OP Sequence

OP: 「High Free Spirits」 by TrySail

「初航海でピンチ!」 (Hatsu Kōkai de Pinchi! )
“In a Pinch on Our Maiden Voyage!”

Somehow, it seems that warships are all the rage in Japan right now. Your guess is as good as mine as to why. And I suppose Hai-Furi could well be simply anime’s next attempt to cash in on the warship craze—and even as I typed that sentence I realised how silly it sounded. On my part, though, I actually went into Hai-Furi looking for an ARIA substitute until the Amanchu anime next season, and somehow I don’t think I pegged it right. To put it mildly. Now, that wasn’t actually entirely apparent from the beginning though, what with its notably fluffy start. In fact, one got the impression that Hai-Furi itself wasn’t too sure what it was as it cut slightly stiltedly from rose-tinted flashback to awkward slapstick to various yuri-shipping to high school slice-of-life. Also, this blob of cat. But then the ditzy lead (Natsukawa Shiina) puts on her inappropriately cool hat (without the snazzy uniform, to my disappointment), with which Hai-Furi seems to pull itself together and eventually lead to EXPLOSIONS—though not without some quizzical cluelessness about exactly why it was being serious all of a sudden.

The cute girls + warships formula will no doubt attract comparisons to Kantai Collection, which is unfortunate because I considered that anime to be, in a word, bad. It’s not completely inapt, I suppose; I can imagine somebody watching KanColle and thinking, we can do warship school better than this, and so they did. Military vessels as young girls was always rather silly and bringing it one level closer to earth as just young girls operating military vessels is… well, still silly, but I think it makes for a better aesthetic here, either by design or execution. The naval combat, at least, felt much more like naval combat than it did in KanColle, perhaps for no other reason than that it actually involved ships instead of cosplayers standing on water. For the military buffs, Hai-Furi is certainly the more technical show making it steer more to the way of Girls und Panzer, which may not be too much of a surprise considering Hai-Furi is the brainchild of Suzuki Takaaki, GuP‘s military advisor, and the two series share Yoshida Reiko as scriptwriter. I can see the similarities already, what with the large cast being separated into discrete groups like like the tank teams of GuP. For example, I think the bridge crew will be the main focus, or at least I hope so, because there’s no way I’m going to remember all the other yahoos any time soon.

But perhaps there is one more apropos comparison to be made: Sora no Woto, a favourite of mine and something that the setting of Hai-Furi reminds me of in ways. The cheery mood of a world sinking into the sea evokes fond memories of the gentle post-apocalypse of Sora no Woto and I daresay this setting was more interesting for me than any other aspect of Hai-Furi. Sure, the cozy high-school setting suddenly being plunged into combat and mutiny was a pleasing turn, but it could still turn into an over-complicated trial-by-fire in the end, and even if it doesn’t there’s still the question of why they’re doing any of this in the first place. This future where people travel around town on jet-skis yet have to learn to man not at all futuristic ships, all while civilisation as we know it is dying—that’s where most of my curiosities lie. As is the norm for Random Curiosities these days, coverage decisions for this season’s shows will be made at a later date, but on my part Hai-Furi has my interest piqued, and I think it will be worth watching to see what it intends to do with itself.


  1. Well the OP spoiled us a bit, that there will be other Ships and their Crew. So this will not be an “Enemy of the State”(with Will Smith) Anime. But be also still lack the background of the World they are in, the political world i mean. We just got trow into the cold harsh water and must swim, lets see if i can hold it the next 2 episodes out

    1. also, the World setting reminds me more of Gargantia with the sunken Cities. Also, when the Water level rise who holds the power? easy, the countries that still have enough dry lands to create food. in this state all what left of nippon are only rocks and the mountain, not enough place for farms, or they someone build an underwater farm dome (like in the Sci-Fi animes) with farm land.

      1. also for our Military otakus

        we saw 1 Yamato class battleship at the start with the nr. K117 and in the ED we see some other but with K118

        So i assume, we have here both Yamato battleships in action.. Yamato and Musashi

  2. This… This show. Man… What can I say… There’s lots to say actually but I’m really, really intrigued. For one, the military side of me is thrilled to see renditions of warships, while on the other hand there’s just something about that purple-haired instructor that struck me off as heavily sinister. I don’t know what, but something’s up.

    Anyways, it’s satisfying to see a WW2 vessel at least score a hit against a Zumwalt-class. That instructor’s biggest mistake was to utilize such a vessel in such a ‘transparent’ manner to begin with. At least, if they opted to use miss… Oh wait, then that would’ve uncovered their scheme wouldn’t it? For all you know, inciting armed retaliation from the Harekaze was part of the plan all along. At least, that would allow them an alibi. But wait, wouldn’t the other vessels that rendezvoused at that island at least intercept the transmissions from the Harekaze? To quote, “Dammit! What the hell is going on here?!”

    Mihashi Nishizawa
    1. The Instructor Furushou is really suspicious, she probably chose Misaki for her grades(she didn’t score as much as Munetani), gave Harekaze to them with malfuctions, expecting they didn’t make at time and then attacked them. She planned to pin them from the start.

      A problem with this is Instructor Furushou couldn’t do that only for herself.

      Pretty interesting first episode.

      Random Guy
    2. Anyways, it’s satisfying to see a WW2 vessel at least score a hit against a Zumwalt-class.

      Small correction. Actually, the instructors ship looks like an LCS Independence Class. A lightly armed ship (hence why its controversial in USN circles) but whose very high speed could go in circles around those destroyers at their best speed.

      1. Aaaaahhh, interesting. Thanks for the info! Man, they look somewhat similar, but then again I focus mostly on military aircraft (Seriously, I want one in similar fashion to HaiFuri and GuP NOW!) and thus I am still lacking in the warship department so don’t take my word much for it. Nevertheless, we’ll see what the heck’s going on. All this crazy shit reminds me so much of the time I played Ace Combat 5 (Ace Combat series is one of my top faves) and Warship Gunner 2.

        P.S. Please tell me that someone here has played Warship Gunner 2. ( ; _ ; ) Anyone?

        Mihashi Nishizawa
  3. Let’s do a check list first shall we…

    Yamato and Musashi… Check

    Kagero class, Takao class and Indipendence class LCS… Check

    Bridge bunnies… Check

    Tall and sexy Volleyball team team… Check

    Seems that everything’s in place. Cast off and let IJN Yurikaze set sail!

    IJN Yurikaze… A ship that ships every conceivable pair that you can think of

  4. Welcome to The Last (Moe) Ship! Intrigue is the name of the game, and in the seas, the combat will be hard. Having in mind that the Harekaze is literally the IJN’s starter ship in WoWS, this will be exponentially awesome

      1. @Velvet Scarlantina: I think there’s a misunderstanding here. I’m NOT suggesting one start playing WoWS (don’t even play the game) with “Harekaze” or “Harukaze”. My reply/question is whether SeedStriker got the name right because I didn’t find “Harekaze” in WoWS ship list, and I’m curious where they got the name (again fine if it’s made up). Assuming it is original (which it seems to be), curious why they just didn’t use an actual Kagerou-class DD name in the first place.

      2. Just stating.

        But back to Harekaze… Yea I did check for the actual existence of her but the closest match I could find was Kamikaze class’ Harukaze… Which was immediately ruled out since she didn’t look like it.

        So I reasoned out that she belongs to Fubuki’s descendants… Stop short of Shimakaze and Akizuki class. I got a picture of it stating that Yurikaze’s from the Kagero class but I’m on my phone now.

        Regardless… Let the schiffsfahr begin!

        Velvet Scarlantina
    1. Was it the Harukaze or the Harekaze, I’m not sure. If you saw my comment and thought it was called the Harekaze, please DON’T take my word for it, for I focus on warplanes and I don’t really remember much after viewing it only once so yeah.

      Mihashi Nishizawa
  5. Alright where do i begin…
    To me this maybe more better than Kancolle but slightly weak than GuP, hopefully this show will keep it up. So we shall see where this show goes!

    Now for some fun there
    Show Spoiler ▼

  6. this reminds me of… I dont know, Sora no Woto is similar with the main characters ending up going rogue too… but here it was thrust upon the girls (and audience) without warning nor reason given

    1. I’m actually surprised at the opposite. Their competence level seems unbeffiting for their age, they were too good. Guess they have pretty nice pre-training programs given how rich the school looks.

      (Seriously, they did everything ok at the first try, all ships)

  7. The popularity of warships is due almost entirely to Kancolle, with a liberal dose of Arpeggio of Blue Steel helping spice things up. Then there’s World of Warships and the–to put it mildly–copious amounts of Kancolle/Arpeggio mods (the Southeast Asia server IIRC is the second largest too). If something can be consistently moe-ified, it’s all but guaranteed to have some level of popularity at this point.

    Will be giving this one a few episodes at minimum, need something prepare the body for the horrible mess that Kancolle season 2 will likely be 😛

    1. *sighs* And still no news from the folks at ODEX on a Philippine release (or a explanation why it’s taking so long).

      Even though there’s already a fansub of Ars Nova Cadenza floating around the net (pun unintended), I don’t feel like watching it as the subtitles are more…horrible than Horrible. >:(

      Heck, it doesn’t even hold a candle to the “Duwang” scanlations of Diamond Is Unbreakable…at least those are funnier now. (It’s times like this where I wish MAL hadn’t removed the “recommended fansubs” portion for their anime entries. Those were totally useful in weeding out unsatisfactory subs for anime I want to watch.)

  8. Most likely the sleeper hit of the season for me. (Last season’s was Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm). After the first episode, I’m completely hooked. It gave me the exact same feeling that Girls und Panzer did. And though the action was brief, it easily got my adrenaline pumping. There’s no need to apply the three-episode rule here. My intuition has already made the decision for me.

  9. Given Suzuki Takaaki’s (military advisor to Girls und Panzer (GuP) and Strike Witches, both of which I liked a lot) involvement in the series combined with my interest in WWII (military things in general, but particularly WWII), this was a show I definitely planned to check out. While there are some obvious similarities to other shows, to me this feels more like Girls und Schlachtschiffe than anything else.

    Unlike some, overall I didn’t think this was a strong start. It was OK for the most part with the ending “twist” providing a bit of a hook, but not without issues. There was a noticeable dearth of world building. Don’t need much, but we have… what? A post-apocalyptic world or global warming run amok? A little exposition on that would help set the stage better. I also would have liked a bit more on the “protection” aspect of the Blue Mermaids. Just your “usual” peace-time navy (deterrent against other nations)? That’s my guess and it’s fine, but again a couple sentences of background on that would have been nice. Given the ending, I suppose the plot threat is internal rather than external (e.g. go fight invading aliens). There’s a weird mix of technology though. Why train on almost vintage WWII era ships (with conspicuously modern RADAR, yet still have someone in a “crow’s nest”? O.o) when clearly they have modern warships as well? The obvious answer is to capitalize on a “WWII hook” (which I did bite), but again, some explanation would be nice.

    I’m quite “meh” on the characters, particularly Akeno (FL). Miho she is not. The cast was surprisingly non-distinct – even if only in a “tropish”/cliché way. Only Akeno and deputy captain Mashiro stood out at all. Comedy is subjective, but wow! Did they really pull out a “slips on banana peel” joke here!? That’s not low-hanging fruit; it’s fallen to the ground fruit (no pun intended). Also, I found Mashiro’s reaction to seeing an ordinary (if fat) cat (obvious reference to WWII Admr. Isoroku Yamamoto) oddly extreme. Does she have some bad cat allergy, was traumatized by a cat as child or something? Is it part of the “comedy”? Suffice it to say the comedy so far isn’t working for me, and at times I think the show didn’t integrate comedy with more “serious” moments well. There were definitely moments which reminded me of the show trying to copy GuP’s formula/style, but didn’t pull it off nearly as well as GuP.

    The ending battle in general was OK I guess, but not without issue. We have two out of nowhere (surprise attack) artillery shell misses, and then we break for SOL “comedy” about nicknames? Really? That interrupted the flow of battle and killed any tension at that moment. After the break, things did pick up to the show’s credit, though again just odd stuff. Misc. crew member #2358 is using semaphore… while standing high upon the mast rigging… while the ship is taking evasive maneuvers. Is where she’s standing part of the joke (I assume it was for comedy)? Just found it odd visually.

    TL:DR = Trying to recapture Girls und Panzer magic with WWII era ships (for the most part) rather than tanks, but failing execute nearly as well so far. Wasn’t bad/terrible, and the “wrongly accused of mutiny” plotline has potential. Also, it is only the first episode so room for improvement. 3 Episode Rule.


    OT – Am I missing something here regarding Harekaze? IJN did have Harukaze (inter-war era Kamikaze-class destroyer), but no Harekaze from what I can find. Pretty sure anime original which is fine – just curious. I did read comments (not sure if accurate) that Harekaze here is based upon Kagurou-class DD. The reference to the “high pressure” boiler does remind one of Amatsukaze (which was a Kagurou-class DD equipped with an experimental high pressure boiler ultimately used in Shimakaze).

    Attention to detail was pretty good for WWII ship designs (putting modern RADAR aside). Yamato-class was easily recognizable in the opening scene. Also points for using Musashi rather than the ubiquitous Yamato.

      1. @Velvet Scarlantina: Well, the ship in the opening could be Yamato – anime can have both. However, the anime did expressly mentioned Musashi (FL friend is made captain). So points for me because it’s almost always Yamato in anime.

      2. I also agree with you on that one… Makes sense to be Musashi and not her famous sister since they trained on Musashi as well.

        One reason why people think the opening was Yamato is due to her pennant number… “If Y stood for Yokosuka, K stood for Kure and the colour blue matches Kure flag” according to them

        Velvet Scarlantina
    1. For one, its been kind of tradition for a few navy nowadays to train with sailships, maybe to drill some ‘hardcore-ness’ and discipline as well as skill and unity. At least thats the reason for my country’s navy.

      Considering the ship and the setting on this serial is advanced enough, its no wonder if their sailship analog is WW2 ships

      1. @ Adam: Thanks for the info. Interesting – didn’t know that. Question: How much time do those sailors spend on the sailboats (percentage of total training)? Perhaps I’m mistaken, but I would think they would train on modern vessels as well like the ones they will ultimately crew.

        Still, sailboats are much different than WWII era ships. One important factor is cost. Much cheaper to build (if that’s the case here), cheaper to maintain I would think, and sure as hell cheaper to operate (wind being free). Musashi alone consumes a tremendous amount of fuel oil.

        It’s hard to tell conclusively, but apart from the RADAR antenna, the ships look vintage WWII = while some of the training may apply for modern ships, the crews will still have to retrain a LOT (e.g. modern firing systems, electronics, engines, etc.) to crew the modern “non-training” fleet. So it makes zero sense to me in-universe to use WWII ships instead of similar modern ships unless these “training ships” are used for more than just training. Are they? I have no clue.

      2. As to the reason why they’re using WW2 ships, it’s most probably because they are trying to satiate the core interests of Japanese military otakus I presume? I have no idea. I really have no idea. Heck, it’s almost just like Girls und Panzer- even I found it rather befuddling as to why they utilized WW2 tanks to begin with. At the very least, they showed us that contemporary vessels are in fact utilized in this series instead of pretending that they never existed.

        In any case, let’s just hope that when they DO make a show similar to GuP and Haifuri except with warplanes, they would at least utilize modern jets cuz frankly, modern jets KICK-ASS. Especially 4th gen planes and upwards, OH YEAH!!!

        Mihashi Nishizawa
      3. @ Mihashi Nishizawa: I get the pandering to “WWII otaku” point, and agree. See my reply to ewok40k below on that.

        FYI – Re. Girls und Panzer: The series did give a reason – Rules of Sensha-do (see section 3-01). Granted the reason is “because the rules of the sport say so”, but it’s a stated reason and a plausible one.

        As for an aircraft version of this, if I had to bet (not 100% sure by any means), it would follow the same formula = WWII era warplanes (at least for the main cast). A main hook with these shows is the WWII stuff. Also, you can’t really mix and match eras for competition. Modern jets would pawn WWII fighters just like WWII fighters would pawn WWI fighters.

      4. I think they use the WW2 Ships because this was fight with “Sword and Shields”, because after WW2 the Electronic kicks in, like Radar and such. Knight fights was the Japanese specialty, until the Radar was invented and build in the Ships.

      5. Doppler Radar to get the distance and accurate targeting, Laser pointer for better aiming and so on…

        Look at World of Warships the Tier 10 Cruiser, the ship used radar for aiming helping, no need of eyes anymore

    2. To cut straight to the chase: selection of WW2 warships – certainly rebuilt along original plans cause most of “originals” were sunk or scrapped long ago – as training flotilla is driven 100% by pandering to military otaku subculture… modern warships just dont have usually glorious histories nor generate feelings exactly because they have been workhorses of the “long peace” after WW2.
      To purist disgusted by modern radar showing up on them – I am actually seeing it as a nod to reality as navigational radar is pretty much mandatory in todays ships, whether civilian or military. Even sailing training ships now often have radar.
      The crew antics and their level of incompetence are just building the feel of “plucjy underdogs”.
      What actually was jarring to me was teracher opening fire on the students – with live fire explosives, no less – and communicating with HQ via morse code from ultra-modern warship unlike the rest of the flotilla!

      1. @ ewok40k: Oh, I get the “RL reason” (for lack of a better word). Said as much in my post above. Clearly it’s “WWII otaku” pandering (*cough* raises hand XD). My question is what is the in-universe rationale because I can’t think of one given the dearth of world-building. Per above, from a training and cost standpoint, it doesn’t make any sense to me unless they can’t afford modern training ships and already had these around. Even then, it seems a bit wonky to me, but I could roll with it if they bothered to give that as a reason. .

        This also brings up yet another in-universe question. Did WWII happen here or have a different outcome, because as you note, the VAST majority of IJN was sunk (including Yamato and Musashi). A few ships survived, but that was it (IDK if even 10 DD-class and up made it). So again, why in-universe, are these ships even around? Building these ships rather than modern ships (ala RL navies) for training purposes alone would be very hard to buy into.

        Sorry, but right now given the absolute dearth of world-building, the presence of WWII era ships doesn’t make any in-universe sense to me, and comes across is blatant “WWII otaku” pandering shoved into the story for just that reason. That’s… not good. I don’t need a long dissertation, but give me something as a plausible in-universe reason for this. As it stands, the issue is not a deal breaker, but it does strike me as sloppy writing, compounded by the overall dearth of world-building.

        Correction/Clarification: I’m NOT making a “purist argument” with the modern RADAR antenna (possibly entire RADAR system). I totally agree it’s a good idea and makes sense, but the issue I have is that, as best I can tell, ONLY the RADAR was modernized. The bridge looks pretty darn vintage so why isn’t that modernized along with a whole bunch of other stuff? We even see the characters using voice tubes! For example, USS Wisconsin (BB-64) was modernized and a crap load of stuff was upgraded beyond just RADAR. That is why I mentioned the RADAR antenna. It looks out of place when nothing else seems upgraded. As is, also not a deal breaker, but still one more question unanswered.

        Nice catch and fair point regarding the teacher using Morse code. Maybe voice comm isn’t secure (i.e. Harekaze might overhear and protest timely). As for using live ammunition, that did make sense because she was trying to provoke an extreme response from Harekaze. A reaction sufficient to label them traitors which she got.

      2. The slight differences in the ships could be explained by modernization, but the Kagero and Independence with names that do not correspond to existing ships make me agree these ships are not the ‘originals’.

  10. First impression: This looks like a more optimistic Waterworld. And here I thought Hai-Furi would be the Coast Guard to KanColle/Arpeggio of Blue Steel‘s Navy, Strike Witches‘ Air Force, and Girls und Panzer/Upotte‘s Army (or GATE if you want the more PC “Self-Defense Force”). But it ain’t Coast Guard training with those WWII-era warships…

    20+ minutes later: Holy s***, this just turned into Starship Operators on the high seas.

    Man, I wish I saw what the whole world looked like with the sea level rise. Also, about those floating buildings (which I assume also houses residential areas): What happens when a typhoon (say, a Category 5 like Haiyan) heads their way? (Do they just raise anchor and move them to calmer waters?) I guess it’s lucky enough that there’s stil a bit of dry land for civilians to evacuate to, but if the sea level rise was similar to Waterworld, then that would be an “oh crap” moment…

    Mood whiplashes aplenty, but this seems more serious than GuP. (The Harukaze and its crew being labeled as mutineers?) I’ve got a feeling that Misaki’s friend will be ordered to chase the Harukaze…and she’s captain of the Musashi

      1. Well, the Musashi could wait in ambush if they have an idea where the YuriHarukaze was going (not to mention it can outrange and sink the Harukaze with a few well-placed shots if it wanted to). Plus the Harukaze has some engine trouble anyway, so their speed would slow to a relative crawl. (I heard that they were going at 18 knots, so unless the engineers below decks can fix it as well as the Oarai Automotive Club fixes their tanks, Musashi can use its full speed to catch up.)

        Also because it sounds like a textbook setup for the “two childhood friends turned rivals” cliche…as mentioned by Daikama.

      2. @Incognito: FYI – according to Wiki, 18kn is Kagurou-class DD cruising speed. I didn’t get the impression that after repairs (I am expecting Oarai Auto Club skills here), the ship was unable to reach flank speed. But yeah, doesn’t look good for Harekaze… unless she has 20 torps (live ammo/not dummy) ready for Musashi. 😉

    1. @Incognito: I had the exact same thought about this potentially setting up for a BFF vs BFF match at some point.

      @Velvet Scarlantina: True, Harekaze can outrun Musashi – DD vs. BB. However, the real question is for how long (i.e range). Even a “gas-guzzler” like Musashi has greater range than a Kagurou-class DD (7200nmi vs. 5000nmi). Wiki didn’t give a range for Amatsukaze (which Harekaze seems to be modeled upon) so I’ll just assume Kagurou class range though it could be less with the high pressure boilers. Regardless, Musashi clearly has greater range. Adding to that issue is where, as a mutiny ship, is Harekaze going to refuel? Musashi can refuel at port or even underway at sea. In short, Harekaze can run, but not forever.

  11. “Somehow, it seems that warships are all the rage in Japan right now. Your guess is as good as mine as to why”

    Easy, Senkaku-jima and Izumo-class, among other things

    Poor rice cooker…

    1. And the World of Warships x Arpeggio collaboration

      I must keep my wallet and credit cards away from me while watching this show… Money has the potential to fly easily around these kind of shows

      Velvet Scarlantina
  12. That cliffhanger. I’m really hoping this is just a training exercise but it really sounds unlikely since their instructor doesn’t look like she’s faking and she did get the higher authorities involved by having them reported as mutineers. Haifuri definitely has me anticipating the next episode very much.

  13. Where are all the men? Not a single male in sight. Not that I mind, but I’m intrigued. Maybe this is tied to the overall f-ed up situation of the world?
    I love the character designs and the sudden seriousness was really engaging. I’m gonna watch the shit out of this. Hopefully Hai-Furi will get covered!

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