Wake Up, Ship Girls! It’s KanColle Episode 3!

Posted by DiGiKerot in Kantai Collection at January 22, 2015 on 10:56 pm

Well, that was sure a potentially interesting episode.

To get the thing which is potentially obvious out of the way upfront, the W Island here is a thinly disguised reference to Wake Island, no-doubt masked to at least make it look slightly like the Abyssal Fleet aren’t the US navy, and that the property isn’t quite as grossly nationalistic as it could be taken as being.

The significance of this is that, whilst the show was throwing out death flags all over the place this week, it was never going to be Mutsuki who was going down (even if she deserved it for her lack of fluffy hair), as the real-life Kisaragi was sank during the attacks on Wake Island – and was infact the first Japanese warship to have been. If any ship was going down this episode, ir was always going to be Kisaragi as soon as the specifics of the skirmish was declared.

Her sinking in the anime is an interesting development on a few levels, not least because they actually sank a ship-girl, even if it wasn’t exactly a high-risk, high-popularity one they went with. More than the last episode, though, this weeks KanColle brought some of the odd confluence of factors the show is trying to juggle somewhat into relief.

Again, on the definately-not-nationalistic front, the shows first episode made it clear that they are not fighting World War 2 here, that these aren’t the original ships, but rather girls born with the reincarnated souls of those ships imbued within them. At the same time, the show doesn’t really make that much effort to disguise what kind of time period it’s supposed to be set in – there’s a lot of period details, like the use of text being written right-to-left horizontally, rather than the left-to-right fashion as it is in modern times.

Then you have historical details like Mutsuki talking about how Kisaragi came into service before her, despite Mutsuki being the classes name ship.

To a certain degree, even up to Kisaragi sinking, the narrative disparity with the presented setting, aside from the obvious momentary tragedy, ends up presenting a possibly unintentional story of girls unable to escape a tragic predetermined fate laid out be their former namesakes. The show trying to have it’s cake and eat it paints things in a slightly weird light, and it’ll be curious to see how closely it chooses to hue to actual history going forward.

That said, the immediately interesting thing is whether or not the development is simply to provide short-term tragedy-porn, or if it will have lasting repercussions. I certainly wasn’t the first one to notice that, perhaps in a move to get away from appearing too unintentionally aggressively anti-American, that some of the recent Abyssal Fleet additions in the game look rather similar to certain friendly ship girls. It’ll be interesting to see if they officially close that circle in the anime and have an embittered Kisaragi come back in another form to wreak havoc on poor, unfluffy Mutsukis heart, presuming Mutsuki doesn’t sink herself in despair before that.

I have to say, the visible bra rather ruins some of the poignancy, but it’s just being true to the game, I guess…

Or maybe a new, blank Kisaragi will just randomly turn up after another skirmish, as they are wont to do in the game. Duplicate ship-girls just kind of appear like that, and it’s rather hard to get too stressed out about it unless you sink something particularly rare, or the Verniy that you’ve spent such a long time raising the level of. It’s usually your fault if a ship-girl sinks anyway, normally due to an utter lack of concentration.

Still, if the whole Abyssal resurrection comes about, it’ll likely be a while before it happens – putting two-and-two together (or at least the OP and next episode preview), episode 4 is probably going to be about Kongou cheering Fubuki up with a round of Tea and fruit scones. Maybe she’ll even serve Fish and Chips like the proper British Returnee that she is.

Japanese Breakfast!!!

(I will, though, point out that the bubble wrap Akagi was popping in the previous episode wasn’t invented until after WW2, so I guess I’ll have to give them that as an out!)

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