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.
That "Kongou Desu" video... tried to break my brain, there. Whaaa.
The Kongos (as it were) (did I ever send you that album? because I should) all voiced by the same actress? DUDE. I mean, sure, in a cast of dozens you've gotta save money somehow, but wowza.
I've not had breakfast yet, and now I'm craving scones. Daaamn youuuu! *shakes fist in air*
When Fubuki spends half the episode being the skeptical voice of (something resembling) reason, you know the show's wandered off into some weird territory.
Is it just me, or did the reunion on the pier have some... odd... animation of body movements going on? A certain amount of rhythmic action that almost, but doesn't quite, suggest something else is happening. I was tilting my head going, "wait, what?" a bit, there.
What an odd little show. I don't dislike it, but I'm definitely sticking with it mainly to see what bizarre shenanigans they get up to next at this point.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 31, 2015 10:42 AM (AQ0bN)
2did the reunion on the pier have some... odd... animation of body movements
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 31, 2015 11:28 AM (jGQR+)
Yeah, I keep right on top of KanColle as soon as possible. Thanks for thinking of me, though
Posted by: DiGiKerot at January 31, 2015 12:31 PM (vrgFm)
I liked this episode. It put the show's reality back firmly in fantasy, which is a much more comfortable location than somewhere between fantasy bizarre-alternate-reality. I got what I expected from the Kongo ships. Not what I would have done myself, but what I expected the writers to do. The voice acting is a real strength, although it looks like the animation budget is running out, fast. I stepped through some of the frames in the fight scene and it's ugly. Of course you would expect less budget after the first episode, but...maybe the dvd/blu-ray will clean things up.
If they kept the show firmly in the realm established in ep. 4, I think I would like it a lot more. I'm gonna have to rewatch 1 - 4 and try to make up my mind what's going on with the writing. 4 was pretty good, but 4 was also almost entirely written by the pre-existing dialogue in the game. The anime writers just took that, turned it up to 11 and ran. I'm still inclined toward lazy, but there is a nagging question of "how could they not be doing some of these things on purpose?"
Posted by: Ben at January 31, 2015 06:53 PM (S4UJw)
Schedule Delay Unavoidable
I woke up this morning feeling not all that chipper. Took a shower, felt a little better. Just a few minutes ago, I realized that I felt horrible... headache, bodyache, stomachache, sinusache, acheache. As a result, everything I was going to get done today is being bumped to the back burner... which includes the Kantai Collection Ep04 writeup. I'm sure somewhere, someone is feeling terrible yet working through it... "I may as well feel awful at work and get paid for it"... but I did that for years at the Bookstore and look where it got me. Oh, and I'm not getting paid to blog, am I? So here's this instead:
Random Anime Picture #92: Giant Holographic Space Sharks
Because there hasn't been enough Rio Rainbow Gate! around here recently. No giant holographic space sharks in the shot, though Rio will be jumping on the back of one any second now.
God, I love anime. It lets me type sentences like that with a straight face.
I fell, heavily, off of the anime bandwagon for a couple years there. They were ugly years personally, and anime wasn't really doing all that well anyway. (Perhaps if I'd looked harder I'd have found better gems to enjoy. Perhaps.)
But when all's said and done, anime is a gift, particularly if you like seeing things that are occasionally way way WAY off kilter. "Oh, Japan!" isn't just an exclamation, it's an affirmation.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 27, 2015 09:02 PM (AQ0bN)
Wait, you're saying Rio's about to Jump the Shark?
Posted by: Mauser at January 28, 2015 03:15 PM (TJ7ih)
"Oh,Japan!" isn't just an exclamation, it's an affirmation."
Do you say that in any way similar to the way you'd say "Oh John Ringo no" ?
Posted by: Rick C at January 28, 2015 04:25 PM (ECH2/)
Instead of doing something constructive, I decided to add two new categories to The Pond's sidebar! Please welcome "Music" and "Anime Writeups"! In the process of going through every single post ever made here at The Pond, I realized something that really surprised me... Ga-Rei Zero was not my first Episodic Writeup! I had forgotten about one six episode omake that I had covered. Which one? Ah, that would be telling! Fortunately, you can now easily find out by clicking on "anime writeups" on the sidebar! It's like a library for The Pond's back content.
I've never been sure how to manage those, or Tags.
Posted by: Mauser at January 26, 2015 02:18 AM (TJ7ih)
In your EDITING main menu, under Manage, there should be an entry called "Folders - View and manage folders, categories, and directories."
Once in there, click on "New". That'll bring up an "Edit Folder" screen. Where it says "Type", put in "category". For "Name", put in whatever you want the category to be called (Anime Writeups). In "Path", you would enter "anime_writeups".
Click SAVE and congratulations, you've just created your first Category!
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 26, 2015 03:24 AM (jGQR+)
RIP Ernie Banks
The man known as "Mr Cub", Ernie Banks, passed away this evening. He was just short of his 84th birthday.
He joined the Cubs in 1953, becoming the team's first black player. He played every game of his career with the Northsiders, over 2500 and hitting 512 home runs along the way. He was the first National League player to win back-to-back MVP awards, 1958 and 1959. He retired in 1971, and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1977.
I met Ernie Banks once. No, that makes it sound like it was more intimate than it really was. I attended a Cubs game and he was riding a golf cart up one of the ramps in the stadium, obviously headed for a luxury box or the broadcasting area or whatever. As he approached, I waved and said "Good day, Ernie?" The permanent smile on his face got even larger than normal and he said "Great day!" and high-fived me as he rode by. From all reports, that wasn't artifice. For Ernie Banks, every day was a great day. Cub fans, and baseball fans everywhere, have lost a paragon of the sport. The world is a lesser place without him in it.
Kantai Collection Ep03Last 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!
"Which leads me back to what I asked in Ep01... if the big ships can
curbstomp so damn effectively, why not just send them out and avoid
losing smaller ships?"
What, that would be like having the Space Battleship Yamato firing the Wave Motion Gun right off the bat, rather than waiting until its fighters are all chewed up and the Third Bridge blown off.
Posted by: Mauser at January 23, 2015 02:45 AM (TJ7ih)
I am the least aware person in the world when it comes to some things. Like, "death flags," I have never gotten a good feel for that.
This episode, though. I smacks you in the face with a ginormous death flag. "Holy shit death flag!" may have been heard throughout the household at one point last night.
I'm still not sure what to make of this show, but... I'm still watching.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 23, 2015 08:42 AM (AQ0bN)
I also noticed the death-flag go up, and assumed they were messing with us because it didn't seem like that kind of show,
To be honest I prefered episode 2, because it focused on the SoL bits.
I don't like the combat and I'm not quite sure why, possibly the weird juxtaposition of the fleet of fog Abbysals and the shipgirls, and also the way the fights are depicted doesn't seem to make sense to me.
Posted by: Riktol at January 23, 2015 04:17 PM (zDlKl)
Add me to the list of people surprised that they actually followed through with the blaring death flags. If they follow through on a generally accurate Midway...I start to wonder if it's going to be a downer* series where the shipgirls actually lose.
Though maybe they'll do something like inverting the sides for the Coral Sea-Midway section?
*sort of downer? I mean, in actual history I'm glad the IJN lost. And the closer to a documentary-with-shipgirls the series becomes, the more conflicted I get.
Posted by: ReallyBored at January 24, 2015 11:04 AM (n3V1X)
If the fleet girls lose the war, there will be riots in Akihabara. Or at least online. I don't think there is any way that is the final outcome; what bothers me (one of the things) is that it looks like the creators of the anime want to tie the story at least loosely to World War II. Which means they're going to have to do a First Blood: Part 2.
Posted by: Ben at January 24, 2015 12:59 PM (S4UJw)
If the fleet girls lose the war, there won't be any Akihabara.
Getting Away With It
In the final year of the 1980s, two of the biggest bands in Britain if not the world were imploding.
The Smiths were a band that sounded like their songwriters were constantly on the edge of jumping off the highest building in Manchester. This resonated with listeners and critics both, and they were hailed as "the most influential British guitar group of the decade." They eschewed the keyboard and synth excesses of the time, instead concentrating on an echo-and-minor-key guitar-based sound. Despite independent success unlike any seen before, the band split in 1987 from internal pressures.
New Order was formed from tragedy. When the lead singer of Manchester-based "post-punk" band Joy Division hanged himself on the verge of the band's first North American tour in 1980, the survivors reformed as New Order. Throughout the '80s, the band mixed what we'd call "alternative music" now and electronic dance music to create a critically acclaimed and influential sound that left major fingerprints on modern techno. However, the various members all had audio interests that wouldn't fit the band's style. Side projects were common, with a resulting loss of time for the main group. Stumbling to the end, New Order broke up in 1993.
But in 1989, lead singer Bernard Sumner was wanting to add more synth programming to New Order, and was rebuffed. He took to the recording studio alone, intending to make an "anonymous" album of whatever he felt like, but came to a discovery early on: he hated working alone. Picking up the telephone, Sumner called Johnny Marr, the ex-guitarist of The Smiths, and asked for his input. The two created a track, entitled "Lucky Bag", all loops and electronic drumkits, and called themselves Electronic. If it had stopped there, Electronic would have been an interesting non-entity, a footnote in music history if that. But of course it didn't... I wouldn't be writing about it if it had, right?
I came to Electronic entirely by way of Neil Tennant. Heck, I even have the "Disappointed" CD single which was spawned off of... the Cool World movie soundtrack, I think. (Tennant adds vocals to that one as well.) Because I'm a weirdo, though, my favorite Electronic track is actually one of the "Feel Every Beat" single's B-sides, an instrumental called "Lean to the Inside."
Regarding PSB being on the decline since the mid-80s: I'm amused that every few years they feel compelled to write a song about how everyone considers them has-beens. "Yesterday When I Was Mad," for instance. "...it's fabulous you're still around today / you've both made such a little go a very long way..."
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 21, 2015 01:26 PM (3m7pZ)
What a great time for new music. In the late 70's we called it underground, later new wave. In the 80's it was college and later alternative.
The Smiths still have a few songs played often in alt radio. How Soon is Now and Panic are still all over the place.
Great post, Mr. Duck.
Some of the greatest stories about music are the movements of artists behind the scenes. The same thing happened in Early Brit rock with names like Ronson, Beck, Abrahams, et al.
Posted by: topmaker at January 21, 2015 08:47 PM (2yZsg)
Another one that reminds me of my radio days....
Posted by: Mauser at January 22, 2015 02:21 AM (TJ7ih)
I've always been torn on this song. It's OK, I like it, but it's so laid back that I just can't enjoy it completely. I've often thought this would be a great Pet Shop Boys only song.
Posted by: Don Landon at November 22, 2018 09:02 PM (y/v9j)
An interesting thought, that. GreyDuck is our resident Pet Shop Boys fanatic... what do you think, GD???
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 23, 2018 01:36 AM (k1bsf)
Don & WD, I don't think Tennant-and-Lowe could or would have done much with "Getting Away With It" that Sumner-and-Marr hadn't already done. It's still a fully New Order-ish track, just happens to have Neil Tennant on lead vox. Guest starring, as it were.
Of course PSB borrowed Marr for guitar work here and there for a while, so this collaboration helped Neil & Chris out in the long run as well.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 23, 2018 08:42 AM (rKFiU)
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 Collection. In 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.
Actually, I DID catch the whole Pacific Rim riff. But what can I say about it?
I didn't get any groans posted about the "Ferry Godmother" pun, and you don't see me complaining about it.
Well, until now anyway.
Um, was that old lady in the show, or did you just whip that up? And what you would say to someone like that? Call her "Your Ladyship"?
Posted by: Mauser at January 17, 2015 03:51 AM (TJ7ih)
2I didn't get any groans posted about the "Ferry Godmother" pun, and you don't see me complaining about it.
I came very close to permabanning you for that. I'm not joking.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 17, 2015 11:26 AM (jGQR+)
3Um, was that old lady in the show, or did you just whip that up?
Heh. Someone needs to watch the ARIA franchise.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 17, 2015 11:27 AM (jGQR+)
I would go with "something dramatic that loosely ties the real-world ships to their fantasy counterpart." Which would also explain some of my other (very minor) concerns with the show.
I have to admit I went the other direction from you in how I felt about the show: considering it's not particularly deep, I expected frequent action to make up for the lack of mental meat. Plus, I've always had a beef with the Japanese theme of gumption/intention/desire (not that it's unique to Japan) trumping reality. I can *almost* stretch my imagination to map strength exercises/stronger legs to upgrading the longitudinal strength and the balance exercises to adding ballast; but the imagery doesn't really jive with the fact that the actual fleet girl "equipment" is, at least to some extent, actual hardware. Of course, it's *magic* hardware...
Posted by: Ben at January 17, 2015 11:30 AM (DRaH+)
5I would go with "something dramatic that loosely ties the real-world
ships to their fantasy counterpart."
After I wrote this entry, I found someone suggesting the concept that shipgirls are like the Servants in the Fate/Stay Night universe, the spirits of heroic ships summoned and given form. I kinda like that.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 17, 2015 12:46 PM (jGQR+)
For the pun, or the comment above (which was totally meant to be taken humorously, not as an actual complaint)?
Posted by: Mauser at January 17, 2015 03:31 PM (TJ7ih)
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 17, 2015 03:41 PM (jGQR+)
That stuff -is- rare. You have to summon it with real yen, IIRC...
Episode was better than the first one, in the sense that it showed that the writers know they need to characterize the girls and not just have them show up and spit out their one line from the game before blowing something up. (To the point that they were willing to have someone get upset at the constant "poi", though -I- couldn't get away with threatening to pound her into poi with my eight-inchers...)
In the game, there's definitely the concept of "getting dismantled", though there it's "dismantle the copy of the card you found and get resources" rather than "get rid of the girl permanently", so they may or may not include the concept in the show. At least one of the official mangas (I gather there are a few) has, at one point, an admiral directly threaten to do just that to a couple of the ships that won't stop fighting and screwing things up. It's a much more sinister concept if each of the girls is actually, y'know, a unique person...
Presumably there simply aren't any "old" ship girls simply because they didn't have any at all before the Abyssals showed up.
Will they end up sinking anyone, especially any one on screen? Damned good question. There's a lot of speculation about exactly what the Abyssal's ship girls are - are they just "we created them because the ship girl thing was working for the enemy", kind of Arpeggio-style though hopefully with less derp? Or are they, well... salvage, which opens up all kind of deliciously grim plot possibilities? (An even grimmer alternative is that they could be... the traditional enemy force of the IJN, which has remained completely un-referenced despite the frickin' Bismark showing up in the game?)
Posted by: Avatar at January 17, 2015 03:47 PM (ZeBdf)
9Presumably there simply aren't any "old" ship girls simply because they didn't have any at all before the Abyssals showed up.
You just hush. I like the image of the Mikasa being an elderly shipgranny.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 17, 2015 04:21 PM (jGQR+)
I didn't comment on the Pacific Rim riff because I thought it was too obvious to warrant mention.
Also, I need to re-watch Pacific Rim. It's been a few months.
The show: It does get tiring, the whole "well they're useless but at least they've got HEART" routine. Here, though, our erstwhile heroine has heart AND a near-Wonderduck-level knowledge of arms and armament. She's not useless, just clumsy... which is still an exhausting trope but slightly more tolerable (to me) than the reverse, which is the "great physical prowess but dumb as a post" version.
The Admiral's-POV bit was a bit odd. Supposed to be the 'player' insert/avatar, I guess? Still jarring in an anime adaptation.
Ah well. I'm still on board. (As it were.) It's fluffy fun and hasn't broken my brain. Yet.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 17, 2015 05:15 PM (AQ0bN)
My take: remember that this is a culture where the dominant religion is animist. The ships have souls, and get reincarnated (as girls) when they are sunk. Since most of the Japanese Navy was destroyed in a short interval (just 4 years) and the ones we're watching were nearly all early war casualties, then they were all reborn in a period of about 2 years, which is why all of them are nearly the same age now, with "now" being read as 1958, which makes them all teenagers.
The idea of ships having souls is not unique here; there was an episode of Kamichu! about the soul of Yamato.
I'm not sure I agree with your age/date plan, Steven. For example, the sink dates are split quite evenly between 1942 and 1944-1945 for the most important characters.
Also the ages... if you're making their birthday when they were commissioned, the Akagi was commissioned in 1927. Wouldn't that make her 31 in your scheme? Nagato would be 38. And Kongo would be 45, with her commissioning date of 1913. Oi and Kitakami would be 37. And Frodo, our lead character, would be 31.
If you're saying their clock starts when they were sunk, that would make Frodo four years older than Nagato, 16 to 12. I don't think that flies either.
If you're saying that they're like racehorses and all have the same birthday sometime in 1941, that would work, but then you'd have ships aging before they were put in the water for the first time (Shimakaze).
I'm fine with the idea of ships having souls being reincarnated, though I'm liking the "Heroic Spirits" concept more and more.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 17, 2015 11:45 PM (jGQR+)
I think the girls' ages are derived from their personalities, and the personalities are derived from the ship type, design peculiarities, and maybe battle record. There seems to be a dose of classism thrown in as well; "more important" ships will *obviously* be older and experienced, or just naturally talented. On the other hand, some of the destroyers are actually depicted as younger girls. Although I'm pretty sure in the game these fleet girls were later additions, I thought I saw a few of them in the anime.
I second The Admiral's nodding being a bit jarring. I don't like it when a game or show tells me what I said or did. Maybe that's why I can't get into visual novels.
Posted by: Ben at January 18, 2015 09:37 AM (ksPsw)
Hmm. Uh-huh. Welp, That's It For Tonight.
I've been sitting here, staring at the blank "new post" screen for nearly 10 minutes, trying to figure out what I want to write about... and failing. Actually, it's not that I don't have anything to write about; I can always do a First Episode Writeup, or something along those lines. The so-called problem is that I want to post something tonight, not something that's going to take a long time to do... particularly with Ep02 of KanColle airing on Wednesday: that takes priority on the writeup front.
So, since I'm just going back and forth between nothing and nada, here's an appropriate picture.
Well, Kancolle is streaming here in Oz, so I'm good. (Video streaming is generally pretty woeful here, but Madman's AnimeLab works like a charm.)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 14, 2015 12:32 AM (2yngH)
I've been slowly making my way through the most pretentious history-of-cinema program, The Story Of Film: An Odyssey, on Netflix. I mean, it's informative, it's interesting, and it's 100% "that cinema buff snob you hate going to popcorn movies with." I alternate between avid interest and rolling my eyes at high RPMs.
And that, I maintain, is why I haven't kicked off any new creative-outlet work lately. Learnings!
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 14, 2015 08:29 AM (AQ0bN)
On Saturday, January 3rd, I had a late lunch with Ph.Duck, then went to the store to lay in some foodstocks. I knew the weather was going to be taking a turn for the ugly, so I wanted to make sure I'd have enough supplies for it. It began to snow that evening, and continued off and on through Sunday night. Once it stopped, the skies cleared, the temperatures plummeted and the winds began to pick up. Indeed, there was a winter weather advisory due to blowing and drifting snow on Monday, and the temps continued to fall on Tuesday. Wednesday, we were forecasted to have a high of -3Â°F and windchills around negative forty. It never actually got that warm. Thursday was much the same, just with higher winds. Friday, it made it above zero for the first time since midday Tuesday... not by much, and the winds still made it feel ridiculously cold, but yay for positive numbers! Saturday, January 10th, it snowed some more, but the thermometer came close to 20... but high winds still made it feel stupidly cold.
Today, we might have just hit the freezing point, with light winds... and for the first time since January 3rd, I left my apartment.
I got the snow off the Duckmobile, made sure it started after a week of ickycold (it did), then went back inside, where it was warm and comfy. In some ways, it disturbs me that I was able to hermitize myself with so little fuss. There were a few days where I didn't say a single word except for the traditional "Goodnight, duckie" to Lucky Duck, the little plush duckie that I was given in the hospital by Momzerduck. He watches over me as I sleep to make sure I'm okay, and it's the least I can do to bid him goodnight. But that's all I said. No human contact beyond the internet, which is arguable, and sports talk radio, which has little to do with humanity. I'll have to go out this week... I desperately need to do laundry, and I'm out of edible tastyyums... but I find myself reluctant to do so. People, y'know?
Or perhaps you don't. Good call. I'm an outsider... you probably shouldn't be like me.
Other than talking to ducks that can't walk, I see no problems, amigo. Cold weather and cold people should be avoided.
Use the time to research why the P-61 was judged the most maneuverable fighter of WW2 by the AAC in post-war flight competition... Love to think it is true, fear it isn't.
Of course, I'm a major Black Widow fan....
Posted by: The Old Man at January 12, 2015 06:40 AM (o6+UC)
I get that. Quite a bit, actually. Stress makes it worse, and it doesn't take much. I'm like that whenever I get shut in for a while. Start wishing I didn't have things I *had* to do, because if I didn't I could just stay right here. I'm on the computer instead of the phone or in town or working on taxes because it's one degree above freezing and soaking wet from thick fog outside. Who's got time for that?
Posted by: Ben at January 12, 2015 10:41 AM (DRaH+)
If you're staying home and indoors a lot of the time (which, um, I might have been doing myself since, um, August) I advise you to take some Vitamin D.
I kinda didn't do it regularly enough, and it kinda came back on me with one of those harmless skin diseases where they basically tell you, "Hey, take Vitamin D and it goes away! Or get some sunlight, you vampire!" Very annoying, since I know better.
Posted by: email@example.com at January 15, 2015 05:15 PM (ZJVQ5)
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.
Seeing those girls cruising along, my first thought: "My, they're very fleet of foot."
Abyssal Commander, kinda hot, in an evil alien kind of way.
I'm sure Fubuki will get over her problems, maybe with the help of a Ferry Godmother.
Posted by: Mauser at January 10, 2015 11:17 PM (TJ7ih)
Bonus points for "whirling dervishly." Possible demerits for "hero warship."
Aw, who am I kidding? I could only dream of claiming I came up with a great pun like "hero warship."
Well done, sir. Keep 'em coming.
Posted by: GreyDuck at January 11, 2015 12:41 AM (AQ0bN)
" Somewhere, Tetsuzo Iwamoto is whirling dervishly in his grave."
You mean "dervish-poi", no?
I don't know. The whole thing is hard to fathom. It may be out of my league.
Posted by: topmaker at January 11, 2015 01:03 PM (2yZsg)
I thought your writeup was 10 times better than the actual episode. I was going to keep it up for another episode or two (on the off chance it improved) but if you're blogging I might well stick with it.
Posted by: Riktol at January 13, 2015 01:55 PM (zDlKl)
That was the most fun I've had watching an episode of anime in quite a while. Well, duh, it's not like it wasn't made for me: the spirits of WWII-era Japanese warships reincarnated into girls with special powers? Now I know how tank fans felt about Girls und Panzer.
Except there's one thing that bothers me. Akagi and Kaga wear their flight decks on opposite arms, and correctly so. Except the Akagi had her island to port, Kaga to starboard.
In Kancolle, the game, the artbooks, the plush figures, and now the anime, they wear the flight decks on the opposite arms. I guess that puts their heads on the correct sides, but it still puts my teeth on edge.
I understand that there's plenty of time for this to go completely belly-up, but at least for one episode, boy, that was awesome!
Despite knowing how silly the show is, my suspension of disbelief only allows me to watch Episode 1 in three or four minute clips before I have to do something else. Still...Was that Etajima in the background after the opening? But why are there three light cruisers in a torpedo squadron?
Posted by: cxt217 at January 08, 2015 10:55 AM (zlDqA)
It seems that the level of historic accuracy bounces around quite a bit. Some of fleet girls may get some of their personality from their ship's battle record, but mostly the writers appear to have worked solely off of the ship design characteristics.
Something I did find very interesting is that the actual "ship outfits" are pulled out of the water every time a fleet girl launches. Really reminds you that all of these ships are destroyed. Mythologically, the trick then would be to find the girl that matches with a ship's spirit.
Posted by: Ben at January 08, 2015 11:42 AM (S4UJw)
The show has managed silly fun, but getting GOOD will be tough.
Two opposing problems. One is that at some point, "here is a ship and her amusing personality quirk" will get old. We've already had one ship mention night battles every time she opened her mouth, and Kaga dropped the same battle quote twice out of what, five lines total? This format is going to require a little more characterization than a browser game, but so far, the only real -people- we've seen are Fubuki and Akagi, and neither of them are exactly deep either.
Working against that is the -very large- number of ships they'll need to cover. Inevitably there's no way they can involve them all at anything more than a superficial level (but given the nature of the original material, they can't leave them out!) So you're inevitably going to have part of the cast that is not much more than "here is a name, a character design, and a personality quirk, have her show up and toss off her line and shoot something and then we won't see her again for a while." But even that takes up time, and the more time we spend doing IJN Inventory, the less time we get for either characterization or action.
All that said, it's the first episode, and it did what it needed to do pretty well - introduced the important characters, set up the initial scenario, showed us how the whole "ship girl" thing actually works in combat, and that the bad guys are scary evil creepy things. There's enough on the hook to bite the bait... we'll just have to see if the show can set that hook.
Posted by: Avatar at January 08, 2015 01:47 PM (ZeBdf)
5why are there three light cruisers in a torpedo squadron?
Note the title: it's a torpedo squadron, not a destroyer squadron. The IJN put torpedo tubes on darn near everything below CA-size, and a bunch of them, too.
The Sendai-class were built as destroyer leaders and carry eight torpedo tubes; a better question would be, perhaps, why aren't there more torpedoes available?
The three Sendais have eight, in two four-tube mounts (4x2). Fubuki has nine (3x3), Yudachi has eight (4x2), and Mutsuki only six (3x2). I would have expected more destroyers in the group, or more ships in general. Heck, we know the Oi and Kitakami are on base; even in their unmodified forms they carry eight tubes each. Why aren't they part of this squadron?
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 08, 2015 09:03 PM (jGQR+)
It is the Third Torpedo Squadron; that implies there's at least two more of 'em, right? (Not that they are necessarily based there or that the ships you mention are in 'em... they use destroyers for screening duties too, right?)
I'm almost tempted to give the game a try, but apparently playing it is actually a big pain in the butt (the server's overloaded to the point that you have to win a lotto to get a login?) Would probably try it if someone released it in English though. Could happen - did happen for Love Live after all...
Posted by: Avatar at January 08, 2015 09:40 PM (zJsIy)
Since Japanese light cruisers were suppose to lead destroyer squadrons (Just like their British seniors use to do.), I expected one light cruiser leading each torpedo squadron of destroyers. Or the light cruisers will form their own divisions, just like their bigger sisters heavy cruisers did.
Posted by: cxt217 at January 08, 2015 10:25 PM (zlDqA)
9I expected one light cruiser leading each torpedo squadron of
You expected historical accuracy... in an anime... where girls are the living embodiment of WWII-era ships.
Did I get that right?
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 09, 2015 12:52 AM (jGQR+)
So if someone wrote a romantic fan-fic with these characters, it would be Ship-shipping?
Posted by: Mauser at January 09, 2015 04:24 AM (TJ7ih)
Given that Akagi and Kaga are in the First Carrier Division...Just like their historical counterparts....
Posted by: cxt217 at January 09, 2015 09:55 AM (zlDqA)
Actually, the translation I watched called the group with the airplanes "Carrier Task Force One," not the First Carrier Division. The ones with the guns are "Support Fleet Two," and everybody else is "Torpedo Squadron Three."
Now, I used the historically correct term at the top of this entry for the Kaga and Akagi, but that was me making a high-level-geek reference, not anything from the anime.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 09, 2015 10:12 AM (jGQR+)
Hmmm...I thought the Crunchyroll translation had it as 'First Carrier Division,' but looking back, it was 'First Carrier Fleet,' though still only composed of Akagi and Kaga. This is assuming the subs used by Crunchyroll are true to the translation, which is not always the case.
Posted by: cxt217 at January 09, 2015 11:26 AM (zlDqA)
Why is there a Russian ship girl? Foreign exchange student? Japanese ship with a name to remind people of the Russo-Japanese War?
Is the girl next to her also Russian?
Is this a deep plot to annoy Putin?
Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org at January 09, 2015 05:40 PM (ZJVQ5)
I've finally figured out why these sorts of all-girls shows are going after yuri subtext.
So yeah, basically the show doesn't want to show realistic prison-like conditions. Therefore, these girls can go into town.
But in a realistic all-girls show with access to a town, most of these girls would be shown realistically having crushes on good-looking or craggy guys in the town, dating guys in the town if there was any possible way, and possibly having hopeless crushes on any of their male teachers who aren't too orc-like.
Since the show is all about looking at girls who are ships, they introduce the unrealistic yuri subtext as an excuse not to show these girls thinking about boyfriends and chatting about boyfriends.
(Except apparently the Admiral. Whom I think I will assume is Miles Vorkosigan as a kid, playing some weird Betan videogame.)
Posted by: email@example.com at January 09, 2015 05:49 PM (ZJVQ5)
Because in later years, the Hibiki was transferred to the Soviet Navy as reparations.
Posted by: Wonderduck at January 09, 2015 07:15 PM (jGQR+)
And when Kongo get's some lines, she'll use British expressions. For that matter, what is the Japanese equivalent of a "British accent"? Is there such a thing?
I had a very good response to the yuri thing suburbanbanshee wrote, but then I went out onto the internet to gather examples and resources and the internet told me I was wrong. Surely the yuri school relationship has been around longer than 10 - 15 years.
Posted by: Ben at January 09, 2015 07:23 PM (S4UJw)
Ben, a little from bucket A, a little from bucket B. The idea of not-quite-romantic crushes of girls on girls as a school thing has been around quite a bit longer, but its use as a fairly widespread trope is more recent than that. It doesn't USUALLY mean that one or both parties are lesbians as we'd think about it, in the sense of "girls who are uninterested in men as romantic partners" - the usual idea in Japan is that this is something that doesn't persist beyond your school years.
That said, I think that Suburban has it right. It's a little unnatural if absolutely none of them have a romantic interest at all, and quite a bit creepy if they ALL are gunning for the admiral, as it were. So having a little yuri in there means that they can say "yes, these are girls who have an interest in romance and not cardboard cutouts of girls" without bringing some guy into the picture and having an otaku blow his stack because his waifu is seeing some other guy. The unspoken cultural assumption is that it's not indicative that the girl wouldn't be interested in men.
I'm wondering exactly how the show will handle the admiral. It... may be clever for him to simply never appear on screen. That neatly solves the issue of the "player avatar" ("no, seriously, that's you in the background there, Player8195"), and avoids the admiral turning the fleet into One Big Harem... and, not incidentally, means we see other ship-girls in command back at base, so that increases the total amount of ship-girl screen time and opens up some character advancement subplot too.
Wouldn't be Miles - he'd end the war by doing something rule-breaking, or alternately would seduce Wo-tan or something like that. I picked up the Vorkosigan series several years ago and somehow never actually read any of it until last year. Man, should have tried it earlier!
Posted by: Avatar at January 09, 2015 08:49 PM (zJsIy)
19"...having an otaku blow his stack because his waifu is seeing some other guy."
I am starting to suspect this is much more important in Japan than I had assumed. Not to get off-topic (Wonderduck, feel free to smack down if desired), I wonder if this is a side-effect of visual novels? Or this that just another effect of some other cultural difference. I just find the concept quoted above mystifying. I wanted to be Luke Skywalker when I was a kid, or Indiana Jones a few years later, or Hikaru Ichijo after that. It never would have occurred to me that the transference could work the other way.
It was the idea of, I guess you would say "girl crushes" that don't last into adulthood that I was going to talk about. I remember in at least a couple of manga or anime the concept is even referenced: some misunderstood situation that could be taken as a minor sexual advance from one girl to another is addressed with some comment about "not being in school anymore" or "you should have outgrown that". That is why I have always understood the "girl crush" idea to be rather common and not associated with the general progression of homosexual identity in the digital age.
Getting back to the show, I appreciated how The Admiral was handled, and hope they stick with that. An anonymous figure with no direct, hands-on control or words that you ever hear. However, this could handicap the story regarding any amount of complexity or drama. After all, ostensibly The Admiral (the viewer) is making the decisions, which means that you have to avoid anything controversial or unusual. On the other hand, I suppose they could gradually remove The Admiral, or have him wounded or killed.
Posted by: Ben at January 09, 2015 10:04 PM (DRaH+)
It's more of an idol otaku thing, yeah? The idea that an idol shouldn't get into a romantic relationship, because then that (in the minds of creepy fans) means that she's no longer "pure" (translated, not available for their sexual fantasies), is definitely one of the weirder things about that little sub-culture.
Japanese sexual politics are -odd-, man. They don't have the whole religious hangup about sex, but they do have a strong impetus to not stick out from the crowd, so there's definitely social pressure not to be "one of the weirdos". It's also a fairly nasty abrogation of your familial duties, even if people don't take the whole ancestral worship thing as seriously anymore; telling your poor mother "there is absolutely no chance of grandchildren" is a rough step there. So with anime characters, you get outright flaming homosexuals, you get the whole "kids experimenting" thing, but actual homosexuals who are otherwise pretty normal are darned thin on the ground.
As far as the Admiral goes... we're not talking about Producer-san here. Admirals are supposed to be remote and a little forbidding, even more so than generals. Having the admiral operate entirely off-screen can help with that impression, because then you can let the viewer's imagination do most of the work. (Of course, you're not supposed to be able to put your face into your ship's tanks and make motorboat noises either, so who knows what they actually have in mind...)
Posted by: Avatar at January 09, 2015 10:32 PM (zJsIy)
One of the Sakura Wars OVAs dealt with the whole issue of how to represent the human player, and came up with an interesting approach: he was shown as dressed in all black, like a puppeteer. Over the course of that episode he appeared a bunch of times flickering in and out of frame, setting up various things, then at the end Ogami (the player character) finally notices him and they talk to each other briefly.
I thought it was pretty cool, though when I first saw it I didn't understand what they were doing.
No Kancolle Spoilers
Okay, just in case anybody has the bright idea of discussing the first episode of Kancolle here before I post about it?
I WILL ban you, I will ban your family, I will ban everybody you have ever loved. I will ban your pets, your next-door neighbor, and your postal worker. That nice person who always waves at you? Banned, and I will laugh about it.
Even joke comments about it will bring about a ban. Do NOT try me on this one.
We cool? Cool. And thank you in advance for your understanding.
Oh Yeah... Winter!
So I just got a text message and a phone call from Duck U, telling me that they'll be closed on Wednesday. Seems like I forgot to get myself removed from the emergency contact line. Anyway, they're going to be closed tomorrow because of the high of -3Â°F with windchills of -40Â°F.
Apparently we're getting another "polar vortex" I think it was called, like last year, which is going to make it mighty chilly for you folks in the mid-West. (And have no effect at all on us on the West Coast.)