「追撃されてピンチ！」 (Tsuigekisare te Pinchi!)
“In a Pinch During the Pursuit!”
I was actually sure whether the first episode of Hai-Furi was going to be a fake-out, with the cliffhanger being retracted with a nonchalant ‘just kidding’, so I suppose it’s simply due diligence to at least cover a second episode of Hai-Furi to confirm that, yes, it is as serious of a business as the cannon fire made it out to be. This is a good thing, as the extra layer of plot will help distinguish Hai-Furi from a show like Girls und Panzer, which while quite good was also relatively light atmospherically. While an anticlimax would actually half amuse me, it would also half disappoint, and the chances of some actual intrigue going on increases by the episode.
Episode 02, following a loose trend for episode 02s, actually adds a bit of slack to the tension in order to get into the unpleasant but necessary labour of exposition, which basically means characters talking out loud about things they already know, and making a point of addressing all the members of the minor cast by name—names that I will unfortunately probably still not remember, despite their effort, for the cast be legion, and grows with time. As last week, I’m hoping that the emphasis will be mostly on the bridge crew if only to make me feel less senile, and that seems likely for now because some extra backstory was devoted to Deputy-Captain Munetani Mashiro (Lynn), who would somehow grow from sweet girl to resident tsundere. Turns out, she comes from a proud naval tradition, which should make the Harekaze’s mutiny for both her and her mother extra delicious. It also means that the Harekaze is probably not without allies in the Blue Mermaids’ command structure—unless Hai-Furi intends to get doubly dark.
My initial impression is that Hai-Furi leans heavily towards the idealistic side of the spectrum and so would probably not get too dark, even with an intrigue plot, but I can’t really say that with certainty. Questions still abound, both in the setting—is Japan the only country that the seas are trying to reclaim, why are high school girls entrusted with warships equipped with live ammo, why antique warships when they have shinier toys?—and the general tenor of the show. On the one hand, the mood inside the Harekaze is fluffy to the extreme (this is the kind of warship where a bath installation is a good idea, apparently), while on the other hand we have to assume there are prepubescent girls using machines of violence and destruction to shoot at their classmate (and probable defecting captain). What kind of show is Hai-Furi intending to be? The ‘Fleet’ of High School Fleet I understand, the ‘High School’ less so. This could easily have been a straight war plot, even a period piece, starring grizzled sailors instead—but then where would we get the yuri-shipping? I would actually characterise Hai-Furi as less capitalising on the inexplicable warship craze of Kantai Collection, and more capitalising on the undying high school girl craze of Japan.
Well, what we’ve got for now has been quite entertaining, so overall I don’t really have major concerns. I think Hai-Furi is an easy recommendation for all fans of war and ships and warships (look, stats! I’m sure for some that was the most arousing of the fanservice scenes). And the sci-fi(?) and intrigue may give it even wider appeal than that, as the plot continues to thicken (ill-omen alert), like a starchy sauce. Girls und Panzer managed to juggle its high school slice-of-life and its armoured combat fairly well, and I expect Hai-Furi capable of the same. The nature of the amalgam will be most curious.
ED: 「Ripple Effect」 by 春奈るな (Haruna Luna)