BOYS DO EXIST. The one thing that irked me with Girls und Panzer was the complete lack of guys, or any mention of males. Tankery being a ‘female’ art. At least the guys get featured here. And not exactly in a surprising way.
On the 8th of April, it seems that the Maritime Safety Support Department gave an ultimatum to the Yokosuka Girl’s Maritime High School. If the Harekaze incident isn’t dealt promptly within the school, the school’s ships will be seized and the whole thing viewed as a large-scale insurrection. If any resistance is given, they will be sunk. One of her advisors note that it would then be treated as an mutiny and regular Blue Mermaid forces will be deployed. Principal Munetani is against this, as they can’t put their students in danger without knowing the truth. She has them take steps to ensure the safety of their students.
Back aboard the Harekaze, Coco oversees the various repairs on the ship, visiting the crew working on the Number 3 turret. While most of the turret (and no doubt the ship) is automated, getting to the actual troublesome section is proving difficult. Back at the torpedo launchers, everything is fine minus the fact they only have one torpedo left. The cooks are out and about with onigiri, since everyone is quite busy with repair work. Coco though goes off on her wild flights of fancy when they discuss the distress signal from the Musashi.
Reporting back on the bridge, she notes that the engine is being repaired, with the Number 3 turret out of commission, having only one depth charge and torpedo left. The tactical marine equipment and surface radar are damaged, and can only receive messages. Shiro places an emphasis on anything to keep them seaworthy, and Coco says engine repair will take 8 hours. Calling down to the engine, they can do repair work on the move but at speeds no greater than cruising.
Shiro tries to talk to Mike, who is still in a bit of a stupor, on taking the shortest route to the school. It isn’t only after Isoroku jumps on her head does she acknowledge Shiro, much to the annoyance of her XO.
Later that night, communications received a message from the Maritime Safety Support Department, in which the ships of the Yokosuka Girl’s Maritime High School will be denied any entry to any port, and that if the Harekaze offers resistance, it can be sunk without repercussions. This of course leads the bridge crew to get flustered. Mike again attempts to reason to head to the Musashi, but Shiro points out that unlike their destroyer, the Super Dreadnaught can’t be sunk that easily. They should just report the situation on the Musashi to the school and let them deal with it, and not change their plans to head back. Mike agrees, only reluctantly.
She tries to have the rest of the bridge go to sleep with her keeping watch, but Coco notes that it’s her and Rin’s turn on watch, and Shiro berates her, telling her she needs to sleep in order to command properly. Faced with such overwhelming protest, she relents, and back at her (relatively) palatial quarters, she thinks of Moka and her inability to help her, and only pushes herself to start acting like the Captain she is before drifting to sleep.
She is awoken by a rapid call from Coco, informing her that the C/Sonar Operator, Kaede Marikouji, heard an underwater noise. Ordering everyone to their stations, she arrives at the bridge with Coco reporting that sonar has heard two propellers 3,000 meters away. With no surface contact, Mike deduces the sound was a submarine. Everyone arrives in various states of sleepiness, with Shiro seemingly bringing along her stuffed shark, much to her embarrassment when everyone sees it. All stations reporting, with the main battery operational (sans Number 3 Turret), the engine room still undergoing a repair to the engine, and the lookout reporting all clear (as far as she can see).
The sound analysis is completed, and it’s been identified as the I-201 (hull number H6201, no doubt from Hiroshima), a submarine from Toumai Boy’s Maritime High School. It seems that submarines are always from the boy’s schools, which makes a little bit of sense, though Rin was having none of that, the thought of being stuck in a steel tube underwater and being cramped, hot, and stinky. Mike convinces the crew to contact them. With radio out of the question, they use Active Sonar to communicate their name, school, and intentions.
The response from I-201 is to dive deeper, leading Shiro to rebuke Mike over her decision. She tells Rin to slow as to not interfere with Sonar, but off the stern of the Harekaze, a periscope surfaces. Wondering what kind of ship the I-201 is, Coco brings up its specs. While it only has a speed of 20 knots underwater (in reality 19 knots, h/t Infinite Zenith), slow compared to the Harekaze, it is fast for a submarine, and is loaded with ten torpedoes with four forward firing tubes.
At this point, Sonar reports two screws in the water. Mike orders battle speed, as much as they can spare, and asks for the direction the torpedoes came from. Noma, the lookout, peers into the inky darkness to spot the two fish headed their way, and Mike orders hard left rudder, which allows them to evade the fish, which explodes on their wake.
Ordering Tama to prep for artillery battle, Shiro counters that with this action they will be branded as fugitives, but Mike has no choice, and it’s for them to escape. Rin suggest full speed, though Engineering states it’s not possible. Sonar is unable to pinpoint their location due to the speed, though if they slow, they’ll be sunk. Mike just orders them to run around, and an hour later, it seems that they’ve broken off all contact.
With the speed difference, even with the I-201’s fast underwater speed, they can’t maintain said speed for too long underwater. Mike thinks they’ve managed to escape, with Rin proclaiming that when it comes to escaping, they should leave it to her, which she gets teased for.
Later, Mike calls down to Sonar, waking the operator and apologizing for having to keep her up. Everyone else is also feeling the strain of the night contact and the galley had prepared some sweets for them. Noma was about to bite into hers when she spots the wake of the incoming torpedoes. The torpedoes hit the Harekaze’s wake, also waking the sleeping German exchange student.
Noting that the I-201 only had six torpedoes left, an unfamiliar voice calls from the bridge. The girl had come to the bridge berating them for their cluelessness in anti-sub and night battle experience, and Mike follows her suggestions to completely black the ship and to change course, allowing them to buy time.Shiro asks who she is, though Mike realizes she’s the girl from the German ship. She says the battle is more important, and boasts that when a sub is involved, leave it to her, for Germany is the home of the submarines.
She then prattles on with a list of basic ASW equipment that they don’t have. Exasperated, she asks if they had anything that moves underwater. Mike stares at Shiro’s stuffed shark then remembers about the paravanes. (A paravane is a mine-sweeping tool, and has wings that pull it from the ship to pull a line taught. This action would cut any anchor line of the mine and having it go up to be disposed of from the surface.) While the Accounting Department’s supply officers deploy the paravanes, Noma spots another torpedo and Mike has Rin take evasive maneuvers. Back at the stern of the Harekaze, C/Accounting Chief, Mimi Toumatsu, climbs the paravane crane to inspect it, only to lose her balance when the Harekaze makes a hard right turn.
Mike has the ship continue on its right turn so that the Harekaze would face the I-201, and asks on the status of the paravane. Mimi is hanging on to dear life and the rest of her section releases the paravanes, tossing it out from the ship, with Shiro asking if it’ll do anything. Mike is unsure, but goes along with it and asks if Engineering can grant them a moment of top speed. C/Chief Engineer Maron Yanagiwara, relenting, says they can for ten seconds, but isn’t responsible for anything past that.
Underwater, the I-201’s conning tower strikes the paravanes, leading Mike to think it hit something. Mike thinks they should slow, but the German girl says they shouldn’t, and this should be where they lure them in. She has Rin slow speed until they get to high speed, and has Tama ready for artillery battle.
The I-201 launches a spread of four torpedoes right behind them, with Mike ordering right rudder and the German girl ordering the searchlight to turn on. The light spots the fish in the water and Tama has her guns to take out the torps. Noma spots the I-201’s periscope, and ecstatic that they’re finally firing back, Mei orders their depth charge to be dropped. At the same time that the Harekaze is making it’s right-hand turn, the paravane’s wire fouls the I-201’s starboard screw and stops its movement, before the depth charge explodes on top of it.
The submarine surfaces off their starboard bow, seemingly undamaged (from the outside). Shiro suggests escaping. Coco points out the shortest escape route is laid in, and Mike orders the wire cut and for full speed. Communications reports that the I-201’s distress signal has been received and an instructor ship form Toumai High is underway at 30 knots. The Harekaze though makes a clean break.
Later in the early morning, Mike visits the C/Medical Chief, Minami Kaburagi, who greets her with a cryptic haiku and a cup of cocoa with salt and no sugar (apparently the Blue Mermaid’s version of the traditional US/Royal Navy Coffee, though it sweetens the cocoa). Mike wonders where the girl from the Admiral Spee was, though she arrives. Asking what had happened on the ship, it seems the Admiral Spee was meant to participate in exercises with the Yokosuka fleet, but encountered electrical problems enroute.
She went to investigate, which at that point it seemed everyone stopped following orders. Mike thinks mutiny, but she doesn’t know, all she knew was that she was tasked by her captain to explain to other ships and she escaped. The captain seemed to have stayed behind, and she is thankful Mike also picked up the cap. She wants to return to the Admiral Spee to return it to the captain. Mike says she’ll help, with Minami saying once again a somewhat cryptic poem.
From the intercom, it seems that Principal Munetani has ordered all ships back to port, indicating that she “will not abandon any of her student. For your protection too, all ships return to school as soon as possible.” It also seems that the school will assume responsibility and protect the Harekaze as well, and that all returning ships are forbidden from engaging in battle, much to the relief of the crew (those who are awake at least). Shiro though cautions them that the Harekaze is still wanted, and must make it back to the school secretly. At this point Mike introduces a new friend, and botches the name to the annoyance of the girl.
She introduces herself as Wilhelmina Braunschweig Ingelner Friedeburg, of the Wilhelmshaven High School, and was the executive officer of the Admiral Spee. Mike thinks this too long, and shortens her to “Mi” as her nickname. As for lodging, Coco points out that the only free room is Shiro’s, much to her chagrin. It seems her room is quite feminine with lots of stuffed animals, with everyone awed at the contents within (and Coco taking no doubt, blackmail pictures), though Wilhelmina approves and looks forward to being her roommate.
That was quite an enjoyable episode. And yeah, it’s no doubt in my mind that this is going to be the series I blog. I intend to have a larger Three Episode Rule post of the other series that caught my fancy this season, but that’s for later, and this is for Haifuri.
It seems that the conspiracy is growing, with the Maritime Safety Support Department pressing on Yokosuka Girl’s Maritime High School to take charge of its problems and deal with the insurrection or else it’ll have to step in. Utilizing mainline Blue Mermaid forces to put down a general insurrection smelled fishy to me. Another person who was looking at the conspiracy angle is Akeiko Sumeragi from AnimeSuki and the World of Warships forum, and suggests that the conspiracy are those from the higher ups to return to the older, much more militant ways.
I can see this line of reasoning, especially since to me, the Blue Mermaids are seriously giving me that Coast Guard vibe. This isn’t helped when the seven vows of the Blue Mermaids are translated (and I attribute this rough translation to Sumeragi):
1. The sea is dream, where there are numerous roads. (海は夢―かなえる道は 百千万)
2. The sea is love, what can be felt in one’s heart as one lives. (海は愛―こころで感じ 生きていく)
3. The sea is connection, deep with the wild world. (海は絆―ひろい世界と 深めゆく)
4. The sea is star, gathering lessons forever. (海は星―学びを積もう 果てしなく)
5. The sea is light, thankful for the bountiful kindness. (海は光―ゆたかな恵みに 感謝する)
6. The sea is friend, holding each other’s hand and helping each other. (海は友―互に手を取り 助け合う)
7. The sea is treasure, which is preciously protected together. (海は宝―皆でだいじに 守り継ぐ)
That, in my opinion, is more of a Coast Guard creed than anything else. Though heavily romanticized. Another member, Tsar1917, thinks they want to take Shiro’s mother out of the picture, though Daigensui (and I agree) thinks they want to completely change the structure. What got me is that apparently the Harekaze wasn’t alone in this, and that several ships seems to have fallen out of the grid in what seems like a mass mutiny that started with the Harekaze.
Peace is bad for business I guess?
Regardless, I thought the initial contact was weird, I did think at one point why they were still lighted up, and with only one depth charge left, they just have to dodge and be lucky and hope that the I-201 will run out of shots. But at which point the sub will just trail them and report the Harekaze’s position. SO when Mina shows up to take charge, it seemed a bit refreshing to have someone who knows what they’re doing, and the spate of good fortune they’ve had in their encounters be backed up with someone with some experience.
I do think the whole idea of the paravanes fouling the I-201’s screw seemed a little odd, but I was corrected by Tsar1917 on Skype about how paravanes loaded with explosives were used for ASW work in WWI.
The other thing I was concerned about was the depth charge, it shows the charge exploding right above the I-201. So unless it was a ‘training’ charge or if the I-201 is built with sturdier stuff. Either way, the I-201 might be fine on the outside, but I bet the crew aboard her has ringing bells for the next hour or so.
I noted in the before-the-jump blurb about the submarine’s crew. I’m happy that there are at least guys in this world, in comparison to Girls und Panzer’s all girls’ schools. Principal Munetani’s chief advisor seems to be a male, no doubt to balance out one’s staff, having both a surface and underwater expert aboard. Found it interesting that boy’s schools deals primarily with submarines, and I highly doubt I would join. Like Rin, I don’t find the idea of being underwater in a steel tube to be very appetizing. Though Tsar1917 sheds some light into that. The Silent Service has been restricted to women until recently, and so far, only some fifty women are qualified submariners in the US Navy. (Corrected)
And also, I do feel my thoughts are vindicated with the start of the episode. The ship is wholly automated to allow a crew of 31 to run her, and that beyond major work requiring a dock, the girls are fully capable in running normal repairs aboard the ship. Though if this is their first ever cruise, one can only wonder what they were taught in Middle School to have them be able to proficiently work on an automated, autoloading turret, or work on the central automated systems of an old-fashioned steam turbine. If Mike passed the entrance examination by the skin of her teeth, and since she indicated a command-track route (or a general route maybe?), one can only imagine the academic rigor to teach young middle school boys and girls to prepare them to a life at sea.
Regardless, having escaped the I-201, a little bit of what had happened on the Admiral Spee is revealed by her executive officer, Wilhelmina Braunschweig Ingelner Friedeburg. This seemed a little silly and do support Mike’s shortening her name to Mi, though I’ll go with Mina for now on. When she finally took the stage, I did compare her to Hanna-Justina Marseille from Strike Witches. Though a bit harsher, indicating her less developed assets in comparison to the Star of Africa from the other media franchise. Though they both share equally long and somewhat pointless names, with Marseille’s full name being Hanna-Justina Wallia Rosalin Sieglinde Marseille. A German friend of mine, Capt.Den, found it a ‘silly old name’. And that Wilhelmshaven is a bit of a ghost town in comparison to other harbours in Germany.
I do like Mina quite a bit, and can’t wait to see the sparks flying between her and Shiro, as they both try to advise Mike on her command.
Overall, I’m gonna have to give Hai-Furi the go ahead to regular blogging. I understand that Infinite Zenith (Episode 3 Post linked here) and I believe the blogging site Random Curiosity will be releasing content as well, but to be frank, the more the merrier. And of course, I can’t care less if I have the smaller audience. I just want to write about a show that has got me hook, line, and sinker.
And I also want the OST. The BGM was quite nice, kinda like how Girls und Panzer was.