Impression – Kantai Collection, Episode 10

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Episode 10 – “Let’s Do Our Best!”

Pacing is something that I find myself thinking about a lot when I’m trying to talk about anime. It’s a sensible thing to be concerned with, in any story-telling medium whether it’s video games or films or books, because it governs the tempo in which information is fed to the viewer. Let’s think about the other series that I’m covering this season, Durarara!!x2: Shou. This is a series with a very marked, deliberate pacing: fast and furious. There’s always something happening and it’s always relevant. However, I suppose Durarara!! as a series is a little different from most because everything it presents us is significant. It’s significant to us because it’s shown to us, and that’s the unique type of narrative style Durarara!! has.

For a more normal series like KanColle, the issue of pacing is a little more straightfoward and easier to call out. For most other series that I watch, I often complain that pacing is too fast, wishing that the studio had shown us more or made the series longer to accommodate the exposition that I desired. Here, I find that the problem (if you want to call it that) is that the series is too slow. When a plot’s pacing is too slow, the question becomes “did I need to see that or know that?”

This sluggishness is, however, only a real problem for viewers looking to KanColle for an articulate story. Even I will concede that you will not find that here, and I believe that animation team is fine with that. To me, it doesn’t seem like their intention, when producing the anime, was to appeal to the general audience and draw in new fans. They wanted to cater to KanColle fans and curious passersby by who thought the characters looked cute. In the end, that means KanColle is a fanservice anime, which I’m sure is news to nobody. Do I think that’s a bad thing? Absolutely not.

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The animation team took the time to adapt this popular browser game with cute girls and an impossibly improbable setting, giving it context like Mamiya’s cafe, nautical girl transformations, and Yamato’s hotel as well as bringing the personalities to life. Any story is merely icing on the cake. Honestly, I typically scoop off a lot of my icing when eating cake, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t want cakes to be made without it.

The mention of the MI Theatre gets me nervous because historically that refers to the Battle of Midway, a huge turning point in World War II and ultimately lead to Japan’s defeat. The main reason I’m anxious is because Japan suffered heavy losses in Midway, namely four aircraft carriers: Kaga, Souryuu, Akagi and finally Hiryuu. However, I have a feeling that this fear won’t come to pass in the end, for several reasons. One, it would make for a terrible ending, given the character development. Two, so far it seems like our heroes have been playing the American Navy for the most part. The surprise attack on the Naval District is clearly an allusion to Pearl Harbor, and historically it was the Americans who cracked the Japanese code, figuring out that AF referred to MI. However, it was the US who successfully defended the Midway Islands, so who can say for sure how this will all end? We can criticize the story, but I can’t help but be excited to see how this all plays out.

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Let’s briefly talk about the things I really liked this episode. I really like how Kisaragi’s death comes back to be significant in the end, serving as a reminder to Fubuki that her life matters and that it’s not all about her, even if she believes that what she’s doing is for the benefit of the fleet. I love seeing more dere-dere Nagato. I also love that the anime brought up how Fubuki barely changes appearance when remodeling to Kai-ni. I guess we all can’t be as cool as Yuudachi. Next time, it’s Operation Midway and hopefully no one dies.

“The orders say that Destroyer Fubuki will be the key to this operation.”

B.W.

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