrier, even a damaged one.  Finally, the time has come.  History repeats, it seems.

Akagi gets a quick glimpse of her impending doom.  Well, I suppose we know how this is all going to go down now, don't we?  What's more, her final words are "I'm sorry.  Please scuttle me."

I discussed the problems with this tableau back in the Ep02 writeup.  Now we get to have it in context.... and with the addition of torpedo trails in the water, to boot.  Just as they hit, the screen goes white.  Shortest episode ever!


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March 16, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep10 (updated)

So I'm running a little late this week, sorry about that.  What with my other hobby starting this week, I sorta had to shuffle the writeup a little farther down the priority ladder than normal.  It's okay, though... if I had to, this was the episode to delay.  Not that it wasn't important, heavens no, but it's hardly The Most Important Episode Ever.  Which is why I'm not giving it my usual 100% treatment this week.  Hey, I'M not the one looking to get a major remodel, that's Fubuki's job.  I'd be satisfied with a haircut and a closet full of clean towels... I've really got to get to a laundromat, but that means going out into the public eye, y'know?  Before I get into that, though, let's get going on the Episode 10 of Kantai Collection!

We begin with shots of Foobie training and a not-a-flashback to the end of last episode, when Our Heroine is told she's being remodeled.  Nagato tells her that the Admiral specifically said that her upgraded form was going to be essential for the upcoming battle, and I'd like to say that I called that at the end of last ep's writeup.  Go me.  Sure, it was like hitting a batting practice fastball, but I still called it.  I'm in a win-win situation here.  Either they go with Foobie Saves The Day, or they go with History Repeating.  I'd enjoy either result, though the bloodbath would take guts indeed.  Back to current day...

....and Nagato's got a problem.  See, she's got the Admiral's notebook of what to do for the coming battle, but the most important piece of information, the location, is in code.  It just says to "strike Abyssal base AF," but not which base AF is!  There are three possibilities: north, the Aleutians; South, someplace less-than-obvious to my history-laden mind, and Central.  Nagato is doing recon-by-fire, sending small fleets out to each location to see which one gets shot at the most.  By her logic, the one that's most strongly defended is AF.

Fleets have already been sent to North and South.  The newly reconstituted Torpedo Squadron Three gets the Central area, which contains island MI.  Orders are to get shot at, but not draw the entire Abyssal fleet down on themselves.



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March 07, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep09

There are moments in life that an adult has to deal with, whether they want to do so or not.  These moments are called "obligations," and not following through with them is a very bad thing.  At work, in one's personal life, and even in something as floofy as a blog, one's word is your currency throughout your life.  That is why I had to give FedEx hell when their delivery man decided that dropping my package at the leasing office for Pond Central's complex was fine, as opposed to even trying to deliver it to my door.  Sure, there was nothing preventing me from going the four blocks to the office to pick it up... except for the principle of the thing.  I apparently got the delivery guy in serious trouble, but c'mon.  Do Your Job.  Follow through on your obligations. 

Which is why I am here right now writing about the newest episode of Kantai Collection when I'd rather be doing nearly anything else.  I thought last episode was fluff, and lord was I was right.  It did have the advantage of being wonderfully Mutsu-centric, and that right there made it fun for me, so it had that going for it.  Which was nice.  This one, though... from everything I had suspected was going to occur, this one was making my stomach churn.  As it turned out, what I suspected was going to be bad wasn't... but then the show took an unexpected turn.  So why am I still muttering here instead of actually doing the writeup?  I dunno.  Just because I follow through on my obligations doesn't mean I enjoy it all the time.  Well, so it goes... being an adult sucks sometimes.  And with that thought ringing through your mind, let's get on with the show!

We open with the command ships gathered together, discussing the results of the latest simulations now that the entire fleet is gathered at Truk.  Much like Mutsu said last week, the odds are overwhelmingly in their favor if they push Operation MO now.  Nagato, no dummy herself, agrees and will speak to the Admiral about it right away.  Things are wrapping up when another shipgirl rushes in... there's a problem with one of the destroyers!

Someone has moved Pippin's lightness slider waaaaay far to the right.  She's all glowy and washed out.  The other girls are somewhat taken aback by this, of course... small errors aside, Kantai Collection has been a well-animated show, something like this just shouldn't happen.  The usual reasons for her glowing are trotted's true love, it's aliens, it's bad fuel so she might explode.  Her humors are out of balance, we'll need to apply the leeches.

Fortunately for everybody, including us (leeches, ugh!), Nagato and Mutsu arrive and while visibly surprised, clearly recognize what's going on.  They tell Pippin to go to the factory right away... all the destroyers look concerned.  Remember that game mechanic I talked about some episodes ago, where you can use unneeded ships for spare parts and improvements to other vessels?  Is P-for-Poi about to be sent to the breakers???  Does Akagi need repairs, and if so, do we get to see shipgirl-on-shipgirl cannibalism?

What's wrong with me?


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March 03, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep08

Running late this week, but fortunately this episode is somewhat fluffy in content so it shouldn't be a problem to write up, right?  Weeeeellllllll... maybe not so much.  See, there's a lot of Mutsu this week, and it's hard to write coherently when you're dreamily staring at the screen with a dreamy smile on your face and a vast lack of attention to your surroundings.  She's dreamy is what I'm saying, and she has the ability to cause mass distraction, at least in your humble scribe.  Did I mention that this is a beach and/or swimsuit episode?  Boogity boogity boogity, let's go KanColle-ing!

We pick up shortly after the end of last episode, with Foobie Force escorting a badly damaged Shokaku to a mysterious location that only Kongo knows about.  And who better but a British-built battleship to know the location of the new Japanese fleet base called Camelot!

Which is a much nicer sounding name than what we usually remember it as, Truk Lagoon.  "The Gibraltar of the Pacific."  "Japan's Pearl Harbor."  Easily the most important IJN base outside of the Home Islands themselves, in real life Truk could do everything but build new ships or do major repairs.  After spending a good half-hour to an hour examining terrain maps and satellite photos, I'm forced to conclude that Foobie Force is approaching Uman Island, which is an odd choice of place for the Production Staff to use.  To be sure, there was a Japanese presence on the island, a small base on the outcropping on the left of the picture.  But the Administrative Center for the IJN was one island to the North, Tonoas.  A much larger facility, that, and one that'll match up better with what we'll be seeing soon.  Perhaps they decided not to use an actual place where so many soldiers and sailors really died.  If so, good call, I'm okay with that.

More importantly, Mutsu told Kongo that there's a new, special ship based there, and that by the time Foobie Force arrives, the rest of the Naval District will have relocated.  The two carriers resolve to head directly to the repair bays, while everybody else is... um... everybody else.



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