Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Arpeggio of Blue Steel -Ars Nova- (Aoki Hagane no Arupejio)

Have you ever played the game of Battleship and thought to yourself, "What if the warships could transform into cute women?" No? Well, your imagination must be lacking. In this anime (based off a manga I will no doubt read in the future) the Fleet of Fog is a terrifying force that blockades all of the countries of the world. The ships and submarines look like WWII replicas, but they are controlled by artificial intelligence and are capable of disastrous attacks that you wouldn't find possible on any seaworthy vessel from the 1940's. 

The Fleet of Fog do not attack human settlements or facilities so their exact purpose is not known, but anyone dumb enough to patrol the seas will be mincemeat. With communication cut off between countries no one is sure just how many people are left alive across the world. Thanks to global warming the seas are higher and the Fleet of Fog have even more territory than they might have had otherwise. I'm not sure why the inclusion of that information is important in the overall plot, but it could be great advertising for those eco-friendly cars. "Don't want a world covered by evil but moe battleships? Drive the new Prius."

Most of these seafaring titans of terror are controlled by a single core and these cores can take the form of a human being when they so desire. There are different reasons why these ships might choose to project a human image, but when they do so it's called their "Mental Model" form.

For whatever reason the Mental Model form is always that of a cute girl. 

God, I love Japan. 

Chihaya Gunzo is just your average kid that happened to touch the submarine I-401, a strange defector from the Fleet of Fog. I-401's Mental Model is called Iona and she claims that her only orders are to be Gunzo's ship and obey him. 

The Japanese government isn't particularly thrilled about this and Gunzo becomes a fugitive as he and Iona travel the seas and do odd jobs. Eventually he gets a full crew and takes a job by a faction in the Japanese government that could alter the future of the world. If he can deliver a weapon prototype to the United States with hopes that the US could mass produce it, the Fleet of Fog might just lose their stranglehold on humanity. 

The Pacific ocean is very large, though. It's crawling with the Fleet of Fog's emissaries. There's also no guarantee the US still even exists as we know it. 

I-401 could very well be on a pointless suicide mission. 

This may sound fairly stark, but there is also a lot of cuteness and wit about this anime. We're talking about girls that pilot ships by themselves and seem to all end up in Chihaya Gunzo's presence at some point. One of them is just dying for him see her "engine room." It must be nice being Chihaya. It's a ship harem, by God. 

With help from a few more defectors Chihaya Gunzo may just find success. If not with them then at least with his mission. 

Also one of the Mental Models gets stuck in a teddy bear. For real. 

This anime is really short at 12 episodes so I devoured like a pack of Tic Tacs, but it didn't leave me feeling that the anime had been rushed. Although the ending of the anime is different since the manga is still ongoing (I believe so anyway). I'd definitely recommend this one. Although this anime is CG it didn't look ugly or cheaply made. Certainly a plus. 

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