Audiences around the world tuned in to the premiere of the Kantai Collection anime, including millions of fans excited to finally be able to join the ranks of the Kancolle fandom via the anime instead of having to resort to playing the online game that launched the franchise.
Though fan translation efforts have made it possible for non-Japanese people to play and understand the online card game, many western fans have actively decided against it, choosing instead to become secondary fans of the more accessible anime adaptation. Some did not want to deal with the lottery system to get access to the game, while others were simply anime purists, but the vast majority just did not want to sink hours into what has been described as a “glorified random number generator.”
“It’s like if you took the Pokemon games and removed most of the gameplay mechanics. Instead of cute, animal-looking things, they’re cute girl-boats, but you still spend pretty much all your time grinding. You grind for supplies to build your ships and then grind further to level them up, but instead of choosing what moves they do during a battle, you just throw your team into the ring and let the random number generator decide if you win,” explains Tony Baldrick, a former Kancolle player. “That’s all there is to it,” he went on, “You literally grind for hours so you can increase your collection of cute girls. I already do that, it’s called going to work so I can make money to buy figurines of anime girls.”
Thus many potential fans waited for the Kantai Collection anime in order to get the instant gratification of seeing the myriad scantily-clad anthropomophized ships without having to endure the tediousness of the game. Other new Kancolle fans were not aware that the game even existed, instead growing familiar with the characters by stumbling across fan art or the endless stream of doujinshi.
“I fell in love with the ship daughters while spending hours on Pixiv bookmarking pictures of them, so it fills me with joy to finally see them in motion, fighting, laughing, and being cute,” American Kancolle fan Simon Tanner tells Anime Maru. “The anime is the apex of the Kantai Collection franchise, at least until someone adapts it into a tactical role-playing or real-time strategy game.”
At press time, KanColle developer Kadokawa Games were deliberating over the obscene amount of money such games would inevitably make.