KanColle Review

Anime always manages to create worlds that we wish were real. I mean, who doesn’t want to live in a world where a fleet of cute girls with attached cannons and torpedoes blast alien ships out of the water?

Based off the hit Japanese browser game Kantai Collection, the anime adaptation follows a girl named Fubuki who has just joined the naval base to fight the abyssal fleet that threatens the seas.

Fubuki is one of many girls who have recently been born with the spirits of historical naval vessels. This allows them to equip themselves with weapons and tools to ride the sea and fight.  Though the road ahead of them is far from easy, and the risk of being sunk is ever looming.

Coming into this series, one wouldn’t really expect too much when it comes to story.  Which seems to always be the case when dealing with anime adaptations of games.  Instead, we’re left with other elements such as action or characters to really pull the weight.  While I can’t say KanColle pulls this off all the time, it also didn’t fail.

Early on, I found myself more enthralled by the action more than anything.  To be honest, Fubuki isn’t an interesting character, rather she just fits the “I’ll do my kancolle03best and overcome my shortcomings” type of character to a T.  She’s also surrounded by a complicated mix of supporting characters that I found either fun, cute, annoying, or just plain.

Despite this struggle, it didn’t take long before I began to love quite a bit of the characters and the feel of the show.  At first, one would assume that KanColle would take its notes from a show like Strike Witches thanks to the “damaged vessel” aspect of the browser game.  Becoming more about shredded cloths and convenient camera angles.  Instead, the fan service is nearly non-existent and it takes on more of a Girls Und Panzer feel instead.  Becoming more grounded in moment to moment struggles, emotion, and innocent fun.

In order to cover most of its gigantic caste of girls, each episode takes turns highlighting certain squads of characters and allows them to act out their personality in situations or skits.  It’s as good as can be expected, but don’t go in seeking deep and engaging backstories.  This is more for the sake of personality exploration than drive or inspiration.  Which is fine because I found myself loving quite a few of the characters.

KanColle has a mixture of good and bad aspects when it comes to its visuals.  Character designs are well done and have quite a bit of life to them.  I would even go so far as to admit they are well enough to get a few figures of.  Coupling this with some lively animation, and you have a visually pleasing show to watch.

The unfortunate side of the show is in its use of CG animation during the combat points of the show.  The earlier episodes were very jarring and the transition from 2D art to 3D robotic animation was difficult to watch.  Thankfully, over time, it seems like their ability to mesh this got significantly better and they took opportunities to throw in 2D characters in the middle of battles.

Overall, they didn’t do a bad job, just wish they took a bit more care in their efforts on the battlefield.

In the end, KanColle is a simple case of fluff and good feels, with some decent action thrown in.  If you’re looking for e1kancolle12something to brighten your day and something that you can relax to, it’s definitely worth your time.  Even with the jarring CG transitions, plain protagonist, and less entertaining final act, it’s still a fun and enjoyable series as a whole.  Filled with some precious and comical moments.

With the prospect of a continuation and some unfinished teases, we can definitely expect more KanColle in the future.  Thankfully, with what little story and commitment is involved here, there isn’t much of a cliffhanger to get hung up on.

Interested in watching KanColle? As of this review, it is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.com.




  • Cute and lively characters
  • Good emotional moments
  • Comical moments


  • Plain protagonist
  • Lacking final episodes
  • Jarring CG and repetitive combat sequences

Co-Founder of OtakuSpirit.com and Co-Host of the OtakuSpirit Animecast. A huge fan of anime since the early 1990s, consuming over 1300 shows. Outside of Otaku Spirit, he has been a judge for the Anime Awards and aided in reviewing titles for some publishers. While he's late to the collecting scene, he's found a lot of joy in filling his DVD/Blu-ray collection as well as collecting figures. Sharing this joy, he posts unboxing and feature videos on anime goods to YouTube.