411th G-View: Azur Lane TV

What was originally planned as a Fall 2019 G-View ended up becoming a Winter 2020 one due to near season long delay to improve animation similar to what happened to Marchen Madchen. We are here now about to review the other boat girls anime and see how it differs from the previous one. Join me as we take a look at Azur Lane.

Azur Lane Header

Alternate Title: Azur Lane – The Animation

Genres: Action, Sci-Fi

Themes: Milimoe (moe and military), Battleships, War

Number of Episodes: 12

G-Rating: 8/10

Plot Summary: “War never changes”. What was once an united global alliance joining together for the greater good and facing the unknown threat known as The Sirens devolved into a war between two factions with their own ideals. Said factions were Azur Lane and Red Axis. The two sides waged a seemingly never-ending war to find out whose ideals were superior and had the right to lead the world. However, unbeknownst to most something sinister brewed in the shadows…

Azur Lane vs Red Axis

Azur Lane vs Red Axis.

The warring factions were the titular Azur Lane consisting of Eagle Union (USA) and Royal Navy (Britain) vs Red Axis consisting of Sakura Empire (Japan) and Iron Blood (Germany). For newcomers Azur Lane is a series whose setup follows the long (usually) profitable tradition of “turn people, historical figures, objects, vehicles, soda cans etc. into cute and sexy girls“. In this case it is World War II battleships, cruisers and submarines. How popular such series is with weapons aficionados I cannot say. Anyway the closest duo to being the lead boats of the anime are Enterprise and Belfast. I say closest because the show switches perspectives between factions with the big Azur Lane boats of course getting the most and Iron Blood serving as the backup stepping in when they feel like it while the Sakura Empire are the more prominent antagonists. The higher intellect Sirens are around but spend most of the time scheming in the shadows only revealing themselves for game changing scenes and climactic battles.

Javelin, Unicorn and Laffey

Javelin, Unicorn and Laffey.

Initially we were led to believe the above smol boats would be the main characters but they are secondary. On the bright side they have an important storyline of their own.

Ayanami finds U-chan

Ayanami and U-Chan.

Said story is centered around their fellow smol boat from the Sakura Empire, Ayanami. One thing worth keeping in mind. They may be smol but do not underestimate their “firepower”.

Belfast serving Enterprise Tea

Belfast and Enterprise.

As mentioned above the closest boats to filling the “main protagonist” roles are Enterprise and Belfast. The latter does not debut till the end of the first quarter. I consider them the “Nagato X Mutsu” of Azur Lane. Enterprise is a war torn veteran who has seen a lot of “bleep” and hardened her heart because of it. Her being Azur Lane’s ace Belfast was assigned the duty of helping Enterprise “chill out” so to speak. More on that later.

Akagi enjoying Kaga

Akagi and Kaga.

The Sakura Empire are the closest the more prevalent antagonists of the show. For the longest time their boats go to war with Azur Lane with Akagi and Kaga leading the charge. Having said that this is a story where no one is truly evil (except Iron Blood but they are a special case).

The show revolves around two recurring themes:

1: Conflicting ideals. Each faction is fighting to prove their way is the right one to better their lives and humanity. Despite the ever present threat of the Sirens the boats insist on having a tiddies measuring contest, especially the Sakura Empire.

2: Existentialism. The boats have various discussion about their purpose and right to exist as more than weapons of destruction. Is there more to these cuties than blowing enemies or each other to Kingdom Come? Do they deserve to live lives as they see fit or potentially live among humans?

Several boats have their own character arcs like the aforementioned smol boats or Enterprise’s very important personal struggle but the above two are the main plot points.

As mentioned there is no definitive protagonist despite saying Enterprise and Belfast are the closest duo fitting the description. That is because three of the four factions give viewers time to get to know them better. Although Sakura Empire are the more prevalent antagonists they are not evil. They too yearn for peaceful lives but the higher ranked boats struggle to find the right answer, hence Akagi and Kaga taking matters to their own hands…though there is more to it than that but I will leave that to readers see for themselves.

Like other series with massive cast of characters (The other boat series being a prime example) there are many boats relegated to background cameos in this show. Sadly neither Honolulu or St Louis were chosen as important boats for example. Best viewers can do is keep an eye out for their favorite boats if they are not part of the important ones.

Enterprise vs Siren Ship

Enterprise vs Siren ship.

Like the other boat girls show the action is fast paced, possibly faster than its predecessor at times. It can be a bit difficult to follow once in a while. Not Kotobuki Episode 1 hard but the action gets quite hectic at times. It is a lot of fun to watch though with some very cool battles. This leads us to the reason the review took a while to write. The last two episodes were delayed because of drop in animation quality. I am not familiar with the studio in charge of the show or what happened behind the scenes but the animation started getting noticeably subpar as the show progressed. Personally it did not affect my overall viewing experience but readers who choose to watch the original 10 episodes instead of the improved Blu-Ray episodes will start noticing the dip around the second quarter or so. Other than that I really like the boat girl designs. So much color and easy to identify which boats are on which side. The soundtrack fit the show with some nice tunes here and there. The OP and ED are excellent.

Akagi nursing Kaga

Akagi’s favorite meal.

On to the yuri. The two main couples are Akagi X Kaga and Belfast X Enterprise. Akagi is quite open with Kaga and while the latter seems uncomfortable it is evident she enjoys her Nee-Sama’s affection.

As for BelTerprise one is a serious chick with a lot on her plate and the other starts off trying to calm her down as part of her job to growing quite fond of the ice princess, rarely apart from her unless given an important mission.

There are other boats who enjoy the company or seeking other boats regardless of size. Speaking of size even the smol boats get in on some fluffy yuri action.

The show ended in a way that left it open for a second season (or sequel movie based on the recent trend). I would very much welcome it myself.

Before concluding the review there is one last important detail worth mentioning. When I started covering the show I had one small (but personally huge) request. I hoped that unlike its predecessor the show would not feature an Admiral/Commander/Captain or whatever the invisible avatar was called in the game, mainly because said avatar was confirmed to be male. I am pleased to say that outside of a few mentions there are no humans in sight. No invisible off-screen avatars in sight. Only boat girls. This one little detail made the show much easier to enjoy personally.

Overall Azur Lane has the same premise as the other boat show but its advantage (for yuri fans specifically) is there not being an off-screen avatar. I enjoyed this boat girls show a bit more than the prior one for that reason. Enjoyment of the show strongly depends on whether viewers are fine with the concept (Weapon and history buffs may have difficulty getting into it), are fine with cute boats girls doing cute things when not fighting or questioning their existence, are fine with the smol boats not being the main focus, are fine with the story being told. If any of these things upset readers this show may not be for you.

PS: Viewers who pay very close attention to animation quality may want to wait for the complete Blu-Ray release.

About OG-Man

Yuri and Slice of Life are my anime passion.
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10 Responses to 411th G-View: Azur Lane TV

  1. The animation defintiely wasn’t the greatest especially as it went towards the middle point, and it did lower my enjoyment of the series, however for the most part i still liked the show.
    I love the whole “turn x into girls” trope and i really like the designs for the Azur Lane girls. Props go to Prinz Eugen and her crocodile jaw tendril things!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tbiscut74 says:

    I quite enjoyed this series and I’m definitely fine with a sequel seasons/movies.

    I think my favorite side boat is that little green haired cat girl. She was so cute with them cat punz!

    Also my fav couple is definitely Belfast and Enterprise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. burnouts3s3 says:

    I don’t think the months long delay justified the dip in not only animation quality but writing quality as well.

    I know it’s unfair to compare something like this to a masterpiece like Simoun, but I thought it was really lazy for there to be a big bad so that Azur Lane and the Sakura Empire could just team up and make an alliance. I know that’s the theme and it’s established in the anime, but it could’ve been so much more nuanced and detailed.

    Even the animation resorted to using clunky CGI during battles.

    Ultimately, I was dissatisfied.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Koana says:

    Fun fact about azur lane, outside of non canonical events the admiral doesn’t even exist


  5. kitsu260 says:

    It was decent, i feel the long wait makes lose a lot interested specially on this days


  6. Nick says:

    It had its ups and downs, but they ended on a strong note and for that I’m happy about. So many times I get so hung up on final eps, they make or break how I’ll look back on a show, but this had a few other glaring things I took issue with instead. I won’t bore you with my trivial problems with this show, I’m sure you can guess what I’ll already mention.

    On the flip side, we got some great boat action throughout. The strong point for this show were the battles and I talked a bit about the sound too, I felt that was a key part that brought the battles to life.

    So many cute, sexy, and strong boats as well. It’s hard to pick a favorite because they each bring something great to the table. Be it Laffey, Unicorn, Belfast, Akagi, Enterprise, or Prinz Eugen, each boat was great to watch and they all made up for a large and enjoyable cast. Talking just about the anime I’d have to say Belfast was my favorite. Of course I’d pick a maid boat. You know how much maid outfits get me going like crazy.

    All in all there were ups and downs along the way but it ended satisfactorily and I’d be down for another season. Just as long as they give this show to a studio that can handle it and make it work. Also we need more boats in S2, especially some sexy redheads. And more maid boats. Sorry I’m getting carried away now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. yurimylove says:

    that Akagi and Kaga screenshot perfectly captures “make love not war”.


  8. Victor Reyes says:

    Koihime Musou proved that if you remove the male protagonist, the anime is far better off.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. K says:

    It was a pretty good watch. There were some good fights and I especially liked the aerial battles. I would definitely watch another season/movie, just like with Kancolle.

    With regards to the Sirens, it seems like they have different reasons for taking the fight to humanity apart from total annihilation. For example, the Observer wants to see humanity’s potential to overcome their trials while others don’t really want to destroy humanity because they crave endless wars…I think.

    Since my bro played a bit of the mobage, he was quite miffed that one of the ships he wanted to see animated, Indianapolis, didn’t make it. She was a great asset in his early game, he says.


  10. Pingback: Azur Lane: Crosswave Review | The Yuri Empire

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