Kantai Collection (KanColle) review

kantai-collection-kan-colle-vol-1-limited-edition-399549.2One of the fun oddities of Japanese otaku culture has been their propensity for anthropomorphizing technology into cute girls. In the past, we’ve seen Gundams, guns, fighter planes, and now we have WWII era battleships thanks to the KanColle (Kantai Collection) franchise. Everyone practically loves the game, and folks are eating up the myriad of figures. However, is the recent TV anime any good? Find out after the jump!
KanColle tells us the story of Fubuki, a small destroyer who isn’t very special. She isn’t very good at…destroying, or swimming (sailing?) for that matter. As a “fleet girl” she sucks. Yet, we find that shes the underdog type who, as the series progresses, grows into her role. The “fleet girls” face down the threat of the Abyssal Fleet which has taken over the worlds seas. Now, it’s up to the Admiral and the Kanmusu (I can’t type fleet girl anymore…) to save the world from the (evil?) Abysals.
Want to see how the Kanmusu save the day from the Abyssals? Find out at Play Asia!
Kancolle ScreencapI’m going to start by saying that KanColle is a good show and I enjoyed it. However, it definitely had some issues, none of which are its subject matter (more on that latter).
My main issue is that it is a kind of straightforward video game adaptation and thus has some of the problems that have always been a bane of them. We don’t really know anything about the Abyssal Fleet, or why they are so bad. I guess it’s easy to assume that they are an invasive extinction threat, yet it always seemed like it was the Kanmusu doing the attacking. Yes, I know why this is. It’s just that, I wish there was some reason. Maybe show the Abyssals razing an island, or…I don’t know, abducting Kanmusu and screwing with them Borg-style. Anything to show that they aren’t just some odd pale skinned ladies minding their own business.
Another issue was that it kinda felt like I was watching a dourer, less fun version of Strike Witches. Strike Witches is a personal favorite of mine, so I was actually hoping this would be similar. It was, but it was lacking the sense of fun and charm. Otherwise, the Abyssal were practically stand-ins for the Neuroi.
Yet, that’s really my only problem. The animation was decent (the CGI was bad at first but seemed to improve towards the end), the characters were likeable, the action scenes were well choreographed, the music was awesome, and it was interesting.
kantai2The subject matter thing I mentioned earlier. You can probably guess what that is given that the Kanmusu are all WWII era Imperial ships. I understand that some people on the net were unhappy since they hold old grudges about wars that happened generations before they or their parents were even conceived. The thing is, the anime actually does its best to hide that it’s actually following the Pacific War almost perfectly. If you get upset over things like this, you’re over thinking your anime. It’s not an overly patriotic propaganda piece. It’s the adaptation of a RPG video game that’s based an established concept that nobody ever took issue with before. Nobody complained when Strike Witches featured a WWII era Imperial fighter, or when said plane was featured in Zero no Tsukaima. In the end, it’s just a cute, fantasy using a real historical event as a basis for its direction.
Overall, KanColle’s first cour of episodes is and enjoyable and easily recommendable watch. There are points where very serious things happen that are, quite frankly, jarring. At the same time though, the show can’t be criticized for being a by the book “moe” series.
If you appreciated this review, please visit Play Asia, where you can find enough KanColle goodness to whet your appetite!

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