Impression – Kantai Collection, Episode 04

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Episode 04 – “It’s Our Turn! Follow Me!”

KanColle continues to impress this week as it shows that it can skillfully and tastefully recover from the heavy events from the last episode. If you don’t remember or selectively blocked from your memory, our good friend Kisaragi was killed in action, and now Mutsuki is in disbelief over what happened, hoping that she’ll still return to the Naval District. Most series would have spent a long time dwelling over the death, with incessant flashbacks and long speeches about what her life meant to the fleet, but we don’t see that here. In fact, Kisaragi’s face is never shown again because that’s the reality of death, especially in a militaristic environment regardless of how moe it is.

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This past week, I found myself in a similar situation as Fubuki. A friend of a good friend of mine passed away, and while I didn’t know him well enough to be devastated by his passing, it was enough to shake me up a bit. So even though KanColle is totally fiction, I appreciated the very real depiction of life after a death because sometimes there are emotions, like grief, that people can’t really express well with words, and we see this with Mutsuki. It takes a near-death experience for Fubuki to understand exactly what Kisaragi felt in her final moments, and she’s able to live out those desires by safely returning to Mutsuki.

The phrase “I understand” (分かります、分かる) is thrown around a lot this episode. Once when Fubuki talks to Mutsuki about going out to the wharf, another when Hiei gets caught in Haruna’s trap, and another after Kongou saves Fubuki. All three are very different situations, but they all have the same intention of showing how these characters can communicate with each other without explicitly saying what they’re thinking. In Fubuki’s case, it’s typically because she can’t find the right words, and that’s okay because there are good people like Kongou who understand.

The Japanese call this 阿吽の呼吸 (“aun no kokyuu”) and is based on the concept that people who know each other well can almost read each others’ minds, communicating many emotions with few words. I’m assuming most married couples have this connection. We see a perfect example in this episode’s end, in which Mutsuki and Fubuki share a simple “good morning.” In that one greeting, we see that Mutsuki has come to terms with Kisaragi’s death because, at the risk of sounding cliche, every dusk has its dawn.

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But enough of the sad stuff, how about those Kongou sisters?! In case you didn’t know, Kongou is consistently the most popular kanmusu in KanColle, and I always thought she was a bit overrated. This episode, however, pushes a hard argument against me because she, along with her sisters Hiei, Haruna, and Kirishima, are like a walking comedy troupe. I’ll still stand by my guns and say that Kongou isn’t as cool without her sisters, though. The directors made a great move by not only introducing them in this episode but also giving them the most ridiculous interactions ever.

The Kongou sisters bring us some needed show-stopping levity, without feeling obstructive at all, and it’s mixed well with the gravity of Kisaragi’s death. On the endless list of great moments from this episode, we have Hiei, Haruna, and Kirishima barrelrolling into the Admiral’s office, Shimakaze’s ADHD, Ooi’s rampant jealously, K-On!gou, Kirishima’s signature mic check, Haruna the angler, and many more. Like Ayane Sakura and the Sendai and Nagato Sisters, the entire Kongou family is voiced by Nao Touyama so it’s funny when there are conversations that are literally just her talking to herself. I definitely think Ayane Sakura deserves acclaim because she’s voicing 8 characters in KanColle, ranging from Nagato to Shimakaze. Also, the reason Kongou calls her Zekamashi (ぜかまし) is because it’s Shimakaze (しまかぜ) backwards in Japanese.

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Next week, I think it’s safe to say we’ll finally see the return of Kaga after 3 episodes of absence, as well as the introduction of the members of the 5th Carrier Division, Shoukaku and Zuikaku. Now if you’ll excuse, I think I’m gonna go watch Kongou backhand an Abyssal battleship round again.

“Hey! Did you see that?! Don’t take your eyes off us!” ~ Kongou

B.W.

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