Impression – Kantai Collection, Episode 11

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Episode 11 – “Operation MI Begins!”

After weeks of slow, expository episodes, KanColle jumps right back into the action, making me almost wish that the series had a more focused story for longer durations. While the plot quality will vary depending on who you ask, I think what the anime gets right more often than not is its presentation. Of course as I argued last time, this really isn’t about story in the first place but rather creating a world where these characters can move about and act out scenarios that may or may not coherently tied together. As always, I’d like to stress that something need not be “good” to be enjoyable.

The openings of this episode confirmed all of our fears, showing the events of the Battle of Midway unfold with impressive historical accuracy. The main fleet made up of Akagi, Kaga, Hiryuu, Souryuu, Mogami, and Mikuma are caught off guard by the enemy, and in a moment of realized defeat, Akagi asks the destroyer Shiranui to scuttle her. If we had seen the rest of history play out, we would’ve seen a mortally-wounded Hiryuu fight to the death as the last remaining aircraft carrier at sea that day. Thankfully, this turns out to be a recurring dream that has been haunting Akagi and perhaps things will end differently this time.

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Or, that’s what I thought up until the end where Akagi’s nightmare suddenly becomes reality, and she finds herself in an impossible situation under surprise enemy fire. However, I think it’s a pretty safe assumption that Akagi will be saved at the last second. We’ve had an entire season of character development for Fubuki, so I’m sure we can count on her to come to the rescue. I wouldn’t count this as a deus ex machina either because I feel that those moments are completely out of the blue, whereas in this situation where we’re expecting Fubuki to appear.

There are other historical inconsistencies that may change the course of fate. One, Yamato was unable to participate in the Battle of Midway because she was too far away. While that may be what we’re seeing here, I think it’s strange to have an epic scene of her deployment only to have her absent from combat. She has the highest chance of sinking in the anime, in my opinion, but let’s just hope that doesn’t happen. Second, we see a brief glimpse of a mysterious figure standing on a cliff. A quick pause of the video revealed that it’s actually the armored aircraft carrier Taihou, who also didn’t actually participate in the Battle of Midway. Her sudden appearance must mean she’ll have an important part in the final episode next week, or we’re going into overtime with a 2nd season. There’s no doubt in my mind, given KanColle‘s popularity, of the possibility of a second season.

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Also, I find it hard to buy that Kitakami’s dead. Sure, there was a massive death flag when she was talking to Ooi, but everyone had a death flag this episode. Kitakami doesn’t even historically sink at the Battle of Midway! Then again, I’m not sure how much history has to do with these events anymore. Thankfully, all will be revealed and resolved in one week.

“Nagato-san, have you ever felt something like a great river sweeping us along?” ~ Akagi

B.W.

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