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Category Archives: High School Fleet

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.

In a Pinch with a Battleship’s Big Cannon- High School Fleet (Hai-Furi) Episode Eleven Impressions and Review

“Roll in strike package bravo on unknown target, I authenticate tango whisky at time 0300 zulu.” —Pentagon Officer, Transformers

The festivities of the Equator Festival wind down, and the Harekaze begin combat operations. With most of the Blue Mermaids’ forces near the Philippines, command decides to send a smaller reserve task force to deal with the Musashi. Against the Musashi’s firepower, their efforts prove insufficient. Meanwhile, Akeno loses her resolve, fearing for the lives of her crew should they join the battle. Mashiro attempts to remotivate her; though she is unsuccessful, Maron gives Mashiro an unconventional pep-talk that inspires her. Realising that everyone is in this together, they relay a message to Moeka, who’s still safe, and announce their intent to save the Musashi and its crew. Meanwhile, Principle Munetani decides to join the battle herself, with one of the command staff remarking that this was the person who disabled an entire fleet with only one ship fifteen years previously. This point is reached at last in Hai-Furi, with the Harekaze’s final showdown against the Musashi imminent; Hai-Furi‘s opening episodes proved unpredictable in nature and fun to watch, but with the revelation that the virus was in fact the result of a research accident (and the resulting thematic elements), Hai-Furi‘s become a little easier to gauge now.

While Akeno remained out of action for most of the penultimate episode, her subordinates have demonstrated a strong commitment and confidence that they will get the job done. Thus, with Akeno seemingly back in her game, expectations for the final episode will be directed towards how well the Harekaze’s crew can cooperate to take down the beast of a warship that is the Musashi. Since we’re rolling onto the finale of Hai-Furi next week, it seems appropriate to do some speculations at this point in time: based on the thematic elements that Hai-Furi have strived to convey over the past few episodes, it’s possible that the Harekaze will, unified under Akeno and Mashiro’s command, make substantial headway into securing the Musashi. If this is the case, Principle Munetani will be surprised at the Harekaze’s efficacy but nonetheless join in on the operation. Wilhelmina and the Graf Spee may also return to provide assistance. Because Hai-Furi is ultimately about camaraderie and how adventure brings people close together, it is almost surely that the Harekaze and Blue Mermaids will succeed in saving Moeka and the Musashi without major casualties — an outcome contrary would be widely seen as betraying the audience’s expectations, contradicting everything that Hai-Furi has built up thus far. I cannot imagine a pessimistic ending as being possible for this reason, and as such, entering the finale, I am anticipating a thrilling battle that brings a close to one of the more unusual anime for this season.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The page quote is taken from the 2007 movie, Transformers, and although the Hai-Furi universe lacks any HTA flight (precluding the use of Predator drones or close-air support), the atmosphere at the Blue Mermaid’s operations center feels similar enough to when the Pentagon gain a feed on Scorponok for the first time. They unsuccessfully turn a pair of A-10 Thunderbolts’ GAU-8 30mm cannons on it, and failing that, drop one-oh-five shells on Scorponok, causing it to retreat. Back in Hai-Furi, it turns out that the intel about the Musashi being near the Philippines was inaccurate, leaving them at a disadvantage.

  • Thus, the Harekaze is set to participate in the operation, assisting where they can but otherwise, are instructed to prioritise their safety. Akeno’s mood throughout much of this episode is one of trepidation; the others are fired up and ready to do whatever is necessary to save the Musashi. This week’s post includes the customary twenty screenshots, but for next week’s finale, I will include thirty screenshots in the discussion, as I have done for Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka??

  • Following their repairs, the Harekaze is given new 5″/54 caliber Mark 16 guns; compared to its old 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 naval gun, the new Mark 16s have an increased firing rate (15-18 RPM against the Type 3’s 5-10 RPM), as well as improved range (the Type 3 had a maximum of 18.4 km, while the Mark 16s could reach 23.691 km with a 45º elevation), and were capable of performing both against smaller surface targets as well as in an anti-aircraft role as the Harekaze’s old Type 98 batteries. New targeting equipment is also provided, as well – Mei falls in love with the new gear and is eager to put it to good use. I’m rather excited about the recent announcements surrounding NVIDIA’s Pascal microarchitecture, which is said to bring performance comparable to the top cards in the Maxwell series but with a lower energy requirement and price point.

  • As of now, I’ve now submitted my thesis paper to the exam committee, and this past week, I gave a rehearsal of my presentation preceding the exam itself. The feedback I received was most useful: it seems that I just need to stick the ending slide and that will be sufficient to pave the way for the questions/discussion component of the exam. I’m set to give another rehersal presentation this week, so I’ll need to do a few more practise runs over the next few days.

  • When the shells start flying, Akeno is paralysed with fear, not from the threat of the Musashi itself, but rather, from the worry that her crew might be injured or killed during the operation. Mashiro herself is also rendered unable to direct the bridge out of concern for Akeno: they step off the bridge and transfer command over to Kouko, who decides to continue with pushing the Harekaze through evasive maneuvers.

  • An unspecified source reads that around fifteen anti-ship missiles would be necessary to render mission ineffectual a WWII-era battleship such as the USS Iowa: this number certainly would not be enough to sink such a ship. Against the likes of these battleships, modern naval tactics would likely make extensive use of over-the-horizon missiles to disable the main batteries, and sustained airstrikes if the intent was to sink them.

  • Though still quite prone to tears under duress, Rin’s become a capable helmsman now who precisely guides the Harekaze along the stipulated headings that she’s ordered to move towards. The situation looks critical, but shortly after, a small detachment of Blue Mermaids forces arrive on scene, executing a well-coordinated strike in an effort to disable the Musashi.

  • Although they are successful in disabling some of the secondary weapons, the sheer bulk of the Musashi, coupled with the rodents’ ECM properties, throws off their torpedoes. I recall a rather ill-explained Tweet claiming that no aerodynamics research stopped in the absence of air travel, but the Hai-Furi universe nonetheless possesses advanced hulls for modern naval vessels and sophisticated rocketry powering the ASROC systems. Barring official documentation, it’s more likely that aerodynamics research exists in this universe, but not for air flight.

  • The crew on board the Harekaze marvel at the precision that the Blue Mermaids exhibit while engaging the Musashi, whether it be their movements or firing patterns. By this point in time, Hai-Furi has demonstrated itself to be rather more solid (from a storytelling perspective) compared to 2015’s Kantai Collection: the one aspect of Kantai Collection that is easily superior to that of Hai-Furi is the soundtrack.

  • This impression comes strictly from just listening to the music from within Hai-Furi, and with the soundtrack’s first volume coming out in four days, I’ll soon have a better idea of whether or not Hai-Furi‘s musical accompaniment is appropriate, or if a stronger orchestral component would have been beneficial towards the anime.

  • Moeka and the Musashi ultimately serves as a MacGuffin, a narrative device that motivates the protagonists but otherwise has limited explanation. With some (begrudgingly bestowed) credit to some vocal individuals griping repeatedly about Moeka’s lack of development and seemingly exaggerated importance, it is quite clear that Moeka is a MacGuffin that impacts Akeno to some extent. However, the use of a MacGuffin here ultimately is inconsequential: Hai-Furi is about the Harekaze, not the Musashi.

  • In a flashback, it turns out that much of the Musashi’s crew became infected with the virus, leaving Moeka and a few others to survive on the bridge. Her actions throughout the crisis suggests that she’s a capable captain, and consequently, any time spent building her character would have taken away from the time otherwise spent focusing on the Harekaze’s crew. Hence, I do not mind Moeka’s nonexistent development as a character; I consider complaints about thus a waste of time and bandwidth.

  • The Blue Mermaids deploy their airships to obstruct the Musashi’s line of sight, but these are shot down by the anti-air defenses. The Musashi’s anti-air weapons included thirty-five 25 mm Type 96 guns mounted in triplets, twenty-five single Type 96 guns and two 13.2 mm Type 93 machine guns. Although missiles are now the preferred anti-air measures for most naval vessels, CIWS systems are the modern incarnation: these multi-barrel weapons have a much higher firing rate than their WWII incarnations and fulfill a similar role in providing some measure of defense against missiles and enemy aircraft.

  • Below-deck, Akeno discloses her fears to Mashiro: gone are the days when the latter would berate Akeno for her way of thinking, and she tries to reassure Akeno to limited avail. Manifestation of these behaviours is reminiscent of the negative potentials of Valkyria Chronicles and would ordinarily prove debilitating towards morale on a ship: if a captain cannot grit their teeth and fight, the sailors under them will also falter.

  • With their ordinance depleting, the Blue Mermaids sustain losses to their forces: three of the four vessels are mission-killed and unable to continue. With reinforcements still a fair distance away, and the Harekaze ineffectual for the moment, the Blue Mermaids have their hands tied. I suddenly find myself drawing comparisons between Hai-Furi and the 2012 film Battleship. Both films push a nostalgia for the might of battleships: in Battleship, the USS Missouri plays a pivotal role in damaging the alien vessels when the USS John Paul Jones is destroyed.

  • Battleship favours bombastic escapism over narrative strength, although for the time being, I will wait until the finale before making the call as to whether or not Hai-Furi does the same. Back in Hai-Furi, a well-timed pep-talk from Maron, and the courtesy of translations from Kuro, is sufficient to bring Mashiro back to her feet. The gist is that the fundamental differences in character between herself and Akeno allows the two to complement one another, allowing the two to do things in parallel that would otherwise be quite difficult for each to achieve independently.

  • Thus, even in light of clear and present danger, Hai-Furi continues to push light-hearted moments into the flow of events to remind viewers that, while this is an anime with serious moments and plenty of military hardware. Today’s post comes around five hours later than it normally would: it’s Father’s Day this weekend, and I was out with the family for most of this afternoon. The day ended with a prime rib buffet dinner at the Elbow River Casino, which was excellent. There was a good combination of Western-style and Asian-style offerings, including grilled chicken, Southwestern-style ribs, succulent prime rib, potatoes, sweet-and-sour pork, fried rice, fried noodle, spring rolls, fried Caribbean basa, snow crab and various vegetables. For desert, I had cheesecake, a brownie and some fruits.

  • Armed with renewed motivation, Mashiro succeeds in bringing Akeno back to her feet. With her crew behind her and finally ready to take care of business, Akeno receives a message from the Musashi: Moeka is safe and she clarifies that her ship’s in a right state. Upon receiving this message, Akeno’s resolve strengthens: she orders the Harekaze to rescue the Musashi’s crew.

  • The main reason why I’ve remained more forgiving about Hai-Furi than some is because I’m not looking for subtle technical details or inconsistencies in the plot: my eye is trained on the overall theme, the “big picture”, as it were. This is not to say that other methods are wrong and I’m right, but rather, to show this is how I do things. So, I’m not terribly worried about what causes Akeno to suddenly suffer a nervous breakdown or the fact that the two-man system on the Musashi appears to have been somehow negated. What matters to me is whether or not Akeno and Mashiro’s complementing personalities and approaches are sufficient to get the job done, or at minimum, paint a compelling picture to show the two have matured in one another’s presence.

  • That’s pretty much it for this post; next week, I will return to write about the finale, or at least, do my best to do so. My thesis defense has been set on the 28th of June, so depending on how I feel, I may write about the finale after I finish defending. With that being said, I’ll spend much of the upcoming week preparing, so I should be okay for most questions and discussions: this is not like the MCAT, my supervisor reminds me, in that the topic gives me home ice advantage. So, I’ll prepare the best I can and defend the best I can.

I will reserve my final thoughts for next week’s finale review: news has reached my ears that ever since the origins for the virus was revealed, interest in this series has dropped. This is not particularly surprising, given that it entrenched the idea that Hai-Furi would scale the story back away from any international conspiracies or political instability in favour of a safer, more familiar narrative dealing with friendship, teamwork and trust. Had Hai-Furi opted to go bigger with a Tom Clancy-esque story, it would have become remembered for treading into new territories for the military-moé genre, differentiating itself easily from Girls und Panzer and Kantai Collection. However, even in its current form, Hai-Furi remains a rather curious anime that is quite entertaining. Heading into the finale, it’ll be interesting to see what happens post-rescue for the Musashi, and I look forwards to seeing, once the denouement has passed, what Hai-Furi‘s place amongst the likes of Girls und Panzer and other military-moé anime will be.

Happy at the Equator Festival!- High School Fleet (Hai-Furi) Episode Ten Impressions and Review

“Take a look at the world…chaos…because people like you, paper-pushers and politicians, are too spineless to do what needs to be done. So, I made an alliance to put the power where it should be, and now you want to throw it away for the sake of democracy, whatever the hell that is. How predictably moronic. But then isn’t that what ‘M’ stands for…’moron’?”

“And now we know what ‘C’ stands for… ‘careless’.”

— Exchange between C and M, Spectre

While the Harekaze is undergoing repairs and resupply, Maron decides to host an Equator Festival. Originally done in-universe to pray for smooth sailing, Maron is initially disappointed that no one shares her enthusiasm. However, with some encouragement from Kuro, and upon seeing Hime’s palanquin, the others rapidly get into the spirit of things. Spearheaded by a reinvigorated Maron, the festival is a great success, bringing Kuro and Akeno closer towards understanding one another in the process. Back at the Blue Mermaid’s headquarters, the brass organise Operation Perseus with the aim of securing the remaining vessels and inoculating their crew. The Harekaze is set to participate in the second task force, and Akeno steels herself for what will be the most difficult challenge she and the Harekaze will have faced up until this point. This week’s episode decisively brings the whole of the Harekaze’s crew under one banner: by this point in time, even Kuro has accepted Akeno’s leadership. This comes just in time as the Blue Mermaid’s command have finally decided to take direct action and bring back the remaining ships safely.

The tenth episode to Hai-Furi‘s title is similarly unique in that “Pinch” does not occur anywhere else. Intuitively, the episode itself marks the first time where there is no surface warfare or unexpected emergencies that the Harekaze becomes entangled in. This departure slows the pacing to show that in the aftermath of Wilhelmina’s return to the Admiral Graf Spee, the Harekaze’s crew have come quite a ways from when they started out in the first episode. Kouko’s back to her old self, and Akeno’s now more confident in taking charge, visible when she speaks with Kuro about Maron’s sulking. She’s later seen participating, not as an officer, but as a fellow classmate, in the festivities. This is the deep breath before the plunge, and the inclusion of a whole episode for festivities’ sake is probably to give the Harekaze a chance to fully recharge before the harrowing events in the upcoming episodes, as well as to offer an opportunity for Kuro to be more accepting of Akeno’s position as captain. With this solved, the Harekaze is wholly united just in time for the impending confrontation with the Musashi.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • If we accept the assumption of twelve episodes to be true, then Hai-Furi will end in a mere two weeks. In that time, I aim to finalise my defense presentation, prepare for that and partake in a mock defense so I can mentally prepare myself for the questions that will come in the examination; my thesis paper’s first draft is largely done now, affording me some time off on this Saturday to get vaccinations in advance of the July conference in Mexico.

  • Maron is the head of the engineering department, responsible for keeping the Harekaze’s engines running. She’s particularly excited about the idea of the Equator Festival (inspired by a long-standing naval tradition, the Line Crossing Ceremony), which Kuro explains as a ritual that a ship’s crew carried out back when ships were sail-powered: the lack of strong winds at the equator would have made it difficult for ships to move about here. Aside from praying to the deities, crews would also celebrate: the Hai-Furi incarnations are rather more orderly than some of the more controversial incidents that have occurred in reality.

  • There is a great deal of lore associated with sailors and the ocean: besides sailors, miners and actors are two other occupations where there seems to be a great deal of superstition. Sailors are subject to the ocean’s will, actors strive to convince their audiences of an unreal reality and miners descend into the bowels of the earth. Even in a field like software development, some new superstitions have arisen, so I suppose that every occupation comes with its set of beliefs. Back in Hai-Furi, this is where two students from maintenance vessels remark on the Harekaze’s adventures.

  • Since the previous episode, it appears that Kouko has become rather close to Mashiro. Throughout the episode, Kouko appears to have largely recovered from Wilhelmina’s return to the Admiral Graf Spee, although it will be interesting to see if this may return to the Harekaze’s detriment in the remaining episodes.

  • With actionable intelligence on most of the remaining vessel’s positions are and the means to stop the virus, the Blue Mermaids prepare for a full-scale operation to rescue the other vessels and eradicate the virus before it spreads. Principle Munetani decides to send the operational student vessels to participate in this assignment, feeling it is necessary to have as many hands assisting as possible. Despite her doubts, she smiles upon learning that Akeno and the others have a festival in mind.

  • On board the Harekaze, festival preparations proceed at a snail’s pace, since everyone seems to be more interested in slacking off than getting things set up. In frustration, Maron runs off, and Kuro, worrying about her, speaks with Akeno. The page quote, sourced from Spectre, has limited to do with Maron herself and was selected because I had a great deal of typing her name without accidentally typing out “moron” as a result of muscle memory from touch typing.

  • Another one of the engineers, Hime, is constructing a palanquin-type vehicle for the festival. To maximise the surprise factor, she lets the others know that it’s personal, but this factor upsets Maron. It turns out that Hime is quite enthusiastic about festivals and immediately had a goal in mind.

  • Admitting that it is in part her fault for not helping out, Akeno decides to lead the others into preparing for the Equator festival while Kuro speaks with Maron. Kuro and Maron are friends going a ways back, so the former knows about the latter’s propensities; apparently, Maron can be quite stubborn and it takes some effort to convince her otherwise when she’s upset.

  • Back on deck, Akeno appears to have managed to convince the others to make things happen. The completed palanquin is now ready, and Akeno takes parts as the festivities kick off, complete with music and high spirits. While the topic is on music, it appears that Hai-Furi‘s soundtrack will be split into two volumes. The first will release on June 22, and the second comes out on July 27. Character song albums will release between August and October.

  • Because episode ten is largely directed at the girls having a ball of a time, I have very little in the way of major thematic elements to discuss for this post, beyond the idea that this episode is really just meant to give everyone some much-needed R & R following the previous two episodes’ high-octane combat sequences. As such, the post overall is a little shorter than usual.

  • I’ve heard from some that this episode was “confusing” and “a waste of time”. In general, Hai-Furi has always aired in the shadow of its spiritual predecessor, Girls und Panzer: expectations for Hai-Furi have been quite high from folks who were expecting a journey as moving as that of Girls und Panzer, and when Hai-Furi followed a different path, these expectations were not met, resulting in disappointment.

  • While the Harekaze’s crew are fond of kicking back and taking it easy, they can and will buckle down to get the job done as the situation demands. As to what my expectations to Hai-Furi are, I entered thinking it to be what Girls und Panzer was originally imagined to be: a slice-of-life show with more hardware than is seen in a conventional anime of that genre. It’s proven surprising, and while it’s definitely not Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlum, watching the unusual combination of high school girls manning older naval vessels has proven to be quite fun.

  • Back in Hai-Furi, it turns out that Mashiro’s not the only one with bad luck as far as sausage goes: here, Isuroku makes off with more meat from a sausage stand. Watching all of the girls grill things on deck gives me a yearning for some good barbecue. Earlier, the kitten that Mashiro had saved is seen enjoying takoyaki.

  • Some of the events in this episode are admittedly reminiscent of the Girls und Panzer OVA, “Banquet War”. Set shortly after Ooarai’s victory over Black Forest, their evening events include a vast nabe dinner, as well as a hidden talent competition from each of the tank crews. With this number of characters in Hai-Furi, it’s not difficult to recreate that sort of celebration on board the Harekaze.

  • The evening events in Hai-Furi proceed similarly to Girls und Panzer‘s hidden talent competition: the artillery crew put on an impressions show, rather similar to the volleyball team, and the navigation team performs some rap. Although quite adorable in its own right, they’ve got absolutely nothing on Bane’s freestyle performance, which summarises the whole of The Dark Knight Rises quite nicely.

  • While Miho and her friends did a super-sentai skit, Akeno and the bridge crew put on a show consistent with the films that Kouko are fond of. Unlike Girls und Panzer, the outcome of this one is not shown on screen: Kuro and Maron share a moment together, with Maron revealing that the reason why she wanted this festival to take place was so that Kuro could take her mind off things and relax a little.

  • The final event for the evening is sumo wrestling: it turns out that Kuro’s is uncommonly skilled at it, defeating even Kaede (who displayed fearsome proficiency with a naginata during the previous episode). Maron arranges for Akeno to be her final opponent, to help Kuro overcome her dislike for Akeno.

  • The events draw to a close, but not before Minami, feeling a little left out, requests that everyone sing with her. With the knowledge that Minami is twelve, one cannot help but be reminded of Alice Shimada, who is thirteen. Both individuals are taciturn prodigies in their respective fields, although Minami is not voiced by Ayana Taketatsu: she’s voiced by Kana Asumi, who had previously provided voices for Non Non Biyori‘s Komari Koshigaya and Tamayura‘s Kaoru Hanawa, as well as Mio Kitahara of Ano Natsu de Matteru.

  • While the overall tone of the episode is rather more lighthearted than any of the previous ones, things wrap up with Akeno gazing out into the distance. Knowing the task at hand, she wishes that Moeka had been there to partake in the celebrations, as well. There’s been a lot of discussion about Moeka’s role in Hai-Furi, although at the end of the day, Moeka’s position appears to be intended help illustrate how Akeno has matured over the course of Hai-Furi.

  • Previously, Akeno had just rushed into the situation without a game plan; if she’s willing to entrust this operation to the whole of her crew this time, then it will be quite clear that she’s undergone a bit of growth. This outcome will be satisfactory in my books, and I’m hoping that the narrative will proceed in this direction. Before I finish things off, I note that for my previous post, the URL slug reads “episode eight” rather than “nine”; this is an oversight on my part, and the episode title’s since been rectified. I’m leaving the slug because changing it would break other links elsewhere.

Early in this episode, some of the students helping the Harekaze’s maintenance and replenishment remark that the Harekaze’s exploits and adventures have become something of a legend amongst the other students. Considered to be a raggedy-ass bunch, that everyone has managed to pull through the various challenges thus far has impressed the other students. These statements are meant to accentuate that for better or worse, Harekaze is now ready to set sail for their final challenge of Hai-Furi. With the impending confrontation against the Musashi, the battle’s progression and outcome do not appear to be too difficult to predict: Hai-Furi‘s primary message does seem to be about friendship and cooperation, meaning that Akeno and the Harekaze will play a central role in securing the Musashi to save Moeka. However, the entertainment factor in the remaining episodes will come from just how this operation proceeds, and with only two more episodes left, I’m looking forwards to watching the final bit of Hai-Furi occur.