Impression – Kantai Collection, Episode 12

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Episode 12 – “Enemy Dive Bombers From Above!”

Understandably, there was a lot of concern hanging over the conclusion of KanColle, both in terms of in-world resolution and at the meta-level of the series as a whole. We were worried about the safety of our beloved kanmusu as they faced off against their most fearsome foe yet, but we were also worried about whether the series would be able to have a satisfying end after a series of rocky plot progressions. This final episode puts some of these to rest, at least for me personally, but not without a few reservations.

I’ll be the first to say that I’m a KanColle fanboy, easily pleased by a little fanservice. Given that this series is a lot of fanservice, I’m naturally quite happy with how the entire affair rolled out, as it’s something created with fans in mind. Unfortunately, that allows for a lot of corners to be cut in terms of coherent story as well as animation towards the tail end of the series. However, while I think it’s important to acknowledge the shortcomings of the series, we should also praise the achievements that KanColle was able to reach. As I’ve said millions of times, creating a world that works in motion and can house characters and ideas as preposterous as these is a success in and of itself. Any shortcuts in animation taken as well as the compression of so many scenes into one episode are all forgiven because we get to see Nagato engage in some CQC with Abyssal scum.

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While animation of the kanmusu took a dive, almost understandably since there are so many of them in each scene, the Abyssal look extra menacing in this episode. There’s that particularly shot of the Wo-class carrier who just won’t die, with an expression of almost apathy and I think that’s when villains are at their most dangerous. So major props to the animators for making it and the Midway Princess look particularly fiendish. Extra shout-out goes to the sound designers are for creating a satisfying explosion sound when the Midway Princess is finally vanquished.

Because I’m such a genius, pretty much all of my predictions from last time came true. As everyone expected, an entire series of character development gives Fubuki the courage and prowess to save Akagi, as well as helping guide the fleet to an ultimate victory. Thankfully, Yamato was not attacked as I had grimly guessed and comes to wreak havoc on the Midway Princess with her Type-3 Shells. Much to my amusement, Yamato doesn’t look so happy when Nagato and Mutsu come to steal the show and perhaps this will become a plot point in the future. Yes, as I speculated last time, there will be a 2nd season! Speaking of Nagato and Mutsu, I love the cute moments that they have this episode, and they might be my favorite ship in the series. Their chemistry works well, as Mutsu is the only one who can really break Nagato’s serious exterior.

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As for the second season, the shot of Kisaragi’s hairpin rising to surface opens up a whole can of worms. This more or less confirms the idea that kanmusu become Abyssal after they sink, which can lead to some warped plot ideas in the future. Of course, this can lead to a dangerous situation where the series becomes too serious, which I would like to avoid because I think the series does better when it’s more little light-hearted. The thing I’m most excited for next season is the inclusion of more characters. I’m confident that Tenryuu will finally make an appearance, and hopefully she’ll get lots of screen time.

The Admiral must be a magician or time-traveler because he was able to disappear in the fire, recruit Taihou, and make it back to Naval District to save the day. Even though he’s never shown, he still manages to be a pivotal character. I particularly like the how the ending scene with Fubuki in the flower field directly parallels the end of the first episode, and we can clearly see visible growth in Fubuki’s character that has happened over the past 11 episodes. In the last shot, she greets the Admiral with an exuberance that has always been a part of her character since the beginning, but where was once uncertainty is now confidence – one that allows her to face the Admiral with a smile and say, “Welcome home.”

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“Welcome home, Commander!” ~ Fubuki

B.W.

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