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Azur Lane Episode #01 Anime Review

5 min read
Moe shipgirls, need I say more?
© Manjuu Co., Ltd., Yongshi Co., Ltd. & Yostar Inc. / Azur Lane Production Committee

“Mobilization: The Girls of the Sea”

What They Say:
Azur Lane, a combination of all the different Camps in the world, was once successful in repelling the underwater menace, the Siren. Now splintered, they must face a new threat in Red Axis, former allies who crave to wield this otherworldly Siren technology for their own nefarious desires! Who will be victorious in the never-ending war between these battleship girls!?

The Review:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Based on the popular mobile game of the same name, Azur Lane now springs to life as an anime! An alien race known as the Sirens descended upon the world and drove humanity out of the seas with their advanced technology. In order to counter them, humanity created a global alliance known as Azur Lane. It was composed of the four great factions – Eagle Union, Royal Navy, Iron Blood, and Sakura Empire. After a long and hard-fought battle, they were able to finally drive away the Sirens. Time passed…

…which leads us to the present! It seems forces from Eagle Union and Royal Navy are gathering at a newly constructed Azur Lane base. Light Cruiser Cleveland and Battleship Prince of Wales are at the dock to greet their comrades Aircraft Carrier Illustrious and Light Aircraft Carrier Unicorn. They head over to the Azur Lane Academy where they discuss how to handle Iron Blood and Sakura Empire. It seems there is some dissonance between the camps and the Iron Blood/Sakura Empire combo is planning hostilities. That doesn’t sound too good at all! Elsewhere, Unicorn is searching for her lost friend U-chan…who is an actual baby unicorn, I think. Luckily for her, other shipgirls such as Destroyer Javelin and Destroyer Laffey are willing to help her with the search. As they proceed to look all over for U-chan, we’re introduced to a lot of other shipgirls. Like, a lot. I can’t keep up, there’s just so many of them! Eventually, they come across a shipgirl who has found Unicorn’s friend! She hands U-chan over and they all thank her. Before they can even really start up a conversation, she disappears. Also, it looks like the base is under attack!?!?

Turns out the vanishing shipgirl, Ayanami, is actually their enemy. SHOCKING TRUTH! She makes contact with her allies Aircraft Carrier Akagi and Aircraft Carrier Kaga, who seem to be VERY close, and feeds them information about the base. They’re ready for a fight. Looks like we got some action coming up! Sirens are attacking the base and all of the available shipgirls gather at the docks and begin transforming into battle mode. I must say that some of the transformation sequences, such as Cleveland’s, were absolutely stunning. The Azur Lane shipgirls take care of business and defeat the Sirens. However, they were never the real threat in this particular altercation. We learn that a difference in ideals had divided the four factions. Eagle Union and Royal Navy restrict themselves to using powers only created by humankind. On the other hand, Iron Blood and Sakura Empire are willing to use Siren technology to defeat the aliens. This difference of opinions has led to this seemingly silly war between Azur Lane (Eagle Union and Royal Navy) and Red Axis (Iron Blood and Sakura Empire).

What follows is a lot of mighty fine action! The Azur Lane shipgirls are now struggling against the Red Axis attacks. In one of the coolest scenes in the entire episode, Kaga summons a gigantic fox aircraft carrier that I can only describe as badass. It’s all Iron Blood/Sakura Empire at this point and it seems they’ve got victory in the bag…or so they thought. Making her grandiose entrance to this battle is none other than the strongest Eagle Union aircraft carrier, the Grey Ghost, Enterprise! She quickly transforms into battle mode and engages with Kaga. The highlight of this episode, in my opinion, was definitely the Enterprise versus Kaga fight. Although brief, it was nothing short of amazing and a real treat for the eyes. Enterprise takes Kaga down and all the shipgirls can’t help but be awestruck by her overwhelming strength. Red Axis decides it’s the perfect time for a strategic retreat and bail, but assure Azur Lane that this isn’t over. Not bad, not bad at all.

In Summary:
Moe shipgirls, need I say more? Let’s be honest, that’s the main appeal of the show. That being said, the anime certainly has more to offer than just waifu material. There was a lot of great action that thoroughly impressed me. The Kaga versus Enterprise skirmish was particularly amazing. The color palette for the series is beautifully vibrant. The one thing I am concerned about is how fast-paced the show seems to be going. Maybe a little too fast-paced. Characters were barely introduced and then they rushed into this big battle out of the blue. It left me in a predicament where, as a relative newcomer, I was struggling to keep up with everything. I’ve only played a tiny bit of the mobile game so I don’t know a lot of the characters or the whole story in general. I admit that if I had played the game more then I would have probably enjoyed this episode a lot more. I can only imagine the people that have spent a ton of time playing the game were very pleased with it and that’s great! I’m hoping that future episodes will give us more character development and worldbuilding. However, with only 12 episodes scheduled, it may prove to be a challenge. Regardless, I’m still looking forward to more moe shipgirl action!

Grade: B

Streamed By: Funimation

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