“Take a look at the world…chaos…because people like you, paper-pushers and politicians, are too spineless to do what needs to be done. So, I made an alliance to put the power where it should be, and now you want to throw it away for the sake of democracy, whatever the hell that is. How predictably moronic. But then isn’t that what ‘M’ stands for…’moron’?”
“And now we know what ‘C’ stands for… ‘careless’.”
— Exchange between C and M, Spectre
While the Harekaze is undergoing repairs and resupply, Maron decides to host an Equator Festival. Originally done in-universe to pray for smooth sailing, Maron is initially disappointed that no one shares her enthusiasm. However, with some encouragement from Kuro, and upon seeing Hime’s palanquin, the others rapidly get into the spirit of things. Spearheaded by a reinvigorated Maron, the festival is a great success, bringing Kuro and Akeno closer towards understanding one another in the process. Back at the Blue Mermaid’s headquarters, the brass organise Operation Perseus with the aim of securing the remaining vessels and inoculating their crew. The Harekaze is set to participate in the second task force, and Akeno steels herself for what will be the most difficult challenge she and the Harekaze will have faced up until this point. This week’s episode decisively brings the whole of the Harekaze’s crew under one banner: by this point in time, even Kuro has accepted Akeno’s leadership. This comes just in time as the Blue Mermaid’s command have finally decided to take direct action and bring back the remaining ships safely.
The tenth episode to Hai-Furi‘s title is similarly unique in that “Pinch” does not occur anywhere else. Intuitively, the episode itself marks the first time where there is no surface warfare or unexpected emergencies that the Harekaze becomes entangled in. This departure slows the pacing to show that in the aftermath of Wilhelmina’s return to the Admiral Graf Spee, the Harekaze’s crew have come quite a ways from when they started out in the first episode. Kouko’s back to her old self, and Akeno’s now more confident in taking charge, visible when she speaks with Kuro about Maron’s sulking. She’s later seen participating, not as an officer, but as a fellow classmate, in the festivities. This is the deep breath before the plunge, and the inclusion of a whole episode for festivities’ sake is probably to give the Harekaze a chance to fully recharge before the harrowing events in the upcoming episodes, as well as to offer an opportunity for Kuro to be more accepting of Akeno’s position as captain. With this solved, the Harekaze is wholly united just in time for the impending confrontation with the Musashi.
Screenshots and Commentary
- If we accept the assumption of twelve episodes to be true, then Hai-Furi will end in a mere two weeks. In that time, I aim to finalise my defense presentation, prepare for that and partake in a mock defense so I can mentally prepare myself for the questions that will come in the examination; my thesis paper’s first draft is largely done now, affording me some time off on this Saturday to get vaccinations in advance of the July conference in Mexico.
- Maron is the head of the engineering department, responsible for keeping the Harekaze’s engines running. She’s particularly excited about the idea of the Equator Festival (inspired by a long-standing naval tradition, the Line Crossing Ceremony), which Kuro explains as a ritual that a ship’s crew carried out back when ships were sail-powered: the lack of strong winds at the equator would have made it difficult for ships to move about here. Aside from praying to the deities, crews would also celebrate: the Hai-Furi incarnations are rather more orderly than some of the more controversial incidents that have occurred in reality.
- There is a great deal of lore associated with sailors and the ocean: besides sailors, miners and actors are two other occupations where there seems to be a great deal of superstition. Sailors are subject to the ocean’s will, actors strive to convince their audiences of an unreal reality and miners descend into the bowels of the earth. Even in a field like software development, some new superstitions have arisen, so I suppose that every occupation comes with its set of beliefs. Back in Hai-Furi, this is where two students from maintenance vessels remark on the Harekaze’s adventures.
- Since the previous episode, it appears that Kouko has become rather close to Mashiro. Throughout the episode, Kouko appears to have largely recovered from Wilhelmina’s return to the Admiral Graf Spee, although it will be interesting to see if this may return to the Harekaze’s detriment in the remaining episodes.
- With actionable intelligence on most of the remaining vessel’s positions are and the means to stop the virus, the Blue Mermaids prepare for a full-scale operation to rescue the other vessels and eradicate the virus before it spreads. Principle Munetani decides to send the operational student vessels to participate in this assignment, feeling it is necessary to have as many hands assisting as possible. Despite her doubts, she smiles upon learning that Akeno and the others have a festival in mind.
- On board the Harekaze, festival preparations proceed at a snail’s pace, since everyone seems to be more interested in slacking off than getting things set up. In frustration, Maron runs off, and Kuro, worrying about her, speaks with Akeno. The page quote, sourced from Spectre, has limited to do with Maron herself and was selected because I had a great deal of typing her name without accidentally typing out “moron” as a result of muscle memory from touch typing.
- Another one of the engineers, Hime, is constructing a palanquin-type vehicle for the festival. To maximise the surprise factor, she lets the others know that it’s personal, but this factor upsets Maron. It turns out that Hime is quite enthusiastic about festivals and immediately had a goal in mind.
- Admitting that it is in part her fault for not helping out, Akeno decides to lead the others into preparing for the Equator festival while Kuro speaks with Maron. Kuro and Maron are friends going a ways back, so the former knows about the latter’s propensities; apparently, Maron can be quite stubborn and it takes some effort to convince her otherwise when she’s upset.
- Back on deck, Akeno appears to have managed to convince the others to make things happen. The completed palanquin is now ready, and Akeno takes parts as the festivities kick off, complete with music and high spirits. While the topic is on music, it appears that Hai-Furi‘s soundtrack will be split into two volumes. The first will release on June 22, and the second comes out on July 27. Character song albums will release between August and October.
- Because episode ten is largely directed at the girls having a ball of a time, I have very little in the way of major thematic elements to discuss for this post, beyond the idea that this episode is really just meant to give everyone some much-needed R & R following the previous two episodes’ high-octane combat sequences. As such, the post overall is a little shorter than usual.
- I’ve heard from some that this episode was “confusing” and “a waste of time”. In general, Hai-Furi has always aired in the shadow of its spiritual predecessor, Girls und Panzer: expectations for Hai-Furi have been quite high from folks who were expecting a journey as moving as that of Girls und Panzer, and when Hai-Furi followed a different path, these expectations were not met, resulting in disappointment.
- While the Harekaze’s crew are fond of kicking back and taking it easy, they can and will buckle down to get the job done as the situation demands. As to what my expectations to Hai-Furi are, I entered thinking it to be what Girls und Panzer was originally imagined to be: a slice-of-life show with more hardware than is seen in a conventional anime of that genre. It’s proven surprising, and while it’s definitely not Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, watching the unusual combination of high school girls manning older naval vessels has proven to be quite fun.
- Back in Hai-Furi, it turns out that Mashiro’s not the only one with bad luck as far as sausage goes: here, Isuroku makes off with more meat from a sausage stand. Watching all of the girls grill things on deck gives me a yearning for some good barbecue. Earlier, the kitten that Mashiro had saved is seen enjoying takoyaki.
- Some of the events in this episode are admittedly reminiscent of the Girls und Panzer OVA, “Banquet War”. Set shortly after Ooarai’s victory over Black Forest, their evening events include a vast nabe dinner, as well as a hidden talent competition from each of the tank crews. With this number of characters in Hai-Furi, it’s not difficult to recreate that sort of celebration on board the Harekaze.
- The evening events in Hai-Furi proceed similarly to Girls und Panzer‘s hidden talent competition: the artillery crew put on an impressions show, rather similar to the volleyball team, and the navigation team performs some rap. Although quite adorable in its own right, they’ve got absolutely nothing on Bane’s freestyle performance, which summarises the whole of The Dark Knight Rises quite nicely.
- While Miho and her friends did a super-sentai skit, Akeno and the bridge crew put on a show consistent with the films that Kouko are fond of. Unlike Girls und Panzer, the outcome of this one is not shown on screen: Kuro and Maron share a moment together, with Maron revealing that the reason why she wanted this festival to take place was so that Kuro could take her mind off things and relax a little.
- The final event for the evening is sumo wrestling: it turns out that Kuro’s is uncommonly skilled at it, defeating even Kaede (who displayed fearsome proficiency with a naginata during the previous episode). Maron arranges for Akeno to be her final opponent, to help Kuro overcome her dislike for Akeno.
- The events draw to a close, but not before Minami, feeling a little left out, requests that everyone sing with her. With the knowledge that Minami is twelve, one cannot help but be reminded of Alice Shimada, who is thirteen. Both individuals are taciturn prodigies in their respective fields, although Minami is not voiced by Ayana Taketatsu: she’s voiced by Kana Asumi, who had previously provided voices for Non Non Biyori‘s Komari Koshigaya and Tamayura‘s Kaoru Hanawa, as well as Mio Kitahara of Ano Natsu de Matteru.
- While the overall tone of the episode is rather more lighthearted than any of the previous ones, things wrap up with Akeno gazing out into the distance. Knowing the task at hand, she wishes that Moeka had been there to partake in the celebrations, as well. There’s been a lot of discussion about Moeka’s role in Hai-Furi, although at the end of the day, Moeka’s position appears to be intended help illustrate how Akeno has matured over the course of Hai-Furi.
- Previously, Akeno had just rushed into the situation without a game plan; if she’s willing to entrust this operation to the whole of her crew this time, then it will be quite clear that she’s undergone a bit of growth. This outcome will be satisfactory in my books, and I’m hoping that the narrative will proceed in this direction. Before I finish things off, I note that for my previous post, the URL slug reads “episode eight” rather than “nine”; this is an oversight on my part, and the episode title’s since been rectified. I’m leaving the slug because changing it would break other links elsewhere.
Early in this episode, some of the students helping the Harekaze’s maintenance and replenishment remark that the Harekaze’s exploits and adventures have become something of a legend amongst the other students. Considered to be a raggedy-ass bunch, that everyone has managed to pull through the various challenges thus far has impressed the other students. These statements are meant to accentuate that for better or worse, Harekaze is now ready to set sail for their final challenge of Hai-Furi. With the impending confrontation against the Musashi, the battle’s progression and outcome do not appear to be too difficult to predict: Hai-Furi‘s primary message does seem to be about friendship and cooperation, meaning that Akeno and the Harekaze will play a central role in securing the Musashi to save Moeka. However, the entertainment factor in the remaining episodes will come from just how this operation proceeds, and with only two more episodes left, I’m looking forwards to watching the final bit of Hai-Furi occur.