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Category Archives: High School Fleet

MythBusters meets High School Fleet: Addressing Claims Surrounding Hai-Furi and Akeno’s Pinches on the High Seas

“You must never feel badly about making mistakes…as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons, than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.” –Norton Juster

In the aftermath of Hai-Furi: The Movie, I felt the inclination to revisit 2016’s Hai-Furi, which first began airing in April that year. Back then, it took many viewers completely by surprise: all indicators had suggested that this was going to be an easy-going series around discoveries made while training to become Blue Mermaids, a venerable organisation whose duty is to patrol the oceans and provide assistance and defense where appropriate. On her first day of class, Captain Akeno Misaki leads her destroyer, the Harekaze, into training, only to come under fire from her own instructor. In the aftermath, the Harekaze becomes wanted for alleged mutiny. In the ensuing chaos, Misaki and her crew get to know one another better as they work to clear their names, eventually unearthing a mystery behind their pinches. As the series continued running, viewers created their own speculations and theories regarding what was occurring. While generally interesting to read, some of these theories became increasingly ingrained as fact even as Akeno’s adventures began proving them to be untrue. Hai-Furi is the sort of anime that really requires an open mind to appreciate, and there are some claims that absolutely must be ascertained before one can start this series. In this post, I will be covering four myths surrounding Hai-Furi, which came about during and shortly after the first few episodes aired. When accepted as true, these myths significantly degrade one’s experience of the series, where the extraordinary events ultimately form the backdrop for a simple and straightforward theme: that bad luck is often-times only an excuse, and that the outcome of a given action is more likely to be successful when everyone is working as a team where the individuals trust one another to perform their role in a satisfactory manner. As Mashiro Munetani learns, luck has very little to do with things, and even what appears to be a setback, or the bad luck she is quick to cite, can become an asset with enough creativity and forward thinking.

The inert torpedo from the Harekaze sank the Sarushima

In the first episode, after the Harekaze arrives late at the rendezvous point with the Sarushima to begin their first class, Akeno and the others find themselves under fire from their instructor. The girls initially assume that this is a reprimand for being late and attempt to signal the Sarushima, but when nothing is effective, Akeno orders a training torpedo to be launched: realising that they’ll be pummeled to death if they continue to evade, Akeno chooses a course of action that sets in motion the events for the remainder of Hai-Furi. The crew thus put their training to use, firing a single inert torpedo that impacts the Sarushima and buys the girls enough time to escape. In the aftermath, the Sarushima appears to have suffered from noticeable hull damage, listing to the port and leaking oil. However, claims from Myssa Rei suggest that the Harekaze outright sank the Sarushima:

Wrong, in fact this is one of the things that the people at /a/ immediately contest — an armed 93cm Long Lance would have blown the Sarushima in half, as LSCs literally have no armor (or modern missile destroyers for that matter). They simply weren’t built to defend against an attack like that, because torpedoes no longer figure in modern (Cold War and onward) ship to ship combat. The Kagerou class could only launch one type of torpedo, as the Type 92 launcher was only made for the Long Lance in mind.

In every source I’ve looked and read, the Type 92 launcher, which is rendered EXACTLY how we saw, was only designed for the Type 93 1933 61 cm Torpedo, aka the Long Lance. IJN destroyers carried nothing else, and the torpedos that came later — the Type 95 and Type 97 — were made to be launched from subs, and would be too small to be launched safely from the Type 92. We’re talking a big difference here, as the type 95 and 97 were 53 cms. They wouldn’t fit snugly into a Type 92.

Now the fact that an UNARMED Long Lance would have sunk the Sarushima though? That’s where conspiracy theory and wild mass guessing steps in. According to the usual military enthusiasts, a PRIMED 93 cm Long Lance would have blown the Independence-class to smithereens, yet an UNPRIMED dud wouldn’t have made it list so much as in this episode… which could point that it was all a set-up.

  • Myssa Rei’s reasoning was that, since these mounts were designed for the Type 93, it stood to reason that the Type 93 was the only torpedo the Harekaze could have carried. However, discussions immediately deviated from the topic – while Hai-Furi had established Akeno specifically ordered a dummy torpedo loaded and fired, things immediately turned over to the question of how much damage a live Type 93 would do to the Sarushima, which is an irrelevant question with regard to what had been happening at the time.

  • The reality is that the Harekaze was equipped with Type 93 torpedoes with an inert warhead for training: Myssa Rei’s implications, in omitting mention of Akeno’s order, here would be analogous to suggesting that a rack for launching the AGM-114 Hellfire would only be compatible with live variants, but is otherwise unable to accept missiles outfitted with the M36 training device in place of its usual warhead. This is evidently not true: launchers are agnostic to the type of warhead the torpedo or missile is loaded with, as long as the missile casing is the right size and type, it will fit into the launch mechanism.

  • Thus, the torpedo mounts on the Harekaze would’ve accommodated both training and live torpedoes without any issue. There was never any doubt that the Harekaze had a stock of training torpedoes to use for exercises. The bigger question that this myth created was, how could a training torpedo have sunk the Sarushima? The answer itself is actually simple enough, and looking back, I now wish that I did take the time to step into the discussions and make my presence more visible: I imagine that by debunking Myssa Rei’s claims, discussions would not have gone in a cyclic, unproductive manner as it did.

  • The reason I did not actively correct or counter-argue with Myssa Rei had been because at the time, I had just been gearing up for my graduate thesis defense, and had simultaneously begun to do episodic reviews of Hai-Furi. Together, this was a very busy time: I was juggling the final draft of my thesis paper, the defense presentation itself and keeping abreast of all of the different speculation and theories that had surrounded Hai-Furi to ensure that my own posts adequately answered questions that might’ve been raised. Arguing with Myssa Rei did not seem the best use of my time, so I did not act, and in retrospect, the decision was both wise and foolish: by focusing on my work, I was able to pass my thesis defense with flying colours, but on the flipside, I allowed myths about Hai-Furi to endure.

  • Once the training torpedo hits the Sarushima, it leaves a sizeable dent in the hull. The ship begins listing to port, and evidently, the fuel tanks must’ve also sustained damage. However, even though the Harekaze’s crew imagine that they were in trouble for sinking an instructor’s vessel, no such thing has occurred. It typifies forum and image-board discussions to immediately jump to conclusions in a hive-mind like manner, and it was this mode of thinking where many of the misconceptions and errors about Hai-Furi came from.

Firstly, the Type 93 “Long Lance” was a 610 mm (24 inch) torpedo, not a 930 mm torpedo (probably a typo on Myssa Rei’s part). Being one of the most sophisticated Japanese torpedoes of WWII, the Type 93 utilised compressed oxygen as the oxidiser, greatly increasing the torpedo’s range and speed. Together with the 490 kilogram warhead, the Type 93 allowed small destroyers like the Kagerō-class to equip weapons capable of dealing damage to battleships at a range of 40 kilometres at a speed of 70 km/h. To put things in perspective, the best Allied torpedoes were the 530 mm Mark 15, which carried a 375 kilogram warhead out to a maximum range of 14 kilometres at 49.1 km/h (although the Mark 15 could reach a maximum speed of 83 km/h at a cost to its range). There were risks associated with these torpedoes, but in practise, the Imperial Japanese Navy recorded successes with the Type 93: for instance, four Type 93 torpedoes were used in sinking the USS Hornet at the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands in 1942. As it stands, modern warships are much more lightly armoured than their predecessors, instead, depending on electronic countermeasures to evade enemies over heavy armour. The Sarushima is modelled after the Independence-class littoral defense ships, which use an aluminium alloy hull and only possesses light armour, counting on its speed and ECM to evade enemy fire. Intended for shore patrol, intercepting smaller ships and anti-submarine warfare, the Independence-class represents a completely different use-case, and it is the case that a single live Type 93 could have rendered the Sarushima inoperable, overwhelming multiple bulkheads and creating a catastrophic situation where water would’ve filled enough compartments to eventually sink the ship, had the torpedo hit the wrong spot.

However, in Hai-Furi, the Sarushima only suffers from moderate hull damage; the very dialogue has made it clear that a training torpedo with an inert warhead was used. As for the amount of damage the training torpedo did to the Sarushima, we recall that the Type 93 torpedo had a mass of 2.7 metric tonnes: capable of reaching speeds of up to 96 km/h, at the close quarters that the Harekaze fired it in, even if no warhead was equipped, a glance at the relationship between velocity and mass finds that the amount of kinetic energy imparted by a direct hit is non-trivial. The light armour on an Independence-class would at least buckle a little from the impact, especially if the torpedo had struck whilst moving at high speeds, and given Akeno’s unusual luck, it is not out of the realm of possibility that she could’ve hit somewhere critical, breaching the hull and allowing water to seep in, creating the list seen in the anime. However, modern naval vessels possess watertight compartments so that, if one compartment is breached, it is immediately sealed off, preventing water from entering other areas. When the Sarushima was hit, systems on board would’ve prevented the hull breach from causing the ship to sink. Owing to their engineering, naval ships are very difficult to sink outright; for example, during a 2016 RIMPAC SINKEX exercise, a Perry-class frigate was used in a live fire exercise. With no crew on board, and all of the watertight compartments sealed, other vessels hammered this abandoned Perry-class. Without a damage control crew, the vessel still took a day to sink. Moreover, the Independence-class has a Trimaran hull, so the port impact would not have affected the starboard hull. Hence, it is clear that a live Type 93 is not guaranteed to have immediately sunk the Sarushima (even if it does mission-kill the ship), and moreover, an inert training warhead certainly did not sink the Sarushima. It is important to reiterate that at this point, the Sarushima was damaged, but not sunk: the vessel was later towed to port for repairs, while instructor Furushou was transferred to a different vessel.

Verdict: Busted

The Hunt For Red October‘s plot influenced Hai-Furi‘s plot in its entirety, and the entire staff watched the film ahead of production

Shortly before the third episode aired, the Hai-Furi production team released a special interview with script supervisor Reiko Yoshida on their official website. In this interview, Yoshida remarks that Hai-Furi had always been intended to be about overcoming difficulties, and that crossing the ocean became a metaphor for the series’ themes. As such, the series placed a particular emphasis about camaraderie on the high seas, and to this end, showcased different members of the crew and their unique points to really emphasise how life on a ship was conducted. As a part of the interview, Yoshida was asked about whether or not she was inspired by any other works while writing for Hai-Furi.

According to this the production crew watched The Hunt for Red October as reference material. Let that sink in.

問: なかなか参考資料が少ない作品だと思いますが、参考にされたものはありますか?
答: 吉田 鈴木さんから参考資料を貸していただいたり、映画はいくつか観ました。『レッドオクトーバーを追え』などですね。船内の生活の参考にしています。

Whether its[sic] for script reference, of just crew conditions, is up to debate.

Q: This is an original work with few references to existing works, but are there any references to other works?
A: I mostly referred to materials from Suzuki, but I also saw some films. For instance, I used The Hunt for Red October as a reference for what life on board (a ship) was like.

  • It was indeed Hai-Furi that led me to pick up and read Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October – at the time, I’d already been a fan of Tom Clancy, having read a handful of his Jack Ryan Jr. books, which followed the clandestine off-the-books group, The Campus, as they work to collect intelligence and action it in order to stop plots that threaten the United States. The Hunt for Red October had been described as “the perfect yarn” by former President Ronald Reagan, and upon reading it, I was very impressed with how the book managed to weave so much technical detail into a compelling story. I subsequently watched the film, as well, finding it to be every bit as engaging as the novel.

  • However, one thing also became apparent to me: all of the memes online that suggested Hai-Furi was The Hunt for Red October with hawt anime girls were wrong. A bit of tracing found that all of this ended up from Myssa Rei: originally, the interview at Hai-Furi‘s official site was posted to Reddit and initially did not receive too much traction. When Myssa Rei found it and posted the above quoted passage to both AnimeSuki and Tango-Victor-Tango, the idea immediately took off like a wildfire. Some fans even create fan art of The Hunt for Red October‘s movie poster featuring Akeno and Mashiro, while at Tango-Victor-Tango, a troper would write that there were enough similarities between the two’s plots: both involve pursuit of a “rogue” naval vessel.

  • When I first watched Hai-Furi, I had not read nor watched The Hunt for Red October for myself, and so, I could only remark on it. However, once I did finish, I found next to no similarities beyond this, and so, I dug a little further into the interview. Armed with my own rudimentary ability to read Japanese, I quickly learnt that Myssa Rei had, in fact, left out a great deal of context and (inadvertently, I’m sure) mistranslated the interview passage. The interview had been with one of the script supervisors, Reiko Yoshida, who mentioned that she specifically watched the film to gain insight as to the conditions inside a ship.

  • Nowhere in the interview did she suggest that other members of the staff also watched The Hunt for Red October. Yoshida’s mention of The Hunt for Red October was in the passing, and wasn’t an integral part of the interview. In spite of this, the lack of any other information resulted in memes being created, and misinformation being spread. When one reads the interview in full, it becomes clear that The Hunt for Red October was but one part of Hai-Furi, which had been intended to be a story about overcoming difficulties as a team.

  • The lesson learned from this myth is not to always trust someone’s translation work in full unless they are a professional: languages have their own subtleties, and Myssa Rei’s partial translation left out enough details such that it completely changed what the interview’s answers had been about. Instead, folks should always strive to reason through things themselves, and where applicable, use any appropriate resources to assist in the process.

Yoshida largely used scriptwriter Takaaki Suzuki’s notes to help with her work, and in the interview, she explicitly stated that she also watched The Hunt for Red October to gain a measure of how other works presented life on board a ship (in this case, the submarine, USS Dallas). In the interview, however, there is absolutely no indicator that the entire production crew had sat down to watch The Hunt for Red October, nor is there any truth in the claim that the overarching narrative in Hai-Furi was inspired directly by The Hunt for Red October. The Hunt for Red October was about CIA analyst Jack Ryan struggling to convince his superiors that Soviet Captain, Marco Ramius, was intending to defect, and the novel’s themes had been about the complexities of politics interfering with one’s ability to do what is right, as well as the idea that not everyone in another nation is subservient to their ideology. These themes were framed around a submarine chase and technical expertise from the submarine crews, as well as Ryan himself: the US Navy had intended to capture Ramius and the Red October, a Typhoon-class submarine equipped with a revolutionary silent propulsion system, something that Ryan was familiar with. Shortly after this interview came out, Myssa Rei quoted the passage above out of context and mistranslated it, resulting in the impression that The Hunt for Red October had served as the primary inspiration for Hai-Furi. This resulted in the preposterous claim that Hai-Furi was, in effect, an anime adaptation of The Hunt for Red October, since both series involved “a rogue ship is being hunted down by the world’s navies”.

When the interview is read in its entirety, however, Hai-Furi was written with a very different objective in mind: even before the anime’s story was fully presented, the full interview shows that Hai-Furi had always been intended to show how people grow and mature when placed into difficult situations. The idea to use a naval setting was simply because on a naval vessel, quarters are very cramped and narrow. Things that people take for granted become valuable or even absent, and so, it created an environment where trouble and adversity awaited around almost every corner. Thus, Akeno and the others needed to adjust to this environment and rise above their problems. Conversely, in The Hunt for Red October, the metaphor of using sonar to hunt for a rogue submarine was chosen to represent navigating political circles: finding the answers is akin to searching for a needle in a field of haystacks, but even then, skill and perseverance carry the day. It becomes clear that Hai-Furi and The Hunt for Red October only share the most superficial of similarities: both works take place on the high seas, but beyond this, strove to accomplish entirely different goals, tell different stories and present different themes. There is no basis to suggest that Hai-Furi was inspired directly by The Hunt for Red October at scale. This particular misconception resulted as a result of a mistranslation, and as a consequence of taking Yoshida’s words out of context; the lesson learnt here is not to take fan-translations of interview materials at face value, especially if they are sourced from individuals who do not have the skill or willingness to provide a correct, complete translation.

Verdict: Busted

Takaaki Suzuki tweeted a full justification for why powered flight doesn’t exist in Hai-Furi

The absence of heavier-than-air flight in Hai-Furi became immediately noticeable by the events of the third episode, when Kouko comments on how she wishes she could fly like a bird, without the need for hydrogen or helium, and Mashiro remarks it’s outright impossible. I myself had immediately noticed the absence of aircraft carriers out of the first episode and found it absurd that they’d be absent, especially considering that smaller carriers have been successfully used as helicopter carriers: while there may be no need for super carriers and power projection, helicopter carriers would be immensely useful for deploying rotorcraft, which have applications as emergency transport vehicles, search and rescue, observation and even carrying loads. Their utility would be immediately apparent in a world like Hai-Furi: helicopters do not require a runway to take off, and given how that the land had been submerged by rising oceans, it stands to reason that these aircraft would only become more valuable as a part of the Blue Mermaid’s tool set. This apparently was not the case: it soon became clear that heavier-than-air flight had never been developed at all in Hai-Furi. This was evidently a plot device: the presence of heavier-than-air flight would’ve allowed for the Blue Mermaids to trivially solve the anime’s story, and the restrictions were present precisely to give World War Two era naval vessels a chance to shine. For the same reason air and infantry support are absent in Girls und Panzer, Hai-Furi dispensed with heavier-than-air flight altogether to accommodate the story. This is understandable, but things became murkier once Myssa Rei claimed to have found a series of tweets from Takaaki Suzuki himself.

I think that people should be MORE worried about another tweet by someone connected with the production itself, rather than getting angry at how airpower was just taken out of the picture by authorial fiat (because the sheer butterfly effect this would cause is already driving some people up the wall). The extra information you seem to be referring to were kind of Q&A Tweets from Military Adviser Takaaki himself:

In addition, I wonder how many people watched script writer Takaaki Suzuki’s commentary on the setting for Hai-Furi. According to the commentary, it’s “a world where powered flight was unsuccessful”, so there are no blimps, aircraft or rockets that use onboard propulsion to fly. As such, aircraft carriers do not exist, either.

Furthermore, because Japan became resource-rich as a result of methane hydrate mining, there was no need for a Pacific War. World War Two became a strictly European conflict, and without aircraft, there was no need to develop effective anti-air weaponry. As such, more advanced anti-air weaponry from the latter half of the war will not appear.

  • Early in Hai-Furi, Kouko expresses a wish for heavier than air flight, only for Mashiro to reply with a blunt “no”, that it’s impossible. I did not particularly take exception to this fact, since Hai-Furi would’ve progressed very differently were air power available as an option. The choice to remove air power was done deliberately so naval ships from the World War Two era had a chance to shine in Hai-Furi – as aircraft carriers became more integral to naval power during World War Two, battleships were quickly pushed out of the picture. The Yamato, Japan’s greatest battleship, was defeated not by the USS Missouri, a similar battleship, but by aircraft launched from carriers.

  • Instead, I disagreed immediately with Myssa Rei pushing a few Tweets as being sufficient evidence for why air power never developed. Looking back, it was suspect that Myssa Rei chose to screencap the Tweets and upload the images to an image host, as opposed to providing a direct link to the Tweets themselves. While this was likely done out of convenience (e.g. if the Tweets were deleted, or the account were to become deactivated), a record of them would remain. However, this also prevented others from grabbing the text and translating it for themselves, which meant that for ease of discussion, forum-goers simply accepted Myssa Rei’s translations and interpretations to be true.

  • I was able to use Twitter’s findfor-since-until query to locate the original Tweets and grab the original text for a bit of machine translation. The results should not be too surprising: the original Tweets had not actually been from script writer Takaaki Suzuki as claimed, and moreover, were again, translated in an incomplete manner. Through Myssa Rei’s translation, it was implied that air power had simply been too hard to figure out, so people gave up on it. The actual text simply supposes it was unsuccessful, and gives no further explanation, meaning it was equally likely that powered flight went the way of the earliest electric cars after the internal combustion engine was developed.

  • As it was, I disagreed with Myssa Rei on this particular detail, and was met with a stony silence on the forums. It typified Myssa Rei’s usual modus operandi: since I was deemed unworthy of talking to them at the same level, I never got responses for any of the information or theories I put forward. However, in a curious bit of passive-aggression, Myssa Rei later edited Tango-Victor-Tango to read that I was a part of the “broken base” over the absence of air power. I had not been opposed to the lack of heavier-than-air vehicles, but rather, the assertion that it was simply too hard and therefore unnecessary to develop aircraft and helicopters.

  • I’m not sure how Myssa Rei would’ve actually found the Twitter posts in question, but I imagine that it was probably through imageboards. I’ve never particularly liked image boards, since their anonymous nature meant that people were often prone to abuses, with users posting fan theories and outrageous guesses that almost always turned out incorrect. For instance, 4chan’s anime boards speculated that the phenomenon caused by what was later known as the Totalitarian Virus was actually mind control, whereas I contended it was a virus. When I made this suggestion on AnimeSuki, I was told that this was impossible, and mind control made more sense. Once the later episodes revealed the phenomenon had a biological origin, discussion on that topic immediately ceased.

I will open by remarking that the Twitter account in question does not actually belong to Suzuki: Suzuki operates a Twitter account under the handle @yamibun, and specifies his birthday as being June 9. This profile is definitely Suzuki’s, as it openly specifies that he works as a writer and does screenplays. Conversely, the account that Myssa Rei cites, @hunini181202 (formerly @xBbZcxGT3KAVmR9) belongs to a military enthusiast who enjoys uploading military photos to Wikimedia Commons and lives in Ujitawara in the Kyoto Prefecture. Furthermore, @hunini181202’s profile lists the user’s birthday as November 16. The lack of overlap indicates that @hunini181202, who Myssa Rei cited as being Suzuki, is in fact, not Suzuki, who uses the @yamibun account. Thus, the conclusion is simple enough: the individual who made those Tweets about heavier-than-air flight in Hai-Furi is not Takaaki Suzuki, and in fact, is only stating that he has source material from Suzuki. We can thus discard Myssa Rei’s assertions that the lack of air power in Hai-Furi is justified on the basis of “authorial fiat”, having shown that Myssa Rei’s initial premise is false. However, in proper MythBusters style, this isn’t any fun, so those claims from the anonymous user are still worth considering. Thus, let’s suppose for a moment that Takaaki Suzuki did, in fact, argue that the lack of heavier-than-air flight stems from setbacks dating back to the Wright Brothers in 1903.

The primary point here is the assertion that heavier-than-air flight, like fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, don’t exist simply because the attempts to develop it failed, and as such, humanity simply discarded the concept and walked away without ever considering the idea again in the future. This is, quite frankly, an insult to Wilbur and Orville Wright, as well as every aviator who attempted to carry out powered flight prior to 1903: the Wright Brothers had struggled extensively to design a vehicle capable of powered flight. After testing various designs between 1900 and 1902, they determined that the Wright Flyer design was the most suitable and set about testing it. On their first trial, Wilbur crashed the vehicle, but it was repaired, and Orville took to the skies for a total of twelve seconds on a subsequent attempt. Although short, and their initial efforts resulted in the destruction of the original Flyer, the Wright brothers had demonstrated that powered flight was indeed possible. History would’ve dictated that, had the Wright Brothers failed, early aviators like Karl Jatho, Samuel Pierpont Langley or Alberto Santos-Dumont would have succeeded given enough time. History is dotted with individuals who were met with failures before success: the Dyson vacuum under went more than five thousand iterations before it worked, and James Dyson ended up creating his own manufacturing company to build them when large manufacturing firms declined to, Robert Goddard’s concept of a liquid fuel rocket was originally dubbed “impossible” but would form the basis for all modern rockets, and Thomas Edison famously experimented with a thousand designs before succeeding in creating the incandescent lamp. The lesson here is that humanity is largely a species characterised by a desire to explore and discover, so to suggest that humanity gave up on powered flight is to imply that as a species, we are not driven by innovation. So, for the sake of discussion, let’s suppose that is the case. Writing letters is effective enough of a form of communication, but it hasn’t stopped Hai-Furi‘s universe from developing tablets of the variety that Kouko uses. Consequently, innovation and advancement does exist in Hai-Furi, and since this contradicts the original idea, that humanity in Hai-Furi has stagnated, we can conclude by saying that it is the case that humanity is still advancing, the idea that humanity simply lost interest in powered flight is not an acceptable answer. As such, barring a more detailed explanation from Suzuki, this is not the answer we’re looking for.

Verdict: Busted

Methane hydrate mining cannot cause land to subside, so the alternate time-line in Hai-Furi is implausible from a geological perspective

At Tango-Victor-Tango, one of the tropes I’m least fond of are the “artistic license” ones: inaccuracies committed for the sake of story, in their own words. Tropes seem to love these, because it gives them a chance to show off their own knowledge and intellect. In Hai-Furi, it is supposed that because Japan was involved in the mining of methane hydrate (simply, methane crystallised into a ice-like material as a result of pressure extremities), their economy was stable and therefore, there was never any need to engage in any expansionism. However, Japan became highly dependent on the mining and sales of ice hydrates to the point where they over-mined, causing Japan to sink. Myssa Rei immediately posted the “artistic license” trope under geology, stating that:

The explanation given by Mashiro’s mother for the reason for the subsidence of Japan’s landmass being partly due to the over-mining of the undersea deposits of Methane Hydrate doesn’t make any sense. There’s a chance that she was genuinely misinformed, however.

  • There was actually one more myth I was originally looking to write about in this post – shortly before the first episode aired, a blog post argued that all of the characters’ nicknames had been based on popular cat names in Japan. I ended up asking for a source to prove this and received a link for a pet name ranking for dogs, dated for 2018. The names “Mike” and “Shiro” do not even appear in 2018, so that myth was so busted, it didn’t merit a full entry. As it stands, Akeno and Mashiro are not named after cats.

  • As Hai-Furi wore on, it became apparent that my speculations were consistent with what ended up occurring, and I found the series to be more than it let in on. Looking back at the discussions at various forums, it became clear that they were likely the reason why Hai-Furi had not been enjoyable for some: people spent more time arguing the withertoos and whyfores that the series original themes, which Yoshida had touched in in her interview, were completely forgotten. In my finale post, I praised the series for having a clear theme despite the hurdles the plot faced, noting that the inaccuracies and liberties taken did not detract from the messages of trust and teamwork even if they had been numerous.

  • However, in retrospect, beyond the mechanism for the Totalitarian Virus, everything else in the series stands up to scrutiny: Hai-Furi is not realistic by any means, but how the world was presented was sufficiently well thought-out that the story did work despite the fact that the series felt distinctly cobbled-together. Once the finale to Hai-Furi ended, many of AnimeSuki’s most active participants did not show up for the OVAs or film that followed. In the aftermath, I ended up working with another netizen to iron out the remaining issues at Tango-Victor-Tango. This individual was an active editor there, and I would help them with writing out the Hai-Furi page such that all of the speculation and outdated information sourced from image boards were removed.

  • This is the overhead view of Japan that led me to conclude that Hai-Furi‘s geography had resulted from a mining accident, rather than a global rise in sea levels. As it stands, I believe the four myths discussed, and busted, in this post are likely the main details I wished to address. The Totalitarian Virus is a central part of the story and therefore, one’s reception to that is a more accurate determinant of whether or not Hai-Furi would be enjoyable for them. That is to say, dismissing Hai-Furi on account of a torpedo’s damage, whether or not it lined up with The Hunt for Red October, plausibly explained away heavier-than-air flight or was realistic in its geological description of the mining disaster is to be mistaken.

  • Admittedly, re-watching Hai-Furi without any of the forum drama going on is how I prefer to watch this series. It’s now time to finish busting the last myth, finish off this post (which has reached 6649 words in length and took seven hours to write altogether), and then return to regularly scheduled programming: immediately on the horizon is Wednesday’s post for the tenth Road to Berlin post, and I need to get a move on the post for Halo 4, having beaten it last Thursday.

Evidently, the Tango-Victor-Tango Department of Geological Sciences does not have mining subsidence as a part of their syllabus: subsidence is the sinking or settling of ground downwards with little horizontal motion, and it has been shown that extensive mining activities can cause the ground to sink. In the case of natural gas deposits, there is a limit to how much the gas can be compressed before it enters the liquid phase, and liquids, being incompressible, will support soil layers above the gas field. Extracting the gas then results in a reduced pressure, and the mass of materials above the deposit will begin sinking. Methane hydrates do indeed have commercial applicability: the deposits around the world are thought to contain as much as ten times the volume of natural gas as known deposits, and Japan has expressed interest in using this as a fuel source: their geologists estimate upwards of 1.1 trillion cubic metres of methane hydrates in the Nankai trough alone. Real-world geological research has thus indicated that Japan does indeed have sizeable reserves, and in the realm of fiction, things have simply been scaled up. As such, excessive mining, coupled with the fact that natural gas extraction could in fact cause land subsidence, is not too far-fetched a concept for setting up how Hai-Furi‘s Japan ended up the way it did.

Experimenting with sea level maps, the image of Japan shown near the first episode’s ending suggests that Japan’s sunk by anywhere from 50-80 metres. However, the Korean peninsula looks relatively unaffected, whereas a 60 metre sea level rise (occurring if all of the world’s ice caps melted) would also be noticeable in that overhead image. The sum of these observations indicate that the sea level rise in Hai-Furi did not result from global warming as a result of burning natural gas: this was something that a few folks at Anime News Network concluded was the actual cause of the events in Hai-Furi, and the anime had simply gone with a different route to avoid the topic of climate change and its impacts on the world. When everything is considered, catastrophic climate change resulting from greenhouse gases was not the cause of Japan sinking: investigation of the consequence of extracting natural gas and assuming that a similar model can be used for methane hydrate extraction at scale finds that it is plausible for such a disaster to occur. Consequently, the claim that Hai-Furi‘s world-building is an example of artistic license in geology is untrue: while admittedly far-fetched, Mayuki wasn’t misinformed in any way. Such an occurrence is not beyond the realm of what is possible given the distribution of methane hydrate deposits around the world and is consistent with what is potentially known to occur with natural gas extraction.

Verdict: Busted

Closing Remarks

Having shown that the theories and research surrounding for Hai-Furi were oh-for-four in this post, the conclusion I leave readers with is really just to approach Hai-Furi with an open mind. Misplaced expectations will inevitably result if any one of these myths were on the viewer’s mind while watching Hai-Furi. The observant reader will have noticed that all of these myths came from Myssa Rei. It is not the intent of this post to cast Myssa Rei in a poor light, but to demonstrate the consequences of basing one’s interpretations and speculation about a series from incomplete details missing context, or speculation from disreputable sources like 4chan. Had I agreed with Myssa Rei, Hai-Furi would not be enjoyable. Akeno making a decision that resulted in the Sarushima’s sinking would paint her as bumbling and incompetent. If Hai-Furi had really been a retelling of The Hunt for Red October, the vastly different themes between the two works would mean that certain events would never reconcile. The lack of powered flight would speak poorly of society in Hai-Furi, giving very little incentive to suppose that the people in charge are competent and able. A lack of a plausible mechanism for explaining why the world was the way it was would imply the writers did not care enough for the final product to make a reasonable world for Akeno and the others, and consequently, there wouldn’t be a reason to root for Akeno, Mashiro and the others. All of these are untrue, and Hai-Furi is, in fact, a moderately enjoyable series.

The point of this post is to demonstrate how exercising my own judgement and forming my own conclusions allowed me to enjoy Hai-Furi. As such, in retrospect, I probably should’ve written this post much earlier, as this would’ve helped to smooth out any inconsistencies as a result amongst the other viewers. Looking back, a common problem that I’ve noticed with news and information of any sort is that, the first person to release it inevitably gains all of the credit for it, and their work is automatically assumed to be correct. Consequently, even if it can later be shown that the first person had been in fact, wrong, and a retraction is issued, the misinformation continues to endure because most people will not be interested in the recanting of outdated, incorrect information. I realise full well this is what’s happening here with this MythBusters-style post: even though I’ve busted four myths in a succinct manner, it is doubtful that Hai-Furi fans will read this post, much less realise that Myssa Rei had been completely mistaken about a great many things. While the ship has sailed for busting Hai-Furi myths (pun intended!), there are two take-away lessons from this post for readers that certainly apply to other series. The first is that when a series is airing, one should always make their own judgements and not allow influential-looking individuals to affect their impressions of a work. The second is that, for a series that has finished airing, someone who sounds authoritative about the work might not always be correct, and again, one’s assessment of said work should be based on their own judgements.

High School Fleet: The Movie- An Anime Film Review, Reflection and Full Recommendation

“This is the captain. It seems we sank that target. This was an all-hands job. Well done.” –Captain Krause, Greyhound

Yokosuka Girls’ Marine High School hosts a competition event amongst the different schools, and Akeno’s class ends up putting on a variety of exhibits. While checking in on her classmates, Akeno and Mashiro run into Susan “Sue” Reyes, a mysterious girl with a keen interest in naval warfare. Mashiro is later recalled and given the option of becoming the captain for a different vessel, leaving her feeling conflicted: on one hand, she wants to make use of her considerable skills and lead her own crew, but on the other, she’s become fond of working alongside Akeno. Mayuki notes that Mashiro needn’t rush her decision, and while deciding whether to accept this promotion, she and Akeno run into Sue again, who’s set up camp. They spend the evening with her, and the next day, competition begins in earnest, although Akeno’s class fares poorly during the events. Later, Akeno and Mashiro compete in a simulated battle tournament; the two are evenly matched, although the finals is cut short when it is revealed that Sue had commandeered a barge and pulled one of the artificial islands to the harbour’s entrance, blocking it off. Miyuki and Mashimo, meanwhile, discuss a concerning development: pirates have seized control of both a Plant Ship and have occupied the Sea Fort, a mobile ocean-borne fortress. If the pirates were to successfully return to the Sea Fort with the Plant Ship and its manufacturing facilities, it would confer them a massive advantage. It turns out that Sue, in search of her father, had been offered a deal: the pirates intended for her to block off Yokosuka Harbour and prevent the Blue Mermaids from deploying in order to carry out their plans. Because of her unique knowledge of the Sea Fort, Sue is asked to accompany Moeka and the Musashi on an operation to stop the pirates. Akeno and Mashiro receive permission to sortie, as well, after convincing Mayuki that they would be able to help. Along with the other schools, the Harukaze sets off. The Blue Mermaids successfully recapture the Plant Ship and secure the hostages, neutralising the lead pirate on board. However, the pirates on board the Sea Fort demand the return of the Plant Ship to them, otherwise, they will sail into Tokyo harbour and inflict damage on the city using the Sea Fort’s weaponry. Despite concentrated fire from the Yamato class vessels from the combined high school fleets, the White Dolphins fail to stop the Sea Fort: the opening punched into the Sea Fort’s hull is too small for their vessels to enter. Akeno volunteers the Harekaze, and coordinate with Moeka’s Musashi to reach the Sea Fort’s hull. Sue boards the Harekaze to help navigate, as she is familiar with the Sea Fort’s internal layout. The crew use their ingenuity to defeat the Sea Fort’s internal defenses, and Rin ends up piloting a remote control bomb into the Sea Fort’s main generator, successfully immobilising the ocean-borne fortress. Their escape route is blocked by debris, but Mashiro’s actions allow for the route to be cleared. The Harukaze successfully returns to the others, and in the aftermath, Mashiro decides that, while captaincy is something that she would like to do, she would prefer to work with Akeno and continue learning as to be a more capable captain when she feels ready take up such a role.

As Hai-Furi progressed during its 2016 broadcast, the turbulent and chaotic storyline remained unified by messages of camaraderie and friendship, of placing trust in one another to overcome difficult situations. By the events of High School Fleet: The Movie (Hai-Furi: The Movie in this post for consistency with how I’ve been referring to the series), Hai-Furi has retains these messages: as a military-moé series, Hai-Furi‘s themes remain in the realm of teamwork and companionship, rather than the horrors and desolation of warfare. Hai-Furi: The Movie extends on the messages that the original TV series had presented, and this is nowhere more apparent than with Sue, a newly-introduced character whose quest to find her father had led her to a chance meeting with Akeno and Mashiro. They treat Sue kindly and look out for her: even when it turns out Sue had been employed by pirates to carry out an operation, Akeno and Mashiro retain their faith in Sue as a good person, convincing Blue Mermaid that Sue had been entangled in something beyond her comprehension. This act of kindness, and the compassion that Yokosuka’s students regard her with, means that when the time comes, Sue is more than willing to help out, having now seen for herself that her belief, pertaining to how families look after one another, holds true. While it may have been a leap of faith to place trust in someone they barely knew, Yokosuka and the Blue Mermaids end up finding success because of their kindness: Sue’s knowledge is instrumental in helping them to stop a considerable threat from transforming into a full-scale disaster, and during the process, Mashiro herself begins to see how far she still has to go before she feels ready to accept the role as a captain. Akeno’s unconditional trust of others, developed from her previous experiences, allows her to openly accept Sue; Mashiro herself had been a bit hesitant, and ultimately, understands that besides technical and leadership skills, she also must be able to read people and assess correctly whether she’s dealing with friend or foe. The realm of captaincy is a complex one; while Mashiro is conflicted between following her own ambitions and continuing on with someone she’s come to greatly respect and cherish, Hai-Furi: The Movie‘s events convince Mashiro that working alongside Akeno will allow her to grow and learn in ways that she will genuinely come to appreciate.

Hai-Furi: The Movie is a worthy successor to the TV series, and demonstrates what is possible when a well-built world is given a cohesive, coherent and well-thought story to present. Hai-Furi had been plagued with troubles during production, and the end result had been inconsistent in places. In spite of this, the series’ potential was apparent, and despite the rough production being visible in the story, Hai-Furi nonetheless told a satisfactory (if outlandish) story. By Hai-Furi: The Movie, the writing is visibly improved; this time around, defeating pirates and stopping them from seizing an old ocean-borne fortress is the premise, being a much more plausible motivator that allows Akeno and Mashiro to contribute towards defeating. Because the premise is not particularly eccentric, this allows Hai-Furi: The Movie to really focus on world-building. The original series had emphasised that methane clathrate mining resulted in an uncontrollable rise in sea levels globally, and with humanity adapting by means of improving their sea-faring technologies, the increased focus on an ocean-based society resulted in the creation of organisations like Blue Mermaid. This divergence allows for alternate social norms and lifestyle details, as well as historical events, to be created, and so, Hai-Furi was a rich environment for painting a compelling world that differs considerably from our own. However, the Totalitarian Virus and its mechanisms proved to be a difficult one to utilise effectively: viewers were distracted from the possibilities that could be explored in the Hai-Furi world, and writers were prevented from exploring further, as they needed to make the Totalitarian Virus convincing. Conversely, the idea of stopping pirates in Hai-Furi: The Movie offers no similar impediment, and viewers are therefore able to kick back and enjoy the film’s characters and events. Through the movie, it becomes apparent that the Hai-Furi universe is conducive towards exploration, and that there can potentially be new directions to explore. Hai-Furi: The Movie thus represents a positive step for the series, indicating that this is a world worth exploring, and that with the right storyline, the viewers’ curiosity can be piqued, setting Hai-Furi apart from counterparts like Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches, both of which are highly unique and stand-out in their own regard.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • It’s been a while since I last wrote about Hai-Furi: the last time Akeno and her classmates graced this blog, it was mid-2017, and I’d just gotten back from a vacation in Japan and Hong Kong, just in time to watch the second OVA: Kouko was worried about the future of her classmates after overhearing rumours that the Harekaze was going to be decommissioned. Hai-Furi: The Movie brings back familiar faces in a familiar setting, with an all-new story. News of the film was first announced in April 2018, a full two years after Hai-Furi aired during the Spring 2016 anime season, and even then, it was not until last April that the first key visual and trailers were shown.

  • The film opens up in a grim manner: the Yokosuka ships are idly floating in the harbour and unoccupied, while three Yamato-class battleships stream into the harbour. At the time, it was completely unknown what role these battleships would play in Hai-Furi: The Movie, and conversation at the time turned to why this alternate world required such a large number of Yamato-class. The answer to this is found in the film: it turns out my speculation that the additional vessels being utilised in an educational capacity was correct, and as this fleet passes into Yokosuka’s harbour, Akeno and the others unveil a massive banner welcoming their visitors.

  • Hai-Furi: The Movie thus opens innocuously enough – the fleets coming together are students gathering to attend an inter-school event that Yokosuka Girls’ Marine High School is hosting to bolster friendship and trust amongst the different schools. All of the students have aspirations to join the Blue Mermaids some day, and events such as these are intended to foster a sense of unity and cooperation amongst the different students. Unlike the TV series and OVA, Hai-Furi: The Movie is animated by A-1 Pictures – Production IMS had produced Hai-Furi and its OVAs, but filed for bankruptcy in 2018. Production IMS’ work on Hai-Furi had been above-average, as memory serves, but in Hai-Furi: The Movie‘s opening moments, it is clear that A-1 Pictures’ craftsmanship surpasses anything seen in the TV series and OVA.

  • While Hai-Furi: The Movie might be produced by a different studio, character designs and the artistic style were preserved. A quick glance at Kouko, Akeno and Mashiro find that their appearance is identical to what it was during the TV series. It turns out that that the character designers and animators from the original Hai-Furi project reprised their roles, and so, the film retains the aesthetic seen in the TV series. In A-1 Pictures’ capable hands, Hai-Furi: The Movie shines from a visual standpoint, and to this end, I’ve actually gone with a slightly different style for this post. There are a total of sixty screenshots and their attendant figure captions, but for some images, I’ve opted to feature a four-in-one because of how much there is going on in this movie.

  • After Mayuki gives her welcoming speech, Akeno and Mashiro head off to look after their classmates, who’ve gone to great lengths of putting on stalls and exhibits to impress their visitors. Akeno briefly meets up with her childhood friend and captain of the Musashi, Moeka, before joining Mashiro, who wonders about whether or not their classmates will be okay on account of having done so much. They stop by to help a katsu restaurant out during the lunch rush, where Akeno displays uncommon skill with plate-catching. Once the lunch rush is over, Akeno and Mashiro continue to keep an eye on their classmates’ exhibits.

  • With a runtime of 100 minutes, Hai-Furi: The Movie has plenty of space to showcase the slice-of-life aspects of the Hai-Furi universe: the TV series had dropped viewers straight into a mystery and combat, and while the large cast of characters had their traits developed as they got to know one another during tricky times, it is the case that we’ve not seen everyone relax until the events of the OVA. Hai-Furi: The Movie thus opens on the equivalent of a culture festival and sports competition rolled into one, and helps to ease viewers back into things after three years.

  • Along the way, Mashiro comes across their classmates’ doujin stand, and when offered one of their best works, Mashiro finds herself mortified when she sees a portrayal of herself engaged in scandalous acts. Her embarrassment only grows when Akeno begins to wonder what Mashiro is reading. The slice-of-life piece in Hai-Furi: The Movie was a suitable means of welcoming viewers back to the Hai-Furi universe –  small details in the movie serve to remind viewers of the characters and their traits, and it is only outside of combat where viewers really appreciate that the main characters are not trained soldiers like fully-qualified Blue Mermaid members.

  • After running Maron, who’s gotten the original Harekaze’s boiler back online to power a hot bath, Akeno and Mashiro decide to step in and relax a little. Their actions are synchronised down to the second, to the point where other bathers begin to wonder what the deal between Akeno and Mashiro are. For viewers, this acts as a visual indicator of how close the two have become following their adventures in leading the Harekaze’s crew during the events of the TV series: despite differences in their world-views and ways of doing things, Akeno and Mashiro are more similar than they are different.

  • While strolling about, Akeno and Mashiro run into Susan Reyes (shortened to Sue for brevity), who’s camped outside a takoyaki stand and lamenting that she didn’t bring enough funds to buy some. Mashiro covers for her, and moments later, Sue is biting into one of the best and most iconic of Japanese snacks, in which octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion is dipped in a batter, deep-fried, and topped with a special sauce, Mayonaise and dried bonito. It is absolutely delicious, and one cannot fault Sue for wishing to try some. Sue is voiced by Naomi Ōzora (Gabriel Dropout‘s Satania, Fukuda from Girls und Panzer and Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!‘s very own Uzaki Hana), and in Hai-Furi: The Movie, is a mysterious character of an unknown origin. Despite this, she is very friendly and perceptive, immediately feeling that Akeno and Mashiro must be very close to one another. She explains to the pair that she’s here in Japan to look for her father.

  • Akeno and Mashiro are unexpectedly recalled for an important notice: the captain of the Hiei is stepping down, and the post is now available. Owing to her skill and records, Mayuki offers Mashiro the position. While this represents a great chance for her to prove herself, Mashiro has also become close to Akeno, comfortable with working beside a captain she’s come to greatly respect. While Mayuki assures Mashiro that she needn’t rush the choice, this decision weighs heavily on Mashiro, who is pulled between her own ambitions and her experiences. This forms the bulk of the conflict for the movie, whose events therefore serve to remind Mashiro of what is important to her, and in doing so, help her to make her decision.

  • Because Hai-Furi: The Movie is set in a school setting, the choice to recruit Mashiro for the post makes sense – Mashiro’s said to be even more capable than Akeno on paper, and has excellent grades on top of a strong service record. In school, this is how leadership positions are typically offered: on merits of suitability and availability rather than a well-established protocol rooted in military tradition. While Hai-Furi may use naval implements and deal with naval command structures, the series is ultimately a high school series, where the emphasis and themes are on things that the average high school student might deal with. As a result, Hai-Furi may not do things as effectively as a given nation’s navy would, but this shouldn’t be an issue because viewers are supposed to approach it as a “high school girls doing military things”, rather than “military setting that happens to have high school-aged girls in it”.

  • The mood is heavier as Mashiro struggles to decide on her course of action; Akeno is happy for Mashiro, but also saddened by the prospect of no longer being able to work with someone dear to her. However, their thoughts are interrupted when they encounter Sue on the promenade preparing fish over an open fire; while Sue’s a bright individual and capable of using Les Stroud-level survival techniques, she cannot read kanji. A nearby sign prohibits open fires. Magically summoning water buckets, Akeno and Mashiro swiftly extinguish her fire before the latter goes on a rampage about following rules.

  • Sue notices that the joyful dynamics between Mashiro and Akeno is somewhat lessened of late. Before Mashiro can explain what’s going on, Sue’s already fallen asleep. Akeno and Mashiro awaken early to prepare for the day’s activities, and Sue heads off. As it turns out, an unscrupulous third party had contacted her and promised that in exchange for a favour, they would help her to locate her father. Sue is capable of speaking English: Naomi Ōzora’s pronunciation is accented but passable, resembling Nao Tōyama’s portrayal of Karen in Kiniro Mosaic. These exchanges establish the idea that the film’s antagonists are another faction. I had earlier suspected that such a faction might be responsible for the theft of the Yamato-class vessels seen during the trailer, but with all of the vessels under allied control, it became clear that the film would present conflict from a different source.

  • The next morning, Akeno participates in an obstacle course that pits the bridge crews from different schools against one another: the goal is to complete the course as quickly as possible while incurring the fewest number of penalties for impacting mines and torpedoes. While Akeno’s team takes the lead and opts for manoeuvres that aim to reduce the number of collisions, Mashiro is distracted when the torpedoes are launched, slowing their team down while another team decides to push forwards at full speed, accepting a few hits owing to the relatively low penalties incurred by a hit in order to win the race. Had Mashiro been paying attention to the threats, Akeno’s team would’ve fared better in this race.

  • I note here that competition conditions differ greatly from real-world conditions, and while naval crews are expected to avoid torpedoes in an actual combat scenario, during a competition, with defined rules, a skilled crew will understand that there are certain limitations that can be exploited to secure victory. I vaguely recall reading somewhere that this could promote poor habits among the competitors, and I counter-argue that to make such a claim is to do so in bad faith; this requires the assumption that the girls are unable to differentiate between different contexts and act the same way across a range of scenarios, which is quite frankly, insulting to the characters and writers. On my end, I suppose that in a live-fire environment, the different crews would naturally be more serious, whereas they can be more reckless in a competition, which is set in a controlled environment – rather than assuming the worst of everyone, I enter trusting that characters are competent enough to know the difference between the two and therefore, will not develop any bad habits as a result of how competitions are structured.

  • This is where my remarks in my Greyhound post come from: folks who hold unreasonable standards and take military-moé too seriously have historically not been exactly the most fun to talk to about the genre with, and I’ve long wondered why is is necessary to take the genre so seriously to begin with. The fact that Hai-Furi: The Movie follows up with a swimsuit foam-sword battle should be an indication that the competitions are as much as a test of skill as they are a chance to loosen up. While the Harekaze’s crew dominate, they eventually get backed into a corner and fall into the ocean, instantly losing. Earlier during the fight, a small accident results when one of the girls loses her bikini top after a stray sword removes it, attesting to the merits of a one-piece swimsuit. From this point on, the fan-service in Hai-Furi: The Movie begins to taper off as the real star of the show, naval combat, kicks in.

  • While the Harekaze’s crew might’ve been thrashed during the team competition, everyone’s still in good spirits by the time lunch hour comes around, allowing the girls to enjoy a good meal with their friends and take it easy. I’ve been saying this since the whole global health crisis really starting hitting hard, and my stance hasn’t changed since then: it’s really being able to appreciate and enjoy the simple things that provide the biggest morale boost during difficult times, and something like sharing a special meal with immediate family is high on my list of things that I’ve come to look forwards to each month.

  • I get that times are tough, and that fatigue from protocol and guideline is setting in, but the alternative for flouting these is extending the period during which restrictions will be active and potentially causing harm to those around oneself. Back in Hai-Furi: The Movie, while Sue’s presence is a warming one, thoughts of her decision still weighs heavily on Mashiro’s mind. Her smile here vanishes quickly, and she leaves the proceedings. Akeno decides not to follow her, explaining to Sue that this is because she has faith in Mashiro to make her own decisions.

  • When Sue finds Mashiro, she conveys to her that Akeno’s desire is for Mashiro to find her own path before commenting that their friendship is like family and hinting that she may be reunited with her father very soon. Meanwhile, Hiromi wonders what she can do for Mashiro; during the TV series, she held Mashiro in very high regard and was jealous of how close Akeno was to her. By Hai-Furi: The Movie, it appears she’s not gotten over her shyness. Further compounding things, Mashimo receives a message during lunch warning of something about to go down.

  • During the afternoon, simulated battles amongst the captains begin. These games are supposed to be an indicator of an individual’s skill, and wishing to test the extent of her own strategic skills, Mashiro asks Akeno for permission to participate, intending to challenge her, much to their classmate’s surprise. Moeka declines to participate and invites one of her subordinates to do so; at this point in Hai-Furi: The Movie, Moeka is only implied to be a capable captain, and as viewers have not yet seen her in combat (during the TV series, she was trapped in the bridge after her crew came into contact with the Totalitarian Virus), her skill is based only on word-of-mouth up until now.

  • Despite luck initially not favouring her, Mashiro stages a remarkable comeback using a combination of skill and adaptive thinking, defeating the Yamato’s captain in her first round to general surprise. While luck can be a deciding factor in things beyond naval combat simulations, skill is a larger factor. I define luck as things that are left up to probability, and skill is deterministic, something in the individual’s control. In Mashiro’s case, her skill overcomes any bad luck she suffers, and she gets her wish of facing off against Akeno, who has a natural intuition for commanding fleets and luck to match. This match is a close one, but before anyone can decisively win, an announcement is made: it turns out the old structure used earlier in the races has now collapsed and is blocking the Yokosuka Harbour’s opening.

  • It turns out that Sue had quietly boarded a barge and pulled the structure into position before explosives detonate, bringing the structure down and forming a debris field. In conjunction with reports of an old ocean-borne installation known as the Sea Fortress (Sea Fort for brevity) being captured by pirates and put back in operation despite its supposedly being decommissioned earlier. Further complicating things, the same pirates have commandeered a manufacturing ship. With the ability to produce a near-limitless amount of provisions and in possession of a powerful weapon, the Blue Mermaids realise they have a problem on their hands, and suddenly, Sue becomes a person of interest.

  • After being pulled from the water, Sue is found to have escaped relatively unscathed. She is placed under guard, and the Harekaze’s instructor, Kaoru Furushou, is tasked with looking after her. Akeno and Mashiro vouch for her character: it would appear that Sue’s age and innocence made it easy to manipulate her. Kaoru convinces Mayuki that Sue could be helpful in stopping the pirates from reactivating the Sea Fort: when Sue was asked earlier, she mentioned that she knew the internal structure and workings of the Sea Fort quite well. From what viewers can gather, Sue is the daughter of a mid-to-high level staff member on the Sea Fort and became separated from her father during the decommissioning process. Since then, she has been doing her best to reunite with him.

  • Because of the threat posed by the Sea Fort should the pirates successfully repair it, Mayuki has orders to deliver Sue to the White Dolphin teams. Mashiro and Akeno ask for permission to sortie in the Harekaze to ensure Sue’s safety, and Mayuki initially declines: while impressed that Mashiro has matured enough to be truthful about how she feels, orders are orders. It isn’t until she receives a phone call with a request for her students to deploy that she approves of Mashiro, Akeno and Moeka’s request: just as the pirates predicted, the blockage in the harbour is preventing most of the Blue Dolphin ships from deploying. Moeka’s prowess as a captain becomes apparent here, and although Hai-Furi: The Movie leaves most of her skills as being implied, Moeka’s actions throughout the film’s second half indicate that she is highly competent in her own right.

  • The pirates certainly weren’t expecting that the students would be sent out to help out. The choice to send out inexperienced students might initially appear questionable, but in the circumstances, the Blue Mermaid and White Dolphin forces are willing to accept all the help they can get; from a narrative perspective, this is both to emphasise the sort of threat the pirates pose, as well as give Akeno and the others a chance to shine. While one might make the case that bureaucratic inefficiencies resulted in this decision, we recall that Sue’s role in things had been precisely to create this diversion: had she not succeeded in blocking the harbour off, the Blue Mermaids would’ve sortied and handled things themselves, leaving the film disappointingly short. Stories unfold to accommodate their theme, and in a good story, the events only need to be as logical as needed to clearly convey the theme. While Mashiro is still worried about her own future, the mission at hand demands her full attention. She turns her focus back to the present, proud to serve under Akeno and complete the task given to them.

  • To ensure her safety, Sue’s been assigned to the Musashi under Moeka’s protection. However, it is written all over Sue’s face that she’d much rather be with Akeno and Mashiro. Moeka’s kindness, however, is instrumental in helping Sue to trust the other students, as well: when the Harekaze signals over that everyone should share a meal once the mission’s complete, and Moeka translates for her, Sue is immediately reassured, waving to the others as their ships pass by one another.

  • It seems that the Graf Spee and Wilhelmina is also present at the proceedings, and Akeno authorises Kouko to communicate with Wilhelmina. The film’s events appear to be set over the course of two days, and as the Harekaze sails towards its assignment alongside the Musashi and other ships, the last rays of light begin fading as night sets in. In retrospect, the events of Hai-Furi: The Movie are fairly condensed, and as a result, once the film enters the action phase, it’s non-stop combat.

  • Precisely half of Hai-Furi: The Movie is set on the high seas, with combat as its main focus. The pirates’ objectives are deduced to be producing a self-sustaining mobile fortress of sorts to carry out their activities with impunity and also wield the fortress as a weapon that can hold entire cities hostage for leverage. Once this is in the clear, the film’s goals are simple enough: the combined student, Blue Mermaid and White Dolphin fleets are to conduct a joint operation to firstly, prevent the manufacturing vessel from reaching the Sea Fort, and then second, destroy the Sea Fort.

  • Because there are hostages on board the manufacturing ship, the Blue Mermaids decide on a boarding operation to secure said hostages. Mafuyu relishes the idea of being able to fight hand-to-hand, and understands that while the hostages’ safety is their priority, she’s itching to get out into the field and cause some real damage. Unlike Mashimo, Mafuyu is bold, and her taste for beating up bad guys intimidates her allies, who are doubtlessly grateful that she’s in their corner.

  • Mafuyu commands the Benten, a customised Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship named after the goddess Benzaiten, the deity for wonderful sounds. Hai-Furi presented the Independence Class as a general-purpose seafaring vessel that fulfills a similar role to contemporary destroyers, whereas in reality, LCS are intended for defending the coastal regions of continental America. The original four Independence-class ships were commissioned in 2010, but in September 2016, three months after Hai-Furi‘s televised run ended, it was announced that these vessels were being reassigned as test ships, and by March 2021, these vessels would be decommissioned, to be placed in inactive reserve.

  • While Mayuki has a distinguished career and experience to know what her students are getting into, I imagine that it can be frustrating to know that some circumstances end up in such a way that she cannot deploy professional, fully-qualified forces to deal with them and instead, are forced to send students out. Given the existence of organisations like Blue Mermaid and their male counterpart, the White Dolphins, I imagine that crises on the high seas are more common in this world than ours, and their professional teams are usually sent to handle threats such as what’s seen in the movie. Then, the movie represents the (comparatively) rarer moments where it is necessary to send the high school fleets out to deal with something, which gives us a film to watch. I’ve never been one to assume that the individuals in a given story are incompetent – to do so would be to undermine the themes of said work.

  • Captain Sango Sugimoto of the repair ship Akashi provides the Harekaze with a massive 36-inch torpedo, stating that the highly specialised, experimental device generally proved impractical for most applications, but owing to the special circumstances, expects Akeno to find a use for it. In reality, the largest torpedo ever deployed is the Russian Type 65, which has a diameter of 25.6 inches and is capable of carrying a 557 kilogram warhead. It was intended for sinking aircraft carriers and large merchant ships. By comparison, the American Mark 48 has a 21 inch diameter and carries a 290 kilogram warhead. A bit of interpolation suggests that this 36-inch torpedo might be able to carry a thousand-kilogram warhead on account of its size.

  • After Mafuyu and her boarding team gains access to the manufacturing ship (designated as a “Plant Ship” in the film), they make short work of the poorly-trained pirates. Mafuyu personally knocks out the lead pirate, the same man who had convinced Sue to help with their operation. The pirates are armed with the Avtomat Kalashnikova Model 47, better known as the AK-47. This gas-operated 7.62 mm assault rifle is the most widely used rifle in the world, and is a weapon that fighters love for its legendary durability: it is able to fire whether it is covered in mud, filled with sand or water-logged. Despite this, the pirates seem to lack any formal training, and against the coordinated Blue Mermaid forces, are quickly defeated, allowing for the hostages to be rescued. The size of the manufacturing ship can be seen in this image; the Independence-class is only 127 metres in length and has a beam of 32 metres, suggesting that the plant ship is roughly six times longer and three times as wide.

  • With the Blue Mermaids successful in their part of the operation, the time has come for the high school students to step up and assist in the next phase of the operation: forcing the Sea Fort to stop with concerted fire. Mei is particularly excited to watch as the Yamato-class ships get to work, wishing they were closer to the killbox so they could see the fireworks for themselves. While lacking the more modern armaments and fire control systems of the Blue Mermaids’ Independence-class ships, the older-era battleships nonetheless possess a powerful advantage; each of the Yamato-class ships are equipped with nine 18.1-inch Type 94 guns, capable of delivering either a 1.46 metric ton AP shell or 1.36 metric ton HE shell out to a range of 42 kilometres. Moeka summarily orders the ships to stagger firing the guns in order to deliver a continuous barrage of accurate fire on their target without the air wake from each shot perturbing the trajectory of adjacent shots. This is a legitimate method to maximise accuracy. Because battleship guns could be fire independently, captains could get creative with how they chose to fire them, from full broadsides to alternating fire between the guns to sustain a continuous barrage: there are few sights more impressive than a battleship firing a full broadside.

  • Despite only firing for effect on their first salvo, Moeka’s firing solutions end up missing the Sea Fort by a small margin. Once the proper corrects are made, several shells from the second barrage find their target and impact the Sea Fort’s super-structure. In reality, the Yamato-class’ Type 94 guns were capable of reaching out 42 kilometres, but hitting distant targets from that range with any precision is difficulty: without a good firing solution, the massive 18.1 inch shells wouldn’t have done any good at all. It speaks to the importance of solid ballistics calculations and reconnaissance required for making these shots, as the Yamato-class ships make use of information relayed from an allied submarine to gauge the Sea Fort’s position. During the bombardment, the iconic Hai-Furi motif comes out swinging – Hai-Furi: The Movie might not do anything too novel with its soundtrack, but it remains a reasonably enjoyable listen, consisting of a total of nineteen tracks and one radio drama in a special features CD bundled with the home release.

  • While the Yamato-class battleships begin bombarding the Sea Fort with the aim of creating an opening in the hull for boarding teams to enter through, Akeno’s communication team picks up a faint radio signal. Before passing out, the pirate leader managed to alert the Sea Fort’s occupants about an attacking force, and so, the pirates on board the Sea Fort have a chance to prepare a counterattack. Moments later, the Sea Fort’s defense batteries begin firing on the White Dolphin vessels that have begun to get close. It turns out that in the Hai-Furi universe, there are indeed male naval forces as well.

  • As the White Dolphin teams begin reaching the Sea Fort’s superstructure in spite of the heavy fire, they discover that the opening created is tiny, a mere 14 metres across. The White Dolphin ships therefore have no way to safely enter. They are forced to stand down, and Mayuki realises that it now comes down to her high school students in order to make an attempt. With the Harekaze having a beam of 10.8 metres, it would fit into the opening, and there’s no time to decide on any alternative courses of action: the Sea Fort is now only six hours away from Japan, and it is imperative that it be stopped as soon as possible.

  • Moeka receives a daring proposal from the Harekaze’s crew: they’re to break through and breach the interior of the Sea Fort while the Mashiro and other Yamato-class are to provide supporting fire. Mashimo allows this course of action; besides seeing the determination the students exhibit, she acknowledges that hedging their bets on a daring operation from a crew with a known history of getting things done is a risk worth taking, since it would also minimise the potential casualties. While the internal layout of the Sea Fort is unknown, Sue volunteers to help out: she’s familiar with its workings. Time is running out for the joint fleet: the pirates demand the manufacturing ship be returned to them and their forces be withdrawn, or they will proceed to a populated area.

  • To swiftly transfer Sue from the Mashiro to the Harekaze, she takes a zip-line and is welcomed warmly with a croquette. With the board set, the pieces finally begin to move: the Yamato-class battleships begin shelling the Sea Fort anew to cover the White Dolphin’s retreat, and Moeka orders the Musashi to use special shells loaded with dye to help the Harekaze navigate: Akeno has no idea where the opening in the Sea Fort’s hull is, but since Moeka does, she is able to plot a trajectory that brings the Harekaze to its destination by relaying the coordinates to her gunners. Upon realising how the Musashi, Akeno directs the Harekaze through the path Moeka has indicated.

  • The Harekaze is just able to squeak through the opening, although one of its observation masts are totalled during the entry. Hiromi barely escapes its destruction, but the rest of the Harekaze is in operational shape, even the rice cooker. This is a callback to the TV series, where during bombardment, the rice cooker sustained heavy damage to its body, and while it might seem laughable to viewers, sailors on both civilian and military vessels alike consider the galley to be the heart of the ship. Crews interviewed for Mighty Ships, for instance, all comment on the importance of a good meal as being something crews look forwards to after a hard days’ work, and in Greyhound, Captain Krause’s attendant does his best to ensure Krause is topped off so he can carry out his duties effectively.

  • Inside the Sea Fort’s cavernous tunnels, the narrow passageway renders the Harekaze vulnerable to enemy fire. To defend the interior against enemies, the tunnels are lined with anti-ship guns, and when the Harekaze reaches an open area, the pirates open fire using batteries mounted high above the surface. The Harekaze’s weapons are not suited for engaging such a foe, and while having a few rockets or missiles would have made this trivially easy, the reality is that the Hai-Furi universe has completely dispensed with heavier-than-air flight. Instead, demonstrating her talents for quick thinking, Akeno orders a depth charge prepared. She has the crew lob a charge into the air, and subsequently uses an anti-air round from a Type 96 25 mm AT/AA Gun to push the depth charge towards the battery.

  • The girls are successful in neutralising the battery, and while one could make the case that an AA round could puncture and detonate a depth charge, the moment was intended to showcase Akeno’s ingenuity rather than the characteristics of a 25 mm round. By this point in time, improvising is second nature to her, and it is moments like these that demonstrate why she’s a capable captain. As such, whether or not something in Hai-Furi is “realistic” is a moot point: the aim here is to accommodate a story (i.e. by showing how creative Akeno is in her role as a captain). In Greyhound, Captain Krause was similarly forced to get creative when the Keeling runs low on depth charges, and while this film is considerably more realistic than Hai-Furi: The Movie, I find that both succeed in conveying their themes despite their dramatically different approaches.

  • Because they’re up against an unconventional foe, Mei becomes frustrated that she’s not able to use torpedoes in such an environment, while Rin reverts to her old propensity of crying mid-battle. The latter comes across as being incredibly adorable, and hearing Rin’s squeaky noises during the final battle put a smile on my face. Such moments stand in stark contrast with something like Greyhound, where a more serious atmosphere is not only expected, but appropriate. In my Greyhound post, I remarked that certain approaches towards the military-moé do not always serve one well, as they may set unreasonable expectations. However, whether or not I’ll get to learn more about the other side of the coin remains to be seen – discussions of Hai-Furi: The Movie are extremely limited at present, to the point where aside from a single forum post (which is where I read about gripes surrounding the obstacle course earlier in the movie), this post remains the only review and discussion about the film anywhere on the internet.

  • During the original Hai-Furi‘s run, I remember spending a nontrivial amount of time trying to convince people that it was highly improbable the unusual phenomenon was mind control and speculated that it was, instead, a virus (albeit with very unusual properties). However, I was met with considerable resistance from most viewers until the series outright confirmed that it was a viral infection. It was not until episode eight where I began seeing where Hai-Furi was going and therefore, began enjoying it to a greater extent. This time around, I had a much more peaceable experience with Hai-Furi: The Movie – the combination of having more tempered expectations going in, avoidance of spoilers and the nonexistent discussion surrounding the movie resulted in a particularly enjoyable watch, allowing me the breathing room to consider various parts of the movie at my own pace, as well as be surprised at events of the movie.

  • This was very relaxing, and admittedly, how I prefer to watch military-moé series – while I have no qualms with spirited discussions surrounding details in anime, it always bothers me that people always seem to get the most worked up about military-moé, to the point where they adamantly refuse to accept other perspectives, as well as failing to recall the fact that at the end of the day, anime is meant to entertain. As the Harekaze pushes through the Sea Fort’s tunnels, smaller guns begin firing on them, but the crew decide to listen for the report of the guns and inconsistencies in the sounds to determine their position in the tunnel, allowing the Harekaze’s 15 cm SK C/28 to make short work of them.

  • In Hai-Furi: The Movie, the Harekaze Akeno and her crew operate is not the same Harekaze from the TV series – the original sank after the finale ended, and the girls received a new vessel that Akeno dubs the Harekaze II during a pair of OVAs that released in 2017. I’ve opted to simply refer to the Harekaze II as the Harekaze for brevity’s sake in this post. Akeno is grateful for her crew’s ingenuity and creative thinking – together, they successfully push past the pirates’ defenses in the tunnel and eventually reach a large chamber. Sue notes that the Sea Fort’s main engines are located just beyond the chamber walls, and so, the time has come for the Harekaze to use the specialised 36-inch torpedo that the resupply team had provided them with. While Sango had envisioned Akeno making use of it in a creative way, the torpedo is ultimately used for a rather more mundane purpose in destroying a massive wall between the Harekaze and the main engines.

  • Too large to be deployed from a conventional launcher, the special torpedo is primed and launched from the Harekaze’s deck after Rin positions the ship so it faces the adjacent wall properly. Moments later, the torpedo is launched and streaks towards its target, its payload primed to do some serious damage: the resulting explosion is gargantuan, but even then, it only punches a moderately-sized hole in the walls. The Sea Fort is portrayed as being uncommonly tough: direct hits from the Yamato-class’ 18.1 inch shells deal little damage to the exterior, and even a torpedo with a thousand-kilogram warhead only manages to knock a hole in its armour. I imagine that, were it the case that Mayuki and the others had access to the proper tools, with the aim of outright flattening the Sea Fort, they would need at least a handful of Charon-class frigates and their Mark II MACs, which accelerate a 600-tonne ferric-titanium slug to 30 km/s, each capable of imparting upwards of 65 kilotons of energy per shot.

  • Of course, MACs might be overkill, and back in Hai-Furi: The Movie, once the smoke from the torpedo clears, the Sea Fort’s main reactor is visible. This frame gives a sense of the scale inside the Sea Fort, and Akeno initially attempts to use the Harekaze’s 5-inch battery to hit the target, but is unsuccessful on account of the reactor being blocked by support columns. The Harekaze lacks the weaponry to reliably hit their target: a shot from the main battery misses and impacts the surface, and the large columns block follow-up shots. Even Sue is unaware of the layout here, accentuating the mysterious origins and constructions of the Sea Fort.

  • It becomes clear that the girls will need some other means of delivering their ordinance to its target. In such a tight environment, stand-off weapons are not viable, and typically, special forces or combat engineers would be recommended to get close enough to carry out demolitions. However, the Harekaze does not have the time to deploy a team. After Kouko and Mashiro share an exchange that feels as though they came straight from the former’s favourite films, when Mashiro snaps from the seeming, Akeno devises a means to complete their assignment after Rin wishes they had something like a wire-guided torpedo.

  • Witha plan in mind, Akeno asks Kouko to summon Minami to the bridge. After requisitioning Minami’s hoverboard in a rather forceful manner, Minami is initially reluctant to give up a device that has been very dear to her, but upon hearing Akeno’s plan, she comes around and converts it into a makeshift remote vehicle for delivering explosives to the target. The hoverboard is wired to a steering mechanism that allows a controller to remotely move the vehicle with a high degree of precision and detonate the explosives.

  • Closeups of the improvised delivery vehicle brings to mind the sort of builds that were seen in the Mythbusters day: in order to test certain myths, very specific devices needed to be constructed. The original Mythbusters finished airing in 2016, and a part of the myths they tested included iconic scenes from movies, including James Bond, Star Wars, the Jason Borne series and various others – while some things can be reliably reproduced in reality, others were relegated to the realm of fiction. Events from something like Hai-Furi would be worth trying out, although I note that since anime typically abandon physics for spectacle, I imagine a great many things seen in Hai-Furi, and even Girls und Panzer, would be busted.

  • On the topic of myth-busting, I might return at some point to revisit the different assertions about Hai-Furi and see if some claims (especially those of Myssa Rei’s) hold any water at all. Such a post could be quite fun to write, and I’ll see if I am able to do so in the future. Back in Hai-Furi: The Movie, Rin is chosen to operate the vehicle, and she is initially confident about operating it, since she’s in no physical danger. However, getting the vehicle to go precisely where she wants it to proves tricky, and it takes her a few tries in order to line the device up with the reactor entrance access.

  • Akeno’s asked the engine room to remain on standby: as soon as detonation occurs, the reactor hall collapses, and it’s time to beat a hasty exit. On the outside, the Musashi and other ships confirm that the Sea Fort has been immobilised, so the only thing left on the table now is for the Harekaze to escape before the Sea Fort collapses. Debris from the facility blocks the exit, and with the delay in the Yamato-classes’ main batteries leaving the Harekaze little choice, Mashiro decides to attempt and clear the blockage out herself. The official Hai-Furi Twitter channel showcased these final moments of the film shortly after the BD’s release, and I am glad to have held back on watching them, since it would have spoiled the final moments of Hai-Furi: The Movie, even if I did not have any context as to what as going on.

  • Mashiro’s decision to handle things herself probably stem from Akeno’s influence on her, while Akeno remaining calm under pressure and continuing to command the Harekaze shows she’s matured, as well. Using the personal jet skis, Mashiro manoeuvres a depth charge towards the rubble blocking the exit, and bails out before leaving the jet ski-depth charge to detonate, clearing a path for the Harekaze. Mashiro uses a personal safety device to keep herself from harm and is recovered by the deck crews. With the blockage cleared, the Harekaze sails triumphantly back into the morning skies to rejoin their compatriots, having successfully stopped the Sea Fort and coming back in one piece.

  • The ending to Hai-Furi: The Movie was immensely satisfying, and was well-worth the ten month wait for it – this film brings back the things that Hai-Furi did well during its televised run in 2016 (specifically, creating gripping combat sequences and having a fun cast of characters), adding a plausible narrative and appropriate stakes in conjunction with satisfactory world-building to create a superb experience that indicates that, in the presence of good writing, the Hai-Furi universe is like Strike Witches in that it can sustain an excellent set of stories that are worth exploring.  Hai-Furi might not be as iconic as Girls und Panzer or Strike Witches, but through its film, the series has demonstrated that it is a very strong military-moé series that can stand beside giants in terms of enjoyability and impact.

  • Here, I also remark that I was most relieved to learn that Anime News Network did not end up writing about Hai-Furi: The Movie during its theatrical run back in January and early February. I’ve found most of their previous reviews on slice-of-life and military-moé genres to be misleading and unfair representations of the work they are about. Because a majority of Anime News Network’s writers lack understanding of fundamental life lessons that most anime have as their themes, their focus seems to be on nitpicking inconsequential minutiae or griping about how a work does not deal enough with current trends in identity politics. There was a very real possibility that any review Anime News Network had on Hai-Furi: The Movie would’ve been intended to discourage viewers from checking it out, as well as push the narrative that a functional background in sociology and a specific stance on identity politics would be required to get the most of this movie (which is, of course, untrue).

  • Fortunately, that never materialised – ten months after its theatrical première, Anime News Network does not have any sort of talk about Hai-Furi: The Movie. This leaves me to have the internet’s first review of the film out, and that means that I get to open the discussion by saying that this movie was a fun ride, worthwhile for fans of Hai-Furi – the film improves upon everything seen within the televised series without deviating from the core premises. Consequently, I have no trouble with issuing this film with a well-deserved A grade (4.0 of 4.0, or 9.0 of 10); there are a lot of positives about Hai-Furi: The Movie. Besides keeping me engaged during its runtime, none of the issues allegedly affecting the theatrical version were visible: A-1 Pictures did an excellent job with the visuals, producing a detailed and well-animated work.

  • Under a swift sunrise, surrounded by smiling classmates, Mashiro realises that her choice is obvious: becoming a captain would be to realise a long-standing dream and walk the path to becoming a Blue Mermaid, but with the experiences in Hai-Furi: The Movie, Mashiro realises that there’s still more she has to learn. Akeno’s ability to listen to her subordinates’ suggestions, craft innovative solutions for problems outside of what her toolset allows her to do and a willingness to do what it takes to get the job done are unique talents that Mashiro hopes to also pick up. Consequently, seeing Akeno leading the Harekaze convinces Mashiro that while she could theoretically be a good captain, continuing to work alongside Akeno will allow her to be confident in becoming a good captain down the line.

  • This brings my talk on Hai-Furi: The Movie to a close: it’s one of the larger posts I’ve written in a while, but despite its length, I certainly had fun writing about (and watching) this movie. Now that Hai-Furi: The Movie is in the books, I will be returning to scheduled programming around these parts, resuming with the second post to a special series for the blogging community I’m a part of. This time around, I feel no melancholy despite coming off the energy that is Hai-Furi: The Movie – Road to Berlin has proven remarkable in its own right, giving me a chance to research and explore World War Two materials to ensure my posts are fun for readers. Finally, I also have some excellent news from 343 Industries: Halo 4 will be joining The Master Chief Collection on November 17, finishing off things off and bringing a year-long journey through Halo to a strong close. I am very excited about Halo 4‘s campaign and will be writing about that once I’ve completed it.

Overall, Hai-Furi: The Movie is a solid film that incorporates the elements that made the TV series enjoyable and learnings from what had made the TV series less appealing. The end result is a compelling movie that strikes a fine balance between everyday life as a student of Yokosuka Girls’ Marine High School and the perils that the girls find themselves in as a result of events unfolding in a specific manner. In spite of these perils, viewers can be confident that Akeno and Mashiro are capable of handling things, along with their reliable (if somewhat excitable) classmates. Together with A-1 Pictures’ high production values, Hai-Furi: The Movie looks and sounds excellent, being a straight upgrade over its predecessor; the end product is a visual and aural spectacle worthy of the silver screen. Combat occurs at a much larger scale than anything in the TV series, and the artwork and animation are of a generally superior quality. Taken together, Hai-Furi: The Movie is a film that is well-worth watching for folks who’ve seen Hai-Furi‘s TV series; the film is an excellent continuation that addresses the faults and inconsistencies in the original to demonstrate that as a whole, the premise and characters of Hai-Furi can work. Folks who enjoyed and did not enjoy the original Hai-Furi series alike will find that in Hai-Furi: The Movie, a more solid story and improved world-building is present, providing a much more comprehensive and satisfying experience all around. While this film may have required a ten-month wait from its theatrical première to its home release, it would appear that said wait was worth it: rumours abound that when the film hit theatres back in January, it was supposedly in an unfinished state, but having now seen the film for myself, there isn’t anything that looks glaringly incomplete. Assuming the rumours to hold true, folks who watch the home release version will have therefore been able to get the best possible experience, and with this experience, the implications are positive: that Hai-Furi‘s premise and characters are more than sufficiently well-written as to accommodate future adventures if there is demand for it. Personally, I would not object to more Hai-Furi, especially having now seen what is possible in a world that still remains very much unexplored.

Kouko Nosa in a Pinch!?- High School Fleet (Hai-Furi) OVA Part Two Review and Reflection

“‘…and the sea will grant each man new hope, as sleep brings dreams of home.’ Christopher Columbus.”
“Welcome to the New World, Captain.”

— Captain Ramius and Jack Ryan, The Hunt For Red October

After relaying her concerns to Mashiro and Akeno, Kouko is tasked with gathering everyone in the Harekaze class for a general assembly. Rather than idling while waiting for the deadline, Kouko decides to initiate a petition to save the Harekaze, and sets out to find her classmates at their usual hangouts. From the conversations shared by the various classmates, all of the students are troubled by their purported situation and sign onto Kouko’s petition, which also doubles to restore her spirits. On the day before their sealed orders can be opened, the Harekaze’s crew put on a festival with the hope of raising more awareness to the cause with help from Moeka and Wilhelmina’s fellow classmates. Despite a slow start, the festival sees a large number of attendees who sign onto the petition. Their event is successful, with their petition gathering a large number of signatures, and on the morning the students are permitted to open their orders, the Harekaze’s crew learn that they are to remain together under Akeno’s command, operating the Okikaze, a new vessel outfitted with operational gear from the Harekaze. Principal Munetani remarks to Akeno that the vessel can be re-designated the Harekaze, and with their new home in order, Akeno sets sail on their next adventure together with her classmates. Thus, the second of the Hai-Furi OVAs comes to a close, wrapping up in a manner that was quite welcomed even if it was foreseeable.

In spite of the melancholy ending of its precursor, the second of the Hai-Furi OVAs manages to maintain a very cheerful atmosphere. Kouko’s fears from the previous OVA turned out to have been from confirmation bias, and my speculation turned out quite close to the actual events — I had suggested that teamwork could make up a large portion of the second OVA and would result in the crew working towards bringing back the Harekaze by repairing the original vessel. Although not true in its entirety (the original Harekaze is destined to be scrapped), the Harekaze is reborn and brought back in a manner of speaking. The events of the OVA continue to build on the thematic aspects seen in the TV series, and serve a twofold purpose. The strength of the bonds amongst the Harekaze’s crew allow them to now function quite cohesively, and their faith in Akeno as a captain only serves to augment their capability. Far from being the ship that was home to the misfits, the Harekaze’s students have proven time and time again that they can pull through together to get the job done. This is not diminished even with the revelation that the Harekaze’s crew would not be disbanded: the implications were that, petition or not, their exemplary actions are worthy of praise and noticed by their command. There was never any threat or risk that they would be disbanded; how the girls responded to circulating rumours merely serves to reiterate the points raised in Hai-Furi‘s original run.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I’ve been noticing a great deal of inbound searches for the second Hai-Furi OVA, so as stipulated, here I am writing the discussion for the second Hai-Furi OVA. Like the previous Hai-Furi OVA post, I will feature thirty screenshots fresh from the OVA, which released on BD on May 24. Despite Kouko’s entering the OVA with a subdued mood, it appears that a combination of a night’s sleep and a conversation with Mashiro, who promises to inform Akeno, lightens her up sufficiently so that she’s back up to her usual self.

  • Still inundated with paperwork, Akeno is given an update, and Mashiro reluctantly decides to help her finish. Armed with fresh resolve, she begins filling out the smaller forms at a faster pace. It’s been a shade under a week since I flew back home from Hong Kong now, and while time has resumed moving at breakneck pace since I returned to work, I was quite happy to take the vacation that I did; time flowed a little more slowly, allowing me to really enjoy the moment and take in the sights and sounds of a world away from home.

  • With a few days left until their sealed orders can be opened, Kouko shares a bold plan with Megumi and Tsugumi, intending to create a petition to convey the feelings that she and her classmates have regarding the Harekaze. Kouko references Tōgō’s actions from the Battle of Tsushima, where he ordered his fleet into a U-turn to take the same course as the Russian vessels they were engaging, at the same time preventing the Russians from launching broadside volleys. While the Japanese fleet sustained hits from the Russian ships, the Japanese gunners returned fire, hammering the Russian ships and managed to sink the Oslyabya, a Russian vessel.

  • At Tsushima, the Russians lost all of the battleships and suffered a loss that was quite shocking to the rest of the world. Kouko is referring to this battle here, to continue with a difficult course owing to the long-term outcome, and sets in motion the idea of a petition to save the Harekaze. The Battle of Tsushima was the turning point in the Russo-Japanese war and reaffirmed to the British that large caliber weapons would be instrumental to naval combat. This way of thinking precipitated the creation of larger battleships, and the belief in the battleship’s might endured until the Second World War.

  • I note that searching for the “Tougou Turn” as it appears is not too instructive: it turns up some music videos. Conversely, using “Tōgō” in place of “Tougou” brings up the Battle of Tsushima, which is more relevant to the discussion at hand. The gunnery team is initially open to the idea of a transfer to a different ship, relishing the idea of firing more powerful weapons, but their friendship with one another draw them back, coupled with the prospect of giving up having Akeno as a captain, lead them to reconsider. They sign Kouko’s petition.

  • A visit to the engineers results in additional signatures being added to Kouko’s petition. I’ve seen several forms of spelling for the character names around the ‘net – each character has a nickname, as well, and most venues for anime discussion prefer the nicknames because they are faster to type. Kouko is thus referred to as Coco. Having said this, I prefer referring to the characters by their given name: this did lead to some challenges earlier on, where I was mixing up Shima and Tama to be different people.

  • Elsewhere, Shima and Mei continue on with their own game. While Mei has consistently schooled Shima during the previous OVA and appears to be dominating the game here, Shima manages to turn the tables on her in a hilarious moment. I’m not sure if this was a budgetary constraint or a stylistic choice, but some of the backgrounds in the Hai-Furi OVAs appear to be done in the style of a watercolour painting. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with this, it does appear a little out of place compared with the other backgrounds, which are more consistent in style.

  • While signing a petition certainly won’t alter one’s physical appearance or likely improve their grades, Kouko manages to inspire the Navigation team to sign the petition. They had been the most visibly shaken by the news in the previous episode: it took all of Kouko’s willpower to assuage their fears without bursting into tears herself, but here, the total of Kouko’s dialogue, music and lighting seem to be insinuating to audiences that their so-called dissolution might not be what it appears, and for a supposedly-serious situation, the Hai-Furi OVA’s second half is surprisingly laid-back in emotional tenour.

  • High spirits in spite of what appears to be sobering news dominates the second Hai-Furi OVA’s first half. In the time since the first half aired, I’ve been keeping an eye on the Hai-Furi official Twitter, where build-up to the OVAs have been presented every so often. Since the OVA aired, their channel has gone quiet, and I remark that discussions surrounding both OVAs have been surprisingly minimal, with only one claim that stands out: that the first OVA was “…probably weaker than any other episode of the main series”. Such remarks can only come from a mindset that OVAs are generally frivolous, and such a belief is incorrect especially for things like Girls und Panzer and Hai-Furi.

  • The rationale for my position, that OVAs can be enjoyable and offer insights into characters, is that OVAs that are light-hearted relative to their TV counterparts provide opportunity to explore another side of the characters to more fully flesh them out. Seeing characters out of their duties and observing their interactions in a more relaxed environment, if done properly (which Hai-Furi has) can also serve to reinforce thematic elements in a show. It is for this reason that I am so fond of OVAs, and here, the navigation team continue on their photoshoot with Machiko as their subject, although their ploy to draw the crowd’s interest is unsuccessful, prompting Kouko to move on.

  • Encountering Kaede near the harbour again, Kouko learns that Kaede was contemplating leaving briefly to attend an Opera Ball, a social event where debutantes present their eligibility for marriage. She has no plans to leave long-term, at least, not until her education is complete at age eighteen, meaning that Kouko’s assumptions in the previous episode are false. With more indicators that her concerns might not come to fruition, the overall tone in the OVA shifts subtly as Kouko continues on her quest.

  • Aspects of Kaede and her aristocratic background, represents a fine example of where an OVA is able to present aspects of characters the TV series itself is not able to. Similarly, we’ve seen very little of Tsugumi and Megumi in the series proper, so giving them a bit more screentime in the OVA allows audiences to appreciate that the Harekaze’s crew are a unique, diverse group. This is why it is not always appropriate to hastily dismiss OVAs, being the rationale for why I myself enjoy anime OVAs to the extent that I do. It is also here that I remark that Megumi looks a bit like Da Capo Second Season‘s Aisia, a magician-in-training whose resolute belief in magic being used for the good of all precipitates the events of Da Capo Second Season‘s later segments.

  • I finished watching Da Capo and Da Capo Second Season a year ago. While quite unremarkable with respect to story and concept in its anime incarnation, Da Capo and its second season did manage to nail the unusual atmosphere surrounding Hatsunejima. Similarly, I rather liked Nemu Asakura and Kotori Shirakawa. My interest in Da Capo came from me coming across a collection of CooRie songs a friend had sent me years ago, and I decided to see the anime that made use of Akatsuki ni Saku Uta as its ending song. I don’t see enough positives in Da Capo or its second season to recommend, hence the lack of a review. Back in Hai-Furi, Kouko encounter Minami, obtains her signature for their petition and learns that she enjoys the hover-board because it mimics the rise and fall of the sea.

  • The Harekaze’s crew put on a grandoise festival in order to raise awareness for their cause, and despite the amount of effort they’ve put in (even recruiting Moeka and Wilhelmina to assist), the day is off to a slow start with low attendee numbers. Disappointment reigns supreme, but things quickly turn around when Akeno shows up – the profound change in morale amongst the students is nothing short of remarkable.

  • Stepping into the open-air stage, Akeno and Moeka perform a live song that turns things around: although her role in the OVAs has been primarily restricted to dealing with paperwork while Kouko’s been out and about, she now carries with her the same presence as Miho of Girls und Panzer, as well as the great heroes from Lord of the Rings: when folks like Aragorn, Legolas or Gimli stepped onto the battlefield, characters and audiences alike knew that the situation would be well in hand as extraordinary folk went to work. The similarities between Miho and Akeno are noticeable: both are capable leaders who believe in leading by example, each motivated by an event in their past, and over time, earn the respect of their classmates with their actions.

  • Following the live concert performance, attendance at the festival skyrockets, and the Harekaze curry being sold is depleted. Other students step up to the plate and bring in supplies to make festival foods such as takoyaki and okonomiyaki, and all sorts of things, like, such as that. During my last day in Japan, at the Kansai International Airport, I had Botejyu’s seafood okonomiyaki – an authentic taste of Tamayura, it was absolutely delicious, featuring succulent prawns and cuttlefish in a flavourful batter, topped with a hearty sauce. I subsequently explored the airport’s shopping outlets and purchased the Kimi no na wa movie guide while waiting for baggage check-in to open.

  • It’s been a week since my final day in Hong Kong, which I spent shopping at Taikoo Shing Cityplaza. I came across Ian Lambot and Greg Girard “City of Darkness”, running for about 110 CAD. Tempted though I was to buy it, the book was very bulky and would have presented considerable challenges to bring in my carry-on. We stopped for lunch at a Pizza Hut at Cityplaza, ordering a Seafood pizza (scallops, prawns and pineapple toppings with a sausage-cheese crust), before continuing to explore Hong Kong University and Central. The evening was rounded out with a family dinner. At present day, a week after returning to routine, I enjoyed another family dinner at the T. Pot China Bistro much closer to home: the Cantonese cuisine back home is of the same standard of that in Hong Kong, being of an excellent quality. Elements inspired by Vietnamese, Thai and Canadian elements make their way into dishes here: our dinner tonight encompassed wonton soup, sweet and sour pork, roast crispy chicken, yi mein and shrimps in a savory sauce.

  • Back in Hai-Furi, Hiromi, Kouko and Maron admire a fireworks display rounding off their festival; despite a sluggish opening, combined efforts from everyone make the event an unqualified success. Numerous signatures are gathered as attendees visit to enjoy Akeno and Moeka’s singing, the curry and other festival foods. The effort the Harekaze’s crew places into the festival move the attendees, prompting them to sign Kouko’s petition, allowing them to accrue a large number of signatures.

  • Later that evening, Akeno, Mashiro and Kouko carry the signatures to their superior officers, resolute on illustrating that they do not wish to go separate ways with a crew that has accomplished so much during a crisis. The course of this meeting is not shown, although it is not unreasonable to suppose that their higher-ups will simply commend them on their resolve, tell them to leave the petition with them and that a decision will be reached in the morning, when everyone is finally cleared to open their sealed envelopes.

  • The skies are pleasant on this June day when everyone assembles. The atmosphere is tense as the Harekaze’s crew await the instructions allowing them to open their documents. While certainly not something I would recommend or personally do, there is a way to open adhesive-sealed envelopes in a reasonably difficult-to-trace manner. The process is quite simple and was used in Tom Clancy’s Threat Vector: place the envelope in a freezer for around an hour, and carefully cut at the interface where the sealant is with a sharp knife. Cooling makes the sealant brittle, allowing it to be cut without tearing the paper. Once the document is inspected, re-sealing the envelope is as simple as letting the envelope thaw.

  • When the order is issued, each of the Harekaze’s crew apprehensively open their letters, learning they are to be transferred to a new vessel. Seemingly confirming Kouko’s fears, it turns out that she, and everyone else present, is to be moving to the vessel Y-469. These are transfer orders as Wilhelmina had predicted, but far from what Kouko was expecting – everyone is moving together into a new vessel after the Harekaze was found to have sustained excessive damage, and as such, will be sticking together as a class. Principal Munetani and other members in command have found the Harekaze’s actions to be commendable, and impressed with their abilities as a team, permits them to stick together.

  • Kouko’s relief and happiness is written all over her expression here; it’s a beautiful sight to behold. Because the sealed envelopes had been printed and issued well before Kouko was aware of their existence, it would appear that the Harekaze’s crew were never in any risk of being separated from one another. A secondary theme in the Hai-Furi OVAs, then, is that there are occasions when fear of bad news drives individuals to worry needlessly, and that it might have been to simply wait for the news before making any decisions. With this being said, had Kouko acted as common sense might dictate, there would have been no Hai-Furi OVA to enjoy.

  • Designated Okikaze (literally “Flourishing Wind”), Akeno climbs into the bridge of the vessel Y-469 and finds Garfield Isoroku sitting on the instruments. She realises that all of the equipment is familiar, right down to the binoculars, compass, wheel and fire control systems: the other bridge crew marvel at this seeming miracle, as well, feeling as though they are reuniting with an old friend after a long separation.

  • Elsewhere on board the Y-469, the different crews make similar discoveries in that much of the Harekaze’s equipment seems to have been transferred wholesale onto the new vessel. From the engine room to navigation and everywhere in between, familiar traces of home are found. What the girls are feeling is probably best approximated with the real-world analogue of restoring a new iPad or iPhone to a backup after an accident that totals one’s older device. Thanks to iCloud backups, users can rapidly restore data and settings to new devices should they lose an older device, and in this day and age, our data’s value grows to be much more valuable than the physical device itself.

  • Mikan Irako, the Harekaze’s head cook, hugs her beloved rice cooker upon learning that it has been restored and placed in the Y-469’s galley. The rice cooker was one of the first items to be listed in the damage report, being dented during the skirmish in the first episode, and became the subject of no small discussion. I remarked that the rice cooker should still work, since its walls did not appear to be compromised, but discussions elsewhere were much lengthier. To see this reaction from Mikan is a reminder that Hai-Furi does pay attention to the details in its characters, and I smiled at this moment.

  • Outside, the weapons team admires their vessel’s 15 cm SK C/28, an upgrade from the 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 naval gun the Harekaze originally ran with. This weapon was originally fit to Fubuki-class destroyers, and on the note of Fubuki and destroyers, I’ve heard unverified rumours that KanColle: The Movie will see a home release on August 30. I felt that the anime, for all of its impressive visual effects and masterpiece of a soundtrack, did not compel me to try Kantai Collection or move me with its story. Having said that, I am still interested to see what the movie is like, and I might drop by to review this movie as time permits.

  • Back on the bridge, Principal Munetani explains that Y-469, Orikaze, was a new vessel laid down and intended to be an addition to the fleet, but in light of circumstances, they took the unfinished vessel and fitted its interior with equipment from the Harekaze. This course of action suggests that the original Harekaze’s internal structures must have sustained extensive damage beyond repair even if the hull appeared to have been damaged minimally. She allows Akeno to re-christian the Y-469 as the Harekaze, and if there is to be a continuation of Hai-Furi, I will refer to Y-469 as Harekaze II on account of all of the trials the original Harekaze went through.

  • In a cruel bit of irony, Moeka is taken aside for reprimand, having been involved with a matter she was unauthorised to deal with. One would imagine that the repercussions are not too severe in nature: its military setting and unexpected narrative direction notwithstanding, Hai-Furi is, at its best, a tale of human team spirit and cooperation. Something more severe would not be consistent with the message that Hai-Furi has aimed to send since its plot began to materialise in Hai-Furi‘s televised run.

  • In life, folks win some, and they lose some; today, Akeno and her friends win some, big time. Here, the bridge crew prepare to take the Harekaze II on a test run. This is the end of the two Hai-Furi OVAs, and my final verdict is that I enjoyed them, as they add a bit more to the characters that were not frequently seen during Hai-Furi itself. The OVAs are definitely worth watching for that reason, and a new Harekaze opens the possibility for new adventures. It seemed a shame to waste a finely-crafted world, and if Hai-Furi goes down the same route as Brave Witches, a continuation could prove worthwhile to watch.

  • In news quite unrelated to Hai-Furi, it turns out that my preorder for Your Name‘s novel incarnation, which was set for release on May 23, arrived on May 16, a full week before the release date. It speaks to Canada Post’s efficiency and just how on their game that Chapters-Indigo is for deliveries. As we move into the final few days of May, the biggest posts on the horizon will deal with Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare Remastered and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. I finished the game today, and will be looking to write a final impressions post on it, plus some reflections on Modern Warfare Remastered in the new future. As for anime-related posts, the largest planned post is a revisitation of Garden of Words: it will have been four years since I watched it, and I do wish to look at this film again before diving into a full-scale discussion of Your Name come July.

The second of two OVAs is now in the books, and was an enjoyable addition to Hai-Furi. I have remarked that the outcomes are predictable; there was never any doubt that Kouko and her classmates would be separated, especially with their previous role in saving the Musashi in mind. However, I place less emphasis on the outcome and more on the journey taken, so seeing the events of this second Hai-Furi OVA unfold and progress was most entertaining. More so than the first OVA, this OVA portrays the commitment and unity shared universally amongst the Harekaze’s crew. To see them take the initiative and, within legal bounds, do what they can to save their vessel was admirable. To see the entire crew unify and undergo a dramatic improvement in morale when Akeno appears was moving — this is the mark of a good leader, to be able to single-handedly lift spirits simply by making an appearance. Viewers are given an opportunity to see Akeno sing when she performs a song for her classmates and the festival’s attendees with Moeka. With all of these elements in mind, one must wonder about what a continuation could entail; a Tweet from the official Hai-Furi Twitter account strongly hints at a future project, stating that “Planning and policies for various projects are under way. Please look forward to it”. While we’ve heard little since then, having Hai-Furi go through a more involved narrative, possibly featuring a plot to destroy the Blue Mermaids, and the Harekaze’s involvement in thwarting this scheme, could definitely be something that I would be interested to watch.

Kouko Nosa in a Pinch!: High School Fleet (Hai-Furi) OVA Part One Review and Reflection

“Uncertainty is a permanent part of the leadership landscape. It never goes away.” —Andy Stanley

It’s been a year since Hai-Furi finished its original run, and it was only of late that a concrete day for the OVA’s release, long-known to be from Kouko’s perspective, was made known. In the first part of two OVAs, Kouko learns from Wilhelmina that the Harekaze’s crew might be disbanded following the incidents that had unfolded earlier: with no vessel to train from, the school is considering measures to ensure that their students can continue training, potentially resulting in their class’ reorganisation. Despite Wilhelima’s reassurances, Kouko remains doubtful of their futures. Meanwhile, Akeno grows frustrated with her assignment of writing a detailed report of the preceding events, but with Moeka’s encouragement, manages to continue. She assigns Kouko the task of delivering messages from their principal, which contain time-delayed information. With her classmates hanging out around their campus, Kouko receives help from some classmates and visits the different students, finding them engaged in a variety of activities (ranging from playing Mahjong and generally relaxing to working at a café and honing their craft). She succeeds in her task, but Kouko’s doubts materialise when the other students mention plans to transfer the students. She meets with Wilhelmina as per their original plans to hang out and watch movies, dissolving in tears at the prospect of being transferred and losing ties with the people who have grown dear to her. At a loss for words, and unsure on how true these rumours are, Wilhelmina offers her another choice should Kouko’s fears come to pass: to join her school.

Surprisingly focused in its story, the Hai-Furi OVA deals in the aftermath of the Harekaze’s one-month long sojourn that resulted in the discovery of a virus and its accompanying vector as the agent responsible for disrupting the girls’ curriculum. The contents of the letters, being confidential, drive the episode’s narrative: while the closing seems to all but suggest that a restructuring is on order, leaving Kouko despondent, it does not seem particularly likely that this will be the case. For one, the Harekaze sustained damage of the sort that allowed it to continue sailing into port. It only sunk in its final moments, and the structure still seems largely intact. Further to this, Akeno and Mashiro do not seem particularly worried about things: as the captain and second-in-command on board the Harekaze, it is likely that they would be briefed on the future of their crews. With this in mind, Hai-Furi‘s original run has been known to throw surprises at its viewers for better or worse, so the actual outcomes will be left to the events of the second OVA. While it would be tempting to say that a more story-driven OVA could entail a continuation for Hai-Furi, one challenge is in the fact that the OVA was broadcast, rather than screened at a theatre, suggesting that its sales might not be as strong as those anime that can command a theatrical presentation.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • I believe that the last time I wrote about Hai-Furi, it was three days to my defense, and I remarked that I had nothing more to do except wait for the day of the defense itself. One of the biggest challenge I experienced with Hai-Furi was handling the speculation that was plainly in violation of how science works, dealing with the politics surrounding internet discussions while at the same time, working on my thesis paper and defense. Ultimately, I’d say that the Master’s Thesis proved far easier to defend compared to trying to discuss anime.

  • I am very early to the Hai-Furi OVA party; Google-fu suggests that there are no other discussions out there about this OVA, but I imagine that this will change very soon. Hopefully, there will be discussions considering what will happen in part two, but for now, we begin with a screenshot of Kouko and Wilhelmina enjoying a lighthearted moment together before the latter breaks out the bad news: that the Harekaze’s crew might be transferred to different vessels in light of them losing the Harekaze to damage sustained during combat.

  • Wilhelmina attempts to reassure Kouko and notes that these are all rumours at this point in time, but the possibility of being transferred away from her friends leaves Kouko pensive through the remainder of the OVA. For this talk, I bring to the table thirty screenshots; despite the OVA having a conventional runtime of twenty-four minutes, there is quite a bit to go through and look at, so having a bit more room to discuss things is pleasant, allowing me to flesh things out in greater detail.

  • This moment might just become my new Steam profile picture. It is quite clear that Akeno is not cut out for desk work that higher-ranking officers deal with; she pitches a small fit while working with Mashiro and Moeka. One of the elements that I enjoyed in Hai-Furi was the depiction of combat sequences: even if they are not entirely realistic or representative of how navies would employ their resources, it was always fun to see how the characters reasoned their way through a problem, devise a solution and then execute their solution.

  • One of the biggest gripes Mashiro had in Hai-Furi‘s earlier stages about Akeno was her propensity to step into the field and personally involve herself in an operation; some viewers shared this sentiment, arguing that a captain should retain a leadership position. This is true: the risk of losing a senior officer to enemy action or circumstance could throw the chain of command into disarray for a sufficient time period that allows for an enemy force to capitalise, but in fiction, an officer accompanying soldiers onto the battlefield is typically portrayed as being someone who cares for their subordinates.

  • Some folks enjoy being in the middle of things, while others enjoy managing the bigger picture; it seems that Akeno is unaccustomed to paperwork, and if Hai-Furi were to be more realistic, Akeno should, in fact, be getting a bit more paperwork to deal with than is seen in the anime. My own preference, in keeping with my background and interests, seems to be somewhere in the middle. I place a great deal of emphasis on the big picture to know where the objectives as a whole are, but I’m also comfortable with diving down deeper into the details and working out the parts that fit together to form the objective.

  • Nervous about whatever news Akeno has for her, Kouko drops by to find that she’s being given an assignment: to delivered sealed documents to each and every one of her classmates. The ominous note on the letters, that they cannot be opened until June 13 at 0900, further giving Kouko the sense that something big might be happening. The task seems a Herculean one, since their classmates are scattered around town nearby.

  • After stepping out into the sun, Kouko attempts the old “holding the letter up to a light source” trick to see what’s inside, but as expected, all she gets is an opaque sheet that discloses nothing about the letter’s contents. Her imagination begins running wild, and Kouko begins imagining that their academy’s been infiltrated by an outsider. The voices she manages to make is impressive both in-universe and in reality: Kouko is voiced by Yūko Kurose, a relative newcomer in voice acting with only three titles in her portfolio thus far. I’m hoping to see more roles from Yūko, as her talents definitely show in Hai-Furi.

  • While enacting this scene out loud, Tsugumi Yagi and Megumi Uda arrive. These two work the sonar, fulfilling a similar role as The Hunt For Red October‘s Petty Officer Jones, an expert sonar technician whose skill and expertise get Commander Mancuso and the USS Dallas out of pinches on numerous occasions, as well as closing the gap between them and the Red October. A brilliant student, he was expelled but takes up a military position, becoming a commissioned officer over the course of the Jack Ryan novels.

  • While perhaps not quite as talented or skillful as Jones, Megumi and Tsumugi are still very sharp: they suggest messaging everyone in class to determine their locations before deciding how to best visit everyone in order to deliver their letters. Although unmentioned, this is a fine example of the travelling salesman, a classic algorithm problem that aims to identify the shortest total path in a graph where each vertex is visited once and the individual must end up where they began. It’s a difficult problem to solve: the best solution in terms of finding an answer is a brute force approach, whereas solutions with a better run-time yield approximations that may not be the best answer.

  • Their strategy works and the first group they visit are the engineers, who are playing Mahjong. In my opinion, compared to Mahjong, Poker is by far easier to play: I never have bothered to learn how it works, and find myself impressed that there are folks out there who have learned Mahjong just so they can analyse all of the hands and details in the anime Saki and its derivatives. I note that Saki‘s last animated incarnation finished airing some three years ago, and there’s been no news of when Zenkoku-hen will continue: we last left with Yuki stepping onto the playing field.

  • Fortunately, Mahjong is not the focus of Hai-Furi‘s OVA: while some people may be Mahjong experts, I certainly am no expert and therefore, would not be able to discuss things quite to the same extent as for other disciplines. Maron and Kuro are noticeably absent from the proceedings, being away on training, and when Luna very nearly opens her letter, Kouko manages to stop her, mentioning that to do so ahead of the designated time will be a direct violation of their school’s code and will result in a suspension.

  • Next on the list of people to visit are the logistics crew; handling the cooking back on board the Harekaze, they are working at a sweet shop of sorts here. After they receive their letters, the logistics crew offer Kouko and the others some eclairs, although they seem a bit sweet. In mammals, detection of sweetness is handled by the T1R3 and T1R2 proteins. These complex to form a G-protein coupled receptor that processes sweetness, although different mammals have vastly different perceptions of what is actually sweet. Some substances are far more potent than table sugar: thaumatin and lugduname are two examples, and I wonder what the actual result is when one’s sweetness receptors are overwhelmed.

  • By Kouko’s intuition alone, the navigation team is found in the park, with Machiko Noma climbing to the top of a cell phone tower and enjoying the view from above. Although Hai-Furi might be about the navy, the OVA has remained predominantly on land. During my episodic blogging, each episode’s screenshot collection featured at least one image of the Harekaze’s bridge, and the ocean would be visible in multiple images. In this post, however, I’ve actually got no screenshots of the ocean, which is only visible for short periods of the OVA.

  • Outside of their duties as lookouts and navigation, the girls in this department seem to have a varied set of interests. The mood is initially warm, but things becoming quieter when the girls wonder what will become of the Harekaze. Machiko soon spots a large vessel approaching the Harekaze from her viewpoint as the OVA reaches its halfway point and her reaction suggests that the Harekaze is destined for the scrap heap.

  • Without further information from the staff detailing the extent of the damage, audiences will have to suppose that the Harekaze is not salvageable despite appearing intact externally. When Kouko and the others make towards the port to see what’s going on, they find Kaede Marikouji there with a butler. Kaede remarks that her father is requesting her to return home, and this seems to further suggest to Kouko that the Harekaze’s crew are likely to be separated. The scene cuts to Mei and Shima playing shogi: far removed from the concerns of their peers, it’s a few moments of watching Mei decimating Shima.

  • By noon, Kouko, Tsumugi and Megumi stop for lunch outside of a burger joint. A week ago, while the weather was pleasant and spring was present, I spent an evening at the local Irish Pub with friends who had just arrived from Edmonton. We were meeting to discuss one of his personal software projects, and I ordered the legendary “Stuffed Bacon Cheddar” burger, which features mango avocado salsa, back bacon, a patty infused with more bacon and melted cheddar, and even a fried egg. On Sundays, their burgers go for twelve dollars, so I upgraded my side to a poutine to capitalise on the savings. The evening was originally intended for talking about what classes and methods we’d need to implement, but unexpected circumstances resulted in little actual work getting done. The burger itself, and accompanying poutine, was delicious.

  • Near the end of their lunch, Kouko and the others learn that the artillery unit is at a bowling alley, where Ritsuko Matsunaga scores a strike. Kayoko Himeji manages a spare on two pins located at opposite sides of the pin deck. I’ve only been bowling on a few occasions with friends and as such, won’t usually perform too well. Their day sees many precision-related events: while Kayoko and Ritsuko bowl, the others are playing darts.

  • While they are ostensiby relaxing, the sinking of the Harekaze has also weighed deeply on the minds of the artillery crew, alongside the others. A recurring element is that the Harekaze’s crew are concerned for both their ship as well as their fates: despite being a Karegō-class that felt quite under-armoured and out-gunned in many of the situations it itself operating independently, the vessel has been the girls’ friend through many dangers. Lost in their thoughts, they do not notice Kouko’s arrival.

  • Before distributing the letters to everyone present, Kouko notes that it would be wonderful to get together with everyone again, lapses into one of her spiels and inadvertently lets slip her worries about the class’ potential dispersion now that the Harekaze’s sunk. Despite these doubts, she tries her best to reassure the others that nothing is written yet. Seeing this side of Kouko in the OVA brings a new dimension to her character that was absent during the anime – besides occasional outbursts of her re-enacting what is in her mind a reasonable possibility and supporting the bridge crew, Kouko is presented as an easygoing character who’s very cheerful and will do her best to get along with everyone.

  • Interrupting their discussion is a message from Shima and Mei. Kouko and the others set out to find them such that they can deliver the remainder of the letters. The engineering team soon arrives, and learn that there is a non-zero possibility that everyone will be separated in their upcoming year owing to their lack of a ship. This strikes them as a particularly difficult bit of news, especially as how the entire vessel had begun fighting as one as a result of their combined adventures. While Shima continues to get decimated by Mei in Shogi, it turns out that the special training Maron and Kuro have embarked on is a team-building exercise; the two are repairing a small ship’s engine together. They are approached by the captain to another ship to discuss matters surrounding the rumours circulating.

  • I’ve heard comparisons between Hai-Furi‘s OVA and Girls und Panzer owing to the prospect of the Harekaze’s class being split, but this does not hold true: after watching the events of the OVA, it’s clear that Wilhelmina and Kouko only seem to have cursory information, and because of Kouko’s unintentionally passing of this partial information, the ship’s crew, as well as crew of other ships, have caught wind of the news. This creates a bit of a feedback that seemingly confirms Kouko’s suspicions.

  • Known formally as confirmation bias, Kouko is unaware that her duty in passing these letters around, coupled with her occasional mention of a possible dissolution of her class, is allowing incomplete information to be propagated amongst the students. The accumulation of confusion results in a telephone game-like scenario, further creating an environment where it genuinely feels like the class running the Harekaze will be separated, and when news of this reaches Kouko, it seemingly confirms that her worst fears are true. This is merely my take on things: given that Hai-Furi previously presented a situation as being more dire than it was, I am inclined to believe that an actual separation is unlikely to be the ending.

  • While walking to her destination, Kouko runs into Minami, who is using a hover-board to get around and remarks that she’s been working almost non-stop, not even having the time to sleep or observe proper hygienic practises. While a cool-looking mode of transportation, I’ve heard that some hover-board models have a tendency to catch fire and explode. Moreover, their naming is a bit of a misnomer: they’re technically self-balancing scooters that can be an interesting form of exercise as one engages their core muscles and work on balance, but because they lack an anti-gravity propulsion system, I feel that they should not be called hover-boards.

  • As evening sets in, the mood in and around Hai-Furi has definitely become more grave. Unlike the remarks out there comparing Hai-Furi to Girls und Panzer, I tend to concur with the idea that the OVA’s storyline is quite strong, especially considering the fact that OVAs typically take a more frivolous route; they choose to depict the characters under more relaxed conditions, as opposed to one where the gravity is much greater. The transition from afternoon to evening, and the corresponding decrease in light, seems to visually represent the prevailing atmosphere in the Hai-Furi OVA as the day wears on.

  • Herself unsure about whether or not things are true, Kouko tries to reassure the others, who’ve become convinced that their separation is real. It is quite paining to see everyone with their fears, but one thing that’s stopping this from really hitting home is the fact that the girls’ voices begin approaching the frequency of ultra-sound. This is one of the reasons that moé anime often has a difficult time conveying the severity of a moment in anime with a decidedly more serious narrative to tell: the character’s voices seem to lessen gravity.

  • Totally dejected by the time the sun has set, Kouko believes that she’s holding transfer orders. I have another guess: they’re special orders to brief the Harekaze’s crew on their new assignment, having handled the situation as effectively as they did. The OVA’s second part will then deal with the girls as they receive these instructions, get together as Kouko suggested, and then work together to repair the Harekaze. Because Hai-Furi‘s original theme was about teamwork, friendship and trust, it would be quite contrary to suddenly pull everyone apart after all they’ve been through: even if this is jejune and predictable, I would rather the anime stay consistent than try and write the story in a drama-oriented direction for surprise or even shock value.

  • The events of the day mean that Kouko is utterly spent and late for her evening with Wilhelmina; overcome with emotion, Kouko finally bawls in Wilhelmina’s arms. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to see Kouko in this state, having tried so hard to stay composed all day and complete her assignment. While Wilhelmina might not know of a solution, or even the reality of the situation, she is evidently a good friend, reassuring Kouko all the same. This brings the OVA to an end: with no preview and only a release date, I’m definitely interested in seeing what the second half will entail.

Altogether, it was most welcome to revisit Hai-Furi again following the anime’s original run and see all of the characters again: this OVA ends up being driven by characters, rather than the naval implements as the anime series was wont to focus on. With its chaotic story and unexpected turns of events every few episodes, Hai-Furi generated mixed reception upon conclusion. From a personal perspective, I found Hai-Furi to be modestly entertaining, certainly for its ability to keep audiences guessing every week as to what would happen in the episodes, even if it became clear that the anime would be following a very well-known pattern: in Hai-Furi‘s case, the journey, rather than the destination, made it worth watching from a personal standpoint, and the unique combination of trying to keep up with speculation while simultaneously working on my Master’s Thesis certainly was a fun (if wearing) exercise. The second half to the Hai-Furi OVA is set to air on May 24, which is a ways off. I imagine that it will be primarily focused on the letter’s contents, addressing any concerns Kouko may have (either by assuaging them or having her fears come to pass) and perhaps, even feature some naval combat. The OVA definitely has enough to keep the audiences guessing, and with my own limited speculations at a close, I open the floor for readers to join the discussion: what do you think is likely to happen in the OVA’s second half?

Last Battle in a Pinch- High School Fleet (Hai-Furi) Finale Impressions and Whole-Series Review

“We are going to die. You’re going to die, I’m going to die, we’re all going to die…just not today.” —Alex Hopper, Battleship

Charging forwards to engage the Musashi, Akeno and the Harekaze succeed in creating a distraction, preventing the Musashi from opening fire on civilian installations. However, they bear the full brunt of the Musashi’s assault, suffering damage to their systems in the process. As they begin to retreat, other vessels from Yokosuka Girls’ Marine High School, the Admiral Graf Spee and even instructor Furushou arrive, providing covering fire to hold off the Musashi long enough for the Harekaze to close the distance and board it. Akeno shares a tearful reunion with Moeka, and their return to port is welcomed. Having gone through a gruelling battle, the Harekaze succumbs to its damages and sinks while moored, leaving Akeno and the others to bid their vessel farewell. That the finale concluded in the manner that it did was ultimately no surprise: having lent her time and resources to help out the other vessels once the truth was known, Akeno’s humanitarian spirit and resolve to help people at sea is reciprocated in full, allowing the deadliest of the Yokosuka Girls’ Marine High School vessels to be stopped without casualties or property damage. It’s a fitting finale for a series that is essentially the naval equivalent of Strike Witches and Girls und Panzer, and with Hai-Furi now over, it’s time to consider the series as a whole.

With its theme revolving decisively around friendship, compassion and its necessity to combat the challenges the sea presents, Hai-Furi returns to this point time and time again, whether it’s Akeno’s desire to save her own crew from trouble, rescuing Wilhelmina of the Admiral Graf Spee, participating in the rescue of a civilian vessel, and when a treatment for the virus is presented, does her utmost in leading the Harekaze to ensure a safe rescue each and every time. Through these actions, even the Mashiro and Kuro, initially doubtful of Akeno’s ability as a captain, are swayed. Akeno’s kindness to those around her is reciprocated in leading her crew to completely accept her as their captain. In turn, the crew’s combined unity and resolve allow them to help both the Hiei and Admiral Graf Spee, who return in the finale to return the favour and assist the Harekaze’s mission. Friendship and camaraderie lie at the heart of Hai-Furi, and although this was not always clear when Hai-Furi first aired, Akeno and the Harekaze’s adventures, coupled with the lack of an antagonist faction, both serve to highlight that on the open seas, challenges and setbacks are overcome when the crew is unified, sharing a common goal and trust in their leadership.

“I don’t mind that. It’s totally fine to me that they have hundreds of weapons in Battlefield 4 that are completely out of place and inaccurate to the specific factions and battles that may have them…if we applied [the mindset that a game should be realistic] to Battlefield 4…there’d be a lot less variety, and it would be a less interesting and fun game.” —LevelCapGaming on realism in Battlefield 1

Notions of teamwork and unity as a satisfactory theme notwithstanding, one of the largest detractors critics have levelled against Hai-Furi is the realism and credibility factor. Individuals with a background in naval combat have mentioned that Akeno and the Harekaze disregard all known protocols and procedures, and similarly, individuals with strong interests in science fiction have suggested that the virus’ effects, its inactivation mechanism and vector push the bounds for what can be considered credible in a fictional setting. Both assertions are true: I fully agree that physics and biological sciences are not realistically rendered in Hai-Furi (or even close to that). Nonetheless, I will not hold this against Hai-Furi: anime such as Hai-Furi, Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches succeed because they emphasise fun and character growth over real-world accuracy. The same definitely holds true in video games: recent criticisms of the new Battlefield 1 is that the inclusion of such a diverse array of automatic weapons is unfaithful to the era, since most WWI battles were fought with bolt-action rifles. However, a game with only bolt action rifles would not likely be fun for most players. Battlefield 1 is “realistic” the same way Battlefield 4 is “realistic” — neither are, and that’s acceptable because the games aim to make a fun experience for the players rather than reproduce the details that would take away from a player’s experience. Similarly, Hai-Furi discards military and scientific accuracy in favour of crafting various scenarios for the characters that drive them closer together during the course their adventures.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • As the post to Hai-Furi‘s finale, this discussion will have thirty images rather than the usual twenty. It’s a little surprising to (again) remark how quickly time has flown by; it only seems like yesterday that I was writing up the first of the Hai-Furi reviews and saying that I would wait to see whether or not this was a series that would merit episodic blogging.

  • Each of the Hai-Furi posts I’ve published features at least one screenshot of the bridge, so I’d figure this would be no exception. As I had speculated in earlier discussions, now that the Harekaze’s crew is unified, working together as one, their battle performance against the Musashi is not negatively impacted by weak cooperation amongst the crew or the extent of their trust in Akeno.

  • Instead, to no one’s surprise, the Harekaze’s biggest limitation is that it does not possess any weapons capable of even slowing down the Musashi. Thus, Akeno decides to draw their fire away from the populated areas and attempt to disable its armaments to reduce the chance that any unnecessary casualties arise. Mount Fuji can be seen in the backdrop here, and with a maximum height of 3776 meters, it is one of the most iconic geographical features of Japan.

  • Despite having all of its torpedoes and several cannon rounds striking the Musashi, the heavy armour of the Musashi allows it to shrug off the damage completely. Having drawn its attention, the Musashi trains its 18 inch batteries on the Harekaze and begins firing. Most of the shots miss, but a handful land near the Harekaze, enough to knock out some systems and start fires on board.

  • A second salvo causes further damage amongst the Harekaze’s systems and compromises its hull, allowing water to seep in to the ship’s bowels. Akeno orders the Harekaze to retreat from the combat area as per their orders. The page quote comes from Battleship, where Alex expresses his confidence in being able to best the aliens, and the second is from LevelCap of YouTube, explaining why it’s okay even if some things in Battlefield are inaccurate relative to history.

  • The crew brace themselves for yet another impact. In last week’s episode discussion, I remarked that confidence and scheduling would determine whether or not I would be able to get a talk out for the finale on time. On Wednesday, I delivered the second of my rehearsal defense presentations and had a mock exam to simulate the questions and discussions that would follow the presentation itself.

  • When the last of the slides were done and I had answered questions from the audience during the rehearsal, the only feedback I received was that one of my image citations were around four pixels too high. This probably means that my talk and slides are in reasonable shape, and as such, all that’s left now is to wait for Tuesday morning, which is when the defense is set to take place. Hence, I was able to push this review out today on schedule.

  • Back in Hai-Furi, just when it appears that the Harekaze’s luck has finally run out, a flotilla of vessels appears. Their combined firepower is sufficient to draw the Musashi’s attention, giving Akeno another opportunity to close the distance and board it. The return of the other ships is exactly as predicted, and in the previous discussion, I remark that to deviate from this would be unfaithful to Hai-Furi‘s thematic elements.

  • Voiced by Shiina Natsukawa (Sora no Method‘s Nonoka and Aldnoah.Zero‘s Lemrina Vers Envers), Akeno’s voice shares some acoustic properties as that of Girls und Panzer‘s Miporin. Squeaky anime voices are common in Hai-Furi and other anime: it’s done supposedly to emphasise immaturity or cuteness, and I’ve got no quarrel with these voices, but the main disadvantage about these voices are that they carry very well in a building.

  • Right on schedule, Wilhemina makes a return on board the Admiral Graf Spee, and this time, with the pocket battleship’s firepower firmly in their corner, the Admiral Graf Spee fights alongside the Harekaze in a final mission to secure the Musashi. It was welcoming to see her return: her actions contribute to the bridge crew’s maturation as sailors, and she waves to Kouko here.

  • Unverified sources state that Kouko is getting her own spin-off of some sort, and while that sounds exciting, I’ll wait for more information before I present a more substantial reaction. I’ve noticed that the character designs in Hai-Furi seem close to the designs seen in Kyoto Animation’s K-On! adaptation: anime such as Sora no Woto, Tamako Market and Kokoro Connect have been criticised for sharing too strong a similarity with K-On!, although these criticisms have had no impact on present trends in character design.

  • Operating under her own free will, Captain Thea Kreutzer of the Admiral Graf Spee expresses anticipation of joining the battle to return the favour for the Harekaze for having helped them out in treating the virus. One must wonder what happened to the submarine crews that the Harekaze was attacked by back during the third episode: if they were acting aberrantly, it stands to reason they were also infected by the virus.

  • While none of the vessels that have joined the fight possess a main battery powerful enough to stop the Musashi cold in its tracks, the presence of a large number of ships with large calibre naval cannons is sufficient to keep the Musashi’s main guns busy. During the course of the battle, I could not help but notice that the firing sequences in some of the frames are recycled. This is only one episode, so it’s a minor gripe compared to the likes of something such as Gundam SEED, where entire launch and combat sequences are recycled.

  • Powerless to stop her crew from firing upon blue forces, Moeka can only stand by and watch as her own battleship returns fire whilst taking fire. The real Musashi was destroyed during the Battle of Leyte Gulf: sustained bombing runs carried out by dive bombers from the USS Intrepid, Franklin Essex and Lexington damaged the ship’s infrastructure. Hit by nineteen torpedoes and seventeen bombs, the Musashi capsized and sank on October 24, 1944.

  • Compared to when she was first introduced, Rin is now less likely to break into tears in combat, although her dialogue still reaches frequencies that are at the upper limit for what can be perceived by the human ear. Rin’s steerage plays an essential role in bringing the Harekaze closer to the Musashi, and she’s now confident to follow Akeno’s orders, positioning the Harekaze in dangerous positions.

  • After the other vessels arrive, the Harekaze’s crew are emboldened and Akeno decides to wrap things up in a clean manner. While their smoke launchers were disabled earlier by the Musashi, Kouko recalls that they were given a Type 4 Rocket, a 203 mm rocket mortar deployed in the late stages of the Second World War. The weapon could be fired without a tube, and was considered for widespread use against Allied forces in a potential land invasion owing to its ease of construction.

  • After Rin maneuvers the Harekaze directly in front of the Musashi, Tama and Mei fire the rocket, blanketting the area in smoke. Under its cover, the aim is to use this time to close the distance between the Harekaze and the Musashi. While wildly different than the now oft-mentioned film Battleship in terms of plot, both works feature battleships predominantly and are similar in providing solid escapism.

  • While their steering was damaged by the Musashi earlier, Akeno employs a similar trick to what was used in Battleship: here, a parachute is used to drag the Harekaze in a specified direction, while in Battleship, Alex uses the USS Missouri’s anchor to stop the ship from being hit with alien weapons. Hai-Furi and Battleship showcase the power of a battleship’s main batteries: in the former, grazing hits from the Musashi’s 18-inch guns nonetheless cause the Harekaze non-trivial damage. and in the latter, the USS Missouri shreds the alien mothership with its 16-inch batteries.

  • Slamming into the Musashi’s flanks, the toughest part of the battle is now over as the Musashi comes to a halt. While not leaving quite the same impact as Girls und Panzer‘s TV series, Hai-Furi was something that became worth writing about each week. I’ve heard some folks bemoan aspects such as the adherence to naval protocol and Moeka’s non-existent role repeatedly throughout the anime, and I’m wondering why they would continue following Hai-Furi even if the anime was not up to their standards.

  • On the other hand, I fall into the camp of people who enjoyed Hai-Furi for what it succeeded in doing. Today’s review comes out a little later than usual owing to its larger size and on account of my stepping out to enjoy A & W’s Spicy Habanero Chicken Burger (an interesting sandwich where the tomato and lettuce balance out the heavier flavours of the peppers and fried chicken) with a side of yam fries. Already, I’m thinking about what I’ll be doing once I finish this post and mash the publish button: I’ll definitely need to rehearse one of the conference presentations, but after that, I might relax and continue playing through Alien: Isolation.

  • For now, however, my eyes are on the prize of finishing this post. Akeno’s boarding party prepares to board the Musashi and sort out the crew. Having swept and cleared two ships already, their prowess are not shown for a third time aside from Kaede knocking down several of the Musashi’s crew with her wooden naginata. Minami can also be seen here carrying Isuroku, a wise decision considering that any remaining rats onboard could still be virulent.

  • Back on the Harekaze, Mashiro clears Akeno to board the Musashi herself and reunite with Moeka. This single moment shows how far Mashiro’s come since boarding the Harekaze and working with Akeno as her Deputy Captain: she’s much more ready to help Akeno and provide feedback where necessary, and never remarks on her luck once in this finale. Through its run, Hai-Furi suceeds in dispelling notions of #TeamAkeno vs #TeamMashiro disappear entirely, and it was quite welcoming to see that after twelve episodes, Hai-Furi reaches the point where it’s just #TeamHarekaze.

  • Moeka’s character is perhaps the most vociferously-complainde about element in Hai-Furi, with critics claiming that her role was “short-changed” and that her role was “under-used”. This is hardly the case; Moeka is a MacGuffin whose presence is a plot device meant to drive Akeno towards overcoming her own doubts as captain. MacGuffins are admittedly frowned upon by some writers, as they offer a shortcut in explaining away narrative-critical elements, but in Hai-Furi, this is perfectly acceptable, given that the anime makes it clear that it’s about the Harekaze and its crew as they mature over the course of the misadventures they experience.

  • The combined efforts of everyone on board the Harekaze and assistance from the other vessels allow Akeno to finally reunite with Moeka, bringing Hai-Furi into its falling action phase. After hearing Moeka’s distress signal back in the second episode, Akeno finally finishes her mission and saves Moeka, in the process earning her crew’s trust and in turn, places more faith in her subordinate’s ability to get the job done.

  • I source this translation from Jusuchin of Right Wing Otaku, one of the blogs I follow, that explains why Hai-Furi feels disjointed here and there. It appears that an unexpected change in requirements from management resulted in a fair portion of a full-on naval anime being discarded and recycled for use with high school girls and their naval academy. The line reads as follows:

“The writing team wanted to have real naval battles and the Aniplex producer vetoed that idea. They didn’t have the time or the chance to scrap what they had and start from the ground up under the new conditions, so they just salvaged what they could off the story and came up with bullshit to fill the gaps.”

  • If this is true, Hai-Furi would be quite similar to Blizzard’s Overwatch, which salvaged assets from a scrapped MMORPG after the team felt no passion in continuing the MMORPG further. In Overwatch‘s case, the game proved to be an overwhelming success, with the combination of character balance incorporating nicely into the gameplay, art style and narrative to create a sophisticated, yet fun shooter. Hai-Furi does not quite succeed to the same extent as Overwatch did.

  • With this in mind, I wrote this review’s main paragraphs before I filled out the figure captions: to learn that the anime resulting from this magnitude of challenges during its production manage to remain entertaining was quite the surprised, and I’m honestly quite impressed that it turned out the way it did in spite of all this. There’s a discernible theme, standing in contrast to the abomination that was Glasslip.

  • The Harekaze’s crew are relieved to set foot on terra firma once more, but the end of their mission yields one more surprise: the amount of damage the Harekaze sustained during its battle causes it to sink while moored. Strictly speaking, this addition was completely unnecessary and adds very little to the anime: the shallow waters of a harbour and the Harekaze’s overall state means that it is possible to repair the vessel and make it seaworthy again.

  • We’re now very nearly at the end of this extended review, and it is appropriate to consider whether or not Hai-Furi will receive a continuation. Given that the entire series appeared to be born from poor management decisions and the resulting inconsistencies reducing the emotional impact of the series, I imagine that sales for this series will be average or below average. Coupled with the fact that Hai-Furi deviates greatly from its source manga, it is unlikely that there will be a continuation: if there is a continuation, it would be interesting to see how that turns out.

  • Thus ends the second series I’ve done episodic reviews for (the first was Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?? of fall 2015). Looking back, Hai-Furi was certainly interesting enough for me to return weekly to write about it, and while some of the episodes were trickier to write about, like GochiUsa, I’ve alluded to other works (Tom Clancy novelsTimothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy and more recently, Battleship) throughout these posts. While fun, each episodic post is also somewhat tiring to write about; moving on to the summer anime season, I do not think I will pursue any episodic blogging and spend my weekends kicking back.

From a personal standpoint, I certainly enjoyed Hai-Furi for what it is: while Hai-Furi lacks the same magic that made Girls und Panzer or Strike Witches memorable, it was quite rewarding to see Akeno and her crew become closer together as a result of their adventures and mishaps together, the aptly-named “pinches” that drove most of the episodes. Hai-Furi started out shrouded in mystery, and gradually transitioned to a more familiar progression once the virus’ origin and mechanism were explored. However, in closing off with the Harekaze sinking from damage in port, Hai-Furi shows that it still holds surprises for the audiences in its final moments. It’s intended to be a bittersweet ending: everyone’s safe and back on land now, but Akeno and the others lose the ship that was their home. With this in mind, it is quite possible to return the Harekaze to service later down the line provided the damage was not too severe. Overall, Hai-Furi presents a satisfying conclusion to one of this season’s more unorthodox anime. I would give Hai-Furi a weak recommendation for fans of the military-moé genre; while some narrative elements appear rushed into place to fit the story at the expense of plausibility, for what Hai-Furi succeeds in doing, it does reasonably well, showcasing naval implements in modest detail and telling a familiar story about the importance of friendship on the high seas.