February 06, 2015

Kantai Collection Ep05

Another week, another episode of Kantai Collection for our enjoyment!  The important question, of course, is how can they top Ep04's weirdness and Mutsu-service?  Will we get the fabled episode of Mutsu doing nothing in particular?  Will there be plot development?  Or will there be silly?  Come, my friends, let us venture forth into Episode 05!

What?  A headquarters shot without Mutsu?  Booooooooo!  Undoubtedly she's outside, enjoying a pleasant walk along the harborside while kittens and unicorns frolic nearby.  Oh, and Nagato has just told Torpedo Squadron Three that they're being dissolved immediately.  To the acid baths with you!  She goes on to say that they'll be reassigned to other fleets... oh.  Wrong type of dissolve.  I have to admit, this annoys me as he who doth scribe these writeups to no end... they're breaking The Fellowship!  Frodo (F-for-Fubuki), Merry (M-for-Mutsuki) and Pippin (P-for-poi) will be no more.  Now I might actually have to be creative, and nobody really wants that, do they?  Nuh-uh, not if you're smart you don't.

The hobbits have one last moment together as they pack up their troubles in their old kitbags and smile, smile, smile.  Frodo, as is her wont, is doing the whole "they're breaking up the fleet and its all my fault" thing, and Merry is being all "oh for the luvvapete, the Admiral is just reorganizing, you moistened bint," and Pippin is like "whatever, just get me out of here, you never liked me anyway."  And she's got a point, that "poi" thing got out of hand fast.  Still, Fubuki is getting all sad and stuff until it's pointed out that she might be put into the same fleet as Akagi.

I cannot tell you the amount of inappropriate thoughts going through Frodo's head at this moment.  Pippin has the right of it, however, when she says that Fubuki's kinda creepy.  Lights out finds all three destroyers unable to sleep, and a walk along the wharf in the moonlight ensues.  They turn out not to be alone.

The coven complete, they ritually sacrifice a light carrier and use her blood to draw arcane symbols upon the ground.  Quiet chanting can be heard for throughout the base, drawing many fleetgirls to their windows in mixed consternation and horror.  "Iä Hastur cf'ayak'vulgtmm, vugtlagln vulgtmm.  Iä Hastur cf'ayak'vulgtmm, vugtlagln vulgtmm."  The blood is mixed with two egg yolks, half a teaspoon of pepper, half a teaspoon of chopped green onion, some flour, then mixed with mashed potatoes.  The resulting glob is divided, shaped into circles, dipped in beaten egg and rolled through sifted breadcrumbs, then fried in peanut oil until a golden brown.  Makes up to 10 croquettes and summons Hastur, the Unspeakable One, Him Who Is Not To Be Named.  As opposed to Fernando Alonso, HWMNBN. 

As the moon turns red in the sky, yet reflects normal light, gasps of fear and the slamming shut of windows can be heard.  And coming from somewhere unseen, the plaintive voice of a young child can be heard like a dirge: "Hey, mister... can I have my ball back?"  As the surface of the water begins to roil and froth, we shall mercifully draw a veil over what occurs next between The Fellowship and Hastur, and skip ahead to...


Fubuki has been assigned to a brand new fleet, Mobile Unit Five.  None of her friends will be joining her, as they've all been placed elsewhere as decreed by the Admiral.  Nobody really knows what Mobile Unit Five is supposed to be, but we'll find out soon enough.  Meanwhile, Mutsuki knows they'll still be training together, so it's not like Torpedo Squadron Three will be forever gone or anything... tribute must be given, after all.  They go their separate ways, Fubuki wondering who her new teammates will be.  She eventually finds the rooms for Mobile Unit Five and knocks on the first of the two doors.

Oh crap on a stick with crap topping and a nice sideorder of extra-crispy crap.  It's Oi and Kitakami, the torpedo cruisers.  Great, just f'n great.  Somewhere on the West Coast of the United States, Vaucaunson's Duck has just fallen out of the comfy chair he laptops in.  "Something is clearly wrong with Wonderduck," he's saying.  "We loved those two cruisers in Victory in the PacificThey couldn't take any damage so they'd always survive throughout the entire game!"  Yes, but that was before Oi acted like a pissed-off weasel whenever someone dared to take any of Kitakami's attention from her.  Case in point:

IA HASTUR CF'AYAK'VULGTMM, VUGTLAGLN VULGTMM!  HE IS RISEN HE IS RISEN HE IS RISEN HE IS RISEN...  I've actually gotten to the point where I cringe when the torpedo cruisers are on the screen, simply because I know Oi is about to be terribly unpleasant.  Such is what happens here, making it perfectly clear that this is their room, the rest of the Unit is sharing a room down the hall.  Scram, get lost kid.  Great.  We'll be seeing a lot of this for a while.  I'm so thrilled.  Fubuki goes down the hall, opens the door and...

...Kaga and Zuikaku are sniping at each other.  This is historical, of course: the show even touches on it quickly.  Kaga, the ship, was part of the Imperial Japanese Navy's Carrier Division One in WWII, along with Akagi.  They were the biggest and most experienced carriers in the fleet, and were considered the elite.  Sister ships Zuikaku and Shokaku, on the other hand, were brand new, coming on line just before Pearl Harbor.  As such, they were thought of as the "Carrier Division Five scrubs."  They were the rookies, and as a result, there was real-life rivalry between CarDiv1 and CarDiv5.  As an example, after the Battle of the Coral Sea, it was thought that CarDiv5 had sunk two American carriers, though being mauled in the process.  Instead of giving the two new carriers credit, the officers of CarDiv1 basically said "If they can do that, we're just going to slaughter the Americans."  We all know how that worked out, of course.  Anyway, the two fleet carriers are sniping at each other, and Fubuki can't take it, hiding in the hallway.  Since there's six ships in a fleet, we're only missing one now.

It's Kongo, and Fooby cries in relief.  D'awwwwwwwww.  Getting away from the show for a second, and understanding that I don't play the game... what the hell sort of fleet is two heavy carriers, a battleship, two light cruisers and a destroyer?  I know, I know: logic?  In my show about girls with the spirits of warships?  But still, what the hell?  Every submarine captain in the Pacific is dancing a jig and fitting themselves for their Navy Cross right now.

It's pretty evil in the room... they can't even agree on who's going to sleep where.  Oi is threatening to hurt anybody who suggests separating her from Kitakami, the two carriers refuse to be in the same room, and I'm rolling my eyes so hard I just sprained my medials rectus, and the others are about to go as well.  It's not like this is a difficult puzzle: put one of the carriers in the same room as the cruisers, tah-frickin'-dah, everything is solved.  But no, Oi has managed to piss me off to no end and I'm not enjoying this one bit.  At least the two carriers are being clever in their snipings.  With nothing decided, Fubuki has to go to class.

Merry is perfectly happy with her fleet; she's got cruisers who are perfectly happy to teach her whenever she needs help.  Pippin ended up with Naka-chan, the fleet idol from Torpedo Squadron Three, so she's perfectly happy as well.  Everybody else is perfectly happy!  Fubuki, crushed by her friend's happiness, slinks away to the cafe for some ice cream.  Alone.  Unloved. 

Except for Akagi, of course.  I'd really like to know the science behind Frodo's sparklies.  Are they like the sparks you get from a lighter?  Does she emit bioluminescence akin to the light of a firefly?  Are they even visible?  Is she hallucinating them?  There's a thought... could all of this show be Fubuki's LSD dream?  It would explain a lot.  Soon enough, Our Heroine is spilling her guts to Akagi, her misgivings about the personalities involved in her fleet... and while the carrier agrees that it sounds bad, her faith in the Admiral is total.  He wouldn't put a fleet like that together without a reason.  Apparently "he's an idiot" isn't considered a reason.  Anyway, she thinks it all has to do with Operation FS.

The ultimate goal of FS is to cut the Abyssal sea lines of communications, defeat the enemy in detail, and perhaps discover just exactly where the bad guys are coming from.  Any resemblance to Northern Australia is mere coincidence.   Returning to the dorms...

...Foobie walks in on an argument over who's going to be the flagship of the fleet.  Oh.  I see how this is going to go.  Kaga doesn't want to do it, but doesn't think Zuikaku can do it, either.  Nobody believes Kongo can do it without being distracted by something bright and sparkly, Kitakami doesn't want Oi to do it, because the flagship draws fire.  And on and on and on we go until someone comes up with the idea of everybody trying the position once... the MVP gets the job.

And we're off!  Kongo takes the first try, all full of vigor, vim, vitality and punch.  The rest of the fleet follows with varying amounts of enthusiasm.


Everybody's in the repair baths, to boot.  Now, if you have the wit god gave a rutabaga, you know how the rest of this is going to go.  Zuikaku, Kaga, the two cruisers... they all get their shots at the command position, and it all ends up like this:

...or some variant thereof.  Everybody, that is, but Frodo.  She's just a destroyer, right?  Wrong, she's the Main Character.  Of course she's going to get her chance, right? 

In the baths after one or another mission goes horribly wrong, Foobie discovers that Kaga can make towelbunnies.  Since she and Akagi have to spend a lot of time in there because reasons, they've learned the esoteric art of towelbunnymaking.  Kaga gives it to Our Heroine because this can't be a plot point, can it?  Really, Production Staff?  Towelbunnies?

Back in the room, Zuikaku has had it.  She's going to go to the Admiral and ask for the fleet to be disbanded and reassigned.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, nobody disagrees with her very hard.  Fubuki, remembering her talk with Akagi, is reluctant to agree with the fleet carrier, but she's kinda outranked.  On her way out of the room...

...Zuikaku spies the towelbunny, thinks it's awfully durn cute, and asks Foobie to show her how to make it sometime.  The carrier leaves, but Our Heroine realizes that she just missed the PLOT POINT, and rushes out after her.

Out in the hallway, she makes an empassioned plea, ending up with an angry, aggressive look on her face, shown above.  It works better if you play this video in the background.  Just as Zuikaku prepares to hit Foobie on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper, the base sirens go off!

An Abyssal fleet led by a torpedo cruiser is approaching the base, and Mobile Unit Five is tasked with killing it dead.  This'll be a cinch!

Which is why everybody is half-assing it.  Oi and Kitakami just want to rush ahead willy-nilly, Zuikaku is all like "I'll come with," nobody has the first idea of tactics, and one of those clouds up there looks like a duck.  I just thought I'd mention that.  Of course, Fubuki calls on everybody to pull up their pants and act like a fleet.  There's recon by aircraft, Fubuki leads the way like a destroyer should, Kongo pummels the lead ship, and the carriers just generally curbstomp everything the way a duck curbstomps a piece of rye bread.

I'm not joking... the entire battle takes 54 seconds of screentime from spotting the enemy to the celebratory shot above.  Huh.  Looks like we've got ourselves a fleet or something here, huh?  Wow.  I never would have expected that.  Who could have foretold such a twist?  Oh yeah, anybody who has ever watched anime before, that's who.

Back at home, everybody's decided: Fubuki's gonna be the Flagship.  She stutters and stammers and points out that a destroyer's never been a flagship before.  The response is that there's never been a fleet with two carriers, a battleship and two torpedo cruisers either.  AHA!  I was right!  It's a stupid layout for a fleet.  Well, it's gotten the flagship it deserves, and you can take that any way you'd like.  Later that night...

...Zuikaku asks Frodo how to make the PLOTPOINT towelbunny.  Frodo in her lovable, scamp-like way, says that Kaga made it, let's ask her!  Hijinks ensue, fade to black, roll credits.

When I started this particular writeup, I hated this episode.  Now that I'm done with the writeup, my opinion has changed... now I'm merely "eh" towards it.  Slice of Life with Gunfire.  I'll never forgive the production staff for making towelbunny the most important part of the plot, though.  I've gotta admit, though... it worked.  Dammit, towelbunny is the episode MVP.

Next week: more towelbunnies zombies!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 11:27 PM | Comments (11) | Add Comment
Post contains 2235 words, total size 16 kb.

1 Now *I* want to learn how to make a towelbunny!

Posted by: Mauser at February 07, 2015 06:07 AM (TJ7ih)

2 *This* episode has you saying "this doesn't make sense", while *I* am saying, "this is more like what I expected."  Weird.

I really liked this one.  It was the first episode that didn't really have a single thing that took me out of the story, and as a whole it flowed nicely.  I guess the one real complaint would be that they didn't show enough of the battle, but it's pretty clear that Kantai Collection is meant to be about fleet construction and the personalities of the fleet girls.

Or at least it is in *this* episode.  In the next episode I wouldn't be surprised if they establish a forward base that is later attacked by Abyssals that results in the loss of several not-appearing-in-this-anime battleships.

And this all goes back to the point I was making the other day:  are the writers doing this on purpose, or is this just pure laziness?  Nothing, from a writing perspective, has been brilliant, but they handled the unifying plot device as well as could be done.

Posted by: Ben at February 07, 2015 01:48 PM (DRaH+)

3 The only part of the episode that didn't make sense was the fleet composition.  Three high-value targets and two rare torpedo cruisers with more potential shipkilling ability than any dreadnought screened by a single destroyer?  Bah. 

Posted by: Wonderduck at February 07, 2015 08:43 PM (jGQR+)

4 Yeah, but I don't expect them to get "screening" right in a show like this anyway...

Posted by: Avatar at February 07, 2015 08:59 PM (ZeBdf)

5 Dude...

What did you do to that Merry in that screenshot?

Posted by: GreyDuck at February 07, 2015 10:27 PM (AQ0bN)

6 ...nothing.  Nothing at all. 

Why do you ask?

Posted by: Wonderduck at February 08, 2015 12:00 AM (jGQR+)


I thought towel-animal-tying was a cruise ship thing.  What's a military vessel doing tying them?

Posted by: Mikeski at February 08, 2015 02:40 AM (lO+tS)

8 Maybe she learned it from Yamato? (grin, duck, run very fast)

Posted by: Avatar at February 08, 2015 05:23 AM (ZeBdf)

9 Oooooh, clever deep knowledge reference from Avatar!  I award him five geek cred points.

Posted by: Wonderduck at February 08, 2015 09:31 AM (jGQR+)

10 Ia-ftaghn aside, I managed to both like and dislike this episode. There are plenty of funny bits and Frodo gets to actually be good at something for a change. On the flipside, her competence level (for that matter, everybody's competence level) seems to be dictated by the need of the plot-like substance in the show. "We need her to be rescued, so have her fall down and freak out a lot. Okay, now we need everyone to respect her, so have her devise a workable strategy and convince these other crazy ships to go along with it."

Sort of how a particular sinking in a previous episode pretty much came down to, "She did good and professional work, then stood around futzing with her hair, so down she goes." Meh.

It's amusing enough to keep watching but I'll forget all about it once it's over, I suspect.

Posted by: GreyDuck at February 08, 2015 04:31 PM (AQ0bN)

11 I have to return those geek cred points, as I heard it in the context of Kancolle. (So hey, maybe it is educational!)

Posted by: Avatar at February 08, 2015 09:09 PM (ZeBdf)

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