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KanColle Complete Collection Essentials Blu-ray Anime Review

7 min read


What They Say
Based off the hit browser game phenomenon from Japan comes an anime with the cutest fleets around. When the ocean was taken over by a dangerous enemy fleet known as the Deep Sea Fleet, humanity was driven off the waters. To take back the sea, it’s up to the Fleet Girls—girls born with the souls of famous Japanese warships—to defeat the deadly enemy. But being a Fleet Girl takes more than courage; it takes skill, power, and most of all—friends!

Fubuki is a Special Type Destroyer who has been assigned to the Naval District. With a grand total of zero battles under her belt, she’s sure to sink fast under the pressure of expectation. Luckily for her, she’s grouped with Torpedo Squadron Three, and they’re ready to support their new admiral. Between training and classes, and the occasional battle for the best curry, Fubuki and her colorful group of new friends will prove they have what it takes to defend the ocean.

The Review!
Funimation did a great job with the audio in this series. I’m not sure why this was better than almost everything else I’ve seen from them save a few anime like Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, but the audio was crisp, clear, and smooth. The audio for the English dubs is in Dolby TrueHD English 5.1, while the Japanese is Dolby TrueHD Japanese 2.0.

The 1080p high definition 16:9 video quality is truly amazing in this series. All of the images are crisp and clear, showcasing the strongest aspects of the artwork for this series. The animation is very fluid and doesn’t become degraded due to poor video quality. Kantai Collection the Animation definitely has some of the better video quality out of Funimation’s blurry.

KanColle Fleet Girls Collection | The Complete Series has pretty standard packaging. The blue sleeve has an image of the KanColle girls on the front, with titular protagonist Fubuki at the very front and the others appearing behind her. The image takes up about two-thirds of the front cover, while the title is located on the last third near the spine. The back features a white background with the catchphrase of the series, followed by the anime’s description and a few screenshots, along with the Blu-ray information on the bottom.

KanColle Fleet Girls Collection has a standard menu setup featuring the main girls of the series on one side and the menu selection on the others. You can choose to play all the episodes from the beginning, select which episode you would like to start from, change the settings like which audio you’d like to listen to, or choose the extras option.

KanColle has a surprising amount of extras, which I guess is because Kantai Collection is actually a really popular mobile game. There are promo videos, commercial collection, Japanese Warnings, Textless opening and closing theme songs, and trailers. The Japanese Warnings were a little odd, but it was surprisingly interesting to watch.

Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
What happens when you create a series about Japanese nationalism disguised as an anime about moe girls who contain the souls of historical Japanese warships fighting against a fleet of alien-like baddies? You probably get something like KanColle.

The full name of this series is KanColle Fleet Girls Collection | The Complete Series. Based on the popular Japanese mobile game Kantai Collection, KanColle is a series about cute anime girls in high school who contain the spirit of Japanese warships from World War II. These girls might be in high school, but because they are also warships, they have to fight against the evil Deep Sea Fleet, which has taken over the sea and threatens Japan. I never understood why these girls needed to be in high school. For most shounen anime, having high school students as the protagonists make sense because the series is meant to appeal to teenagers as a form of wish-fulfillment. Teenagers can relate more easily to high schoolers than they can adults. On the other hand, this story doesn’t really seem like it would matter if the characters were teenagers or adults. The high school setting feels more like an excuse to be lazy. It allows them to conform to all the overused tropes found within high school anime in order to pad each episode with an appropriate amount of filler—which I found odd since this anime only has 12 episodes to begin with.

Because of the high school setting, a lot of each episode deals more with regular high school problems than it does the Deep Sea Fleet, which is supposedly the biggest threat—if one doesn’t include homework and lectures. I guess the idea of high schoolers taking part in war while simultaneously trying to keep up with their studies just doesn’t hold much appeal for me these days. Stories like this could work for shows like My Hero Academia. However, for a series like this, I feel like relying on the same tropes as a regular high school slice of life anime just did not work.

In some ways, I feel like KanColle is a series about Japanese nationalism disguised as a cute anime girl show. Anyone who knows their history will recognize that the many battles against the Deep Sea Fleet are actually historical battles that took place during World War II. This series essentially recreates battles from history and uses cute anime girls as the medium to tell its story. After watching this series all the way through to the end, I’m almost wondering if the series isn’t another form of wish-fulfillment in which Japan managed to change history and win World War II.

Perhaps it’s not so surprising, but all the characters in KanColle are super cute anime girls. I found the artwork for this series to be quite stunning, and the designs of each character were really great. Character designs differ vastly based on what kind of warship a character is. One of the most interesting designs were the ones for the aircraft carriers like Akagi—she’s based on a carrier of the same name that was scuttled on June 5th, 1942 after being heavily damaged by dive bombers from the USS Enterprise and was the flagship carrier during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Akagi is designed with a chest protector over white and red clothes that resembles a shrine maiden outfit. She has two flight decks located on her person and uses arrows that can transform into fighter planes.

The anime itself is a combination of really cheesy cliches and a typical anime story. While the animation, artwork, and characters were enough to keep me engaged, I felt like the story was lacking in original twists and depth. A lot of the plot and developments made me feel like I was watching a less-fanservice-y version of Senran Kagura, but with ship girls instead of busty ninja. This doesn’t make the series bad. However, it does mean the story is less interesting than it could have been. A lot of the plot gets bogged down by filler as well. I watched one episode that was about several side characters entering a curry contest, and I just remember sitting there, wondering why they would bother adding such a filler episode when there are only 12 episodes to tell their story. I almost felt like it would have been better to cut that episode out and just had 11 episodes if they didn’t need the full 12.

Another thing I found odd was the titular protagonist Fubuki. Fubuki is the most average girl of the entire series, being nothing more than an enthusiastic gal who wants to prove she has what it takes to be a Fleet Girl. There isn’t really anything special about her. Even so, the admiral—who we never actually see throughout the entire series—somehow believes she’s special and will be the key to winning the war against the Deep Sea Fleet. This would have been fine if she actually did become the key to winning the war. The problem is that she really doesn’t become the key to victory. The subpar ending showcased how despite the admiral stating that Fubuki is vital to the war effort—please note, we never actually hear him say this. It’s the other characters who tell us that the admiral said this—she really doesn’t do anything that important. I feel like she could have been replaced with any other character and it wouldn’t have changed anything about the story, which makes her feel less like a key player in the overall plot and more like a side character who got too much screen time.

In Summary:
KanColle is a fun if slightly bland series about cute anime girls doing cute things while simultaneously battling against a fleet of warships loosely inspired by World War II. While the historical context creates an interesting highlight to the series, I don’t believe it can completely save the series from its own blandness. A good portion of the story was bogged down by stereotypes and poorly used cliches. I wouldn’t say this anime is bad. At the same time, this anime wasn’t amazing. It’s saving graces are the myriad of unique character designs, the fluid animation, and the yuri baiting that’s prevalent throughout the entire series.

Content Grade: C
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: A

Released By: Funimation
Release Date: January 8, 2019
MSRP: $29.98
Running Time: 300 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 16:9

Review Equipment:
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, LG Bluray/DVD player

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