「航路を持つ者」 (Kouro Wo Motsu Mono)
“Those With Shipping Routes”

Look, I’ll be honest. Part of me just wants to say “all I saw was piew piew and it was fabulous” and be done with it, because to me, that was first thing that comes to mind when I try to describe the awesomeness that Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio ~Ars Nova~.

A throw back to an older era of Sci-Fi in some respects, the series revolves around a world where humanity has lost most of its land due to climate change and other factors. To compound this loss further, a mysterious “Fleet of Fog” appears and blockades all of humanity’s shipping routes, plunging all the remaining nations into a steep isolation that makes it impossible to even confirm one another’s existence. 17 years after humanity’s total naval defeat, an inactive Fleet of Fog submarine is captured and codenamed the I-401. Responsive to only naval officer Chihaya Gunzou (Okitsu Kazuyuki), the I-401 (and it’s humanoid interface Iona, voiced by Fuchigami Mai) take on the Fleet of Fog.

And that’s what this introductory episode essentially ends up being—an action packed first episode that establishes the setting, introduces some mystery, and gives us some background conflicts to whet the appetite. All things considered, it successfully does what an introduction should do, and does it with a flair that few series have—I mean, how can do you match a series whose torpedos do this? Sure, the main characters haven’t exactly outed themselves as particularly unique and the series does rely on a few Sci-Fi tropes that we’ve seen quite a few times before, but the fact remains that we’re dealing with a story where the main character wants to utilize a newfound strength to “break the stagnant status quo,” and it’s a formula that spells potential awesomeness. Indeed, the grim backdrop and the insanity that is the Fleet of Fog are just a hardcore Sci-Fi fan’s wet dream, and the anthropomorphism of each ship into human-like “mental models” just pads the cake with another source of potential entertainment.

What ends up being perhaps the most notable thing however, is the fact it’s essentially all rendered with CGI—which while being the highlight of the series, may also be the element that chases some people away. Because whereas the action scenes are superb beyond description and some scenes make it so that the CGI is virtually indistinguishable from being hand-drawn, there are some scenes where the deficiencies of our current level of CGI technology really rears its ugly head. Personally, I do love the stylistic choice the studios did in deciding to create this series this way—and the positives do end up outweighing the negatives in this regard by far in my opinion—but I can see why people may think differently, and it’s something that ultimately makes this series something that’s obviously not for everyone.

Obviously though, it’s something that was right down my alleyway, and I honestly ain’t even completely sure why I feel this way. Maybe it’s just the diehard Sci-Fi fan in me doing all the talking or something, but yeah, I loved the introduction despite some of the aforementioned flaws, and I’ll definitely continue following Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio ~Ars Nova~ to see how it ends up. Sadly, it might get a bit rushed considering it’s only one cour, but I suspect the entertainment value and Sci-Fi goodness will be more than enough to overpower any negatives in this regard—especially if you’re someone who can overlook the occasional CGI deficiencies and/or are a diehard fan of the Sci-Fi genre (being an Action genre fan helps too). With that said, it’s looking highly probable that this series gets some extra coverage over the next week or two (with the potential of being picked up for full coverage in the future), so look forward to it. I-401 FULL STEAM AHEAD!


OP Sequence



  1. Best animu this season no one blogged [till now]. I’m surprised.

    Most people aren’t going to agree with me on this, but I really like the animation. The CG animation here is probably the closest thing I’ve seen to traditional 24fps, hand-drawn anime compared to other CG efforts. There is some noticeably janky movement and dips here and there, but still, major props to the animation tech team for getting it to look as good as it does.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one thinking about KanColle. I’d flip out if the Kongou in Arpeggio yells out “Buurning LOVE” as she blows stuff up.
      Not quite sure of the character animations, it looks slightly awkward but I like the mechanical animation.

  2. Every episode needs to have at least one double entendre involving Iona referring to herself as the ship. We already have “Come Aboard me”. It is only a matter of time till she says “All hands on me”.

  3. Wow, and I thought this was a below than average series….That first episode really hyped me up, and I kinda noticed that the CG, although awkward in some parts, is still much better than in Kingdom in terms of fluid movement imo. Another reason why I got hyped up was that the OP was sung by none other than Nano! Now I’m always playing it on repeat!

    Yes, one more great addition for my already bulging watching list!

  4. I’m surprised this show didn’t get one of those wacky long names that are all the rage nowadays, something like “I Was Having Some Trouble With Pirates But Then My Childhood Friend Turned Into A Battleship”

  5. I actually liked the CGI in some of the non-action sequences. The only issue is that I thought Gunzou was a woman before this episode aired due to the way he was created…-_- and I still do.

  6. Well, they got a lot less progress than I thought, but that might all change with the action sequences later on…
    (…and I do like the way Iona went to find Gonzou.)

    btw, DO NOT POST ANY SPOILERS IN THE OPEN leave them under marked spoilers please.

    Prediction time!Show Spoiler ▼

  7. “Let’s go. If you’re a Sci-Fi fan who wants the strength to break a stagnant status quo, you’ll get on board the 401.” you made me LOL with that one…but i feel u

    BROOKLYN otaku
  8. I don’t know. The CG used here feel somewhat yucky and jarring in my eyes, although thankfully ain’t as atrocius as that Unbreakable show (which hurts my eye severely). The characters are fine, the naval battle on the first couple of minutes also looks awesome, and i like the premise a lot. The idea that each of Battleships have their own avatar in the form of bishoujo, while not new, is very cool. My issue is more into the plot side. It seems to me they’re being too fast to cramp practically everything (backstory, sources of conflict, other Fog Fleets) in mere one episode instead of taking their sweet time and flesh them out a bit more.

    Overall pretty decent episode and can’t wait till the next week to come

  9. Didn’t care much for this one. I really don’t like anime to be CG. It’s great but the storyline is not up to my tastes. Bakutech Bakugan has decent CG but not enough for me to keep watching it too.

  10. I grabbed this episode not knowing it was CG and it took me a while to notice. Better yet, there were times I completely forgot and had to remind myself it was CG. And like others have said, I’m getting heavy Blue Sub 6 vibes from this. Picked up, guaranteed watch.

  11. you definitely have some weird tastes Zephyr, but i am going with you on this one. i actually like the whole premise. the manga (which according to many reviews is very good) actually made good on the moe AI thing and i hope the anime does that as well.

    the CG animation, as everybody has already said, isn’t all that great, but i am willing to let the production team get a hang of it.

    and am i the only one who thinks that the musical score for this episode is simply awesome?

  12. So much detail to this show is crazy! Even the 3D animations are pretty damn fluid and nice. I’ll have to get used to it though but still WOW this show is amazing. Another Fall anime strikes again. I think this has to be the first time every day has anime I can enjoy watching right to the end. Season of the decade! lol

    Jason Isenberg
    1. Oh right.

      Ep 1 Thoughts:

      “I like it. It has jarring bits of CG but I’ve been hyped over this series. It isn’t Girls und Panzer, nor is it Strike Witches, but it’s something new. It covers to me the trilogy of service personifications. Strike Witches handled the Air services. Upotte!! handled the army (more so in my opinion than Girls und Panzer), while Blue Steel is set to handle the Navy. This is definitely a keeper. Although I need to stop taking so much bloody screencaps. I was barely 6 minutes into the rewatch for this post and came up with 76 screencaps. And I do like the OP sequence played in the end.”

      To put everything else on here is…

  13. Superb introductory episode in my opinion! Personally, I don’t find the CGI all that intrusive, but that’s just me. The sci-fi style of battles reminds me of another favorite of mine, Space Battleship Yamato 2199. I am expecting pure grand sci-fi entertainment (+ lolli ships!). So, Right full rudder, all ahead flank!

  14. It seemed this anime was going to go under the radar this season with many people putting the series aside from the first episode.

    Fortunately, I know how awesome the manga is and was excited for this and my favorite ship.
    Show Spoiler ▼

  15. Well, between cute humanoid interface like Iona and scores of lovely battleships entirely based of WW2 Imperial Japanese Navy namesakes, and epic naval battles this IS the anime for a naval wargamer like me.
    Historical fanatic’s trivia: I-400 class of submarines was a series of submersible aircraft carriers, designed to launch torpedo bombers at high value targets like Panama canal. Their first mission to get Gatun canal locks destroyed was aborted when Japan surrendered in summer 1945.

  16. So the neuroi now have ships and can copy humans perfectly, huh?

    Jokes aside, the cgi doesn’t bother me at all. As long as not every anime goes this route, I have no problem with one or two anime being done with cgi.

  17. This one is the perfect remedy against the PG13 cancer that’s killing the world: a solid premise, even if the visuals are a Little dodgy… but only in the character department. I like to see this little flaw as 009 RE:Cyborg with TV fundings. The combat here is superb, and the cast is solid in personality. Thank God we have this to save /m/ from the travesty of Build Fighters.

    All hands, ready to dive and engage!!

      1. Thank you!

        Amusingly enough, he previously played a character that’s basically a submarine commander (in space!) in Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199. And he’s also doing the narration for NouCome, which makes for one heck of a mood whiplash after watching Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio… XD

  18. Well, the Enemy feels like the Noise (Aliens) in Strike Witches. Using old WW2 Ships (and Perhaps more)

    I just need more Episodes to get used with “Cute looking” Girls as Battleships or Submarine..

    Btw, Why are there no Boys?. Perhaps there is Yamamoto Battleship out there as “big Boss” (i will bet on it)

    I need Episode 2 and 3. to see if i stick with it.

    Oh, try not to use to much GC Humans. At last make the “Skin” a bit Anime more like.. You taking just the Soul of the scene. They feel like Robots in this seconds

      1. on the “Side” side the Submarines Nose is Left. on the “Top” picture it is right. But the “Hit” Display discover your “Glitch”

        On “Side” it display a Hit on the Left Front Side. on the “Top” Side it display a Hit on the Right back Side

        You Guys are Using GC, and you dont saw this? 🙂 Please Build in a Ship with my Name on it, as Bonus 🙂 “Seska” Pretty please 🙂

    1. @Germanguy: Perhaps there is Yamamoto Battleship out there as “big Boss” (i will bet on it)

      FYI – It’s Yamato Class Battleship (BB) not Yamamoto. However, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Commander-in-Chief of the IJN Combined Fleet during WWII) was the person behind the initial concept and development of the I-400 Class “submarine aircraft carriers”.

      In terms of a Yamato BB showing up in the show, I’d be shocked if it did not show up at some point given the iconic place in Japanese culture the Yamato holds (poor Musashi… always forgotten). Very fitting for the series as the “final boss” as you suggest – well, unless we move forward to the aircraft carrier phase 😉 [FYI – that’s NOT a spoiler. Speaking in RL naval history terms]

      1. Musashi’s important to the plot this time around, though not to the extent as Yamato. Yet.

        As to the anime itself, I’m guessing they’re going to try and squeeze enough essentials to finish up to Iwo Jima, going by Hyuuga’s appearance in the OP. It’s not too much of a stretch, and they can still fit in Haruna’s development on the side, since the manga itself splits both plots fairly evenly (and is in reality pretty short individually).

        I do hope that the foreshadowing in the intro involving the woman in the bath was just a red herring, since Show Spoiler ▼

        That bit of development would also make for a nice BD extra, much like it did as a manga extra.

      2. Ah, thanks. Yes i found Musashi. it is a “Yamato class” Battleship. It is like “Star Trek”. Everyone knows the Enterprise, but no one remembers the Twin Ships in the same Buildline

        The Flagship is always remembered

        p.s. of course i mean Yamato. Dunno why i every time mess the names up.

      1. Sure, they can be used for War or for Peace (to protect the Peace). But in the End, they have the same Purpose.

        Like a Gun. You can Kill for selfishness or to protect someone precious to you. Your the Selector, they are just the Executor

      2. Men i write a lot.. Perhaps i get the old “Strike Witches + Girls and panzer” Vides at once, anyway…

        The Key-scene i mean, for Tools of Destruction

        When they flew the Dry-dock of the Secret Harbor. the “Captain” choose not to counterattack. The Ship AI self defense mode would react and kill them easy. See, the decision was made from the “Captain”

        Btw, are there just a “Fog Water Fleet”? So in other Words, the Continents over water are in no Contact anymore. But Landlines are still intact? Like Telephone cables and so on? We just are at the point (Communication) where the Oversee Cable and Satellites was not invented. Of course the Airlines oversees is stooped, too

    1. Like the show (WWII stuff always hooks me in XD), but not seeing the Girls und Panzer similarity at all. There’s a slight connection in terms of WWII “hardware” (visually speaking only – no laser cannons, etc. in WWII, though I bet the US would have been overjoyed to have torpedoes which worked 1/10th as well. LOL). That’s it.

      Granted, there’s a bit more similarity with Strike Witches given the alien invasion (Klien (sp?) fields do kind of resemble Neuroi skins), but even that’s a stretch IMO. Characters, overall tone, and time the story takes place are miles apart. Besides, unlike Girls und Panzer and Strike Witches 3/5 of the crew (50% if you count Iona) are males.

      IMO, Upotte! is the most similar of the three to this show with both having “hardware” taking on human form. TBH, that one similarity with Upotte! did cross my mind, but only for a very brief moment. Even then, again the overall tone, world setting, etc. make this show readily distinguishable from Upotte! as well.

    1. @Di Gi Kazune: Hopefully in time it means there will be USN ships

      I was wondering about that as well since USN ships seem to be be missing… for now. The way the series has been, I’m sure a few will show up at some point (at least in the manga).

      If so, I hope they include the USS Laffy (destroyer) name. Both WWII versions (DD-459 and DD-724) and the respective crews performed heroically time and again during the course of the war. USN WWII CVs (carriers) such as Saratoga, Lexington, Yorktown, Hornet and especially Enterprise (no, not the one with Kirk/Picard :P) are better known, but the Laffy’s exploits IMO are definitely just as noteworthy.

  19. I just saw Ep 2. Looks Promising. And they explained that “the Fog” have own Rules on Land Fights. So that point is explained

    Please, let us (for now) focus own the Ships we saw in the OP. Perhaps they are enough to fill 12 Episodes. And if the after sales are good enough, we can see then these other Ship. For know the Story focus on I 401 and his Crew

    p.s. The Girls/Weapons are like our Instincts. But we have our Brain to control to put them in Check (Captain/crew). So the “Brain” here has a conscience
    But i wonder, if Iona can learn to be “human”. Perhaps we have here “Lt.Cmd. Data” from Enterprise? 🙂 But for that she needs a Self learning Root-Subroutine in her Core AI. I am just Curious, where Iona is in her Real form on the Ship (Computer or so). Like know we see is like the Ship Computer on Mass Effect 2-3

  20. Hmm.. will this be the anime adaptation of the manga adaptation of Battleship? 😛

    Feels like theres heavy usage of CGI in this anime, feels like watching Reboot 😛
    Everything feels so strangely smooth with a bit of micro-lag.
    Urgh, the water effects urgh.

    Ark Performance, only know the mangaka from the MSV Return of Johnny Ridden manga.
    Up the interest for me.

    Since its already completed, theres nothing to speculate anymore so I’ll just sit back and enjoy. (Well, a breather from the epicness of Kill la Kill)


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