The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Manatsu Shiraishi

Tokyo Girls Promotion Starts Here!- Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA Review and Reflection

“What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.” –David Ogilvy

While Rin and Misa are ostensibly working on their summer assignments, they get a message from Kaguya asking everyone to congregate. As it turns out, the Jet Racing board had turned down a promotional video that Kaguya and Kuromaru had put together, citing it as too intimidating for driving interest in the sport. After hearing feedback from the others, Kaguya tasks everyone to put a new video together that they can submit to the board. Tsui and Tina produce their own video, but the resultant resembles an advertisement for idols. Manatsu and Yuzu then decide to try their hand at making the video. They decide to incorporate a bit of everything about the different teams into the video, such as having Misa and Rin wash the Orcano, carry a portable shrine at Fūka and Inori’s shrine and having Jennifer and Emily act in an impromtu play. When Yuzu and Manatsu learn the submission deadline has changed, they pull an all-nighter to finish editing the footage together, barely managing to deliver a master of the video to the Jet Racing board ahead of the deadline. The board are baffled at the submission, and Kaguya reveals that they’ve gone ahead with a more informative and straightforwards video, to everyone’s disappointment.

This is the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA, which was bundled with a special edition of the game that released back in January for Japan. Being set a ways after the events of the regular season, the OVA offers nothing particularly new or novel with respect to character dynamics or the sport of Jet Racing itself, Instead, it is a fun bit of opportunity to see how each of the teams sees Jet Racing. The three videos that the girls put together mirror their thoughts: Kaguya and Kuromaru’s presentation of Jet Racing as a hardcore, professional sport is probably the most accurate, showing how there’s a great deal that happens behind the scenes off the canals. Tsui and Tina, on the other hand, enjoy the sport purely for how it can increase their exposure. The remainder of the girls all participate for fun, and while this something that Yuzu and Manatsu attempt to capture, they only succeed in creating a fanservice-laden video that has very little to do with Jet Racing. In a more serious context, it would’ve been nice to see everyone work together on a proper video, but because the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA is really meant as a light-hearted romp that allows everyone to bounce off one another, the outcome of the OVA is perfectly acceptable, driving a bit of humour.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The last time Kandagawa Jet Girls graced this blog, it was seven months ago, and I had just finished writing about the finale. The series proved surprisingly engaging, with its portrayal of Jet Racing and its mechanics. Coupled with familiar, but welcome messages of learning and teamwork, Kandagawa Jet Girls ended up being an anime that did a strong job of introducing viewers to the game. The game was released for PlayStation 4 shortly after the finale aired, and with it, came a special OVA.

  • The OVA itself is not an essential experience – it does not advance character growth or the development of Jet Racing any further, but instead, is a simple and fun excursion that lets everyone bounce off one another. Opening with Rin slacking when she and Misa are supposed to be studying, the OVA shows that despite her cold and aloof manner, she does care for Rin in her own manner. After Rin shows Misa a new logo for the Orcano, their phones go off.

  • Kaguya and Kuromaru had been portrayed as the final bosses of the anime, being the team that Rin and Misa needed to best. While completely dedicated to honing their craft and giving off an air of menace in the original TV series, the OVA shows that the two are otherwise quite ordinary. One aspect of Kandagawa Jet Girls that the anime never covered was the backgrounds and everyday life aspects for the other characters besides Rin and Misa: I imagine that this is something left to the game.

  • Kandagawa Jet Girls was known for its focus on the blue sky and waters of the Kandagawa, giving the anime a distinctly summer feeling. We’re now a ways into the summer proper, and the summer anime season has also begun. This season, I’ve plans to watch Oregairu‘s third season, Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out and Kanojo, Okarishimasu along with Houkao Teibou NisshiOregairu and Houkago Teibou Nisshi were originally set to run during the spring season, but the global health crisis resulted in their delays.

  • Originally, Higurashi: When They Cry was also set to run during this summer, but circumstances similarly led the series to be pushed back. For the time being, this means that, assuming Strike Witches: Road To Berlin and GochiUsa: BLOOM are still scheduled for fall, things could look a little busy should I choose to blog about all of these series. To ensure I don’t get inundated by drafts, OreGairu will receive two posts (one after three, and one after the finale). I’ll pick one of Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out and Kanojo, Okarishimasu to write about, and for Houkago Teibou Nisshi, I will write about that in a quarterly fashion, resuming once the sixth episode airs.

  • Kaguya and Kuromaru’s training routine encompasses a wide element of exercises, from making use of free weights, gym equipment and running, to more exotic forms of exercise like bungee jumping. These exercises are probably what put off the Jet Racing committee, and while Kaguya is right in that a high physicality is important for any sport, Jet Racing consists of more than lifting weights and running: their video fails to showcase other parts of the sport, from practical training with the jet ski and its loadout, to maintenance and other elements that was shown in the original TV series.

  • In my area, gyms are starting to re-open, although the ones I frequent remain closed. Admittedly, I am a little nervous about going back once things fully re-open, not for any sanitary reasons (provided proper protocol is observed, it’ll be completely safe), but rather, because I’m not sure just how much my strength has diminished in the past four months. I have been training on my own using other means, but I imagine it will take a little bit of time to get back in the swing of things.

  • After seeing Kaguya and Kuromaru’s submission, which feels like an advertisement for a gym membership, Tsui and Tina decide they’d like to try their hand at crafting a video for submission. On first glance, the two seem well-suited for the task at hand, having had experience in creating music videos along with promotions. Rin is especially fond of the two, and despite their initial attitudes towards Rin, she never seemed to mind. Following the races of Kandagawa Jet Girls, Tsui and Tina become less haughty towards Rin and Misa.

  • Promotional videos, often abbreviate as PV, serve one important function: to promote, or advertise a particular product or idea. In this case, the goal is to find a way of driving up interest in Jet Ski racing. After watching Kaguya and Kuromaru’s video, the girls feel it to be intimidating and unable to capture Jet Racing. After hearing the feedback (which devolves into everyone trashing the current PV), Kaguya decides to let everyone try their hand at making their own PVs.

  • For me, a successful PV of Jet Racing would have to succinctly show what Jet Racing is, a brief outline of what goes into the sport and most importantly, why it’s worth participating in. Because PVs are short, the challenge is being able to say enough about each point without leaving out anything important, as well as not including anything unrelated. As such, after seeing Tsui and Tina’s video, despite the two’s proficiency with making such videos for an idol context, the other girls similarly remark that an idol PV is not suited for promoting Jet Racing.

  • While not a good PV for Jet Racing, Tsui and Tina’s video does give off a strong summer vibe. Summer, with its long days and beautiful weather, is a time for being outside, drinking cold beverages, eating watermelons and lounging around in sunbeams. So far this year, despite many hiking trails and mountain facilities still not operating at full capacity, I’ve managed to have a pretty summery summer, as it were: with bathrooms at trail heads closed, I’ve opted against hiking, but instead, have walked around local pathways under beautiful skies and have had watermelon every week since the summer began.

  • With Tsui and Tina’s video a bust, Yuzu and Manatsu decide to try their hand at making a video. Kandagawa Jet Girls presented them as a competent team whose coordination is apparent even when outside of racing, so having them take on the challenge and hearing their intention of making a fun video that captures the spirit of Jet Racing. It suddenly strikes me that Kuromaru’s got very few speaking lines in Kandagawa Jet Girls, and she speaks more in the OVA than she did the whole of the TV series.

  • After reviewing footage of Rin and Misa racing, Yuzu and Manatsu decide they need to spice things up a little in order to increase the appeal of their video. One aspect that was comedic is the fact that, despite everyone being a part of Jet Racing, no one’s thought to do a video where racing is a key part, and in truth, a simple video about the joys of Jet Racing, coupled with some rules overlaid on top of racing footage and some behind-the-scenes (e.g. maintenance and training) would’ve done the trick for the committee.

  • Instead, Yuzu and Manatsu have something else in mind. Admittedly, the fanservice piece in the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA is actually less than what the TV series had. By all standards, the OVA is very disciplined in this area despite Yuzu and Manatsu’s choice of visuals for their PV; they ask Misa and Rin to suggestively wash the Orcano, before Misa’s patience runs out. Conversely, the TV series would casually show papilla mammaria at least once per episode.

  • With Inori and Fūka, Yuzu and Manatsu film a tea ceremony and a mikoshi. The sensation of bobbing up and down gives Fūka the same feeling as being on a jet ski, and she reverts into a more aggressive persona that she sports during racing, a one-eighty from her typical, gentle manner. It’s a clever callback to the original TV series: Misa and Rin encounter Fūka one day, worried about her listlessness and learning she was troubled by something.

  • Kaguya reluctantly goes along with Yuzu and Manatsu’s plan of casting her and Kuromaru as “villians” in some sort of drama. Emily and Jennifer really get into it, although they also inadvertently insult Tsui and Tina in a separate scene during filming. Things begin moving so far from Jet Racing that this PV project begins to feel a great deal like Haruhi’s The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya.

  • The last bit of filming similarly evokes memories of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, during which Haruhi’s direction entails foisting as much humiliation and suffering on Mikuru as possible. This eventually leads to Kyon moving to hit her, although he is stopped at the last second. In Kandagawa Jet Girls, no such incident occurs, but the final scene Yuzu and Mantasu suggest seems a bit gratuitous, entailing little more than getting everyone wet by means of a water gatling gun. Besides embarrassing everyone present, this moment serves to accomplish little for the video itself.

  • When Yuzu and Manatsu learn the deadline’s been shifted to allow the board more time to review the video, they push to finish off editing, pulling an exhausting all-nighter that leaves them with bags under their eyes. I’ve never done an all-nighter before in all of my time as a student, having preferred to space my work out during the days leading up to a deadline. As it stands, this is one experience I’ve never had, and I vividly recall promising to grab a sleeping bag and overnight in my old lab just for the experience, but this never materialised.

  • Had I gone through with this, I probably would’ve showered at the Kinesiology building and brushed my teeth at the kitchen on the floor where my old office was, then kipped on a couch: sleeping under my desk wouldn’t have been comfortable. Back in Kandagawa Jet Girls, when Yuzu and Manatsu learn the board requires that the PV be submitted in a physical format, precluding a digital submission, they race across town to meet the deadline and just make it. The two look dejected, rather than relieved, after their submission, creating a sense of melancholy that stands in contrast to how much fun they had filming.

  • Yuzuru and Manaksu’s efforts ultimately come to naught, since their video captures nothing about Jet Racing: the board chooses to use a more generic but informative video instead, resulting in disappointment all around once the girls realise they’d done some rather embarrassing stuff for naught. With the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA at an end, I believe this is the last I’ll write about the series. The next anime-related post I have on the horizon will be for Sketchbook ~Full Colours~, and as well, I will be writing both about World of Warcraft and The Division 2’s Warlords of New Yorkin the near future.

The OVA does have a distinctly summer feel, as the girls set about trying to capture the spirit of Jet Racing under the blue skies and waterways of Tokyo, and overall, I had fun watching this. With the Kandagawa Jet Girls OVA in the books, I believe that I’ve now caught up completely with the series. I do not believe that there will be a continuation of Kandagawa Jet Girls in anime form, since the anime was really intended as a promotion for the game, and on the game, the Playstation 4 version also released back in January. Having seen some console gameplay footage of the game, it feels like the game is a combination of a racing game with shooter elements and a visual novel, where races form the interactive portions of the game to tell a particular story. The game I’m most familiar with this style is Valkyria Chronicles, and it appears that being able to kick back and relax with the story, in between the races, is Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ main draw. While I’ve had fun in games of this style previously, I’m not too sure if I’ll get the best bang for my buck: I don’t see myself picking up Kandagawa Jet Girls for PC in the foreseeable future, although I’m certain there are folks who are very much looking forwards to the PC release of this title.

Kandagawa Jet Girls: Whole Series Review and Reflections

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.” –Aristotle

Following the race with Fūka and Inori, Kiriko mentions that while Rin and Misa have definitely seen improvements as a team, the Orcano is lagging behind in terms of performance and could use an engine upgrade. With new-model engines costing upwards of three hundred thousand yen, the girls settle on a slightly older model that costs two hundred thousand yen, but would nonetheless confer a considerable performance boost for the Orcano. When Fumika refuses to sign off on the Jet Ski Racing club’s request, the girls decide to take up part-time jobs instead and earn enough money to secure the engine. Rin and Misa take up positions as waitresses at a Hell’s Kitchen café. They run into Emily and Jennifer, who have a special job for them: help out at a beachside restaurant. After a hard day’s work, the girls unwind and run into Manatsu and Yuzu, as well as Tina and Tsui. Upon hearing about a beach volleyball competition, Rin and Misa sign up, moving through the tournament until they face off against Tina and Tsui. However, before they can settle the game, Hell’s Kitchen’s manager arrives and hauls them off, leaving Rin and Misa to win by default. With the prize money, the Jet Ski Racing club now has enough funds to buy the latest engine. Once Kiriko installs it, Rin and Misa test it, but find that Rin’s piloting isn’t making full use of the Orcano’s power. Rin decides to return home and visit her family, where she comes to understand that she’d been following her mother’s racing style, and that her mother would’ve wanted her to find her own path. Meanwhile, Misa encounters Fūka and Inori while training. She decides to join them, and after sharing a conversation with them, decides to tell Rin why she’d originally wanted to quit Jet Ski racing as the gunner: long having lived in her sister’s shadow, Misa ended up losing a race when one of her shots failed to connect and began to lose her love of the sport. When Rin returns back in town, the two have a heart-to-heart talk. With their feelings and the truth in the open, they enter the final race for the Kandagawa Cup. Despite falling behind initially, Misa manages to create a pile-up with her sharpshooting that eliminates MKHU, Hell’s Kitchen and the Unkai Surfers. While Team Dress and Suiryukai are neck and neck, Misa lands an exceptionally tricky shot: together with Hell’s Kitchen, they disable Suiryukai and square off against one another in the race’s final moments. Ultimately, Rin and Misa win the race to take the Kandagawa Cup and promise to continue racing together into the future. This is Kandagawa Jet Girls, and with the series now in the books, this is one anime that proved to be surprisingly engaging and fun.

While Kandagawa Jet Girls might prima facie be an anime whose sole existence was to promote a video game and incentivise people to check it out by employing excesses of skin to draw attention, the anime itself presents surprisingly consistent and solid themes of teamwork, trust, honesty and sportsmanship. Towards Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ final quarter, Rin and Misa have gradually become more effective as a team, making considerable strides in communication and trusting one another: having seen Suiryukai’s performance in the final race, that Rin and Misa managed to race them to a draw is all the more impressive, indicative of their progress. As the girls work towards upgrading the Orcano, it is revealed that there is one final hurdle that is stopping Rin and Misa from being their best. Rin, having long admired her mother, attempts to emulate her style even when jet skis have advanced considerably and require a different mindset to operate. Misa had once considered quitting Jet Ski Racing altogether after a humiliating loss took away her sense of competition and enjoyment of the sport. When Rin returns from a trip back home, she and Misa openly discuss things that were bothering them, and with this talk, cast away the last vestiges of doubt they had, allowing them to truly race without being held back by their emotional baggage. The themes in Kandagawa Jet Girls are not particularly complex or innovative, but for a series that is probably better characterised by an ample amount of T & A than it is for character growth and development, the fact remains is that there’s a very coherent and clear progression that makes Misa and Rin’s journey worth following. Along the way, the two encounter a colourful and interesting cast of races, each with their own unique personalities and traits. Together with these racers, Rin and Misa discover the thrills of racing and the worth of sportsmanship, treating their competitors as friends rather than rivals. The end result of this is that Kandagawa Jet Girls succeeds in creating characters that players will now be familiar with should they choose to play the game, although even without the game, Kandagawa Jet Girls remains quite serviceable as an anime.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The game mechanics of Kandagawa Jet Girls will likely involve an upgrade tree or parts for jet skis to bolster their performance, along with weapon upgrades. At the start of the final quarter, the girls go over Rin and Misa’s performance in their last race with Inori and Fūka; Kiriko believes that the time is due for the Orcano to be upgraded, since it’s likely that in the final race, the other competitors will have improved their jet skis, as well. However, engine parts are not inexpensive, and with club funds limited, the girls take on part-time jobs for extra cash.

  • Hina takes up a position at a local supermarket, responsible for manning a stand for cocktail sausage samples. Ever in love with food, Hina yields to temptations and eats one herself, but her ensuring reaction draws the attention of nearby customers – if the sausages are really this good, they reason, it must be worth buying. Kiriko works as a clerk at a convenience store, and contrasting her usual demeanour, immediately becomes embarrassed after serving her first customer.

  • Rin and Misa work at a Hell’s Kitchen Café as waitresses. Rin initially makes mistakes but catches on quickly, while Misa is embarrassed at being made to do the sorts of things expected of waitresses at a maid café. Both acclimatise over time, and in the blink of an eye, the Jet Ski Racing club begins to close in on their goal of securing the two hundred thousand yen needed for a suitable engine part. When the two encounter Jennifer and Emily, the latter suggest a special job to help Rin and Misa reach their goal faster.

  • After Rin and Misa’s presence leads to improved business at the seaside café that Jennifer and Emily work at, they are given a bonus, and some downtime to really enjoy the beaches under a hot summer sun. While Kandagawa Jet Girls is about Jet Ski racing, the number of detours the anime takes also gives plenty of time for the characters to loosen up. This is a crucial part of any anime that deals with a given activity: showing how characters are outside of their chosen interest serves to humanise the characters.

  • While it’s just Rin, Misa, Emily and Jennifer initially, soon, the entire party shows up: Manaka, Yuzu, Tina and Tsui appear, as well. Things are coincided with a beach volleyball tournament. Everyone decides to enter, spurred on by the prize money: the winnings are just enough for Rin and Misa to now purchase the latest model engine should they take home the tournament. The situation presented here is akin to a hardware enthusiast looking to upgrade their GPU at present: NVIDIA has both the RTX 2060 and the GTX 1660 Ti, both of which are considerable upgrades from the last-generation cards. There’s a 130 CAD gap (about a 25 percent difference) between the two cards, and the RTX 2060 offers a 15 percent increase in performance over the GTX 1660 Ti.

  • The last time I saw beach volleyball in an anime was Harukana Receive, and since Jet Ski Racing does have parallels with beach volleyball, watching Rin and Misa make their way through the tournament, defeating their opponents along the way, is meant to show that the pair have come a long way since the series’ beginnings. Whereas the two had trouble beating Manatsu and Yuzu in anything earlier and were decimated by Tsui and Tina, they manage to overcome the former, and manage to drive the latter into frustration. The match is ended when Tsui and Tina’s manager appears, putting a hilarious end to the competition, but going from how things were progressing, Tsui and Tina would’ve eventually lost.

  • The new engine parts give the Orcano a serious boost in performance, although in trial runs, Rin’s found to be running the designated course more slowly than the gains that were anticipated. It turns out that something’s bothering Rin, and this comes at a bit of a difficult time: Rin’s arranged to visit her home, and this means that she and Misa won’t be able to train as extensively for the upcoming competition. While Misa’s been holding together owing to her composure and experience, it turns out that she’s also been troubled by something.

  • Misa’s reason for quitting Jet Ski Racing is ultimately revealed in the penultimate episode: having long been inspired by her older sister, a natural gunner, Misa took up Jet Ski Racing as a gunner, but lost a critical race when it counted most, and became disillusioned when she overheard spectators comment that Misa was not her older sister. Devastated, Misa no longer wanted to race and since then, had avoided the sport until Rin appeared.

  • One of the running jokes throughout Kandagawa Jet Girls is that Misa rejects Rin’s efforts to update the Orcano’s front logo of one featuring the two of them: throughout Kandagawa Jet Girls, the Orcano is decorated with a logo of Rin’s design, and Rin’s persistent efforts to update it typically ends in failure owing to Misa’s embarrassment. Misa is similarly embarrassed when Rin shows a video promoting the race: she and Rin are considered to be the unknown dark horses who took everyone by storm, and although their rise to prominence is notable, they remain the underdog entering the final race.

  • When Rin returns to her hometown, she visits her mother’s grave and pays her respects. It’s a beautiful summer’s day, a far cry from the blistering cold that’s now moved into my area. For the next few days, we’re getting a daily high of no greater than -20°C, with windchills reaching up to -30°C. This scene here was another reminder of the technical excellence in Kandagawa Jet Girls with respect to the show’s visuals: despite being classified as an ecchi series driven by fanservice, the artwork is excellent.

  • Minor details like the sunbeams streaming through the frame, the subtle shimmer of the air from the heat, and the vivid colours of both sky and ocean all come together to create a captivating, immersive scene. When Rin turns around, she runs into Tina and Tsui, who reveal that they’d also known Rin’s mother and had been inspired by her to take up Jet Ski Racing. These two idols have been repesented as being competitive, arrogant and even immature up until now, but with a quiet moment amongst them, Rin’s able to share a conversation with them quite normally.

  • Tina and Tsui are mildly surprised to learn that Rin is the daughter of Ran, the famous Jet Ski racer, and reveal to Rin that they were originally inspired by Ran’s racing. Learning that one of their jobs would swing by Rin’s home island prompted them to come, and from this conversation, it’s clear that while Tsui and Tina might be perhaps a bit more arrogant and standoffish, they’re still friendly at heart and race for their own reasons.

  • While Rin’s back home, Misa’s training brings her on a chance encounter with Inori and Fūka. She decides to accompany them on their training, which is quite different than what she’s used to: the Japanese misogi ritual of standing under a waterfall has Shinto origins, but was adopted by martial artists as a form of meditation. Misa is quite unaccustomed to this, but her discipline allows her to at least keep up, and she spends the remainder of the day with the pair, resting in an onsen afterwards.

  • While back home, Rin finds the answer she had sought: Rin’s mother had always encouraged her to find her own path and approach to things. Remembering this, Rin understands that she should race in the manner that best suits her, and so, the last of Rin’s doubts are cast away. The conversation that the younger Rin had with her mother is set under brilliant skies and warm weather, mirroring the notion of unlimited possibility and hope for the future.

  • Weather and lighting accentuate the strength of a moment even in something like Kandagawa Jet Girls, and in general, for a series that was supposed to be an advertisement for an upcoming title, there’s plenty of moments and details in the anime that make it stand on its own merits. While not perfect by any stretch, Kandagawa Jet Girls does many of the basics well enough so that the anime overall is respectable. The incidental music is also of a passable standard: besides the sporty piece that reminds me a bit of Eye of the Tiger, the remainder of the incidental music does help the series to establish the mood of a moment. The soundtrack itself released just two days ago and runs for 3520 Yen, featuring forty-seven tracks over two disks.

  • When Rin returns for the final race in the finale, she and Misa have a heart-to-heart talk. Their exchange is presented as flashbacks during the race, breaking it up to strike a balance between the action of the race itself and the emotional growth that has allowed Rin and Misa to compete against the best Jet Racers in their league. With no more secrets between the two, this team enters the race with thoughts of victory on their mind.

  • Further symbolising the closing of the distance between Rin and Misa, the Kandagawa Jet Girls’ logo has been updated: it’s now the one that Rin’s been begging Misa to use as the decal on the Orcano. Their logo, along with the logos of other teams, are visible here behind Shōko and Aqua, who are doing the commentary for this race. Unlike the races before, which pitted two teams against one another, the final race has the top six competitors vying for victory.

  • With a larger number of teams on the waterway, the race itself is much more chaotic and frenzied. It is here that we see MKHU race for the first time: Manatsu is the pilot and Yuzu is the gunner. Initially, Rin and Misa start in the last position and therefore must contend with the other racers, but behind this seeming disadvantage lies an opportunity for Misa to patiently observe the competition.

  • Suiryukai’s choice of armament for one-on-one races seemed inappropriate, but against multiple opponents, having a rotary cannon weapon allows Inori to lay down a large volume of fire very quickly and suppress her enemies. Despite lacking acceleration, Suiryukai’s jet ski has a high mass and top speed, so early on in the race, they pull ahead of the competition and go toe-to-toe with Team Dress, whose jet ski has similar properties.

  • The whole of the Jet Ski Racing club’s members are out to watch the race. Fumika’s promise is not forgotten, and it turns out that Kaguya is related to Fumika, so some family rivalries exist between the two. This explains why Fumika is so determined to see Kaguya fall. Early in the race, even though Rin and Misa are at a disadvantage and remain in the sixth position, the team never stops cheering for them.

  • A nontrivial number of viewers approached Kandagawa Jet Girls as a yuri series with world-building and Jet Ski racing as secondary elements; these individuals left Kandagawa Jet Girls a trifle disappointed. One of the things about the anime community that I never particularly understood was why yuri is such a big deal: I tend to look past the fact that many series only deal with the issue in a tangential manner and focus on other aspects, so for the most part, I don’t have much to say about yuri – this attitude has resulted in my falling out of favour with many a reader.

  • When Rin and Misa enter the tunnel, Rin’s bold decision to engage her boost allows them to slowly catch up to the others: Misa here fires upon MKHU, pressuring them into engaging their boost. However, in the narrow turns of the tunnel, where Hell’s Kitchen and the Unkai Surfers are duking it out, their acceleration presents a new threat: they are unable to pass the others, resulting in a titanic collision that knocks out all three teams. With a bit of patience and skill, Misa’s singlehandedly simplified the race down to three teams.

  • Inori’s minigun is giving Kaguya and Kuromaru a difficult time, and sustained fire is actually slowing them down enough for Suiryukai to pull ahead. When it looks like they’re about to take the race, a shot from Misa’s MP5 strikes their jet ski, surprising them and slowing them down slightly. It is here that Misa’s skill as a marksman really shines: she manages to place a shot from a range that Kuromaru would’ve found challenging to hit, using a weapon that was intended for medium range combat to perform a shot that normally something suited for longer ranges.

  • Misa’s sharpshooting with the MP5 suggests that “assault” style water guns are capable at all ranges and when upgraded (or if the user’s skill points are properly invested), they can reach ranges approaching those of a sniper rifle. We’ll have to see if this is the case in the game, but back in Kandagawa Jet Girls, just for the time being, Kuromaru and Misa join forces to fire on Suiryukai, dealing enough damage to slow them down and causing them to spin out. Kaguya is completely okay with this, having longed to race Misa again properly.

  • With Suiryukai down for the count, the Kandagawa Jet Girls and Team Dress’ gunners discard their weapons and turn their focus towards winning the race. While the Orcano has a quicker initial acceleration, Team Dress’ Messie has a superior engine and greater top speed: even when boost is enabled, the Messie is able to catch up to the Orcano without too much effort. That Kaguya has used two boosts in this race shows that she’s serious about winning; her motivation for putting in her best is because she wants to carve out an achievement of her own that she can be proud of, having come from a wealthy and connected family where everything else comes easily.

  • However, it is the raggedy-ass, dark horse team that ultimately takes home first place in the race: Rin and Misa’s victory in Kandagawa Jet Girls shows that grit and determination can be a powerful combination. They’ve come a long way from their first race, and while the anime may not show every moment the two have spent training and preparing, character growth and spending time together is counted to be equally, if not more, important towards helping the two really understand and trust one another.

  • Altogether, the ending of Kanadagawa Jet Girls was superbly satisfying, and the outcome was one I greatly enjoyed. While the series would’ve had an equal impact even had Rin and Misa come in second, their win over Kaguya and Kuromaru was a nice bonus. Upon seeing the race’s outcome, Kiriko is seen cheering the loudest of anyone – she’s mortified after the fact. In this scene, it turns out Rin and Misa’s classmates have all come out to watch the race, and while not shown on screen, it seems that the two have had quite a positive impact at their school, as well.

  • Watching Rin and Misa win the Kandagawa Cup shows that Misa’s rediscovered her confidence in Jet Ski racing, while Rin’s found her own way. Team Dress and Suiryukai are in second and third place, respectively, and while perhaps a bit disappointed, they are also happy for Rin and Misa. The episode concludes with Kaguya and Kuromaru heading off into the sunset and train even harder than before; Kaguya is pleased to have gotten her wish of facing off against a properly determined and prepared Misa, and now realises that the two will only improve as time goes on.

  • Ultimately, Kandagawa Jet Girls showcased all but one team: Grindcore never made an appearance in the anime, and they’re supposed to race with a custom-built Jet Ski made out of mining equipment. Given the delays in Kandagawa Jet Girls and the series’ tendency to focus on quieter moments over racing towards the end, I imagine that there may have been challenges encountered during production that precluded Grindcore’s appearance. While it would’ve been nice to see Grindcore race, Kandagawa Jet Girls is not diminished to a noticeable extent in their absence.

  • For being an unexpected surprise and impressing more than I’d initially anticipated, Kandagawa Jet Girls is a B+ in my books (eight of ten). Reception to Kandagawa Jet Girls has been surprisingly positive; while there are the critics who feel the anime to be beneath them, there are actually also a fair number of people who enjoyed the series for what it did succeed in doing. With this, I’ve wrapped up the first of the anime that aired during the final season of 2019. I’ll be wrapping up Rifle is Beautiful soon, and as for Azur Lane, I will be dropping by to provide an update on what happened there. Of all the shows I’d watched last season, all of them suffered from delays in production to some extent – I’ll have a better idea of Rifle is Beautiful come next week, but for now, Kandagawa Jet Girls is in the books, and I’m glad to have taken the time to write about this one in depth.

Ultimately, while Kandagawa Jet Girls is not something I can readily recommend to all viewers, the anime itself remains a rather enjoyable watch in that it exceeded my initial expectations: after the first episode aired, I stated that the series would be satisfactory if it presented Rin and Misa’s growth as a team to a reasonable extent, as well as properly introducing viewers to the mechanics that would appear in Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ game. At the series’ end, the development I saw from the characters was more nuanced and engaging than I’d anticipated, having both Rin and Misa making discoveries that enhanced their abilities as a team. The anime also gives a fair amount of insight into how the game will work: each team will have their own unique characteristics that make them suited for different race courses and styles, the scoring and mechanics are explored in sufficient detail, and Kiriko’s upgrading of the Orcano suggests at the presence of a progression system that allow players to improve their jet ski (and perhaps weapons). As a tool to promote the upcoming game, Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ anime has done a respectable job of giving viewers a solid background entering the game, and even for folks who do not intend to purchase the game, Kandagawa Jet Girls is a respectable anime in spite of its brazen anatomy lessons, derivative themes and an ending that was unsurprising (though well-deserved, to be sure). In this regard, the series accomplished what it set out to do, and mirroring the girls’ remarks during the finale, having fun is the first and foremost aspect about racing; that the series does allow its viewers to have fun in watching it indicates that Kandagawa Jet Girls is faithful to its messages. Folks who do end up picking up the game after watching Kandagawa Jet Girls will feel right at home with the characters, mechanics and environment as they race their way to victory the same way Rin and Misa do; this certainly isn’t bad for a series whose reputation as being fanservice-driven endures above all of its other positive traits.

Kandagawa Jet Girls: Review and Reflection at the ¾ Mark

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” –William Arthur Ward

While Rin is anxious to get back on the open waters and practise with the Jet Ski Racing Club, she’s also neglected her studies: Misa and the others push her to study for the make-up exam, with the result that she manages to do well on them. Training resumes shortly after, but Rin develops a cold and falls ill. Misa reassures Rin it’ll be fine and cares for her while she rests up. By the time Yuzu, Manatsu, Emily and Jennifer visit, Rin’s largely recovered and appreciates their company. When the Hells Kitchen idols, Tina and Pan, begin exploring the Kandagawa for a mysterious monster known as “Nyu-Nyu” for their television special, Yuzu and Manatsu take an interest in finding this fabled creature to bolster their popularity on social media. While out to do some shopping, Misa and Rin are roped into their antics, which sees the group get lost in the storm drains underneath the city. They get lost and eventually make their way to a ladder leading back to a manhole in a shrine. Here, they encounter Inori Misuda, a miko who is looking after the shrine. She lends them the facilities to clean up, and the next day, Rin decides to visit Inori again, who asks her to stop seeking out the river deity that Rin knows as Nyu-Nyu: instead, luck will favour her when she focuses on her goals and works hard for them. With the preliminaries approaching, Rin and Misa ramp up their training. They run into Fūka Tamaki, who expresses a fear that her partner may dislike her, and manage to reassure her before continuing on their exercises. On the day of the first race, it turns out that Rin and Misa are set to race against Fūka and Inori. Fūka’s personality changes completely during a race, becoming aggressive and foul-mouthed. Despite their jet-ski holding an edge, Misa’s sharpshooting buys Rin enough time for the two to hold their own, and they end up drawing in the race. Misa is disappointed to learn that Fūka’s problems were related to jet ski racing, but Rin finds it all rather adorable. This is where Kandagawa Jet Girls sits after nine episodes, and contrary to expectations, the series has proven to be quite engaging despite its outward appearances.

Since suffering a loss to Hell’s Kitchen that forced Rin and Misa to re-evaluate their abiltity as a team, Kandagawa Jet Girls sees jet ski racing take a back seat as Rin and Misa spend more time together. Two entire episodes are dedicated to this personal growth – while Kandagawa Jet Girls only has twelve episodes to work with, and spending this time means less time towards watching Rin and Misa race, the reality is that these breather episodes, which focus on slice-of-life elements, serve to show those moments where Rin and Misa naturally communicate with one another. Whether it be Misa persuading Rin to study for her replacement exams, or looking after her when she falls ill, common interactions elevate the closeness that Rin and Misa share. This is further accentuated when the two join Yuzu and Manatsu on a search for Nyu-Nyu – although they find nothing of note beyond an army of rats that force them to surface, this minor excursion also shows a different side of Misa’s personality and how Rin complements her. Taking the time to show these elements in conjunction with Rin continuing to train along Misa, then, establishes an improvement between the two’s teamwork. While it might not be racing, these small things nonetheless have a considerable contribution. As such, when Rin and Misa take to racing next, improvements to their performance are justified, rather than coming out of the blue. When Misa and Rin face off against Fūka and Inori in the preliminaries, their opponent’s skill level is formidable, as is their equipment (which is remarked to be a new-model jet ski). That this still-inexperienced team manages to scrape a draw out of their race shows how Rin and Misa have subtly improved since their last race at the halfway point, and so, as Rin and Misa continue to train and race, it is credible that they can hold out against other teams well enough to pass through preliminaries and set the stage for their rematch with Kaguya and Kuromaru.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Despite handing Rin and Misa a loss, Rin continues to take an interest in Tina and Tsui’s show: during one episode, they present the mythical “Nyu-nyu”, a plesiosaur-like cryptid said to be roaming the Kandagawa’s most remote reaches. Nyu-nyu is only briefly mentioned in the seventh episode but then returns in a big way an episode later. During filming of their episode, an accident causes Tina’s swimsuit top to be pulled off, and viewers get a face-full of what follows.

  • Rin resembles Yui Hirasawa at times, with her tendency to become wrapped up in the moment; after focusing on nothing but training and catching up with the Hell’s Kitchen show, Rin fails one of her exams, jeopardising her ability to participate in club activities. Misa might be dedicated to club activities, but she understands that school comes first and says that for Rin, the only thing she can do is study well for the replacement exam.

  • After a scuffle leads Rin to fall on Misa’s thighs, Fumika appears and reinforces Misa’s remarks that Rin must simply bite the bullet and study for the exam: club activities can afford to take a hit for the time being, since Rin failing said exam would exclude her from participation and in doing so, dash any hopes the club would have of beating Kaguya and Kuromaru. Fumika, Kiriko and Hina have a lessened presence in Kandagawa Jet Girls now that the series is underway, and I wonder if the game will feature any of the secondary characters.

  • Exams may seem far removed from jet ski racing, but Kandagawa Jet Girls utilises the space in episodes seven and eight to give Rin and Misa a chance to regroup. Such moments might appear extraneous, but the reality is that showing the characters have a world outside of their club is to remind viewers that development can happen even when they’re not training.

  • While she’s ostensibly studying for a math exam, Rin encounters Kiriko and learns that Misa was once a promising and highly-talented shooter in the world of jet ski racing, but quit after feeling no joy in the sport. Hints of her past have been presented so far, but this is overshadowed by Rin’s overwhelmingly positive attitude – Rin’s optimism means that Misa is compelled to take up her role of shooter once more, and it seems that whatever Misa’s past was, this is secondary to the present.

  • I’ve never studied in the shower before at any level in my education: because I learn best visually, by doing, I study best at a desk with a textbook and plenty of paper on hand. Especially with mathematics, the only way to improve is to understand the theory and then apply it; it’s a subject where doing problems is most effective, and I’ve never been able to just read the theory. Hina’s mother helps Rin study while they’re in the baths, and Rin’s gradual improvement is noted. While she initially has trouble focusing, Misa’s encouragement goes a long way in helping Rin to buckle down and focus on her goals.

  • Rin does end up passing the exam, to everyone’s relief, and Misa feels a weight lifted off her back. She and Rin begin training promptly again, but while they are out jogging, Rin suddenly collapses. It turns out she’s gotten a cold of sorts, probably from having put in long hours in order to prepare for her exams, and Misa immediately takes Rin back to the dormitory where she is able to rest. Despite her severe countenance, Misa is actually very kind and prone to embarrassment.

  • The similarities between Sora no Woto‘s Kanata and Rio and Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ Rin and Misa are probably up for debate: I’ve not seen anyone else draw the comparison anywhere else. There was an episode in Sora no Woto where Kanata picked up three-day fever and Rio rushed into town to call upon Sister Yumina to help look after Kanata; things aren’t quite so dramatic in Kandagawa Jet Girls, since Rin’s only got the common cold.

  • Instead, Rin falling ill provides a chance for Misa to look after Rin, which brings the two closer together. While out on a walk, Misa runs into Manatsu and Yuzu. They’re already planning an excursion onto the Kandagawa to look for Nyu-nyu, but decide to pay Rin and Misa a visit instead upon hearing that Rin’s ill. When they arrive, Misa’s begin wiping down Rin to help her recover, and upon hearing only the audio, their minds immediately assume that Rin and Misa are doing something inappropriate.

  • Emily and Jennifer soon join the party, as well: Rin’s recovered enough to spend time with company, and the four friends waste no time in presenting Rin with a bunch of foods to help her out. Whenever I develop a cold, my main instinct is to sleep it off, drink plenty of water and take in vitamin C. Even without taking sick time, I usually recover within three to five days, and will be left with a mild cough for a few days after. During this time, I do not go to the gym: there’s a persistent belief that hitting the gym can help one recover faster, but the truth is that the body needs all of the energy it can to sustain a heightened immune response to eradicate whatever pathogens are causing the cold.

  • Exertion takes away from this, and extends one’s illness, so when sick, it is definitely the better choice to maximise sleep. It turns out that Misa’s been by Rin’s side the whole time, a subtle but clear indication that some of the communication barriers between the two have slowly become reduced with time.

  • En route to a shopping district to pick up supplies for the dormitory, Rin and Misa get roped into Manatsu and Yuzu’s misadventures, which sees them venturing into the sewer system in search of Nyu-nyu. The last time I saw a similar setup, I was watching The Host (Gwoemul, literally “The Monster”), a 2006 South Korean monster film about a family who becomes entangled in a sticky situation when a mutated amphibian appears in the Han River. I learned about the movie while searching for articles on Tokyo’s G-Cans project and watched the film for myself in 2010.

  • Rin, Misa, Yuzu and Manatsu do not encounter any monsters akin to that of The Host – the most that happens is that Yuzu and Manatsu begins teasing the unexpectedly easily-scared Misa, which brings her closer to Rin. As the group moves through the sewers, they do run into a swarm of rats that force them to the surface. They end up finding an exit located in a shrine and meet Inori, one of the shrine’s caretakers. While initially worrying that Rin and the others are trouble makers, Inori allows the group to make use of the shrine’s baths to clean themselves up.

  • After nine episodes Rin and Misa have not yet raced Manatsu and Yuzu; the latter two are frequently portrayed as being very close to one another, and know one another well enough to trivially destroy Rin and Misa in friendly competitions. The implication of this is that Manatsu and Yuzu are probably excellent racers, and assuming this to hold true, it would be exciting to see whether or not improved teamwork between Rin and Misa might make a difference in the future.

  • The misadventures that Misa and Rin go on have them out for a nontrivial amount of time, and Inori decides to keep everyone over for dinner. Kandagawa Jet Girls might be perceived as being more about fanservice than anything else, but looking beyond this finds that the series is surprisingly solid on many fronts: aside from a serviceable story, Kandagawa Jet Girls has impressive visual quality. Closeups of the dinner that Rin and the others have at the shrine are indicative of how well-presented the anime is.

  • The next day, Rin returns to the shrine and speaks with Inori, who advises Rin against pushing her search for Nyu-nyu further: it turns out that there is a patron deity for the Kandagawa, and paying respects to this deity is all that Rin needs to do. Besides the visuals, the aural aspects of Kandajawa Jet Girls are impressive, as well. Jet skis feel powerful, and races succeed in conveying to viewers their emotional tenour. While I can’t say I’m a fan of the opening song, the incidental music is of a good quality.

  • Having gone for two straight episodes without a race, Kandagawa Jet Girls eases viewers back into the swing of things: preliminaries are coming up, and the jet ski racing club is hyped up to see how far they can go. Kiriko seems quite unenthusiastic about the races themselves, although this is probably a consequence of her personality and interest in maintaining the Orcano more than a disinterest in jet ski racing and the club’s successes.

  • While training, Rin and Misa run into Fūka, who is staring intently into the canals below. She professes to being deep in thought – Rin and Misa initially assume she’s about to jump off the bridge and attempt to talk her down. However, it turns out that Fūka is worried about a relationship, and worries that her aggressive take on things might be causing a rift between herself and her partner. The more she thinks about things, the more despondent she becomes, and she actually does begin to make for the railing at times.

  • Fortunately, Rin and Misa are present to listen to Fūka’s story, and after imparting some advice, the two leave Fūka on a better note. Fiction does not introduce characters that serve no purpose, and Fūka does have an important role to play. Folks who have a good memory will likely remember Fūka from episode one, where she and Inori were sharing an embrace after Rin arrives in Tokyo.

  • One of the most common complaints about anime is that characters suddenly advance dramatically with respect to their skills over short periods of time. Whereas I feel that short moments like these, showing the characters preparing for their competitions and moments of glory, are more than sufficient to convey effort directed towards an event; I’m personally not sure what more is needed to make this convincing.

  • On the day preliminary races begin, as Rin and Misa change into their attire for racing, Misa notices that Rin’s become more toned. Tickled by Misa’s “inspection”, Rin begins laughing, and this continues right up until Inori and Fūka enter the clubhouse, notice Rin and Misa engaged in presumably indecent activities, and immediately back away. Without context, one could be forgiven for seeing where Inori and Fūka are coming from.

  • For Inori and Fūka, it’s a bit of a surprising reunion to meet up with Rin and Misa again. At this point in Kandagawa Jet Girls, it would appear that all of the different teams are genuinely friendly, save Hell’s Kitchen’s Tina and Tsui – in most shows I’ve seen previously, like Girls und Panzer and Harukana Receive, I’ve never seen any rematches. It therefore stands to reason that Rin and Misa will not be racing against Tina and Tsui any time soon, although I do wonder if Kandagawa Jet Girls will have the two teams reconcile in the spirit of sportsmanship.

  • The latest race to grace Kandagawa Jet Girls sees Rin and Misa squaring off against Inori and Fūka, who constitute Suiryukai. Their machine, Messie The Hunter, is a new-generation jet ski with similar handling characteristics to Dress’ Tamakaze, capitalising on its large mass conferring the stability to maintain excellent manoeuvrability, even at higher speeds, at the expense of acceleration. While Messie loses the lead in the first few moments of a match, the jet ski’s traits are intended for patient operators to play a longer game.

  • During the race, Fūka’s personality shifts completely: while soft-spoken, polite and shy on solid ground, Fūka becomes aggressive, violent and foul-mouthed when racing. It turns out that she’s well aware of this, and the worries that she expresses to Rin and Misa earlier are all literal, rather than metaphorical, in nature. Her aggressive racing style has thrown Inori off the jet ski before, and so, Fūka wonders how she can reconcile her truculent tendencies with ensuring that Inori has a reliable partner.

  • Inori wields a gatling gun in races – in Senran Kagura: Peach Beach Splash, gatling guns offer high DPS through its volume of fire, and together with Fūka’s style (she is comfortable with ramming opponents where this would usually be disadvantageous) and Messie’s handling characteristics, shows that Suiryukai plays with aggression while racing, being very forward with their opponents. Because of the marked contrast between their preferred loadouts and mannerisms when racing, it stands to reason that jet ski racing acts as a bit of a release for Suiryukai.

  • Misa and Rin find themselves overwhelmed by the unexpected change in Fūka’s personality and their jet ski’s edge. However, both are able to regroup: between Rin’s driving and Misa’s sharpshooting, the two manage to slowly close the gap and prevent themselves from falling further into a hole during the race. Kiriko and Hina’s spirits lift as the Fūka and Inori’s lead over Misa and Rin shrink.

  • While Misa might wield an MP5-looking water gun, the way she’s been using it of late is more similar to that of a battle rifle like the MDR. Rather than using automatic fire, Misa carefully places her shots to hit critical areas on the opponent’s jet skis, causing it to power down at inopportune moments for them and giving Rin a chance to close the distance further. In the intense firefight that follows, Inori’s sheer volume of fire blows off both Rin and Misa’s uniforms, but offsetting this is Misa’s sharpshooting: she reciprocates in kind.

  • In the end, the race is a draw: it is evident that on paper, Fūka and Inori are the superior racers, having had more experience and a powerful jet ski, so when Rin and Misa manage to keep up and tie the race, it is an indicator to the audience that, although the two are still inexperienced as a team, they do have the characteristics of a team that could hold their own. Misa’s sharpshooting might not be as strong as Kuromaru’s at range, but her background allows her to land shots that help Rin at critical times.

  • My positive impressions of Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ anime incarnation notwithstanding, I’m not too sure whether or not I will be picking up the game – at present, I’m somewhat inundated with games. I had participated in Origin’s Security event and got a month of complimentary EA Origin Access at the basic tier, which gives me access to titles like Star Wars: Republic Commando and Detention. On top of this, I’m making serious headway through The Division 2, having cleared the Viewpoint Museum, and I intend to buy Halo: The Master Chief Collection once the Steam Winter Sale starts. While I could pick it up immediately, I feel that buying something during a sale event will confer additional advantages.

  • With so much on the plate as 2019 comes to an end, I think that I’ll have enough to be getting on with in 2020, and so, I’ll probably skip Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ game. Back in the anime, Fūka is dissatisfied with the race’s results, but Inori reassures her it’s fine: Rin and Misa are more bewildered at how Fūka had presented their situation than concerned with the race’s outcome, and what this could mean is that Rin and Misa will now square off against the only team they have not yet formally raced. This means that Kaguya and Kuromaru will likely be the final team they race in order to get through the preliminaries and reach the competitions beyond.

With nine episodes now in the books, Kandagawa Jet Girls has managed to build a surprisingly fun and compelling story about Rin and Misa’s experiences as racers in spite of the initial impressions that the series would amount to little more than an excuse to watch clothing damage and papilla mammaria on screen. The degree of character growth and teamwork shown in Kandagawa Jet Girls makes for an anime series that can stand on its own merits – the simple and forward messages in the anime work well enough for a series of its style, and ultimately, the free anatomy lessons of Kandagawa Jet Girls, while brazen at times, is never distracting to the extent that it interferes with the narrative or degrades the characters. Rin and Misa must show their development as racers to viewers, and with a very clear path forward, Kandagawa Jet Girls is on a strong trajectory to deliver precisely on what the anime had set out to deliver. There is one more element that I am hoping Kandagawa Jet Girls will deliver, and this is sportsmanship: Emily and Jennifer have become friends with Rin and Misa, as have Yuzu and Manatsu. The latter have not even raced Rin and Misa yet, but when the time comes for them to compete, it is expected that their friendship will endure regardless of the race’s outcomes. While I’ve spoken to the narrative aspects, the mere presence of papilla mammaria may dissuade some people from watching it; if this isn’t one’s cup of tea, that’s totally fine. For folks who have no objection to this sort of thing, Kandagawa Jet Girls does offer a story that is far more developed and thoughtful than one might originally expect, and with only three episodes left, I can say with confidence that I am looking forwards to seeing what happens in the remaining quarter of what has proven to be an unexpected surprise.

Kandagawa Jet Girls: Review and Reflection At the Halfway Point

“If you take out the ‘team’ in teamwork, it’s just work. Now, who wants that?” –Matthew Woodring Stover

While Emily Orange and Jennifer Peach take an early lead in the race, Rin and Misa begin catching up, taking advantage of the Orcano’s handling to put Misa in a spot where she can snipe the Cuisine 2 at a critical juncture. Depriving Emily and Jennifer of their speed, Misa and Rin manage to win, and honouring the terms of their competition, Jennifer yields the yellow dolphin keychain to Misa, thanking them for an exhilarating race. Later, Rin and Misa begin training on their simulator, but the simulator malfunctions. Kiriko decides it’s time to pick up new parts, and heads into town with Misa and Rin. Misa and Rin explore around, stopping at an idol café along the way. The next day, Misa struggles to ask for Rin’s phone number, and Rin accompanies Emily and Jennifer to a concert. After making a reservation for a slot to practise, Rin and Misa learn that they are to forfeit their slot to Hell’s Kitchen, a team from CS Production School known for their involvement in idol activities. Tsui and Tina Pan, of Hell’s Kitchen, anger Rin with their casual remarks about Misa’s skills, prompting her to challenge the pair to a showdown. However, Rin and Misa are soundly beaten. Later, Misa decides to take Rin to a different part of Asukasa, since their previous outing had been disrupted, and here, they run into Shinjuku Takadanobaba Girls School’s Manatsu Shiraishi and Yuzu Midorikawa. After the two mention Rin and Misa’s spanking at Hell’s Kitchen’s hands, Misa takes up a variety of challenges where they both get defeated. Emily and Jennifer appear later in the day and, after watching the final challenge, point out that Rin and Misa’s weakness is their lack of communication. Realising this, Misa and Rin finally exchange phone numbers and spend the remainder of an evening marveling in being able to text one another effortlessly.

Kandagawa Jet Girls might prima facie be counted as frivolous, an excuse to shamelessly promote the upcoming game of the same name and offer an unparalleled opportunity to show some skin, but beyond this is an unexpectedly coherent story. After Rin and Misa’s win over Unkai establishes the implicit strength of their friendship, the story turns towards showing that an implicit understanding and trust of one another won’t get them very far. This is hinted at in Misa’s inability to summon up the courage to ask for Rin’s number. While seemingly a trivial detail for comedy’s sake, this actually serves to show that even as far as fundamentals go, Misa is still too shy to speak with Rin. The race with Hell’s Kitchen establishes that the successful team is coordinated and synchronised with one another, able to act as a cohesive unit while on the water. While Rin demonstrates an innate talent for racing, and Misa has experience in shooting, their individual skills aren’t enough to win races. The introduction of Manatsu and Yuzu then reinforces that this lack of communication is what is holding Rin and Misa back as racers; even in trivial activities involving teams, Misa and Rin struggle because of the absence of teamwork. Jennifer and Emily note that the first step to establishing teamwork is communication of intent. Misa does end up realising this, and symbolically, takes the first step towards improvement by asking Rin for her number. It’s a subtle gesture, but by resolving this issue at the halfway point shows viewers that Rin and Misa are ready to move into their next steps as a racing team.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Six episodes into Kandagawa Jet Girls, I am finding this series far more enjoyable than initially anticipated. Its game-like setting becomes very apparent, and this is probably one of the reasons I find no shortage of things to talk about. Having dabbled in game design and development for my Master’s thesis, I am mindful of things like collision physics, mechanics, balance and interactivity: while Kandagawa Jet Girls is heavy on the T & A, my interest in games means I’m able to keep the conversation going.

  • My predictions turned out to be accurate: Emily’s preference for a shoulder-fired rocket favours destruction and area effects over precision. Emily and Jennifer are very much about style and flash, and their choice of area-of-effect munitions weapon coupled with a fast jet ski means they’re able to deal damage to unsuspecting teams very quickly. The tradeoff is that the Cuisine 2 seems less agile, and a heavy weapon means Emily has fewer shots to work with.

  • Rin’s apprehension soon turns to excitement once the race kicks in, and while she mistakenly activates her boost on a turn, costing them precious moments, Misa reassures Rin not to worry and focus. Misa’s ability to communicate with Rin during a race is rudimentary, to a much lesser extent than more experienced teams, but early on, it is enough to get Rin focused back on the race.

  • Tsui and Tina are seen watching the Kandagawa Jet Girls with interest during a break between their work as idols and sit rather closely together. I’ve heard that yuri elements are supposed to be a factor in Kandagawa Jet Girls, although insofar, I’ve felt that focusing on yuri itself in the series is secondary to understanding how that elements impacts the teams and their ability to work together. In other words, yuri is going to be solidly present, rather than being a “will they?” question – meaningful discussion thus assumes this to be a given and then focuses on the “so what?”.

  • In Kandagawa Jet Girls, the “so what?” of why yuri is present is simply how it impacts each team’s ability to perform. As the race between Unkai and the Kandagawa Jet Girls progresses, the former begin increasing their lead with skillful piloting and well-placed shots from their rocket. Jennifer and Emily had earlier requested a tunnel segment in their race to make things more fun, and while they have little trouble negotiating the turns of the tunnel, Rin is able to keep up with a combination of the Orcano’s manoeuvrability and her own talent.

  • Yuzu’s innuendo manages to embarrass Manatsu, as the two discuss the race between the Kandagawa Jet Girls and Unkai. While I’ve been focusing on character development and the relevance of game mechanics in driving the story, other writers have chosen to superciliously focus on (nonexistent) philosophical matters surrounding Kandagawa Jet Girls. Choya of Random Curiosity argues that Lacanian psychoanalysis is required to “get” Kandagawa Jet Girls, specifically, positing that the lack of males in the series, coupled with yuri relationships and various camera angles representing Lacan’s “gaze” means that the show’s values are rooted in psychology rather than story, pertaining to how the series should differ itself from other works of its genre.

  • This is quite untrue: Lacan’s style was to present his theories in a way as to make them unfalsifiable, and contemporaries regarded him as a “amusing and perfectly self-conscious charlatan” whose work amounted to nothing more than an “incoherent system of pseudo-scientific gibberish”. In the case of Kandagawa Jet Girls, Choya does readers no favours by referencing Lacan, and adds little to the discussion besides perhaps demonstrating a lack of understanding of psychology. The yuri elements are not the core focus of either the game or the anime, but instead, serve to reinforce the idea that the pilot and gunner work closely as a team to the point where they can be seen as a romantic couple.

  • In the realm of shows like Kandagawa Jet Girls, it is quite unnecessary to claim that one is watching it to see if it “[provides] some valuable enough content to fuel this conversation deeper to explore what about [this series] makes it both transformative and derivative of its contemporaries in the ecchi genre”. Shows of this sort do not invite discussions on philosophy or psychology, least of all those from methods that have been decisively demonstrated to be false. This is why I choose to focus on the characters’ growth and interactions within their setting; applying discredited philosophical theories does little to help others understand the characters’ beliefs, desires and intents.

  • Of late, the quality Random Curiosity’s articles surrounding the series that I end up writing about have declined, and I occasionally wonder if some of their writers’ hearts are really in the game to be writing about anything with a substantial slice-of-life or ecchi component in it. Back in Kandagawa Jet Girls, Rin collapses in exhaustion after the race concludes. A well-placed shot from Misa while the Cuisine 2 is airborne impacts it, dealing enough damage to cause it to power down. This leaves Rin and Misa free to win their race. This outcome was visible from a klick away; while Rin and Misa are still novices as a team, they had to win this race simply to show that victory is possible and allow Misa to win the yellow dolphin keychain that evidently signifies her commitment to Rin.

  • In the aftermath, Emily and Jennifer accept their loss and the other keychains Rin had gotten them. Despite losing, they are thrilled to have had fun racing Rin and Misa; good sportsmanship is an integral part of any anime featuring sports, and one aspect of Kandagawa Jet Girls that I will be keeping an eye on is how Rin and Misa deal with other racers in the aftermath of a given race. Such series typically emphasise sportsmanship and the development of friendships amongst rivals, which are more professional than personal in nature. This was actually what made Girls und Panzer and Harukana Receive worth watching, and this season’s Rifle is Beautiful is also doing a solid job of incorporating sportsmanship into things.

  • Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ fifth episode was actually delayed in production. On the first Tuesday of November, when my area was hit with a major snowstorm that tangled up traffic, I slogged through six inches of snow while hoofing it back home after work. Upon arriving home, I learnt that there was no Kandagawa Jet Girls episode to watch. This ended up being a blessing, as used the extra time to work on my post for Battlefield V‘s Pacific Theatre. Kandagawa Jet Girls is now a week later, and while this will push back my finale post into 2020, the impact on my schedule is otherwise minimal. I think Azur Lane suffered from a similar delay and is a week behind, as well.

  • Rin’s enjoyment of the arts is apparent, and she is quick to design a new logo for the Orcano, sharing it with the other club members during a meeting. For Fumika and Hina, as well as Yamada, the drawing is tantamount to a kokuhaku, although for me, this is a bit of a stretch: Rin’s drawing is merely of her and Misa as the logo. Try as I might, I can’t find any symbols in the drawing itself that might imply a declaration of love.

  • When the training rig breaks down, Kiriko notes that the age of the hardware means that a trip to town is needed in order to secure the replacement parts. Kiriko reminds me somewhat of Girls und Panzer‘s Alisa in appearance, and while seemingly cold and distant, Kiriko is at her best when working on mechanical projects. Anything involving repairs puts a smile on her face, and on the whole, having Kiriko in their corner means that audiences can be assured that Misa and Rin’s vehicle will always be in excellent shape, leaving the outcome of a race purely to them.

  • While Kiriko searches for the appropriate components, she suggests that Misa and Rin take some time to relax. One recurring joke is that each and every one of Misa’s attempts to spend time alone with Rin is inexplicably ruined whenever others show up to the party. Jennifer and Emily appear shortly after when Rin stops to check out a café with idols, much to Misa’s annoyance. Misa is not particularly vocal about this, but expresses her irritation by playing with her hair.

  • I’ve heard that some folks express different tics when whenever faced with stress, anger, annoyance or boredom. Mine is picking at loose skin on my fingers whenever I’m nervous. It is here that Rin and Misa learn of Hell’s Kitchen, a team of two idols whose appearances belie uncommon skill at jet ski racing. With Rin clearly interested in checking out idols more closely, Jennifer and Emily invite her out to a concert the next day.

  • Misa wonders why it’s so hard for her to talk to Rin about getting her phone number, and when Rin leaves for said concert, she retreats to the balcony and sulks about here. Most viewers appear to have marked Misa’s hesitation as a relatively minor point with seemingly no significance beyond comedy, but the persistence of this particular topic and how it ties into the sixth episode shows that there’s actually a bit more depth than people give Kandagawa Jet Girls credit for.

  • I think every episode of Kandagawa Jet Girls features at least one such moment, and therefore, in the spirit of the anime, I will make it a point to feature at least a handful of these screenshots purely for the sake of consistency. I know readers don’t come here for that sort of thing, but it’s still fun to mix things up a little from time to time. Considering just how limited the discussion out there for Kandagawa Jet Girls is owing to folks dismissing the anime as being little more than fanservice with a weak narrative, this leaves the floor open for me to talk about whatever I choose with the series and perhaps even set the precedence for how one might go about talking about anime with a nontrivial fanservice component without resorting to psychoanalysis to keep their discussions engaging.

  • Prior to their first scheduled practise on the river, Rin remarks that she’s still going to push for a new logo on the Orcano, which currently is adjourned with Rin’s face as decoration. However, their discussion is interrupted when Misa’s phone rings; despite having a reservation, it turns out the two have been removed from their allocated time.

  • Having seen Tina and Tsui in the passing, having them interact with Misa and Rin for the first time does not leave viewers with a positive first impression of the pair: haughty and arrogant, they are quick to put down Misa and Rin as having won by sheer luck earlier against Unkai. The pair, known as Hell’s Kitchen, are probably Chinese in origin: the surname Pan (Poon in Cantonese) is rendered as 潘 and is the 37th most common family name in China. Tsui and Tina are mentioned to be strong racers who use their influence to gain the upper hand for training, and they manage to override Rin and Misa’s booking of the course.

  • While Rin is typically cheerful and easygoing, it seems that making fun of those around Rin is a quick way to get on her bad side, and Rin immediately challenges the two to a race with the intent of settling things. It marks the first time we’ve seen Rin angry, and this adds a more human side to her character: in fiction, individuals might be defined by their usual mannerisms, but watching them act in ways contrary to their typical personality and potentially learn from the resulting mistakes serves to make everyone more plausible.

  • Tsui and Tina’s preferred uniforms for racing have a distinctly Chinese style, further reinforcing their possible origins as being Chinese. Their craft, Les Soeurs SL, is a highly lightweight craft with superior manoeuvrability and acceleration compared to the Orcano. In exchange, it lacks the engine power for sustaining a high maximum speed. Tsui is the pilot, and Tina is the gunner: the latter wields a pair of pistols as her preferred weapon.

  • Dual pistols are impractical in a real setting, since they prevent one from aiming down sights and also slows down the reload time. In fiction, however, the approach is favoured for the cool factor, and dual weapons are typically used in martial arts: sai, tonfa and kama are weapons I’ve trained with in pairs. Typically, the choice to dual wield shows an inclination towards speed and agility over precision: dual pistols effectively double one’s rate of fire at the expense of accuracy, showing that Hell’s Kitchen is about picking up speed. I’m noticing a stylistic trend in Kandagawa Jet Girls where the pilots race with their mouths open in a smile. This has no impact on the narrative, but now that I’ve seen it, I doubt I’ll be able to un-see it.

  • While normally composed and emotionless, CS Production’s Shōko expresses warmth and admiration when describing Hell’s Kitchen: she and Aqua Manjō are the commentators who provide viewers with a running commentary of every race. Aqua is normally the bubbly and bright speaker, explaining the different techniques racers use, while Shōko is more of a quiet speaker and fills the audience in on the mechanical aspects of the race. Together, they act as a narrator to help viewers follow along during races.

  • Unlike previous races, Tsui and Tina offer no quarter – Rin and Misa are decimated during their race without much effort; the sixth episode deals almost entirely with what the Kandagawa Jet Girls lack compared to more experienced teams, with notions of synchronisation and team play being at the forefront of all discussion. Kandagawa Jet Girls thus pushes the idea that until Rin and Misa work out how to work together, they’ve got no chance of winning races whatsoever.

  • While Kandagawa Jet Girls places a great deal of emphasis on team work for its theme (hence the page quote), I wager that the game, once it’s launched, will have players controlling both the piloting and shooting aspects of the race, rather like how in almost all games, players can simultaneously drive a tank and fire its ordinance. In the game, then, teamwork goes out the window as players would be able to dominate races on sheer virtue of über-micro.

  • To take Rin’s mind off the race, Misa proposes that they visit Asakusa again. When they pass a spot where Rin had taken photos with others, she recalls the moment and decides to take a self-shot with Misa. Before they can complete the shot, the same girls who’d shown up in the first episode return, ruining Misa’s photo. It turns out they’re Manatsu and Yuzu of MKHU, Shinjuku Takadanobaba Girls School’s racing team. Misa takes offense to their presence, more irate that yet another chance to spend time with Rin was interrupted, and challenges them off to a showdown.

  • However, Manatsu and Yuzu have other ideas in mind: their idea of competition is various activities at a local water park. Their decision to not race is indicative of their personalities – despite their outward appearance, like Emily and Jennifer, Yuzu and Manatsu are friendly and quick to get along with others. From a narrative perspective, watching Rin and Misa be defeated in random trivial activities further reinforces that the two are most certainly not ready to race yet – if they cannot cooperate on even minor tasks to succeed, their odds of winning a race would be quite poor indeed.

  • Halfway into the season, Kandagawa Jet Girls has done a fine job of establishing jet ski racing, the major players and what the anime’s objectives are. However, Rin and Misa are nowhere near ready to take on Kaguya and Kuromaru yet, and with six episodes remaining, I imagine that now that Rin and Misa’s weaknesses have been defined, the series must show the two training together to master the fundamentals, and in the process, take on another team or two. Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ outcomes can come across as predictable, but overall, I’ve found this not to be a problem – the journey matters rather more than the destination.

  • Jennifer and Emily point out what has been increasingly apparent: without cooperation and communication, even something like a simple ball game sees the two falling. After the day comes to a close and the two leave the water park, Misa comforts Rin and then manages to ask for her phone number, signifying a first step towards improvement in communications. I expect that given the timing, the progress Rin and Misa make will probably be off-screen, implicit: with only six episodes left, including MKHU, there are three more teams to race against.

  • I have no qualms about saying that I am enjoying Kandagawa Jet Girls, and I’m interested in seeing where this series goes. I understand that this month, I’ve been much slower about blog posts: the next post I have lined up is Yuru Yuri Ten, a special OVA commemorating the series’ tenth anniversary, and then the remainder of my time this month will be split between making sure I do a passable job for hosting Jon’s Creator Showcase, as well as experiencing Battlefield V‘s Pacific Theatre content. Conversely, December does look like a month where I’ll have more blog posts lined up: besides doing posts for Kandagawa Jet GirlsAzur Lane and Rifle is Beautiful, I also have plans to write about Aobuta: The Movie, plus publish two special posts.

Like Harukana Receive, Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ focus on a sport driven by teams of two means that there is plenty of space to delve into teams at their most fundamental unit, and while Harukana Receive was rather more direct about the idea of pairs being synonymous with lovers, Kandagawa Jet Girls seems to be aiming for a similar setup through the other teams. In particular, Tsui and Tina are portrayed as being intimately close. Manatsu and Yuzu likewise regard one another as lovers might, with Yuzu’s innuendo-laden commentary embarassing even Manatsu at one point. Like any good relationship, communication is the first hurdle that Rin and Misa must overcome. By the series’ halfway point, issues affecting Rin and Misa are openly being addressed, and moreover, resolved at a smart pace to keep things engaging. Rin and Misa have the beginnings of a friendship, but there is still a distance that separates them despite Misa’s desire to be closer. Watching this distance close over time, and seeing the changes reflected in the pair’s racing as they encounter more teams en route to the goal of facing off against Kaguya and Kuromaru on the waters of the Kandagawa. Kandagawa Jet Girls‘ fanservice component has, surprisingly, not detracted from the overarching narrative, and this is a rather impressive feat considering that most stories of this nature appear to be held together by little more than duct tape and spirit: with incentive to root for Rin and Misa as they improve, I look forwards to seeing where the next quarter goes.