Here we are with a highly anticipated title from the newly airing Fall 2019 anime – Azur Lane: The Animation! Based off a mobile game, Azur Lane features girls who are equipped with advanced technology that allows them to “equip” warships, or something like this. Sounds good to me!
Azur Lane takes place in a world where a race of advanced beings called “Sirens” attacked Earth’s oceans sometime prior to WW2, wrecking havoc and taking control of the seas. Over time, mankind was able to come up with technology and join forces to fight them back, thanks to the global alliance called Azur Lane. In the alliance are four major powers – Eagle Union (USA), Royal Navy (Great Britain), Iron Blood (Germany), and Sakura Empire (Japan).
The episode begins by introducing us to a plethora of warship girls at a newly contructed Azur Lane base stationed by Eagle Union and Royal Navy warships – Light Cruiser Cleveland, Battleship Prince of Wales, Aircraft Carrier Illustrious… and many more. There are a lot of ship names to remember… Eventually we learn that the Sakura Empire plans on striking them in a surprise attack!
Carriers Agaki and Kaga wait nearby for the signal from Destroyer Ayanami, who has infiltrated the base. And then.. they strike. The carriers unleash a flurry of warplanes upon the base, and the base’s warship girls respond in kind. Everyone equips themselves and begins to fight. Agaki and Kaga have the upper hand, but then the Carrier Enterprise, pride of the Eagle Union, shows up and manages to force the Agaki and Kaga to retreat.
As they retreat, they issue a formal declaration of war, on behalf of the Sakura Empire and the Iron Blood.
Lots to talk about here!
First, I’ll try my best to describe what the warship girls even are. Because in the show, there are both physical ships, and then the warship girls. I believe what their technology does is it allows the warship girls to condense down the ENTIRE physical ship, and wear it on their body. So when a girl jumps into action, the physical ship digitalizes and then re-manifests itself on the girl. It’s both bizarre and very cool.
Second, if you didn’t pick up on any of the names, the warship girls in Azur Lane are named after historical ships. Agaki, Kaga, and Zuikaku were all Japanese aircraft carriers that operated during WW2. I don’t know the names of many destroyers from the time period, I’m more interested in macro-history and the politics of the time than details like the names of ships, but I recognized the carrier names at least.
The anime doesn’t explicitly say that the Sirens invaded prior to WW2, but I think it’s pretty obvious that this is what happened, due to the existence of ships that sunk during the war. So I think that the sirens invaded, and WW2 was basically put on hold. And now that the sirens have been beaten back, Japan and Germany are making their move… with a Pearl Harbour attack of their own! It seems the sirens only delayed it, Pearl Harbour was inevitable!
One final thing that I noticed is in regards to the girls themselves. Most of the girls we saw were young, loli types. There’s actually a reason for this, from what I noticed. The bigger the ship, the older the girl. All of the aircraft carriers were grown women with full breasts, but all of the destroyers were young girls. So basically, the age ranking would be something like this: Submarine > Destroyer > Light Cruiser > Heavy Cruiser > Battleship > Light Carrier > Carrier.
I don’t know the Azur Lane rankings for certain, but it’ll be something like that, and the respective girls will be older based on where they fall on that scale. Assuming my theory is correct. If it is, you can bet I’ll be looking forward to seeing the Yamato!
All right, with all that said and done, I’m going to wrap this up with one final point. The animation for this first episode was outstanding. Really, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, and it was completely unexpected given that this is based off a mobile game. They went all out with this show, and if this episode is any indicator, the action we’re going to see in this anime is going to be exceptional. I can’t wait to see more of it. The scenes where Enterprise rode a plane into battle, dodging shots and firing on the giant wolf Kaga were amazing.
This is going to be a seriously great anime, mark my words!
I’d better show you what I mean with some highlights, although these images really don’t do the anime justice!
Enterprise & Vestal
Girls at the Azur Lane Base
Kaga & Akagi
The Attack Begins
Zuikaku Calls for Retreat