First Look: KanColle

kancolle_logo

Alternative titles: Kantai Collection, FleetGirls Collection KanColle Animation Sequence
Game Adaptation by Diomedea
Streaming on Crunchyroll

Premise

Mysterious alien girls with the powers of military war ships are invading Earth. A fleet of other girls that also have the powers of military war ships are the only ones that can stop them. Fubuki is a new girl/destroyer at the uhhh school academy dorm thing (?) that they live in and they spend a lot of time hanging out and doing nothing.

Jel’s verdict: White Peg… you know, like when you miss in Battleship? Nevermind.

There’s a lot of ways the anime adaptation of the wildly popular Kantai Collection could have gone: There’s the lecherous, lowest common denominator route, taking advantage of some of the girls’ skimpy outfits and “battle damage” angle from the game. There’s the silly, self-referential comedy route, invoking all the in-jokes of the fandom and basically just playing to the crowd. They could have also taken what I think would have been the best route and focused on the action and the creative possibilities of the absurd concept, embracing what makes it unique instead of trying to mold into a pre-existing type of show. While the first episode of KanColle might dip its toes into all of those things at some point, overall it takes the worst path of all: a “new girl in school” slice of life premise that was nearly boring enough to put me to sleep.

What we’re left with is a quiet, subdued look at the Fleet Girls’ (guh, I hate even saying that) dorm life that has almost no connection to the bursts of action in between. If you jumped in at any point of the episode you would think it was just another girls’ school anime complete with gaggles of squeaky voiced moe stereotypes with one note personalities. Then we get the action itself, in which it becomes clear no one really thought out the practical aspects of how the girls fight. I’ll admit Akagi’s power to shoot an arrow that turns into a squad of Zeros was kind of cool, but other than that they basically skate around on the water and use their cannons as handguns. The only positive is the production values which are pretty solid, so I can’t say this feels like a cheap cash-in with no effort put into it. But it does feel like the most boring, safe path KanColle could take an unless you’re part of the series’ rabid fan base there’s really no reason to watch.

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Marlin’s verdict: Sunk Time

While many shows I’ve suffered to watch this season have been offensive at best, KanColle is the first one to be offensively boring. There is nothing to this show that doesn’t speak of a cynical attempt to rope in the tasteless saps that have brought the series to prominence in the past few years. Even then, I’m not sure how much you would get out of this show. The first half is primarily an incredibly boring slice of life montage meeting character after character. It only serves to highlight the ridiculousness of having a few uniquely recognizable characters in a sea of milquetoast school girls. The battle did little to help this, as if it weren’t for each girl spouting incessant catch phrases or two-dimensional idiosyncrasies during the fight it would have been impossible to tell any of the same type apart. I knew this was going to be an unenjoyable experience, but nothing could have prepared me for that level of trite nonsense.

Aqua’s verdict: Shipwrecked

50% infuriatingly boring documentary about a bunch of indistinguishable girls being insufferably nice to each other, 49% hilariously misplaced war propaganda, 1% attempts at creative visuals, and 100% shallowness. Can’t say I’m disappointed.

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13 thoughts on “First Look: KanColle

    • Just as I’m sure there’s an audience out there somewhere for Two Broke Girls, I’m sure there’s an audience out there for a KanColle anime.

  1. I’m one of those KanColle Admirals (read: players), and I think this episode is meh at some points and good at another. They tried to integrate the in-game lines way too hard (Kaga’s lines especially), but at least I kinda liked the ‘fit-outs lock and load’ montage, even if it’s a little bit over the top, complete with a panty shot.

    It does kinda disappointing that the anime take the slice-of-life route; some light novels and doujins tried to take that route yet balanced it with war scenes, which makes them very enjoyable. This…I might have to wait a few episodes.

    • I forgot to say this; when I said enjoyable, I meant ‘readable’. Not that war needs to be enjoyed, but still. On another note, at least 40 characters will take part in the anime, apparently. Cramming all of them within 12 episodes will be very difficult.

    • Thanks for the extra details. I try to judge the anime by its own merits but it’s nice to get some of the game context as well.

  2. Hard to take Aqua’s opinion on the series seriously after that hilarious misinformed article of his on the subject last year.

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