January 07, 2015

KanColle Ep01 First Reaction

Oh my, yes.

Dai Ichi Koku Sentai, at your service.
Very yes.  MUCH yes.  Yes, yes, yes.

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!

Now, to work on my schemes and plans...

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:32 PM | Comments (22) | Add Comment
Post contains 172 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Ballistic projectiles, arrow-planes (see what I did there? huh?), and characters were fired across the screen, all in rapid succession.

I want to see what the second episode looks like before deciding what to make of this show...

Posted by: GreyDuck at January 08, 2015 08:18 AM (AQ0bN)

2

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?

Hmmm....Interesting....

Posted by: cxt217 at January 08, 2015 10:55 AM (zlDqA)

3 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)

4 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)

5 why 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+)

6 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)

7

That doesn't seem to be the case. The carriers were in squadron 1, the cruisers were squadron 2, and the destroyers were squadron 3.

It was never done that way in real life, of course, but this ain't remotely real life.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 08, 2015 10:23 PM (+rSRq)

8

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)

9 I expected one light cruiser leading each torpedo squadron of destroyers. 

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+)

10 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)

11

Did I get that right?

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)

12 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+)

13 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)

14 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: suburbanbanshee@gmail.com at January 09, 2015 05:40 PM (ZJVQ5)

15 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: suburbanbanshee@gmail.com at January 09, 2015 05:49 PM (ZJVQ5)

16 Why is there a Russian ship girl?

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+)

17 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)

18 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+)

20 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)

21

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.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 10, 2015 04:27 AM (+rSRq)

22 Thanks to Avatar's comment above, I shall now refer to the Admiral in this show as Admiral Naismith...

(Miles Vorkosigan has a notable weakness for tall women. So, fraternization shouldn't be an issue here...?)

Posted by: GreyDuck at January 11, 2015 12:46 AM (AQ0bN)

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