Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio

Title:Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio
Arpeggio of Blue Steel
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - SANZIGEN
OKITSU Kazuyuki
R1 License - Discotek
R1 License - Subtitled Only
By 2039, global warming had caused sea levels to rise and large amount of territory to be lost. As though in response, a mysterious group of warships clad in mist, “the Fleet of Mist,” appeared in every corner of the ocean, and began attacking human ships. In spite of humanity mustering all their strength, they were utterly defeated by the Mist's overwhelming force. All of humanity's trade routes were blockaded by the Fleet of Mist, their political economy was destroyed, and the human race was steadily beaten down. Seven years later, the Fleet of Mist's submarine I-401 appears before cadet Gunzo Chihaya. The humanoid life form that pilots the sub, who should be their enemy, is instead offering her services to mankind.
(Synopsis courtesy of ANN)

12 episodes

OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Watch 7 7 7 5 6 6 Ggultra2764 [series:2798#1552]
Arpeggio of Blue Steel is a series that seemingly was trying to be deeper than it passed off in its focus on renegade naval student Gunzou and the the sentient warship Iona (whose ship avatar takes on the form of a cute teenage girl) as they battle against other enemy sentient ships in an alternate future where the ships have isolated humanity via a series of naval blockades. Instead, the majority of the series seemed to get a little too hooked on appealing to as wide a fanbase as possible with military otaku (the warships are based off real-life Japanese ships), harem anime fans (several of the ship avatars, that also take on the form of cute girls, later take interest in Gunzou to be their "captain"), and sci-fi fans (the ships using advanced technology that humanity have difficulty competing with). This leaves the series dragging its heels for a majority of its run and Gunzou's teammates, who assist him in his journeys, are rather underdeveloped as characters. Things do pick up in the final few episodes of the series when the Fleet of Mist's attacks on Gunzou and Iona intensify, with some intense moments coming along for our pairing that save the series from complete mediocrity. Still, there seemed to be more that the series could have done to flesh itself out further and explore its world and characters if it didn't waste as much of its time pandering to the audience and padding out its run time. Overall, the series is mostly forgettable fare.

Last updated Wednesday, April 11 2018. Created Wednesday, April 11 2018.
Unevaluated Stretch [series:2798#628]
(Two episodes watched):

The synopsis above makes more sense, and sounds a little more interesting, than episode one did. The premise is almost laughable; a mysterious fleet, not of spacecraft but of ships, appears and seizes control of the world's waterways and jams all radio communication between the different continents, thus carving the world up into separate pieces which are out of touch with each other. That's what the preamble says, anyway; not all that much seems to have changed in Japan. What are the Fog up to? Where did a fleet capable of dominating the seven seas come from all of a sudden? We have no idea. They seem to have no interest in land, just the seas. Finding an answer to these questions doesn't seem like a high priority, either. The 'Fog' fleet seems to be composed of WWII era Japanese ships, with their original names ('Kongo', 'Nagara' etc) now spiced up with neon lights and fantastic weapons. This was probably just a time saving move, or an act of subtle patriotism, because nobody in the show notices it. Lots of gadgets, like 'corrosive torpedoes' and the 'Klein Field' are employed offensively and defensively. It all makes little sense but looks fairly cool. I began to wonder if this show might be a remake or sequel to some old anime series, because it is kind of hard to picture somebody coming up with this stuff today. The plot seems pretty absurd, but Iona, the girl-whatever who acts as one-man crew of the submarine I-401, made me curious what was going on. Each ship of the Fog fleet seems to likewise have a girl in charge (and acting as one-woman crew); it's hard to imagine high-tech naval battles between warships with female-personalities amounting to much. Maybe this show is just another in the trend of anthropomorphizing deadly weapons into sexy girls, like Upotte!! or Girls und Panzer. Other than Iona, there seem to be no personalities of note, and I'm not even sure if she deserves to be placed in that category yet. It looks like a handful of unconventional thinkers/troublemakers will team up with Iona aboard the I-401 to single-handedly defeat the Fog fleet. I guess I will watch a second episode to see if things come together and start to make some sense, but if the show continues as is, and expects us to be thrilled with the gadgetry while turning a blind eye to the nonsensical plot and (as yet) uninteresting characters, then I will quit.

Episode two features a fairly interesting extended battle between the I-401 and a larger Fog warship. But the hint is that this will be a battle-of-the-week show against larger and tougher opponents, while there is no suggestion that we will learn anything about what is going on in general anytime soon. And even if we do get an explanation, since each ship has a girl running it, I doubt if the explanation would make much sense. Also, there's no sign of character development, since the weaponry of the vessels involved got most of the attention in this episode. So, while I'm not completely certain that this show won't amount to much, it seems unlikely and I will dispense with Arpeggio.

Last updated Thursday, October 24 2013. Created Sunday, October 13 2013.

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