We're sampling all the new pilots this Winter. Check out our thoughts on...
- JOJO'S - BATTLE IN EGYPT ** ASSASSINATION CLASSROOM ** DEATH PARADE
- MARIA THE VIRGIN WITCH ** YATTERMAN NIGHT ** THE ROLLING GIRLS
- THE TESTAMENT OF SISTER NEW DEVIL ** THE IDOLM@STER
Before I begin my review of Kantai Collection, I should probably confess something in the interest of full disclosure. As most of you reading this probably know, “Kantai Collection” the anime is based on the wildly popular “Kantai Collection” computer game which came out in 2013. I’m told by friends that playing the game before watching the anime allows one to notice and appreciate several fun nods and references that those who have not played the game will miss.
I myself have not played the game. So this review will be based purely on the experience I had watching the anime. Those of you reading this can therefore either view my evaluation of Kantai Collection the anime as pure and unbiased by outside influences, or ill-informed and irrelevant, and accept or dismiss it accordingly.
The underlying premise of Kantai Collection is that the oceans of the world have fallen under the control of the “Deep Sea Fleet.” Massive, highly-advanced, demonic looking warships that have the power to annihilate and sink nearly any vessel that dares to challenge them on the open sea.
The only force that can stand up to the Deep Sea Fleet? The “Kanmusu.” A group of…I’m not even sure how to really describe them…cute Japanese schoolgirls who are also (somehow) World War II Japanese battleships? Or they (somehow) carry the spirits of Japanese Battleships inside them, which gives them the power of Japanese battleships? I’m not entirely sure how it works. All I know is that when danger rears its head, these girls go into their cosplay routine, dress up as battleships, water-ski out onto the ocean, fire on the deep sea fleet with tiny handheld weapons which (somehow) magically transform into real life-sized fighter planes, (plus bullets, bombs and torpedoes), and before you can say, “You sunk my battleship” the weapons slam into the deep sea fleet with the full force of actual real live ordinance, destroying the enemy ships and earning victory for our heroines.
As strange as it may sound, absolutely none of that premise (bizarre as it is) rubbed me the wrong way.
What did rub me the wrong way was when I thought to myself, “Wait a minute. If this story is supposed to take place sometime roughly around the World War II period, and these girls are supposed to represent Japanese battleships, then who are the enemies they’re fighting and destroying supposed to represent?” After tossing and turning the idea in my head, I couldn’t escape the suspicion (I have no proof mind you, it’s just a suspicion) that the evil demonic “Deep Sea Fleet” is supposed to represent…The Allies. America, England, et al.
So essentially, if my suspicion is right, what we have here with Kantai Collection is a show that wistfully delivers the message, “Hurray for the Japanese naval fleet, destroying the Allies and helping the Axis powers win World War II, which is what could’ve/should’ve/would’ve happened in a better version of history.” (Or at least, “better” from the author’s perspective.)
Again, I have no proof that this is the message the author was trying to deliver. And it’s entirely possible I’m just reading into things here. But if I’m correct then…as someone who generally supports the Allies and not the Axis powers in World War II, I’m gonna have a hard time watching and supporting this show.
BUT, all that being said, the art and animation were very nice. The protagonist seemed very sweet and adorable. And it looks like in-between battle sequences, this show will feature a warm and heartfelt story about girls meeting each other, forming bonds of friendship and learning to work together to defeat a common foe. So…y’know...if you don’t mind the Pro-Axis-Powers message, this show might be the anime for you.
(Special thanks to Hyper-User Takashichea for the screencaps)
Kaita Mpambara works every day to try and create shows, stories, and characters that are as exciting, energizing, and entertaining as the very best works that have been given to the world by both the western and eastern animation industries. Keep up with his musings on life, the universe and everything by following him on Facebook.