What was initially expected to another Girls Club anime that took place on ships ended up being something almost entirely different. This is Hai-Furi or High School Fleet in the West.
Genres: Action, Sci-Fi
Themes: Battleships, Military, Navy
Number of episodes: 12+2 OVAs
Plot Summary: Childhood friends Akeno Misaki and Moeka China want to become Blue Mermaids, a new female force established to protect the remaining coastal towns after many countries have sank into the sea. Together with others who shared their dream, they enrolled in Yokosuka’s Marine High School.
I mentioned this when I covered the premiere episode and as the show progressed that statement remained true. Hai-Furi is Girls und Panzer: Navy Edition. Some even compared the show to Arpeggio of Blue Steel which is also valid. What many expected to be what I described in the introduction actually turned out to be more than that, a big time mystery with our heroine crew involuntarily facing one intense ship battle after another with very few short rest periods until much, much later when they become slightly longer. Without giving too much away let us just say that there are many heart pounding ship battles akin to Garupan’s epic tank battles…with less awesomely ridiculous stunts because there is only so much battleships are capable of.
For the majority of the first two quarters of the show the pacing has a kind of relaxed/tense first half and an intense second half in each episode. Things change a bit in the third quarter, and as is customary in 12 episode anime with a plot that has a goal, is heart pounding from the start in the last couple of episodes.
The ship battles play out exactly as a viewer would expect even if they had never seen a show or movie about battleships/the navy. So depending on how viewer feels about ships blasting one another with cannons, torpedoes etc. These will either be glorious or uninteresting. It all depends on tastes. To me they are as exciting as airship battles so it is all sweet, sweat inducing hard hitting action. Add the above mentioned mystery element and figuring out what is going on and we got ourselves something special that will surprise viewers who did not look anything up online.
Besides ship battles there are also times the Harekaze crew will have to brave Mother Nature’s wrath and some remnants of time. Also with some of the crew being trained to rescue people, since that is the mission statement of the Blue Marines, there will be some occasions where special ops go on rescue missions and these are as awesome as they sound.
This being an anime about battleships viewers will learn about the ins and outs of being part of a ship’s crew:
- The numerous professions and their important roles including navigator, cook, the crow’s nest, flag girl and many more.
- How the technology on board the ships work. Even though the show takes place in the future a lot of its terminology can still be applied to present day.
- Different strategies and board meetings.
- Ship classes
- The ships’ history based on the model and historic ship they were named after. Basically like KanColle.
The cast consisting mainly of cute and sexy girls it is no surprise that there are instances where they show off their assets with there being figures both the “flat is justice” and the “meat lovers” can appreciate. Unless this is the first anime a reader has ever seen then it is nothing new. It is what it is.
The animation quality and soundtrack are both pretty good. The ocean being pleasant to look at, interesting variety of islands when they are shown and the girls being cute and/or sexy based on measurements/curves. The soundtrack has great tunes that fit the required mood excellently while the OP is rockin’ and the ED is nice.
The way the show handles its massive cast is the same way Mouretsu Pirates did. What I mean is that while a select few crew members get their time in the spotlight with character development and the like, the others who do not get as much are written well enough that they do not feel pointless. Like Mouretsu Pirates, it is all about how well they serve their role on the ship (Their appearance and personality are sweet bonuses). Every girl gets an opportunity to show that they belong on the crew (and show) and it would feel incomplete if one of them would be omitted. Not all the girls get as bright of a spotlight as the top players they all have their moment of glory be it adorable, comedic and/or badass. So even though it is a daunting identifying every single crew member after the first couple of viewings they all did a great job doing their part for the rest of the crew. The rest of the cast consist of higher ups in the navy with some super cool relatives from a particular family and veteran Blue Marines, the pros the Harekaze crew strive hard to become a part of, whose appearances are worth anticipating.
Since there are so many girls to talk about I will briefly spotlight my favorites. First of all the good Captain Mike herself. Mentored by two great leaders before her in Captain Marika Kato and Commander Miho Nishizumi, Captain Mike used all their teachings in how to be a great leader and a badass when doing something awesomely reckless. She is also a simple character to understand, she made the best of a situation she was not prepared for and used all her mentor’s teachings as best as she could while learning new things along the way. She also worked her butt off to turn her crew into a yuri harem.
Long story short Rin is the Ai Hoshimiya of the Harekaze except she does not wear a cute puppy cap.
Second only to Captain Mike in terms of awesomeness. Coco’s reenactments are a thing of beauty and her secretary skills are not to be underestimated.
Mi-chan. Foreigner girls in all/mostly female casts are usually guaranteed to be awesome. This Wunderkind is no different.
These three. Why? Because they make me smile whenever they are on screen. No big reason, just their presence. They are not sexy, they just make me happy.
Macchi. Initially she was that cool and sexy chick magnet who had Crow’s Nest duty because of her very sharp vision. As the show progressed she showed more of her mad skills and I was smitten.
As far as the yuri goes there are many ships on board the ship to ship. Readers who have seen the show can feel free to name their favorites.
Overall Hai-Furi/High School Fleet is a blast to watch with heart pounding excitement for the majority of it and some neat little breathers, as short as most of them are. The characters who are meant to be likable are (some take time to warm up to), the veterans are super cool, the animation is nice to look at and the soundtrack is great. The ship battles and rescue missions are exciting and the fanservice is acceptable but not overblown for the most part. Highly recommended for animeniacs who like seeing shows about cute and sexy girls kicking butt in military combat, aka “Milimoe”. As for other kinds of viewers, I dunno. Up to you.