Kancolle 08

Kancolle 08: Sometimes you want to surf like the peasants do

Oto. I kinda like this episode. It’s goofy, but I like a little goof. I laughed a couple times. Maybe I should say I like this episode in comparison to the rest of the show. Except episode 6, which is still my favorite. That might be mean, though.

Pon. A shipgirl on a surfboard is a pretty funny idea. Other than that, though … eh. I don’t have much energy left for being mad about it, and I think we covered my grievances pretty well already. It’s a show. It’s basically inoffensive, unless bizarre structural choices offend you. I dunno … oh, wait. Yeah, I thought of something to be agitated over. Check out this comment. I didn’t catch it until quite a while after it was posted, so I didn’t respond to it at the time, but I have thoughts. I’m gonna blockquote the thing in its entirety. Hopefully DiGiKerot forgives me.

I had a random thought about Cinderella Girls being able to reap the benefit of the sheer number of idol related anime in the last year to provide a sense of grounding, whilst KanColle has people stretching to make Strike Witches comparisons which don’t quite work, but don’t really have time to flesh it out. Just pretend I said something clever about (the English-language audience at least) being able to ground what the show is about in terms of other cartoons they’ve seen in recent years, KanColle not so much.

Maybe I’m being unfair, but my quibble with this is, you shouldn’t have to learn how to watch a show by watching other shows. Certainly practice will make you better, for certain values of “better.” But unless it’s some experimental thing, which Kancolle most certainly isn’t, I’d say it’s more or less the job of the writer and director to teach you how you should be dealing with the thing you’re watching. That’s partly what the first act is for.

Also, possibly just the point of view of somewhat who is more inside on one of these properties than the other, but KanColle relies way, way more on inside humour to make the show entertaining that dereM@S does. I think it’s just a fundamental difference in approach – I mean, they could make a show out of exactly the same content without any of that nonsense, but it’s probably not what the shows core audience would want. I’m kind of surprised that folks who don’t follow the game are still watching it at all, honestly, because I’m not really sure what a lot of the appeal of it is otherwise, particularly if you then strip-out any desire to actually know the background of any of the shipgirls presented.

I’m not going to ignore the fact that Kancolle isn’t made with me in mind. Nor am I going to feign ignorance about how moe IPs work, or rant about moe being a plague or whatever; I’ve never felt that way. I’ll grant that maybe I’m asking the show to be something it just isn’t and was never going to be. I ask a lot from stories up front, and there are perils to that. It’s a tendency people should bear in mind if they’re trying to determine whether they’d like a thing by reading what I have to say about it.

Still … are we really okay with this? Are we cool with an absence of basic storytelling stuff if a show is sufficiently filled with memey references?

Oto. No. We are not.

Pon. There was a time when I was enough of a populist to have said I was okay with it. But not anymore. In fact, I’m also not okay with litfic that tries to ride on a bunch of references to the classics without bothering to include actual characters and ground them in their surroundings. To me it’s the same error. I like allusions to literature, film, history, pop culture, whatever, when they constitute part of a coherent and enjoyable whole. Basics first, is what I’m saying.

Omo makes an interesting comment about this in his reply, citing an earlier comment … damn, this has gotten pretty annoyingly meta, but what he says is, “in a lot of ways an enriching of the context for Kancolle is dangerous, not just because it can alienate existing fans. It can be even politically problematic.” That’s true, yeah. In its current incarnation, I think the accusation you hear sometimes that Kancolle is jingoistic is totally baseless and absurd, but adding more context to it might mean adding more WWII stuff, and … what then? It’d be thornier for sure, even if it were done well. I like thorny. But this sort of comes back to Kancolle not being for me.

Oto. I apologize for not really having a response to the wall of text presented to me. We’re too similar, you and I. All I can say is I agree.

Pon. We’re not that similar, you filthy Mio-hater.

Oto. Dammit! I don’t hate Mio! I was thinking about this, and while her brattiness frustrated me a little, I’m not frustrated by her character. Or so I thought. I’ve been thinking about it and I think part of why she frustrated me is because her getting all angry about there not being much of a crowd felt like a sudden change of character. I didn’t expect her of all people to act like that. But, that just sounds like I’m pushing my ideals onto her. She should be allowed to have some hang-ups that aren’t immediately apparent. In fact, I like that she’s more complex than some flat anime trope. So there.

Pon. You just wanted her to be the fucking red one.

Oto. I did.


6 thoughts on “Kancolle 08

  1. Re: Mio, let me just drop this here.
    It’s an interesting thing when the voice actress had to explain the characterization. Not that it substitutes for or defends a certain interpretation, but on its own, it does explain what’s going on pretty well.

    Which, for hardcore IM@S types, is actually in character. Mio is always the trouble maker, to the delight of her fanatics and people who want to have a good laugh.


    1. I think I was saying something similar … to the extent that she has a flaw, it isn’t self-centeredness or “being a brat.” I came at it from the direction of the producer having messed up, since I like that angle, but it’s interesting to hear that there was more motivating the performance than “w/e she’s just a kid.”


  2. Quoting is fine, though I wish I’d finished the thought in retrospect.

    I don’t *entirely* disagree with your response, actually – I’m all for things being inclusive in general, even if I do clearly enjoy KanColle in it’s current form way more than you guys presently do – but I do think it’s inevitable that, as we see more and more works in a particular genre, you are increasingly likely to see the folks producing those shows try to condense things which earlier titles spent a long time trying to establish. The level of success there depends on how obvious that’s what is being done to the audience and how much of a hurdle it is for those who aren’t on the inside. There’s probably something very interesting that could be written on the way that Girls und Panzer uses the conventions of tournament and sports shows to infer a lot – particularly about it’s extended cast – in shorthand, but I’m probably not the guy to write it.

    As far as Cinderella Girls goes, the comparison to the approach being taken in KanColle is probably a little unfairly flattering to the latter in that there are clearly three possible levels of enjoyment going on in CG – I think it’s enjoyable on it’s own merits, but there’s things you’ll only really respond to if you are really into idol cartoons, and there’s things on top of that which really require you to be into Cinderella Girls specifically to get. KanColle, well, I suppose theres likely to be at least a certain amount of appeal if you are simply into WW2 naval history, since they make so many thinly-veiled allusions to actual campaigns, but they take so many moments to stop and make jokey references to game mechanics or dialogue that I’m really not sure what they expect folks who don’t play the game to make of it, as if they’ve forgotten that half the point of making an anime adaptation of a work is to expand the audience of it. The hurdle to leap to enjoy it is pretty staggering at times.

    But, hey, whilst not always to my taste, I suppose making a show for a very specific audience is totally a valid thing to do, and as a viewer you’ve simply got to figure out when that’s the case and ignore it if it’s not for you.


    1. Didn’t mean to suggest equivalence between Kancolle and CG there. We just used this as an excuse to talk about it, since there wasn’t a proper episode to post about. CG I like pretty unreservedly. It’s the approach to the im@s material that I needed.

      I would differentiate between learning genre conventions by watching shows in a particular genre vs. a show relying too heavily on knowledge of fandom/memes/etc., which is what I think Kancolle does. I don’t feel like I’m struggling with genre conventions here; I feel like I’m trying to navigate an alien circlejerk. Not that I’m morally or constitutionally opposed to circlejerks; certainly I could make more of an effort to “get” this stuff than I have been. That would be one way of engaging. I guess my core issue is that nothing about the show or its source material so far has made me feel much desire to do that. Since I’m sort of old-fashioned and prefer stories with actual settings and stuff, I figured the show stood the best chance of helping me understand what drives all this hype I’ve been seeing on Twitter for a year. I’ll admit the lack of wisdom in showing up at a circlejerk when the erogenous material doesn’t do it for me–I was hoping the show would be a little less circlejerky, is all.


  3. With KanColle, I feel like a problem is that with all of the “knowing” self-references and such, there’s a story there that they try to promote, but it’s not the focal point. Don’t know if part of the reason is having Fubuki as the focal point (which is again something that’s joked about at least in the adaptation manga, I think.). That being said, it’s easier to get into something tangible like “I want to be an idol” vs “I want to be a personification of a Japanese WWII ship. And CG hides it’s knowing winks better than KanColle.


    1. I wish one of them would express the desire to be a ship. I probably liked the curry episode as much as I did because the characters actually wanted something tangible. I feel like they gestured in the general direction of characters wanting things in the beginning, when Fubuki needed to stop being bad at everything, but then it collapsed into vague musing about torpedo escort soul whateverthehell … I mean, there is strictly speaking a plot, but the connective tissue that would make it matter isn’t coming together for me. Maybe because, like you’re saying, it isn’t the focal point. Maybe there’s this other thing the show’s reaching toward, and maybe it succeeds at hitting that thing–I wouldn’t know!


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