Ah, Kantai Collection. That one popular game turned anime about ship girls who… do cute things? Well, that’s true to an extent, but as it turns out Kantai Collection, or KanColle for short actually manages to tell a somewhat coherent story amidst all the cute.
Now when I say coherent, I mean it manages to be consistent. But, is it all that interesting, and thought provoking? No. Not at all. The focus here isn’t on the over arching story, but rather the characters, and their interactions with each other. Sadly, while that’s the main pull for this show, the character development itself is rather weak. You really only see 1… 2… 3 characters get any real growth, and that’s being generous. Everyone you meet basically remains the same throughout the show, and somehow that felt fine. There’s definitely enough characters to keep you entertained by their differing personalities and antics, so maybe… that makes up for the lack of growth.
KanColle’s Story is centered around the destroyer, Fubuki. We catch her as she joins the Naval District, having no combat experience, but plenty of book knowledge. Basically, she starts off weak and only grows from there. Almost as if she were the starter ship for the game starting at lvl 1. Oh. So does that mean… the Admiral who we never see, is actually a self-insert of ourselves playing the game? Maybe. Theories aside, the story loosely follows historical events of the Pacific Theater in World War II, while also making room for references to the game. The story will not surprise you in any way, neither does it try to. KanColle is simply out to amuse, and amuse it does.
As for those references, it’s nothing that detracts from the show. People who have played the game will definitely pick up on the refrences, such as the expedition failure screen, quotes from the game, and most noticeable the soundtrack which does a good job at capturing the original music and expanding upon it. You wouldn’t be far off if you were to call KanColle fan service for… well, the fans of the game. Speaking of fan service, there isn’t much of it in the anime, unless you want to count Ooi’s dirty mind. Certainly KanColle exists to please the fans of the game, but manages to do a fine job on its own.
When the girls go out to the ocean for battle, the anime switches to 3D models. These aren’t half bad and don’t look to out of place. But a nitpick I do have is that sometimes they’re inconsistent with it. What do I mean? Sometimes, we’ll see characters talking in their 3D models. Then another character will speak that’s in the group and off camera. The view will snap to them, but they’ll be drawn, instead of also using their 3D model. While this doesn’t happen too often, it is slightly distracting when it does. While we’re talking about them being out at sea, the battles themselves are fun, but it’s nothing truly impressive. That is a bit disappointing when you have the concept of skating on water with cannons, and torpedoes. Enjoyable nonetheless.
For someone who doesn’t care much for the whole “Cute Girls/Moe” genre, KanColle managed to get some genuine laughs out of me. It’s simply amusing, and fun in its own right. Fubuki’s growth isn’t too fast, and remains believable, albeit barely. Character interactions are light hearted, and fun. I really didn’t have much to complain about on my second viewing. Before, I thought of this as a guilty pleasure, but it’s actually decent in its own right. If you have the time, I recommend you give it a try.