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Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova – 12 (END)

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「航路を拓く力」 (Koro o Hiraku Chikara)
“The Power to Open a Path”

Just when you thought there was no way the series could further explore the themes it’s bought up so far, we get an episode that does just that—all while culminating the series in a send-off that was as spectacular as it was fitting.

Because with Kongou’s arrival, we get the expected destruction of the American Fleet at her hands, and the completion of her fall from grace. After being thrown aside by the very people she dedicated her life to serving, she was left alone and forced to deal with emotions she did not yet understand—all while trying to process the biggest mental shocks she could’ve possibly received. It goes without saying that the loss of her only companion in Maya (and the loss of her purpose as a member of the Fog) were two things that did more harm than any physical damage could inflict, and it’s something that makes her fall from grace not only understandable, but fitting of her new disposition as human-like being.

Just like a human thrust into a sudden series of unfortunate circumstances, Kongou ends up responding in the most human of ways—mixing anger and sadness as she lashes out at others (the Blue Fleet) while giving no heed to her own well being on the belief that there was no longer any reason to live. At the same time, she defaults to the views she’s known all along—that the Fog are weapons that don’t need to change or have free will—as she tries to deny both the circumstances at hand, and the existence of those that caused it. It all comes together as a classic example of a human going through the stages of loss and grief, and it goes to show not only how human she and the rest of the Fog have become, but also how well the people behind this series have managed to develop her and the other characters throughout.

Continuing the theme of the developments being nothing but appropriate thematically, it’s only fitting that this denial—this logical response to loss and grief—gets counteracted by the other side of human nature: the illogical desire to risk one’s life to save another. And it’s here where Ars Nova really shows that it knows exactly what it’s trying to do, because there were few other things that could’ve done this finale justice than having Iona be the one to make that choice. Not only that, she does so while requesting herself that Gunzou give her the order to do so. It’s something that she didn’t have to do—it was her idea after all—but the fact that she took the time to request it is significant beyond description. It demonstrates her willingness to trust that Gunzou will provide her the help she needs as a friend, throws back to the fact that she hasn’t forgotten the fundamental bond they’ve shared together since the beginning, and highlights her evolution throughout the last 11 episodes. This was a scene that culminated an entire series’ worth of developments. This was a scene that demonstrated just exactly what Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova has been about. It wasn’t just a series about naval warfare and the newest in CG tech. It’s was series that explored the nature of being human, and it did so in a fashion that exceeded everyone’s expectations.

Why did we end up with such bothersome logic routines?
Weren’t we just weapons?
No. It’s not about what you were.
It’s about who you are now.

This was a quote that goes not only true for the people in the Ars Nova universe, but for us in real life too. As time goes by, we inevitably change. How we change depends on what we do and the goals we strive for. Gunzou had his, and it wouldn’t be a stretch that Ars Nova also wanted to do one last thing with its thematic exploration, which was to ask viewers what they’re striving for. Looking back on it now, the show wasn’t just about the Fog asking where they came from, what they are, or where they’re going. Arguably, it was asking the viewers themselves too. Do you know where you’re coming from when you do the things you do? Do you know what you are and what it is that you want to do with the free will you have? In this world where things change in the blink of an eye, do you know where you’re going? Did you have something you wanted to but gave up on a while back? Only you know the answer. Just know that if you do have something you want to do, you can’t wait for someone else to do it. You need to grab it with your own two hands.

Ultimately, this was an episode that wasn’t so much about the final battle (even though it was quite epic) as it was the thematic exposition it was going for. They ended up blending pretty seamlessly, but truth be told, there was enough here for this finale to have been great even if it didn’t. In this respect, this finale reminds me quite a bit of Zetsuen no Tempest’s, which is great considering how much I loved that series too. But yeah, I guess there’s no delaying the inevitable anymore. This episode brings an end to what’s been a good run, and all that’s left is the final impressions (you’ll find this after the epilogue caps and end card).

Epilogue:

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End Card

Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio Ars Nova   12   End Card

Zephyr’s Final Impressions:

Truth be told, there isn’t much here to say that I haven’t said before. As such, I’ll keep it brief. I came into Ars Nova for the naval combat piew piew and came out with much much more. To say the series exceeded everyone’s expectations was an understatement, and it isn’t every day that you get a series like this one. Powered by a spectacular OST, over the top action, complex themes on human nature, and the newest in CGI tech, Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova was a bundle of joy throughout. And there just aren’t many words to describe how sad I am to see this show go. Out of all the series I watched this season, this was the one that consistently kept me on the edge of my seat and kept my writing juices flowing. It only helped that it was a Sci-Fi series through and through, and it really says a lot when I can say that I watched over 25 series this season and none of them were as enjoyable as Ars Nova was.

That said, let’s not forget that the only reason I was able to even find time for this was due to Zanibas’ help with the caps (and the occasional post) throughout the series’ run. So if you’ve enjoyed the coverage, please extend some thanks to him for taking the time to help out here on top of all that he already does on this site. Last but not least, I’d like to just say thanks again to all of you that came to read and comment on this series week in and week out. It’s not quite the gift I’d like to give you guys—you guys deserve a lot more—but like this last episode, I figure it’d be fitting to wish you guys a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year by pointing you guys over to some great Ars Nova t-shirts (there’s more on the second and third pages) they just put up for order over at AmiAmi. They’re quite fabulous if I do say so myself. I snagged the black Takao shirt… though that Kirishima one really tempts me…

Zanibas’ Final Impressions:

Ars Nova did its primary job–providing adrenaline-packed pew pew–but also went above and beyond, providing an interesting insight as to what it means to be alive. As a show that was quickly dismissed for its heavy use of CGI, it quickly disproved those expectations and went above them. It veered away from the source material, yet created an original story that many claim compliment the manga well. Though it may not get a second season, it was a pleasure to watch this show and see the well-balanced cast shine in their respective moments. Also, Kirishima is best bear.

December 23, 2013 at 6:50 pm
104 comments »
  • December 23, 2013 at 6:53 pmZanibas

    Oh, one more thing: RIP Maya. If Kongou had started playing that grand piano at the very end, I would’ve started bawling. At least Takao got revived at the end–Maya only lives on in Kongou’s sweet piano rendition of Silver Sky.

    • December 27, 2013 at 2:03 pmewok40k

      I’ve got to see this episode after Christmas. Needless to say the thing I concentrated most on was Iona’s desperate effort to save Kongou from her own self-destructive actions. She was deeply affected by sinking of her sisters, I guess, and did not want to lose another friend.

      That aside, Kongou was freaking Badass Endboss (tropes!) – from effortlessly annihilating “US” squadron of the Fog to spamming her own Unlimited Blade Works.

  • December 23, 2013 at 6:53 pmJusuchin (Military Otaku)

    Episode/Series Thoughts:

    In between spoon-fulls of garlic-sauce beef and sips of Arizona iced tea, I type what I reckon is my last blog post on anime. At least for the time being.

    Episode 12 is choc full of action. A pity the American Fleet of Fog was used like the cannon fodder many people thought they would be, but they are nothing but a delivery vehicle for our look into how broken Kongou has become.

    On this episode, Kongou’s attempts to shield herself from Iona and her unregulated and unknown free will was a killer. Literally. Destroying the entirety of the American Fleet of Fog, nearly sinking I-401, and beating Iona to near-death in both her quantum communications form and her physical form, it was only due to Iona’s sheer force of will did she prevail. The fact Maya’s pianos are seen throughout the battle is a reminder to the viewer that Kongou is broken. Her friend and constant companion, what had kept Kongou ‘sane’ in a sense, was gone.

    Iona breaking through her barriers, filling in maybe for the long absent Maya, was a touch saddening for me and brought out a portion of the feels. There is a sense that Maya was never really a program to begin with, and was terminated not because she outlived her usefulness, but maybe because she was becoming self-aware.

    Dreaming of electric sheep and stuff like that. In the end, Kongou’s attempts to bottle herself up, even to the point of nearly killing Iona, is no doubt the grief she has for always being alone. The realization since episode 10 that she has been betrayed. And her lashing out in trying to stick with whatever she knew. It’s sad, and it’s depressing. It made for some pretty excellent screenshots, no doubt some of the more risque ones I’ve taken, but nonetheless Kongou comes full circle here. From the mindless automaton, to a caged bird finally let free. Symbolized by the disappearance of the ornate columns of the JTN in lieu of a more idyllic landscape of rolling hills and flowers.

    Speaking of the columns, when Iona creates them, it is full of life and colour. But Kongou’s fall from grace and into madness took her clean, white JTN background and covered it in vines. Much like a disused gazebo at an abandoned manor. Scary and shows that she is in need of repair.

    That’s what it was this episode. It was less Iona, Gunzou, or Takao. Or Hyuuga and the others. It was of Kongou. The latter half of the series is focused on Kongou to be honest. Haruna and Kirishima and Makie made for a nice subplot. Iona’s growth made for a ncie subplot. But the star of the show, at least after the Makie arc, was Kongou. She is a character that has seen the most change, and the one where we can see that caged birds and lifeless dolls do have souls.

    So yeah. I would definitely re-watch this series. If only to see and further cheer Kongou on as she transforms.

    Overall? I loved this adaptation. It isn’t the manga. The manga is its own different monster, and I pretty much prefer the manga. But the anime is a guilty pleasure in a way that Harry Turtledove’s books are. An alternate universe with the same actors. A different outcome and simplifying the themes. That did mean many roles were melded, marginalized, made composite (Kita and Kamikage comes to mind) or otherwise absent (Hakugei III, Gunzou’s father), but that didn’t detract from a pleasurable ride. Iona and Kongou are completely different from where the manga is at this point of time.

    Iona has already ‘grown’ to be past a doll at the start of the manga (Hi-sonic!!!. Hell, she is a friggin Otaku aboard) while Kongou is in more control with her free will and less rigid, allowing her to continue the Admiralty Code’s mandate without breaking down. I’ve used the words ‘doll’ and ‘caged bird’ often, but it’s how I saw them. Both were pretty much emotionless at the beginning, both became free at the end. It was how they got there that was great. Iona’s ascendance through love and friendship was lightening and touching; but Kongou’s descent to madness, loneliness, and depression was more tragic. And it made for great story-telling.

    The series was one of those few adaptations where everything is changed so profoundly that it at times doesn’t resemble the series it is derived from. There are some things in life that can be labelled as ‘in name only’ like the World War Z film. The film put off so many fans of the original book that some, like myself, would go to great lenghts to keep away from it. Some things though, like this anime, take the ‘in name only’ title and go about a completely different path. And that path is awesome.

    So yeah, the anime isn’t the manga. But it can stand on its own with head up high and on equal terms with it.

    • December 24, 2013 at 11:50 amJusuchin (Military Otaku)

      Seems like I’ve been downvoted mainly because I espoused a point of view of acceptance and saying the anime is on par with the manga.

      Or I just called out the purists.

      • December 24, 2013 at 7:12 pmMemphis

        I think what u said makes a lot of sense. One should really view this as a complementary piece to the manga. Both are equally good . It’s just that this anime focuses a lot on Gunzou and Iona, while the manga focuses on a much wider cast. It just depends on which one each viewer prefers.

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:03 pmKurisu Vi Britannia

    Give me a second season.
    Give me a second season.
    Give me a second season.
    Give me a second season.
    Give me a second season.
    Give me a second season.
    Give me a second season.
    Give me a second season.

    ONEGAISHIMASU!

    • December 24, 2013 at 4:03 amTechim

      I’m torn between wanting a second season with the universe of this series,
      or a reboot season ala FMA Brotherhood; being faithful to the manga.
      Though it might be a while before we get a continuation I guess…
      This series has set the bar pretty high for its storytelling;
      be it for a sequel season or a reboot season.

      On another note; looked up the director Kishi Senji’s works..
      Oh. He directed Angel Beats.
      No wonder this is good :)

      • December 24, 2013 at 7:00 amAsmalti

        I think they should just give us a 2nd season or even 3rd season of this show to tie things up for this series, followed by a reboot (a la FMA:B, with the manga and new anime reboot ending around the same time) That way everyone can be happy. And I can get to see more Takao. (Yes I just want more Takao)

      • December 24, 2013 at 7:01 amPeTdo

        i think this anime exceed manga just fine, we need adaptation , and this is full on adaptation , and i like it a lot , manga doesn’t give that much impact anyway

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:11 pmCitron

    I am just happy that Takao had her mental body back.. :)

    • December 23, 2013 at 7:46 pmUnlucky Star

      Love Takao jumping on Gunzou the second she gets her mental model body back.
      The Tsundere Heavy Cruiser will be missed the most. :3

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:26 pmsazerarrow 2

    PLS MAKE A SECOND SEASON I JUST LOVE THIS ANIME
    ONEGAI MAKE A SECOND SEASON

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:33 pmDi Gi Kazune

    The end card shows how much is missing from the anime. 6 sets of sisters, twins do not count.

    In a way, the anime only skims the surface of the series; but given the manga is still ongoing, one has to expect something of a fabricated end. Enjoyable on its own but not fully developed up to its full potential.

    • December 23, 2013 at 7:41 pmJusuchin (Military Otaku)

      Yep. It makes for a good series in light of that fact.

      Unless you’re a purist like some people in the World of Warships forum who wanted a strict following of the manga or something.

      • December 24, 2013 at 7:03 amPeTdo

        well then they just have to make an anime themself or fund the project lol This is so good! this is how adaptation should be, make it sale , interresting , captivate , casual , fun-ride , and phylosophic

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:41 pmzakuII

    So are they “aliens” or a mad scientist created the fog?

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:41 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Nice to see Takao back in an actual body again.

    It’s also nice that Kongou actually doesn’t just outright join Gunzou’s harem-er-fleet…Considering everything she’s been through and finally just getting around to accepting it, she obviously needs to take time to think about things and adjust without being overly pressured by a new environment, just like any one of us would when it comes to any form of major change in our lives, you know?

    Looks like the others have parted ways though (at least the credits felt like they did), Kirishima and Haruna obviously staying with Makie.

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:44 pmUnlucky Star

    First off, I gotta say that Iona is waaaaaay too OP, as she can dodge/survive just about anything in her MM form. :P

    With that out of the way, in the beginning, it’s a case of ‘anything you can do, I can do better,’ as Kongou uses her ultra-supergravity canon in a similar way Gunzou and co. used their’s in the previous episode to wipe the sea clean.

    So the loss of Maya had much more of an effect on Kongou than what was initially observed, wanting to end the chaos in her mind by destroying herself along with Iona. Whereas on the opposite side of the coin, almost losing Gunzou, witnessing the death of her sisters, and not wanting to lose someone else, has appeared to ultra-motivate Iona to save Kongou.

    And in the end, all Kongou really wanted, or needed, was a hug. The scene where Iona hugs Kongou in the dark tea room, and where Kongou and Iona held hands on the ship, was just so heartwarming. I had a feeling that Kongou would be stopped by being consoled or comforted by Iona in some way, although the method it was brought to frution was crazy – in a crazy way. The animation and the effects during Iona’s missile-hopping approach to Kongou’s death star, and her fight with Kongou were quite easy on the eyes.

    As for some final thoughts, I’m glad I made this series one of the first I’ve watched in like 3 years (this and Outbreak Company), because it turned out to be one heck of a show. One thing I liked about the 3D CGI is that the quality of the models, whether human, or otherwise, remained consistent from episode to episode. Although frame-rate and natural motion, is another story entirely. *cough* …Also, I was never really bothered by the fact that parts of the source were changed. It may be because I’ve yet to read the manga, or because it was handled well by the staff, or a combination of both. Whatever the reason, I loved the series nonetheless, and have almost a bittersweet feeling of it ending.

    Here’s hoping for another season. Whether faithful reboot or continuation to the anime, I’ll take anything really, as long as it’s handled by the same staff. xD

  • December 23, 2013 at 7:58 pmMrTerrorist

    For anyone wondering whose who in the end card, it’s all of the mental models that appear so far in the manga and it’s made by the author of the manga, Ark Performance!
    Here’s the link of their names. http://i.imgur.com/AS0RwMY.jpg .
    Warning! Unless you have read the manga, the link contains spoilers!

    • December 23, 2013 at 8:08 pmJusuchin (Military Otaku)

      I know who they are.

      I want more of my Battlecruiser Meido. Repulse <3

    • December 23, 2013 at 9:10 pmBear

      Zuikaku is missing.

      • December 23, 2013 at 9:16 pmLonghaul

        She is towards the lower left.

      • December 23, 2013 at 9:26 pmBear

        My mistake.

    • December 23, 2013 at 10:55 pmc2710

      Man I just want to design Scharnhorst’s, Gneisenau’s and Tirpitz’s MM.

      I have their 1/700 ships in my collection

    • December 24, 2013 at 1:19 amTechim

      Recognize most names especially Yamato.
      *Eyes browse a little to the right of her*
      Wait, what? Show Spoiler ▼

      has a mental model?

      • January 2, 2014 at 9:51 pmSwarz

        Show Spoiler ▼

  • December 23, 2013 at 8:16 pmDualash

    Kirishima is definitely the best bear, especially when she spammed all those torpedoes. XD

    • December 24, 2013 at 3:04 amdestiny

      oooh please someone make a giff of that.

  • December 23, 2013 at 8:44 pminanis

    and so..is over.. so sad.. Yesterday i saw “Outbreak Company” last ep..and today “Ars Nova” x.x really sad couple days.

    The ending was really nice and hearth warming. Really liked the epilogue.. Kongou looking at her hand. where she goes from now? … the fog will hunter her down and the humans will stay away… hopefully she goes back to Iona (and co.)

    Also Takao jumping at Gunzou, good for her; really gonna miss the tsundere heavy cruiser. And they also stayed together (Gunzou, Iona, Taka and Hyuga).

    HAHA that Kirishima .. i guess she got used to the bear body .. also Makie said she liked it so i guess it makes sense she stayed with it. Good to see them staying together (HaruHaru, Makie and Kirishima)

    Im really hoping for a second season… at this point it is obvious it would be totally different from the manga… but if it keeps the same level as this first season then is all ok with me.

    I’m so glad i started watching “Ars Nova” since its begining. Thanks Zephir and Zanibas for the posts… and the screens..more than 30 of them were saved on my HHD … likely gonna do a screensaver… or screen theme? mebe.. likely xD

    PS: heh Kongou went all “Unlimited Blade Works” on Iona!

    PS2: listening to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVQQrIclajk (Silver Sky) .. hah really like this song.. anyone knows when the full OST will be out? so far only seen singles.

  • December 23, 2013 at 9:07 pmSpike

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    • December 23, 2013 at 9:48 pmZephyr

      It’s pretty clear a vast majority of anime-only watchers felt like it was a lot better than they thought it would be. Is it better than the manga? Probably not.

      But honestly, does it really matter?

      The fact that it’s a different medium means it should be judged separately from the manga anyway. Just because it probably wasn’t as good as the manga doesn’t mean it wasn’t a very enjoyable stand alone series with a fair amount of depth. I’m quite sure even some manga viewers liked it in that context, and in fact, some of the people here mentioned the same thing. Not only that, but it was clearly diverging from the manga early on in the first place, and that makes it even more senseless to compare the two.

      I don’t get why each week has to end up with people saying “oh my god, the manga was so much better” or “oh man, this is so shit because they cut so much out.” It’s ridiculous. Just because it wasn’t what you wanted or expected from an adaptation (and even this is a loose term because it clearly wasn’t intended to be a faithful one from the beginning, and there isn’t even a proper ending to adapt), doesn’t mean it has to be bad, and it doesn’t mean the anime viewers have shit views for liking it.

      And really, if anything, this series existing is a positive thing, because what it’s done is give people a taste of something they probably never would have ever heard of before. People are going to want to read the manga after this, which is what you guys want, isn’t it?

      • December 23, 2013 at 11:05 pmdaikama

        Zephyr, With all due respect I don’t understand the reasoning behind much of your reply. Simply saying one version is better than the other is not in and of it self mean the same as saying that the anime can’t be “enjoyable to watch” or is “shit”. Perhaps some may have stated such things as well, but such statement are not made implicitly by NOT everyone who finds the anime less than “great”, “awesome”, etc.

        I also don’t understand why the difference in type of media has any significance. What’s being compared is the original version of the story to a different one – story vs. story. Comparing source material to anime is almost standard. I’m hard pressed to think when that doesn’t happen – except of course if one hasn’t read the source material. A number of people posted comparisons of the two for IS 2, KNK and other anime this season and no one complained. In fact, on occasion some people ask for that.

        As for the source lacking a definitive ending? So what? How many shows wouldn’t be made for that reason? Likely AOTY winner (guess on my part) Shingeki didn’t have one when the anime aired, and even if it had, the show would need at least another season (more likely two+) to cover the rest of the material anyway despite a 2-cour initial run. Even if you consider Toaru Majutsu no Index “finished” (1st set of LN), what’s the probability of an anime version getting enough air time to finish all 22 volumes in one run? Bleach anime had what, 300+ episodes and the manga still is ongoing.

        - People are going to want to read the manga after this, which is what you guys want, isn’t it?

        Speaking for myself, what I want is the best version (IMO) of the story animated. I would think that is no different than what any other anime fan wants. If you thought one version was better than the other – wouldn’t you want the better version? To choose otherwise is illogical to me (well, unless your an “M” type I guess).

        I have no doubt that some manga readers enjoyed the show just as some have not. Some manga readers might like the anime better while those who read the manga post anime might end up preferring the manga. Some may like both equally, etc., etc. Personally, I though the show was OK/had its moments, but suffered from lingering in-setting credibility issues. JMO – the same as anyone else.

        Clearly opinions on the anime vary greatly. It happens. As I recall, SAO, for example, had a lot of divided opinions as well. As long as people are sufficiently polite, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be able to express their opinions of the show – positive or negative. To me, more than anything else (i.e. what I or someone might think of the show), that is the truly important issue here.

      • December 23, 2013 at 11:28 pmc2710

        daikama….

        WRT SAO…. That is ONE ANIME THAT I’M ADAMANTLY DENYING THAT IT EVER EXISTED.

        Till today, I’ve got no idea why I stuck through till the end.

      • December 24, 2013 at 12:54 amSpike

        I don’t know maybe I’m old fashioned but I see the people doing a ‘adaptation’ have a responsibilty to stick to the source, otherwise it’s not an adaptation – it’s an original work borrowing another story’s characters and maybe a general overall plot. I’m not as offended when they get it right (Fullmetal Alchemist 1st Series) but when the outcome is subpar (as here imo) I just wonder why they didn’t just write something original without trampling on chars / story we like and expect when we tune in.

      • December 24, 2013 at 1:16 amLonghaul

        If the plot for the anime was in fact decided in 2011, then it did stick to the source.

      • December 24, 2013 at 1:31 amdaikama

        @Longhaul: If the plot for the anime was in fact decided in 2011, then it did stick to the source.

        Am I supposed to believe that the entire season was already scripted two years ago without any possibility whatsoever for revision? Movie script revisions during actual filming are not all that uncommon.

        Would you please explain your comment in greater detail. I recall seeing a something like that posted before, but I can’t remember the particulars

      • December 24, 2013 at 7:56 amZephyr

        @daikama – The general reason I said what I did is because I felt Spike’s comment was toned in such a way that basically said:

        “You know what you said up there about it exceeding most people’s expectations?”
        “Yeahhhh, no. Actually, a lot of people said it was crap. And it was. It was just a name hitch onto the manga.”

        While some manga readers have been generally respectful with their comparisons, this one felt less so, and essentially (from the way I saw it), was put there with mocking intent because he felt that the anime was complete trash, and subsequently we have issues for liking it.

        My reply wasn’t to manga readers in general, and I respect that people have different opinions. But a small portion that continue to write comments that are clear insults in my opinion, while hiding behind the notion that the manga is superior as their sticking point. It’s not so much a divide in opinion as it just is a lack of respect when saying it. Granted, it may not have been his intent, in which I would apologize if I was mistaken, but yeah, there’s a proper way to say things (or not say them at all), and I didn’t feel like his tone reflected that.

        - – -

        As for the comparison, the thing I feel that if it was intended to be a different story, then the comparisons only go so far. You can compare it, but I feel like at that point it’s best for you to use the stand alone judgment for it first. The way comments have gone, it feels like some of the manga guys spent so much time comparing that they didn’t really try to watch this series for the merits it had, which is ultimately what my beef is with this kind of stuff. If you did, then fine. But I’m sure at least a portion of them didn’t, and these are the guys that just randomly come in with unproductive comments.

        - – -

        And if I’m not mistaken, wasn’t the original adaptation attempt halted mid-way through, and they picked it up again this year except with new CG tech?

      • December 24, 2013 at 11:58 amJusuchin (Military Otaku)

        Zephyr’s right in that there are manga readers here that liked the anime. I know people who hated the anime and wanted to do nothing with it, but never came onto an anime blog to pound the book.

        It feels like some purists (in any series not just Aoki)will have this hatred of those who liked the anime. We have sinned greatly in their eyes and shall be condemned in ‘bad adaptation hell’.

        The tone in Spike’s comments does have that air of haughty elitism. Next thing I know people like him (and there are a couple in WoWS forum) will yell out “Aoki seijou naru sekai no tame ni!” and nuke a colony or something.

        Maybe not, but still.

      • December 24, 2013 at 4:40 pmdaikama

        @Zephyr: Thank you for the reply, and I apologize for the “typos”/poorly worded sentence. I swear I proof my post, but somehow I always seem to have them :<. I should also state that much of my following post is not directed at you, but meant in general terms.

        I have no issue with you being upset at what you consider to be a disrespectful post. Perfectly understandable – I would react the same if I felt a post was insulting. I completely agree with you that the discussion should be respectful and polite. In fact, that's was heart of my statement, one I've made before. There have been posts by pro-manga viewers which should have been better/less crudely phrased. However, I think it cuts both ways. There have been posts such as "I hate manga readers" or "If you don't like it, don't watch/go away". The first is a very strong, personally directed statement – more so than simply disliking the show. Neither IMO is respectful of someone else's opinion. Yet both seem acceptable, certainly more so than if someone writes "I don't like the show, the manga's better. I wish they had stuck with that."

        The way comments have gone, it feels like some of the manga guys spent so much time comparing that they didn’t really try to watch this series for the merits it had, which is ultimately what my beef is with this kind of stuff. If you did, then fine. But I’m sure at least a portion of them didn’t, and these are the guys that just randomly come in with unproductive comments.

        I agree that different =/= worse by default, just the same as different =/= better by default. The anime should not be immediately dismissed solely because it deviated from the source material the same as the manga should not be immediately dismissed before one has read it. Judge each on their own merits, and then, if one so desires, compare the two versions of the story. Frankly, I prefer the anime’s opening scene over the manga’s version.

        However, to TBH, I have felt little tolerance here for anyone who prefer the manga’s version of the story over the anime regardless of whether they gave the anime due consideration. The general sentiment has been to lump anyone who prefers the manga and/or doesn’t find the show exceptional into one single group who thinks the show is “utter crap”, is making some illogical assertion that one can’t like both, neither, prefer one over the other or both equally, and worse, at times interpret all such comments as “that there’s something wrong with those who like the show.”

        That is simply not true. I don’t like mustard while the rest of my family does, but none of us think that there’s something wrong with the other’s sense of taste or mental abilities. I prefer Coke (the beverage) over Pepsi, but I don’t think Pepsi is “crap” (drank plenty of the stuff). Speaking of “crap” there’s a pro-Arpeggio post here which states “crap like KlK, IS2 or GBF should learn how to make a story instead of just “HYPE-BS”. For the record, I agree that IS 2… has issues :< (not sure what GBF is O.o), but if "crap" is an objectionable, disrespectful term, why it OK to use in this instance?

        To me, the comments "This is the best show* of the season/year/ever" and "This is the worst show* of the season/year/ever"(*NOTE: "show" here is a generic term NOT directed at any specific show) are simply two sides of the same coin. One person likes the show while the other does not. Ideally, for me, in either case the poster would explain in detail the reason(s) for their opinions and a polite, thoughtful discussion would unfold regarding said rationale.

        I like the manga – a lot. It's one of my favorites. I honestly believe that had the show followed the manga's story, the anime would most likely be one of my all time favorite anime. That didn't happen which was disappointing for me. Why is that so wrong? I watched the entire season, and considering the show independent of the source material, I thought it was "OK" and explained in detail why. After comparing the two, I still like the manga version more than the anime. I shouldn't be damned for that or labeled as closed-minded/"purists", etc.

        If you like the show – great. If you like the anime more than the manga or both equally, that's fine as well. To each his/her own as the saying goes. As long as people are sufficiently polite, I see no reason why they should not be able to express their opinions of this or any show – positive or negative. I truly can not understand why RC posters might find that statement objectionable. Sorry for the long post, but TBH, it’s been a frustrating experience.

        _________________________________________

        @Jusuchin

        I know people who hated the anime and wanted to do nothing with it, but never came onto an anime blog to pound the book.

        I hope you’re not implying that all those who prefer the manga/don’t find the anime exceptional are coming “onto an anime blog to pound the book”. Perhaps some might, though I honestly can’t understand why unless they somehow get royalties out of it. At any rate, I certainly am not “pounding the book.” Someone on RC recommended Geito – Jieitai Karenochinite Kakutatakaeri (Gate – Thus the JSDF fought there) manga in one of the Outbreak Company reviews. I checked it out and it turned out to be a very enjoyable read – so much so that I now follow the series and archive releases.

        I’m grateful that the poster made that comment because otherwise I would not have known about that series. Granted, I imagine Arpeggio anime viewers are aware that the manga exist. Even so, the sole reason I recommend the manga is simply because I honestly believe fans of the anime will enjoy reading it. There’s no hidden motive to “pound” the manga (not getting paid for it, and I don’t see what it accomplishes otherwise). If people don’t want to read the manga, then don’t read it.

        It feels like some purists (in any series not just Aoki)will have this hatred of those who liked the anime. We have sinned greatly in their eyes and shall be condemned in ‘bad adaptation hell’.

        If so, that’s unfortunate, but as noted above, I can empathize because I feel a similar, if not stronger, backlash against who prefer the manga over the anime.

      • December 24, 2013 at 6:53 pmSpike

        @Dai – Thanks for trying to bridge the gap, your post pretty much conveys what I meant to get accross.

        @Zeph – in my original post (which seems to have offended many people) I was pointing out that the statement “I think it’s safe to say that this was a series that exceeded everyone’s expectations.” is a really STRONG statement to make. The problem is it’s just untrue because it didn’t exceed everyone’s expectations For Many Manga readers, it fell well below their expectations. Perhaps my choice of the term ‘crap’ was crude but I do believe it torpedoed (pun) itself in the adaptation regard.

      • December 25, 2013 at 1:32 pmPatchy

        NOT going into anime vs manga. This show has done what it was created for. To sell the manga and the author.

    • December 23, 2013 at 11:26 pmc2710

      As a manga reader….

      I’m thoroughly satisfied with the series itself.

      There were parts in the manga that felt draggy though and I really wished for those parts not to be animated.

      Deviated from the original it might be or as some would call it “crappy piece of shitty adaptation”, I’d say it’s nicely adapted.

      Though I truly wanted U-2501 to be in it but…… I’m happy with the served cake.

      • December 24, 2013 at 1:56 amDi Gi Kazune

        Same feeling here. Given that the manga has not finished its run, the production team has to decide on an endpoint in the series and there is no such breakpoint in the manga at the moment. Its a tradeoff they have to make. The anime on its own is decent enough but the manga is better as the characterizations are more detailed. A lot also has to do with the fact that the manga has a wider support cast which would seriously screw the budget for the anime. The endcard had double the number of ship Avatars; this is not including the extra human supporting cast too. For a “low-budget” series, they have to make sacrifices.

        Secondly, ****-u 3DCG-haters. Yes, the 3DCG may be rough around the edges but at times it was fluid, especially for the ship sequences. All in all, they only had to animate 3 different ships (4 if you include cannon-fodder Nagaras); I-400 series, Kongos and Takaos. Death Kongo does not count. Its rough as the team doesn’t have the experience of say… Lucasfilm. Even the initial season of The Clone Wars was rough around the edges as Dave Filoni even admitted in the interviews. 512 identical Thanatonium warheads are much easier to animate when you have a copy-pasta function. And Klein fields. As Lucasfilm showed, practice makes for improvement.

        Lastly, characterization. The main gripe is Maya. Poor, poor Maya. She got the short straw in the anime. We has such high hopes for her. Maya is best described as a noisy younger hyperactive sister who wants to help her onee-sans in the manga; hence “the flagship of my heart”. Haruna’s berserker moment got transferred to Kongo instead. Iona and her sisters are better developed in the manga and have more personality than the anime versions.

        In all, quite an unexpected show of the season that will forever be underrated compared to other overrated shows from overrated studio.

    • December 24, 2013 at 1:55 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      “‘adaptation’ have a responsibilty to stick to the source, otherwise it’s not an adaptation”

      Notice the key word in adaptation; “adapt”.

      Adaptations are not always, have not always, or always will be 100% faithful to the source material they come from for one reason or another, so they have to “adapt” in order to make up for what they may not be able to do. Unfortunately, such things are usually inevitable when it comes from material that is incomplete, especially if it’s clear it has a long way to go, and especially cramming it within a 12 episode series.

      Money is also a big part of the process, and when a series is made based on such incomplete material, it’s usually because the source material is pretty popular and the company is trying to cash in on that popularity while it’s still pretty hot since, if they wait for the series to completely finish before creating the adaptation, there’s a chance that interest in it overall, much less an animated version, will have dropped, resulting in less viewers and less sales of products.

      Of course, there’s always the possibility at times that the adaptation could really be more of a long advertisement for the actual source material too, like Walkure Romanze gave off that impression.

    • December 24, 2013 at 2:02 amCross

      With all the Star wars like reference, I don’t care anymore if this was a good adaptation or not.
      I like it

    • December 24, 2013 at 3:15 aminanis

      Im a manga reader … and i actually liked the anime more: i oiked to see the transition from AI to human in Iona and co. … in the manga i felt this a lot less because of the huge amounts of MMs.

    • December 24, 2013 at 5:13 amCroos

      Just give up it and follow the ADMIRALTY CODE.

      CARNIVAL DAYO!
      CARNIVAL DAYO!
      CARNIVAL DAYO!
      CARNIVAL DAYO!
      CARNIVAL DAYO!

    • December 25, 2013 at 7:00 pmMagoiichi

      I agree with Spike to a certain degree. I’d rather not have an adaptation at all if it’s going anime original. I always get that amount of joy when I find out that a manga I read before or is still reading gets an anime greenlight. Then the anime doesn’t follow the original source and I get pissed. Simple cause and effect.

      Just look at what they did to Fairy Tail and Magi. I do not care if Fairy Tail got better towards the end, that does not justify what they did in the beginning. What they did to Magi…tears, just tears.

      Even though I hate that they went anime original with Arpeggio, I still enjoyed it. They did some unforgivable things like making me believe they gave Takao permadeath, not having the flamboyant Professor and just keeping him as the vegetable one, and the Maya trolling, even though it was funny.

  • December 23, 2013 at 9:11 pmLonghaul

    Your homework is to name all the mental models in the end card.

    • December 23, 2013 at 9:12 pmLonghaul

      Ah looks like someone already posted a cheat sheet, no matter.

  • December 23, 2013 at 9:17 pmJason Isenberg

    Man what a way to end it. Not only was this hands down a huge competitor for AOTY but it could be one for the decade. This reminded me of when Harry Potter ended, you’ve been with them since the beginning and now that it’s over you feel so bummed out that you won’t be seeing them anymore. Hell, maybe I’m wrong and I hope I am but if a show can pull that out of me then I consider that an astounding success.

    Even though the Manga was different, this version was impressive and to pull that off too when in fact they’ve missed some key figures from the manga wasn’t too horrible. I LOVE this show and I’d recommend it to anyone. Also having nano do the songs was pretty damn awesome.

    Epic anime, Epic soundtrack, epic singer, epic character design, epic story, and just all around epic period.

    Let us pray for a season two because this show is too epic to end just there.

  • December 23, 2013 at 9:32 pmIslidox

    I fucking love this series. Man what a ride. Just to list a bunch of things that I loved about this show:

    1. Story: I’ve never read the manga (and I should), but on its own this anime delivers this in spades. The progression and direction of the series always kept me wanting more, hoping for the next Monday. While short, the series concluded beautifully and never lost my interest along the way. Sure, some of the sci-fi parts of this story is stretched to the point where plausible deniabilty starts to crumble (Ep4, 13:49 – the sub can survive the impact/momentum from slamming into the ocean floor on a fulcrum…?????). But the point of this story isn’t so much about how advanced technology is but a foundation to build the themes of this story. As such, some of these events in the naval battles depicted in the series I can overlook. This leads into the second point.

    2. Themes: Like many have mentioned, this show is more than just the characters surmounting a problem (save humanity, reach America, deliver vibration warhead, survive) or the technology and piew piews – it’s about the humanization of the mental models, the question of what is “free will”, and the search of your self. The way I look at it, the moment the mental models took on human avatars was the moment they were bound to deviate from the Fog. Because what marks us as humans is our ability to make decisions ourselves, for selfish or altruistic reasons. The show also touches upon the theme of friendship/camadarie overcoming obstacles and barriers in both the physical and metaphysical sense. Living beings do not operate and live alone, the need to socialize and work together is integral to survival and our mental welfare. This was especially characterized by the Haruna/Kirishima/Makie and Kongo/Maya arcs. What brings these themes to fruition is its well-executed story as well as its colorful and well-developed cast, which leads into point 3…

    3. Characters: What to say, I love all my mental models! Tsundere Takao “GYAFUN!”, best teddy bear Kirishima “Youtarou – squeeze”, moetastic Haruna “SHAAAKKIINNN”, bubbly Maya “Carnival dayo!”, my queen Joutei Kongo “Mendokusai…”, deadly but cute 1-400 & 1-402 twins, crazy lovey-dovey Hyuga “Iona-neesama!”, and of course Iona, the star of the show. They may seem overly-troped at first glance, but they don’t quite exemplify modern anime archetypes of characterization, and that’s due to their tremendous character growth throughout the series. Their growth as characters spurred both the story development and revisitation of the themes of this story. I especially thought the ED quote “Where do we come from, what are we, where are we going” to really drive the point home as these are questions the girls ask themselves throughout the series. Not to mention, the entire I-401 crew and Gunzo served as a backdrop for our mental models to grow, most notable Gunzo and his drive to look beyond the petty things and change the world for the better.

    4. Misc: While I wasn’t enamored with the CGI, I wasn’t turned off by it and it wasn’t bad at all. The music was killer, OP/ED/OST, not to mention the live concert “Blue Field” showcasing character songs. Lots of attention to the small details, armaments, character expressions… can’t go wrong. Also, killer job there, seiyus; they did a phenomenal job bringing these CGI characters to life. They deserve more anime roles, seriously.

    All in all, one of the best 1-cour anime I’ve seen in my anime-watching career, and I’ve watched a crap ton of anime.

    Thoughts about episode 12:
    I liked how the director didn’t waste our time with OP/ED sequences and simply showed us nearly 30 minutes of action, plot, and story. (Would’ve been nice if I heard Savior of Song playing in the background.) And like Jusuchin said, this episode was really all about Kongo, her fall from grace, the descent into madness, and her salvation by the Aoki Hagane crew. Really touching, I seriously got the feels when Iona hugged Kongo. Personally, I like Kongo the best out of all the mental models, and this episode really showcased how much depth her character had. I already liked her for her queen-like demeanor and steadfast seriousness, but when that changed as she came into contact with the Aoki Hagane crew, she grew in character and really drew me to her character.

    Also, I think Kirishima’s mental model must’ve sucked up a bit of Kenshiro’s makeup. Because “Woyayayayayayayeyeeyeyeyeyeyeyeyeyeyaaa!!!” Would’ve made him proud, sniff~

  • December 23, 2013 at 9:44 pmstarss

    … in all my days, I never thought I’d see an all-CG anime that, for once, looks exactly like hand-drawings with no hiccup in sight! This could open the potential for more anime to be made in CG, though NOT at the expense of it, like the American Hollywood mindset has become!

    • December 23, 2013 at 9:58 pmZephyr

      The future is of technology here.

      This is just the first step… toward us welcoming our loli-ship/mental model overlords.

      • December 24, 2013 at 6:26 amGermanguy

        Well, it is just exchange the Frames with an Electric Pen table board. The Human Input is still needed, in short. Human Skill will prevail. An PC dont make a skill less Animator into a Godlike one

      • December 24, 2013 at 8:24 amstarss

        You made me imagine you as an android perfectly.

      • December 25, 2013 at 11:24 amGermanguy

        @starss

        This is just wisdom from Hayao Miyazaki
        Sure he loved to do the old classic way, but i think i hear this on some Interview he hold

    • December 24, 2013 at 7:55 amVoyager

      Well, the CG quality has exceeded my expectations too. I mean, that is part of my everyday work so I know what can be done with it, given the appropriate budget, but while there is a lot of knowledge on how to make photorealistic renderings, I wasn’t aware of how well anime style renderings could be done.
      It wasn’t perfect, for instance Gunzou’s expressions weren’t that great, but there were other things, like Takao’s facial expressions and general body movements, that really surprised me and make me look forward as the quality will improve even more, it’s just the beginning :)

      • December 25, 2013 at 6:19 pmAndré

        Watch Appleseed Ex Machina (it’s a movie) or play a Fire Emblem game (GC, Wii or 3DS version, those have CG cutscenes). You’ll see what they can really do in terms of anime-like CGs. They just need time and/or money to do it, something you don’t really have when you’re doing a TV series. ;(

        But I agree, given the circumstances, they did a pretty decent job.

  • December 23, 2013 at 9:45 pmdaikama

    @Zephyr/Zanibas: Thanks to both of you for taking the time to blog the show. Given all the shows you both were involved in covering, I’m sure that took up a considerable amount of free time. While I don’t agree with your assessment of the show, I do appreciate the efforts involved with blogging it.

    To say the series exceeded everyone’s expectations was an understatement… I’m sure many will agree with you, but there are those who were/are disappointed with anime’s “adaptation” of the story. EP 01 made me curious enough to read the manga/source material which I did… all of the translated chapters… at once. Without question the series exceeded my expectations, and it instantly became one of my favorites. Before EP 02 even aired, my expectations for the anime were reset to “very high” (as in potentially one of my all-time favorites) on the assumption the show would follow the same method of adaptation as Shingeki or Fate Zero (i.e. faithful to the source). Obviously, that didn’t happen, and as a result, the show failed to meet my expectations rather than exceed them.

    I’m not going to bother with comparing the manga and anime as I see little point in doing so based upon previous commentary. What follows is strictly my opinion based upon watching the anime as if the manga did not exist (i.e. pretending it was an “original anime”).

    I didn’t like how the show put forth so much effort into centering the spot light on Iona and to a lesser extent Gunzou. Granted they are the main characters, but that doesn’t mean focusing on them should come at the expense of other characters IMO. The crew of I-401 was pushed into the background early on. For example, when the meeting with Kongo took place on the beach, Gunzou and all the MMs are there, but the entire crew of I-401 get stuck on I-401. Conversely, when they are trying to break through Kongo’s blockade after said beach meeting, everyone but Gunzou is on Takao far away from the action.

    I don’t understand why ALL of them had to be absent at both times – especially the second time when there was nothing for them to do on board Takao. If Takao, Haruna, Kirishima and/or Hyuuga decided to betray them, what could they possibly do to stop them anyway? However, Iona noted the “increased burden” on her processing without the crew. Had at least the engineer and sonar personnel been on board, then maybe “burst mode” would have been available sooner, and/or the presence of I-401/402 been discovered in a timely fashion (and put up a Klein Field before getting hit). The season ending speaks for itself. Even Gunzou is pushed into the background as Iona takes on the Kongo Death Star by herself – climbing up missiles on the way to her target.

    Same goes for the MMs (though in some cases to a lesser degree). Haruna needing to be rescued by Iona made no sense to me. The Battleship MMs are supposed to be powerful – at the top of the FoF fleet hierarchy. Yet this supposedly powerful MM is rendered helpless by mostly small arms fire? One thing that bothered me quite a bit was how Kongo went on and on about Gunzou being the cause of everything – the very touch of him (like he’s some kind of virus) causes irreversible changes in MMs who will then defect from the FoF. That directly contradicts what happened with Haruna and Kirishima. They changed after meeting Makie (you could also include Lawrence for Haruna) – BEFORE meeting Gunzou. It’s not Gunzou specifically who causes MMs to change, but human contact that does so. Yet the show ignores this and instead insists upon inflating Gunzou’s already large role.

    I commented previously upon how it was difficult for me to believe that Takao was required to “merge” with Iona in order to save Iona and Gunzou when a Takao class cruiser has about 1.5 times the displacement weight of an I-400 sub. Surely there should have been enough nanomaterial for Takao to maintain her MM (and Kirishima get hers back). Yet in the next episode, suddenly there’s enough nanomaterial to create TWO full size, operational decoys of I-401. They can’t be that different from the original sub in terms of density. So before there wasn’t enough nanomaterial for one or two MMs, but now there’s enough to spare for an extra I-400 (assuming the decoys take ½ the material of the original)? I’m totally confused over Maya. According to I-400 twins, “Maya” wasn’t an MM. “She” didn’t even have a core from what I saw – just some hologram type program. So what exactly did Kongo “absorb” to cause such a power-up?

    It was such inconsistencies/”in-universe” credibility problems (there are other examples, but this is long enough) which eroded and ultimately broke my suspension of disbelief in anime’s version of the story. TBH, I thought there were some excessively “over-the-top” moments as well. The above does NOT mean I think the show is “horrible”/”the worst”/etc. or void of any positive qualities. CGI or not, I had no issues at all with the show visually. Actually, I thought it looked pretty good. Certainly no complaints on the MM character designs ;). I loved the OP. Gets my vote for best OP of the year. However, given the above issues, I don’t think the show is anything exceptional. Earlier I posted, that I thought the show was neither the best nor worst show of the season. Having watched the entire season, that assessment remains.

    For those for fans of the anime who have not read the manga, I recommend doing so. You may or may not prefer it to the anime, but I would honestly be surprised if you did not enjoy it on some level.

    • December 23, 2013 at 9:57 pmZephyr

      Bows*

    • December 24, 2013 at 6:29 amGermanguy

      Until now i avoided to “hunt” for the Manga. And i dont understand Kanji or Hiragana. So i need an Translated version. But after the Holidays here, i begin to seek the Manga

    • December 25, 2013 at 1:21 pmPatchy

      Each type of fog ship has its own tier of processing power. As powerful they may be; they aren’t unlimited. Each task/routine that is running will be a drain/burden on their processor.
      So as powerful a fog battleship may seem but they can be weighted down and defeated. All fog mm shown to have logic flaws. In fact once they prioritize/narrow their objective; they fail to notice other variables. As for how mental models change; I suspect it has something to do with Iona and her virtual tea room. Gunzou and Makie also had influence on mms, but wasn’t just those two as there was many factors affecting the mms. On Maya, I seriously disappointed with her outcome. They decided to turn her from a character to a object. The anime is good but don’t care for the flaws and sloppiness.

      • December 25, 2013 at 5:45 pmdaikama

        You state “All fog mm shown to have logic flaws”. Perhaps I forgot, but I don’t recall Iona making one. I she did, please let me know because I’m curious as to what that might be.

        I fully understand the concept of CPU load. However, at the time Haruna was under fire, there was not any processor load other than her shield. She didn’t even have a ship at that point. Now consider how many corrosive torpedoes and/or missiles Iona blocked with her shield along with what, 10, 15, more? direct “sword hits” from a powered-up Death Star Kongo with minimal damage taken. Yet small arms fire (i.e rifles) is more than an unburdened Fleet class BBs MM can withstand? I’m supposed to believe that a FoF Fleet Flagship class BB MM (remember, Kongo, Haruna and Kirisima are ALL Kongo class BBs – they are sister ships) is that much weaker than Iona’s MM? That’s too much for me to find credible.

        FWIW, my opinion on the matter is the anime needed a way to get Haruna, Kirishima & Makie on board I-401, and Iona to the rescue was a easy way to do it. Plus, it puts forth Iona as the show’s HEROINE/STAR which clearly IMO was an objective of the show. I think the ending is conclusive on that point.

        I’m not sure why you consider the virtual tea room Iona’s. I never took that anything other than the visual representation of the FoF network comm system. Iona left the FoF roughly two years ago. I can’t believe that her enemies would continue to use Iona’s “tea room” for private conversations – specifically conversation on how to track down and destroy I-401. Plus, in the last EP Kirishima (I think) exclaimed that comm network (virtual tea room) was “protected” (thus Iona had to make direct contact with Kongo). If it was Iona’s, then that wouldn’t be the case. If it is Iona’s, then add one more inconsistency/credibility issue to the list. IMO it’s pretty clear that it’s solely human contact that initiates a change which makes sense given that MMs are designed to mimic humans in the first place.

        I do agree that the anime didn’t do as good a job as it could with consistency and attention to detail. I would consider it much better if it did not have these issues. I left this last point out of my above post. On thing that shocked me while watching the last EP was that we get this dramatic speech/scene where the MM’s begin to understand concept of (free) will, that they are not who they once were (mere weapons blindly following orders), Iona feels “motivated” on her own, etc. Then immediately after that… Iona asks Gunzou to give her an order. WHAT!? I had to rewatch that scene because I couldn’t believe what I just heard (read). What happened to will, motivation, no longer just a weapon, etc.!? >_<

        For me that line just killed the whole scene which is a shame because it could easily have been avoided IMO. Rewrite Iona's line to something like "Gunzou, I'm going to save Kongo now" (as in "I'm now leaving the ship to save Kongo"), then Gunzou can ask his questions and go from there. IMO that type of statement fits much better with the whole theme of the MMs becoming more like humans – individuals who choose their own path rather than weapons requiring orders before taking action.

      • December 26, 2013 at 1:32 pmCyou

        If I recall correctly, the “shield” actually has to release the absorbed energy. It’s kind of hard to do that when it’s being continually saturated.

        Also, the interpretation of Iona’s line seems to be odd. The way the conversation flows (paraphrased):
        - “Can you save Kongo?”
        - “Give me the order.”
        It’s an answer to the question.

      • December 26, 2013 at 6:58 pmdaikama

        @Cyou – I understand about Klein Field saturation limits and the ultimate need to disperse energy. However, this is mostly small arms fire, not repeated corrosive torpedo hits. My point is how weak this supposedly very powerful entity was portrayed.

        I do think you have fair point when suggesting “give me an order” is a reply since Gunzou is the captain and this is a military situation. I watched the scene again, and the “give me an order” dialog does not appear as diametrically opposed as I first thought when viewed with that perspective. However,I still think the dialog (particularly using the word “order”) does not sync well with the previous topic of conversation.

        JMO, but when you have this climatic moment revolving around a discussion about motivation, will, wanting to do something – a realization of “self” which is all part of a larger pervasive theme of becoming more than just “weapons waiting for orders”, don’t immediately follow that with a scene where an MM expressly asks for an order (reply or not – don’t use the word!), and worse, is then given an unnecessarily long detailed one (which for me reinforces the “ordering about” concept). Iona knows what needs to be done in this situation better than Gunzou. There’s no need for him to go into such detail.

        I would much prefer that Iona simply reply to Gunzou’s question with “Yes” or “Yes, I can”, and then Gunzou follow up with simply “OK, Iona. Go save Kongo.” I think that’s realistic and still keeping with military chain of command since I’ve read similar types of exchanges in WWII history and oral history books. (e.g. “Do you think you can take out that MG position with a mortar round?” “Yes sir, I can.” “OK, do it”).

        Frankly, my first choice would have been for Iona (after everyone says “will”), to turn and face Gunzou directly then say to him “Gunzou, I want to save Kongo.” The request for permission from her superior officer is implied. Furthermore, I think that type of exchange fits very well with the previous discussion of will, desire and motivation along with the overall theme of becoming more “human” rather than “mere weapons” – even building upon it. Iona wants to do something, is motivated to do it and acts in a proactive manner. Gunzou can then ask “Can you do it?” and the conversation goes per the above paragraph.

      • December 26, 2013 at 10:56 pmPatchy

        @daikama – There is a difference in output of klien field of mental model and that of a ship. While there wasn’t any corrosive armaments, there were alot of kinetic energy fired from troops and crabs. Though you can also be right as the producers just wrote it as is. While I like the anime, there is some flaws and sloppiness that just stain a otherwise decent story.

  • December 23, 2013 at 9:57 pmthedarktower

    thank you both for blogging Ars Nova, at first I was about to abandon the ship but I stayed and I think Ars Nova has something interesting in it.
    I think Ars Nova was good since most of the time it stayed focus on the purpose.

    Ars Nova provided a good combination between combat piew piew and a theme which was wrapped up nicely within the entire series, mostly within characters. it was developed little by little, becoming more and more intense and intriguing.
    through each scenario of those girls we saw another dimension/level of the theme which Zephyr quite nailed above.
    mostly, they were affected after a significant event like a battle or something. but it was different experience for each one. for example, with HaruHaru it showed standing strong for a friend. and with Kirishima it was for both Haru and the girl..
    as for Iona it was totally different. especially those last episodes involving Kongo, when Iona has become much more active. at the beginning she was inactive, only doing exactly what Gunzou ordered and all. but as time passed by she opened her self more and more. which was kinda different from the other girls (Takao, HaruHaru) that opened almost immediately after the fight or something. not to mention Kongo herself demonstrated a different side for the theme.

  • December 23, 2013 at 10:21 pmAnonXU-2501

    I’m disappointed that we didn’t see any MMs of the American Fleet (what a cocktease given that they haven’t shown up in the manga either). Aside from that, as much as I loved the action, I still found it rather bull that Kongou’s Death Star laser Graviton cannon didn’t part the water and at least put more tension by forcibly fighting to hold the I-401 sub-cruiser in place to hit it.

    Ah well, I’m hoping that we get a proper reboot as a sequel, much like FMA. The original content served its purpose to grab an audience and prove that it can do solid CGI as well as impressive and intensive fight scenes, but it’s time to bring back the fans that were alienated by the divergence. Besides, a sequel to the anime proper would be impossible given that the anime path concludes the journey and entirely wrote out the other fleets and characters.

    That said, kudos to Zephyr and Zanibas for blogging this; it helped explain things to friends who were only interested in anime and not manga, and far more patiently than I ever could.

  • December 23, 2013 at 11:00 pmc2710

    As Blue Steel’s manga reader, I must say that I’m thoroughly satisfied with the show. I must say, the final loss of Maya really got to me.

    IMO at the end of the day, each MM got the ending that each of them deserve.

    Takao has her body back

    Haru-Kiri-Makie are one family

    Hyuuga has Iona

    Kongo finally comes to terms with the changes and finally accepts them. Though she chose to sail the seven seas alone and with Maya’s piano as momento of the times they shared together.

    To the remaining ships….

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74NnbL_oENU&noredirect=1

  • December 24, 2013 at 2:52 ammac65

    Haruna is my favourite!

  • December 24, 2013 at 4:09 amIncognito

    “The American Fog fleet has been annihilated”
    AKA: “We’re too lazy to animate the American Fog ships, so we’ll let Kongou sink them with her super graviton cannon…”

    A little sad to see an Iowa-class sunk like that. (And we didn’t even get to know if that Iowa-class was “Mighty Mo”…)

    Well, what else can I say… Adaptations are not always going to be 100% faithful to the source, but an adaptation that is somehow enjoyable on its own merit (despite some alterations) deserves applause. (Case in point: The Lord of The Rings movie trilogy.) I guess it also helps to treat Ars Nova and the original Arpeggio manga as two different beasts altogether.

    On a lighter note, I really enjoyed this scene. While it’s a bit hilarious because of how sudden it is (and I’m sure Gunzou was surprised with Takao glomping him), it’s also heartwarming since Takao looks so damn happy hugging “her captain” at long last. (D’awww…)

    Anyway, I hope someone’s gonna upload a playthrough video of the KanColle x Arpeggio event (which starts today, IIRC). And I hope to see you guys when the anime version of Kantai Collection comes sailing in.

    • December 24, 2013 at 4:28 amdaikama

      @Incognito And I hope to see you guys when the anime version of Kantai Collection comes sailing in.

      Right there with ya regarding Kantai Collection. The show’s already inked in on my watch list. Frankly, I wish there was a English patch for the game itself. Looks like a lot of fun.

      • December 24, 2013 at 4:31 amdaikama

        FYI for those not familiar with Kantai Collection (aka Kancolle). This site has a lot of info on the game.

      • December 24, 2013 at 4:51 amIncognito

        And there’s also a wiki for it here.

  • December 24, 2013 at 4:18 amSeedStriker

    What really pleases me is that Ars Nova wasn’t hyped to the sky but deliver way far and beyond tan any of the it’s more publicised competition (crap like KlK, IS2 or GBF should learn how to make a story instead of just “HYPE-BS”), more so, even the people who read the manga were in doubt because of the CGI. Thank God that I’m one that takes risks on series of this caliber like Heroic Age or Majestic Prince.
    For the episode itself, I’ll only say that it was the most humane that I’ve seen in so long time. Kongou’s teary face almost destroyed me, but fortunately, Iona was there to save Christmas.
    As someone that has read the manga, the series did a way better character development, in part because it doesn’t have a massive cast and sub-stories that had make the whole story drifted apar a Little bit. It’s not bad, but sometimes I think that the work done in Ars Nova were implemented in the manga.
    Hopefully, Ars Nova will have it’s own continuity. Making the manga could be good, but in the long run, I feel it’s better the approach that Sanzigen has done here. Kudos for them.

  • December 24, 2013 at 5:43 amblack

    Thank you for a good review
    I think anime deserve some more love and shouldn’t compare to manga

    by the way from the final scene can we comply that takao also got her ship back?

    • December 24, 2013 at 6:42 amGermanguy

      No, just enough Material to Build her Mental Body back. They need the TakaoxIona Merge Subship. If they plan to give them a 2nd Season

    • December 24, 2013 at 11:56 pmcitronxe

      I actually agree with you.

      It’s true that it shares the same title with a manga, but it doesn’t have to necessarily reflect the story from the manga. It’s presented in a different medium, and for that, I am truly happy that it delivered much entertainment (which is the primary reason I’m watching anime in the first place). I liked the anime as well as the manga. And I just don’t find any reason of directly comparing an anime to a manga.

  • December 24, 2013 at 6:40 amGermanguy

    Perhaps the Owner of this Animation Version. Should ask Wargames for a Deal. Yes, the same Wargames with World of Tanks. They are building World of Battleships. And the main Actors there will be the US Fleet and Nippon Fleet.

    a Joint venture like Girls and Panzer. You sure will get some merchandising outside Nippon. Perhaps not that much, but many little Fish can fill a meal, or not?

  • December 24, 2013 at 7:24 amPeTdo

    I would join the Marine asap if all the ship look like that!

  • December 24, 2013 at 7:30 amflamerounin

    yep, they clearly left room for season 2. they never answered the question of what the purpose of the Fog in creating mental models, as well as allowing these AI to have separate personalities (after all, if the admirality code was supposed to be omniscient to the fog’s function, the idea of independent wills should not be there). and there’s the equally large question of who sent Iona to gunzou anyway.

    so i am guessing that if does have a second seasond (hey i heard the DVD sales are doing great), then kongou will probably be playing to role of the aloof big sister ally on that one.

  • December 24, 2013 at 9:22 amwalaoa

    As a manga reader, I have to say the anime was more impactful. It’s amazing how they emphasize the theme of humanization of fog fleet which may you feel for all the fog character.

    I don’t get this kind of feeling when I read the manga.

    Loud applause for the director, screen writer and producer of this series. Truly amazing.

    • December 24, 2013 at 8:34 pminanis

      i always felt the manga focuses more on the human side of the in-universe story, the anime focuses more on the fog side.

    • December 24, 2013 at 8:58 pmMemphis

      @Waloa
      I feel that the manga fog fleet are already very humanised, including Iona. U can see how the fog fleet seek to backstab each other (Nagato’s implied plot to take on Yamato) . I think the manga addresses ‘uncomfortable’ questions like ‘how far does humanity need to go to win the war’ I think it’s such ‘dark themes’ that makes the anime look much ‘brighter’ compared to the manga. It’s quite difficult to side with manga-Gunzou since he too has his own plans (aligning with the Fog fleet).

  • December 24, 2013 at 9:25 amSapphirearcz

    I am a manga reader too, but yet the FEELS TRIP this anime brings me through is pretty impressive!
    Never expected some nice sword fightings in a naval piew piew show, and also the struggles of Kongou and Iona in the direct linkage were pretty significant!

    2nd Season plsplsplsplspls

  • December 24, 2013 at 3:56 pmhaseo0408

    Thank you so much for covering this series Zephyr and Zanibas, Merry Christmas to you and all of your beloved ones.

    • December 26, 2013 at 5:25 pmZephyr

      Same to ya!

  • December 24, 2013 at 7:43 pmBeedle

    When this series began, I was hesitant to pick it up considering where the manga was at the time. I was prepared for the usual “crappy anime original” and “fanservice fillers”, particularly with a female-dominant cast.

    I’m glad I stuck around. I’ve said it before, but the team behind this adaptation definitely deserves much praise.

    Well done, Zephyr and Zanibas! Happy Christmas!

  • December 24, 2013 at 9:48 pmploon

    Shazam. Takao. Bear.

    Very much good moments.

    Wow.

  • December 25, 2013 at 11:19 amGermanguy

    Well, after reading some of the Manga (after i finished watching all Anime), i am happy How much i guessed right, of the Manga stuff, not knowing the Manga itself

    I am happy that i still have my sharp Mind and read many things between the Anime Lines (Little scenes and so)

    Sure i have many missed or crap. But at last i love Animes

  • December 25, 2013 at 2:41 pmAPrussian

    I really liked this until the last 2 episodes. It just seemed like I-401 was overpowered. First she takes out 20 cruisers (don’t they have a klein field?). Then kongou destroys an entire fleet in an instant with her gravity cannon, but I-401 manages to withstand it. And then Iona wins through power of will. It seemed like Iona got random powers when it was convenient.

    • December 25, 2013 at 2:47 pmGermanguy

      Well, Iona has give the “Process Power” of their Ship to Takao. So, in basic term. She was only Uphold her Mental Body form, in the Fight. and that takes only 1-2% of CPU Power. Where Kongo, still hold the Deadly Powers of her Berserker run in check somehow. So Kongo was not in her Full CPU Power state. Even if she sucked Maya and her Fleet. Someone still had to hold the Connection together, and Keep all floating in Air, Power of the rising Gravity Cannon and so on.. Al this eat her Process Power. She overrated herself in her blind Anger

      So no wonder that Iona overpower Kongo in this Final

      • December 25, 2013 at 4:59 pmPatchy

        Not process power but instead admin controls while Iona temporally relinquish them to focus on Kongo. The fight used alot more power then realized as they both went all out then what was displayed on physical level. Still think the virtual tea room is mysterious and connected to Iona. Probably that is were Iona has additional powers.

    • December 26, 2013 at 1:54 pminanis

      she didnt “withstand” it.. she actually fired her own supergravity cannon to “negate” (deflect) Kongou’s … even as Gunzou said: they werent going to be able to negate it totally… they just dispersed (lessened) its “punch”

      This is not something new.. it happened before: Takao used her SGC to negate..Maya’s SGC … back in episode 9. (in that case since the output power of both SGC was about the same both shots were “negated”)

      About the 2 “AoE (Area of Effect)” SGC we see:
      1) Ionna Vrs Nagara (x22): well yeh at that point I401 (Ars Nova) overpowered them by a lot … the move it used also surprised them.

      2) Kongou (“Deathstar”) vrs Pacific Fog Fleet: it was a backstabbing .. so Kongou wiped them easily..they never had the chance or the idea to defend themselves.

      About Klein Fields: remember that they got a delay to activate their Fields..is not always active .. versus slow moving projectiles like Bullets and Missiles (even Tanatonium ones) they have time to overwork their fields to increase their protection.

      Super Gravity Cannon: their ultimate attack… for the fog is a 1 shot 1 target kill beam attack… even thru their Klein Fields… only by dedicating 100% their processing to block that attack can a defender survive such a shot, barely (like Hyuga vrs Kongou’s SGC , ep 9). Also you would need the processing power of a Fast Battleship (or higher) to pull such “block”.

      It is interesting to note that only humans or “mutated” (corrupted/modified/humanized) Mental Models can even imagine other uses for the SGC .. like Takao’s “Reflection” , Gunzou’s SGC “fan AoE” or Kongou’s SGC “AoE”

      About Ionna vrs Kongou: yeh kongou was overtaxed.. she was keeping integrity (barely) of the “deathstar” , attacking the I401 (Takao) and attacking Ionna’s Mental Model. Kongou’s Processing power is.. HUGE .. but even she has her limits.. we saw that already back in EP 9. While Ionna could devote 100% of her processing to “fight” Kongou since she left Takao in charge of the naval battle. Ionna wasnt even trying to eliminate Kongou..she just wanted to open a link to her.. but needed to establish a “hard link” (physical contact, since Kongou cut all external access from the “tea room” / network) and keep her busy while she bypassed her firewalls (the shields she had to break thru). IOW: Ionna’s job was to “not get hit”, “touch Kongou” and “buy time”.

      I really liked “Ars Nova” .. not only because of the story and its theme..but also because its consistency. There were really few inconsistencies (actually only found 1)… much less of what i expected (since it is a modified adaptation)

  • December 25, 2013 at 7:11 pmMagoiichi

    As I already said in my reply to Spike and practically everyone else in that response thread, I hate anime original anything. I hated how just about every female in Attack on Titan was given lipstick to make them prettier than they already are and a lot of the scenes looked like slideshows. I hate when they skip important or funny stuff from the manga too.

    I can admit when I enjoy an adaptation and I enjoyed this one even though the manga was superior, which is to be expected anyways, unless there was a real faithful adaptation, but those are few and far inbetween.

  • December 26, 2013 at 7:56 amjohn

    Friend-no-jutsu wins again!

  • December 26, 2013 at 1:19 pmTadashiED

    Takao<3 Honestly, the CGI was at its best this episode. Everything about this series surpassed what I had initial thought. I'm so glad I decided to stick with it after the first episodes because it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable shows this season. Great reviews guys!

  • December 26, 2013 at 4:34 pmOasis

    Do you know where you’re coming from when you do the things you do? Do you know what you are and what it is that you want to do with the free will you have? In this world where things change in the blink of an eye, do you know where you’re going? Did you have something you wanted to but gave up on a while back? Only you know the answer. Just know that if you do have something you want to do, you can’t wait for someone else to do it. You need to grab it with your own two hands.

    i really like what you said here.. wow =D

    • December 26, 2013 at 5:24 pmZephyr

      It’s that kind of show. :D

  • December 26, 2013 at 4:49 pmGermanguy

    Well, IF there will be a 2nd Season. Where they should start? From the Manga, what happen in England? The Search for someone Important?

    You see, the Manga not covered this part yet complete. Or we should give the Manga more Time, so that the Anime has enough Stuff for their Adaptation

    Right now, there is to little flesh out there, for a 2nd Season. And you cannot fill in the Fight Outtakes from the Manga.. Yes yes. this German Submarine, how they put them now into the Story? In the End the Captain allow the Ship’s AI their wish? (Manga known what i mean)

    Just play a little bit Role play. Imagine, your the Boss, and want to do a Anime Adaptation. What you want to use, and what you must cut off…
    You get the rough gist, what i mean

  • January 7, 2014 at 8:12 pmTrapMaster

    That was epic, and I loved this series, but I’m still a little disappointed that Iona and Gunzou didn’t become a couple in the end. I don’t know if it’s just me, I mean that ending where Gunzou asked Iona what he looked like when she first met him was really sweet, but I wanted just a little more between the two, they feel perfect together :3

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