Bath Time with Boat Girls with KanColle Episode 2

Posted by DiGiKerot in Kantai Collection at January 22, 2015 on 10:11 pm

Excuse me whilst I teach people to suck eggs for a while.

So, in the second episode of KanColle, there’s a scene where Fubuki bumps into Akagi in the bathhouse. Akagi apparently took some minor torpedo damage in the skirmish from the first episode, and as such is taking a soak (and popping bubblewrap) whilst she’s being repaired. Much to her delight, particularly given she was otherwise going to be stuck there for the next fifteen hours, the Admiral sent her in an instant repair bucket, allowing her to depart, and consume vast amounts of food, much more quickly.

This scene is a little odd in so much as it’s a realisation of game mechanics in the actual show in a peculiar fashion. I kind of feel like I need to explain the joke somewhat, because it likely comes across somewhat differently to those who play the game than it does to those who don’t.

I mean, most of it is likely self-explanatory. The baths are the KanColle equivalent of taking a ship into the docks to repair their battle damage, restoring their HP in game terms. Depending on the amount of damage taken to the ship, their level, and their classification, ships can take varying lengths of time to repair. The joke here is aircraft carrier types like Akagi, particularly at high level, can take a long, long time to come out of the baths. As means of example, here’s an Akagi I deliberately put in harms way to prove a point –

Yeah, I’m a monster, I know…

Funny thing is that they goosed the numbers somewhat for the show – my Akagi is a moderately high-level Kai (as in, remodelled) type, and light torpedo damage, as was suggested in the show, would still only take maybe two or three hours to repair. To get my repair timer up that high took me dropping her HP bar to down to less than 10% of her maximum.

I guess that’s by-the-by, really, as even without the exaggerated numbers, it’s odd that the whole timer thing appeared in the show in that particular format. The whole Bucket thing is even odder, though.

I brought this up briefly yesterday when talking about Cinderella Girls, but the message to get here isn’t that they are trying to glamourise the games micro-transactions, even if that is the way that it may come across. It’s one of those things that people looking in from the outside may not appreciate, but Buckets in KanColle aren’t actually a rarity, outside of perhaps during events if you are really badly prepared. Even playing in the casual sense, you can easily accumulate three or four a day without trying too hard to do so. Using a bucket to repair your heavier ships, particularly when they’ve taken significant damage, is just kind of what you do in the game.

It’s one of the odd things about KanColle that it doesn’t really push you to open your wallet, to the point that I seem to remember that the franchise as a whole was running at a loss of Kadokawa for quite a while despite it’s explosively growing player base. Buying resources is largely actually discouraged, and the only real purchases that become necessary for long-term players are a couple of extra baths and some spare space for extra ship girls. And maybe some wedding rings if you’re like that.

Your fleet has an MVP for every battle in game, coincidentally, hence the specific terminology used here.

I’ve pretty much over-explained a simple joke at this point, but it’s during this scene that some of the odd sensation from watching the show suddenly clicked with me, in so much as it became clear exactly how much the show is trying to juggle the sometimes disparate elements of it’s own story, cute-ship-girls-doing-cute-things, the original game (and related mechanics), and the actual real-world history the franchise is built upon, and how the later two in particular keep cropping up in peculiar ways. The show has a habit of couching things in game terminology, and the weird realisation of a fairly abstract game concept in physical form, as represented by the bucket, even during a fairly comedic scene, come across as rather surrealistic even in a show about battleships resurrected as girls.

To a certain degree, it’s not even actually clear what the baths are repairing – this never really had to be clarified in the game, as you just stuck your girls in for repair, and magically their clothing was back in one piece a few hours later. As far as the show goes, their clothes are just clothes, and their weaponry is just externally added equipment. If the baths are obeying the game rules, and are only repairing injuries to the actual girls, you’d have to wonder why Fubuki turned up to her test covered with all those scrapes and plasters when a low level destroyer takes literally minutes – if not seconds – to repair fully, not to mention the correction of simple minor damage. So, presumably the docks repair their boat-ly souls, or are just an excuse to have a few bath scenes?

This is maybe a discussion to revisit for the third episode, though, now that it is also out there.

As for other thoughts on the episode, well, there’s not much from me, but mostly because there’s not that much to chew on in the episode – it’s all fairly standard training malarkey. I do like the eye catch illustration by bob, the artist for the Sendai, Myoukou and Tone class ships in the game, as well as the light aircraft carrier Shouhou. bob’s art for the game is one of those interesting cases where you can very much see, if not necessarily a maturation in it, than a least a change in approach to his art for the game as the franchise has went on – it’s not always necessarily obvious from what you see in the game, but if you look at the full illustrations for the character portraits, the proportions are kind of hilariously lanky on some of them (particularly in regards to the damage art). They have weirdly long limbs compared to their torsos. This isn’t really true of the newer Kai-Ni (second remodel) art for the same ships – in some examples, like Naka’s damage art, it’s almost gone in completely the opposite direction.

(Also kind of sore about the Naka-chan concert bait-and-switch. I’m sure we’ll get it some day, and hopefully unbesmirched by Fubuki…)

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