This week KanColle ditches most of its action, all of its drama, and focuses on an entirely new group of young destroyers, the Akatsuki-class of Group Six. The only battle they fight is against their fellow fleet girls, and it’s not a naval battle…but a curry battle.
After proving it could do good character work, along with the aforementioned action and drama, this episode came off as a bit of a disappointment, if an inoffensive one. Really, it reminded me of Girl Friend BETA, a show in which the number of characters kept multiplying and changing. But it’s also a show that even Zane dropped, because while its stories were never all that bad, they weren’t really hefty or novel enough to.
It’s also worth noting that both GFB and KanColle are based upon games, and part of the role of their anime versions is to promote the characters. One commenter pointed out that the popularity of the characters in Fubuki’s new fleet jumped after last week’s episode, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens with these new girls.
But while both last week and this can be un-cynically be regarded as glorified commercials, last week was more tolerable because it focused on the protagonist Fubuki and had an actual battle. The Iron (or rather Steel) Chef-style battle is mostly just messing round, and the underdogs predictably win when most of their competitors self-destruct.
The fact that they did win over the only other contestant left standing because Secretary Ship Nagato is sick of eating spicy curry, and Group Six’s was mild, was actually kind of cute, because it shows us another side of her, but the cold open teased her going into something more substantial than a curry judging, and didn’t deliver quite the way I’d hoped.
On the second day of the Kanya Festival, Irisu agrees to sell anthologies bundled with her pamphlet. Oreki trades an anthology and the water Glock for cookies and a bag of wheat flour from the Confectionary Research Club. Satoshi enters himself with Chitanda and Mayaka into a cooking contest called “Wildfire”, but Mayaka will be late due to a poster-drawing contest at the Manga Society. During his time, Satoshi makes only Tonjiru, but Chitanda manages to make four more dishes including Katsura-muki and Giseyaki.
In her haste to cook as much as possible, she leaves hardly any ingredients left for Mayaka, who arrives with only ten minutes to spare. Overhearing the competition, Oreki tosses the bag of flour to Satoshi, who gets it to Mayaka, and she makes Kakiage on rice in the remaining minutes. The Classics Club wins the competition, but a missing ladle turns out to have been stolen by someone named “Juumoji”.
We love cooking, and we also love cooking shows like Iron Chef and Chopped. So when the majority of this episode became a cooking contest, we were thrilled. Another team has a ringer, but so did Satoshi: namely Chitanda, who cooks up a storm. The key clue that we didn’t miss when the rules were being explained: if there are no more ingredients available, they can be procured from around campus. That’s when a seemingly random bag of flour becomes the key to the Classics Club’s victory.
The show does a masterful job building up this connection, and creating great suspense as the time ticks down on a desperate Mayaka, who is only one ingredient away from being able to make something…anything. Finally, Oreki comes through with the major assist. Can oil heat up to frying temperature in two minutes on a hot plate? No friggin’ way. But that’s okay; Mayaka’s quick thinking and ingenuity meant all four club members contributed to the win. We suspect the next and final day of the festival will center on the mystery of the petty theif called “Juumoji”…and selling the rest of the anthologies.
Rating: 9 (Superior)
P.S. Smoking at school is an expulsionary offense, but apparently waving lifelike Glocks around with pumpkin masks is TOTALLY OKAY.