small rant before I get into my first impressions of the first episode, because I’m easily annoyed by the anime(-only) fandom. I’m writing this in bed while the flu kills my body, so it might not be as coherent or friendly as I’d like it to be, but whatever.
I wonder how many anibloggers actually played Kantai Collection before touching the anime? To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m the only one that has so far. For me, I was always interested in Kantai Collection because of the huge doujin and Pixiv community. Then I started to actually to play Kantai Collection despite it being restricted to Japan. How did I do this? Basically, I became an admiral by entering DMM’s daily lotteries via VPN (to use a Japanese IP address) and I’ve been playing the game without a proxy via API link ever since.
Honestly, I always found the whole prospect of watching an “adaptation” like this without being a fan beforehand extremely silly. Of course it’s not going to make sense to you. Of course you’re not going to get its pandering to the fanbase. It’s for people who have played the game before. For a fan community-driven franchise with popularity rivaling Touhou Project, it’s only natural that Diomedéa would have the fans in mind while producing the anime.
Unfortunately, yes, that doesn’t include appealing to the western “anime fandom” that haven’t even heard of nor played my ship girls (compare this to Japan, where the playerbase for KanColle is pretty huge). SURPISING, ISN’T IT?
I honestly despise how some anime-only viewers here (and I mean that literally, people who only watch anime period) feel that everything needs to be geared towards them. Some viewers jumped into the anime being fully aware of what it really was deep down and either enjoyed it regardless or dropped it because they realized they wouldn’t be about to get it unless they’re fans of the game, which is fine and dandy, but then there’s the people who ignorantly bash the anime to the ground simply because they aren’t players of the game and feel it needs to be more “standalone”, “anime-only-friendly”, or whatever the fuck. The same “what core audience?” mindset that has, by the way, ruined many of my favorite video game franchises.
All of the suggestions make me cringe. I don’t want KanColle to be grimdark. I don’t want them to use different voice actresses for the ships that share the same voice actresses in the game. I don’t want them to nuke the ship count to have a “small varied cast”.
I also don’t want the admiral to be an actual character because the admiral is supposed to be what we envision the admiral to be — usually it’s us. Someone cited the Producer from A‑1 Picture’s THE iDOLM@STER anime being a successful character with a face despite him being a player avatar in the games. There’s a few problems with this comparison:
1) Despite being nameable, with no canon name, Producer has dialogue.
2) The Producer from that anime isn’t even the same Producer from THE iDOLM@STER or the one from THE iDOLM@STER 2. In fact, every Producer tends to be different in every incarnation. The new THE iDOLM@STER CINDERELLA GIRLS anime even has a different Producer.
Whereas, the admiral in KanColle is literally us. We name the admiral. We choose the admiral’s gender. The admiral doesn’t talk, we just do the clicking. The admiral is supposed to be us. We’re all different admirals as evident in the “psudeo PVP” portion of the game (the Exercises). Or rather, the admiral could be anything the player headcanons him/her to be. In this light, it’s a good move that they keep the admiral unseen, as the admirals watching the anime will be alienated by a pre-designed character — as I said, the fan community for Kantai Collection and Touhou Project are huge and are influential for a lot of the enjoyment one partakes in these franchises. If there’s anything they’d do wrong with the admiral, it’s to imply that the admiral’s a man (female admiral 2gud), but they haven’t really done that.
That isn’t to say that portraying the admiral as a face character like some other officially-recognized publications is necessarily wrong, but… strange deployment decisions aside, I prefer this better. It reminds me of the admiral’s many amusing Pixiv depictions where his face is replaced with a T (for 提督 teitoku).
Among the anime-only viewers, there are some who took a passing notice of KanColle going viral on the internet, but never really knew much about it and wanted watch the anime in order to be “in the loop”. Just straight up: the best way to be in the loop is to actually play the game. It’s an online game with no solid framework to base a plot around, so in order to fully enjoy the anime, you’re going to have to enjoy the nature of the game by experiencing it first hand. (Or enjoying the anime for what it is without the source material, but it’s much easier to have fun doing the former.)
Onto my comments regarding the anime itself (as an established fan):
I guess it makes sense for Fubuki to be the main ship girl in the anime because she’s the first default ship you ever see. You can kind of say she’s the Pikachu of Kantai Collection (or more accurately, Fushigidane as it’s the first mon on the original dex and available from the start in RGB, whereas Pikachu wasn’t even immediately obtainable until Yellow).
Also, I barely recognized Fubuki because she looks sort of… disconnected from her game art. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it’s different.
Shimakaze only gets one short scene in the anime. Hopefully, she’ll appear more as the anime progresses. She’s one of the more popular ships, after all!
I don’t hate Fubuki, but I like Shimakaze better. I know she’s sort of overrated in the KanColle fandom, but she’s my favorite (along with Shoukaku and Amatsukaze). I can do with Fubuki as the main character, but Shimakaze should have had more screentime compared to…Naka.
Those little Destroyers
WHERE IS TENRYUU AND HER DAYCARE
KanColle anime poi count: 19
(yes, we’re counting, shut up!)
I’m going to be honest: I barely use Yuudachi in any of my fleets. But now the anime’s seriously making me reconsider.
“Now shut the fuck up and let me finish my parfait.”
“Ooi is an eager beaver for her sister’s beaver” — Mr. Lex
The sorties in the anime were fun to watch — decent action, I’d say. However, the anime’s use of CGI is still somewhat distracting. It was passable, but I’d rather they do away with it entirely.
BURNING LOVE CGI Edition™
Whoa, they’re actually keeping the lewd critical damage CGs for the anime.
In the game, when your ship gets damaged to red health (in which they’re given invisibility for that battle only), sending them into a subsequent battle will cause them to sink if they’re hit (you need to retreat and dock your sink to avoid losing your precious daughters permanently).
I wonder if they’ll ever sink a ship in this anime.
If they do, I hope it’s Naka.
Non-admirals will not know what this thing is
Overall, although I prefer the official 4‑koma over the anime, the anime’s still an enjoyable watch as a fan of Kantai Collection. Hopefully subsequent episodes will focus on other ships and introduce ones that weren’t seen in this episode (like Tenryuu).