April 18, 2016

Hai Furi (Girls und Destroyer) -- ep 2

This is getting stupider and stupider. The real problem with it is that it's completely contrived.

In ep 2 we learn that the ship they hit with the practice torpedo later sank. It was a warship, and even though the torpedo had no warhead, it holed the hull, and the ship must not have had water-tight doors below or they were open. The crew safely evacuated before the ship went down, and the teacher who started this all is conveniently unconscious and thus isn't available to explain why she opened fire first, or anything else.

We also learn that we took a real hit in that battle. A shell hit the rear deck and didn't do as much damage as I would expect.

Oh, and that practice torpedo was the only torp we're carrying. From now on if we fight we have to use gunnery.

In ep 2, we're attacked by a German cruiser Admiral Spee which is visiting the academy, or something. Its guns are larger and have longer range and starts firing when it's out of our range. So by clever maneuvering or something we get in range and then fire one round from one turret and hit the rear and cause it to lose power, like maybe one of the engine rooms was taken out, and the cruiser slows and we can outrun it.

But part way through that battle, a girl from the cruiser is on a motorboat and tries to move through the waters inbetween to reach us, and she takes a near miss from a round from the cruiser and her boat is destroyed. She doesn't get a scratch, of course. And she was far enough away from our destroyer so it looks like the cruiser was actively shooting at her. So our Captain takes her water-motorcycle out and rescues the girl in the middle of the battle, leaving "I'm so unlucky" in command and it's her that actually orders the battery to fire, though that was the captain's plan.

So the german girl is brought back on board but she's conveniently unconscious so we don't know what her story is.

And then at the end of the episode they receive an emergency call from Musashi, the battleship commanded by Captain's best friend, asking for help. No details, and it reeks of "trap" but that's next episode.

Lots of people have come to the same conclusion I have: this is a ripoff of Girls und Panzer. GuP was a fantasy but they never pretended otherwise, and they sold the fantasy very well. This series isn't even trying.

"We want a show about schoolgirls on a destroyer fighting other ships. But we don't want to do mechamusume because Kancolle already did that. So it's gotta be real schoolgirls. Now how can we get them into that situation? Hey, Satoshi, pull down that storage box full of deus ex machinas and let's see what's in it!"

One of the main reasons I hate mecha shows is that too many directors think that if they include a neat mecha they don't need to bother with things like story and logic and characterization.

And it seems like this show is the same thing. If we can get schoolgirls firing the main guns of a destroyer against an apparent enemy by the end of the first episode, the audience will cheer and swoon and won't care about how contrived the situation was that led to it.


Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 03:17 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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1 You can get away with throwing out logic if the characters are engaging and the story is fun.  

In fact, that's about the only way to approach something like this.  Never explain yourself.  Never hesitate.  Naval battles with schoolgirls - go!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at April 19, 2016 04:07 PM (PiXy!)


I think there's a limit to how much of that you can get away with, though. The audience will forgive a fair amount, which is why GuP was a good series. Fundamentally it's preposterous, beginning with monstrous school ships and ending with the fact that no one ever gets hurt, even when the tank they're in goes flying end over end. And it works because the characters.

I don't think Hai Furi does work. The characters aren't as engaging -- in particular because there are too many of them.

GuP could have had that problem, too, but they got away with it because each team in practice is a single character. "The Gamer Girls" or "The History Buffs" or "The First Years" or "The Wrench Wenches" or "The Student Police"; so we didn't really have to get closer than that.

Hai Furi hasn't managed to compartmentalize the characters that way. And in pretty much every other way, it's failing IMHO. They're hanging their hats on making ship combat sufficiently cool so that the audience will forgive everything else, and I don't think it works.

This is what so many mecha series to, and it usually doesn't work for them, either. There have been mecha series that I liked (Sakura Wars, Martian Successor Nadesico, Vandread, Divergence Eve) but in every case the mechas aren't the star of the show.

"We have a cool mecha so we don't need anything else." That way lies failure. And so does "We have school girls firing artillery at each other, so we don't need anything else."

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at April 19, 2016 04:33 PM (+rSRq)

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