If you're wondering about that weird thing that keeps popping up all overJapanesewebsites as of mid-2013, then you might be in the right place.Kantai Collection (艦隊これくしょん (Combined Fleet Girls Collection; lit. Fleet Collection), abbreviated as KanColle/KanKore for short) is a free-to-play browser Collectible Card Game developed by Kadokawa Games and hosted at DMM. The original intention of this game was to have a joint product between the two companies as an experiment outside of DMM's naturalhabitat, but the really small investment in advertising led the game into complete obscurity by the time it was released in April 2013. The only other major reason the game was even made was because it was supposed to appeal to Imperial Japanese NavyOtaku, which is a really small fanbase.Then some personalities from the manga and anime industry took tentative notice of the game, partly due to the designs it used for its characters, and partly for the voice cast hired to voice these. Said personalities shared their experiences playing the game via social media like Twitter, which led to more people getting interested in the game... And the rest was history.Since release, it has experienced a massive surge in both exposure and popularity, with around 800,000 registered users as of September 2013 alone, a million users come October, and two million users as of May 2014. The massive growth of the fandom surrounding it has given rise to comparisons to the Touhou Project, particularly among Pixiv users.note Or Strike Witches, for Western ones.The gameplay is centered upon a card battle game, with individual characters represented by various cards with different attributes. Each of the characters are moe anthropomorphisms of World War II naval warships which are depicted as cute girls, known as "Fleet girls" (艦娘, kanmusu, literally "ship girl"). These personified warships are based on real-life vessels which are explained in detail within the game; the physical characteristics, appearances and personalities of each of the girls correlate in some way to the real-life vessel (for example, ships with a larger displacement tonnage are often depicted with larger breasts, with the notable exception of a few aircraft carriers...and oddly enough a pair of very small light cruisers who get depicted with large breasts). The player takes on the role of an admiral (提督, teitoku), who can be either male or female, and organises their fleets in battle in order to win. Combat is largely automated, and manual actions by the player include micromanagement such as building, repairing, and equipping shipgirls.Not surprisingly the series has spawned a large number of official print spinoffs◊, serialized in different magazines (Comic Clear, Comptiq, Dragon Magazine, Famitsu, Monthly Comic Alive among a few).
Fubuki Will Do Her Best!
The official manga most people will be familiar with. The 4koma follows Fubuki as a new recruit in the Fleet Academy. There she learns the basics about being a newly-minted ship girl, though most of the time she just gets exposed to the eccentricities of all the other girls attending the academy with her, especially the seniors.
The series running in Famitsu, again with Fubuki as its lead. The comic serves as an introduction to some of the gameplay aspects of the game itself... with a penguin standing in for the player Admiral.
A currently running series in Comptiq with the battleship Kongou's adventures as its focus.
Someday As The Seas Turn Calm
Slice-of-life vignettes focusing on a different ship girl per chapter. Initially marketed as being focused on Tenryuu and Tatsuta, though the two are a constant presence so far in the manga.
Torpedo Squadron Chronicles
A series focusing on the adventures of the Akatsuki-class destroyers of Destroyer Division 6.
Shimakaze, Girl of the Whirlwind
Initially marketed as an ecchi comedy, it focuses on Ensign Akai as he's reassigned to the Maizuru Naval District as an assistant to the serving vice-admiral there. There he encounters his new charges, in particular the titular Shimakaze, who's a problem child of a surprising degree.
On top of those, there are several official manga anthologies.There are also a few official Light Novels written for the franchise. One of them, entitled Bonds of the Wings of Cranes and written by Tsukiji Toshihiko, tells a fairly serious story about Zuikaku and her sister Shoukaku. Another, titled Kagerou, Setting Sail!, focuses on the eponymous Destroyer's misadventures.The series was subsequently added to the Weiss Schwarz line-up, with the majority of its characters appearing as playables.An anime adaptation, by Studio Diomedea, is scheduled to air during the Winter 2015 Anime season. There will be a handheld port as well, tentatively titled Kantai Collection: Kai, but information on this has been scant so far.Compare to Arpeggio of Blue Steel, which also features female personifications of WW2-style battleships, and is the subject of a special collaboration event between the two franchises for Winter 2013. Not to be confused with Sengoku Collection, which has genderflipped Sengoku warlords instead.For tropes unique to the anime, please visit the anime page instead. For specific character-related tropes, please refer to the Character Sheet.
Alternate Character Reading: The December 2013 Crossover event added in two I-401s: the Arpeggio Iona pronounces 401 as Yonmaichi but Kancolle's I-401 (the reward for clearing the event) pronounces it as both Yonmaichi and Shioi.
Anachronism Stew: While the period in which the game is set is not specified, many found it awkward when Imuya mentioned Smart Phones.
Musashi has actually shown hints of being technologicallly savvy, and is depicted as being able to catch onto the present popularity as well. But considering what has been mentioned above, it'll take a while until DMM & Kadokawa settle down with a proper period.
There's also Yuubari mentioning recording shows that air at midnight. See example for the Otaku entry down below.
Anime Hair: Despite the high number of characters with exotic hair colors, only Jun'you, with her ludicrous spiky mane, has hair worthy of the tag.
Anti-Frustration Features: Not in evidence during the earlier versions of the game, but many were quietly added over time when the staff realized the ridiculous rates of attrition some players were experiencing, particularly during events. Since then many, many quality-of-life features were added to prevent admirals from rage-quitting from sheer annoyance. One example of this is that fleets automatically retreat once a flagship is dropped to red or critical status (more to reduce subcheesing effectivity).
Anyone Can Die: Prospective admirals beware, once a ship girl is sunk (when their HP is reduced to zero), they're not coming back, unless you happen to have a special item equipped on her beforehand (damage controls, or damecons; they can only be bought using real-world money!) to make an emergency repair on-location. Even then, it's a one-time deal, and if the same kanmusu gets critical damage again (such as if you advance to a new node after that battle), that's it for her (unless you have another damecon on her, of course, but most people only equip one on a ship at most).
Back from the Dead: Sometimes, a Good Bad Bug may occur from the game disconnecting on you and the ship may end up being still with you, albeit with 0 HP, like in this case. However, it doesn't work if you initiate the disconnection.
Archer Archetype: The entirety of the Standard Aircraft Carriers (like Akagi), as well as 3 of the Light Carriers, are portrayed as samurai archers.
Art Evolution: One can track the progress of an artist's improvement by just how different the art of a remodelled ship compares to its default sprite. Examples are Kongou and Hiei (although many disliked Kongou's "monkey ears" art), Shiratsuyu and Murasame, Kinugasa, Naka and Jintsuu... But a standout example is Hiyou, whose Kai looked like it was drawn by another artist altogether. That was just how much the artist improved.
Artistic License - Ships: No, T-crossing does not work that way. When you T-cross the enemy fleet, you don't take extra damage in return, and when you get T-crossed, you don't take reduced damage either. This is possible one of many Acceptable Breaks from Reality for the sake of game balance, seeing as the game got most other facts right.
Awesome, but Impractical: Heavy Cruisers for starter admirals, and Carriers and Battleships for experienced ones, due to their expensive maintenance costs that can really put a dent on an admiral's resources, and significant repair times whenever they're damaged. Superbattleships Yamato and Musashi take this to extremes, as they use as much as three times the resources to refuel and re-arm, and take twice as long to repair even when compared to Nagato, who is herself already a massive resource sink.
Bare Your Midriff: Shimakaze, Yuubari, Ooi Kai 2, Kitakami Kai 2 and the Nagato-class sisters.
Battle Theme Music: The game has dozens of battle themes, especially ones for a particular map.
BFG: The 46cm (18-inch) Triple Cannons which are seen in the Yamato-class, which are craftable in the game. They have longer range than the 41cm and the 35.6cm cannons, and aside from having the highest firepower and AA stat, are also capable of being an AA gun as well.
Big Sister Instinct: The lead ships of some ship classes act as this for their sisters. Fusou is an example of this, as she thinks of her sister Yamashiro's well being most of the time.
Fusou: ''Please look after my younger sister Yamashiro's modernization as well."
Bokukko: Mogami, Satsuki, Shigure, and Z1 Leberecht Maass.
Boobs of Steel: Naturally comes with being the personifications of warships, especially more so on the more well-endowed ones. Yamato sports an almost literal definition of this.
Born Lucky: While it's still unclear exactly what the Luck Stat actually does in the game (its only known effect is the probability of a "Cut-In" attack), an observant admiral will notice that certain ships will have higher-than average luck. Those who also happen to have more than a passing knowledge of World War 2 naval battles will note that the majority of these ships either lasted to the closing months of the war (Aoba, Haruna, Ise, Hyuuga), actually survived the war (Yukikaze, Nagato, Houshou, Jun'you, Kitakami, Ushio), or somehow avoided or survived damage that had easily taken out their sister ships during a particular action (Hiryuu, Zuikaku) before they themselves got sunk. Yukikaze in particular not only survived more major battles than she had any right to, but she also served as the flagship of the Taiwanese navy before finally being dismantled in 1970. Her luck stat of 60, higher by far than any other ship in the game, reflects this.
Prior to her sinking, Shigure was also regarded as a miracle ship not unlike Yukikaze, for the same reasons. Her luck stat of 50 in her Kai 2 form (second only to Yukikaze) reflects this.
Born Unlucky: Much like the previous entry, an admiral will also notice ships with lower-than-average Luck scores (lower than 10). More often than not, these are references to their unfortunate fates, either due to faulty design choices, circumstance, or both. Many of the ships in the latter category either sunk during their initial sorties (Taihou, Bismarck), or never got to participate in battle at all (Mutsu, blown up while in port). And despite having average luck in the game, Shoukaku is sometimes lumped into this group as well, due to the fact that she took more than her fair share of damage in the fleets she was in.
Breaking the Fourth Wall: Numerous ship girls love doing this through their spoken lines, though some of them are more blatant about it (the Yuugumo-class Destroyers for example) than others.
Bribing Your Way to Victory: Some account enhancements (like extra slots in the dock), a good chunk of the consumables in the in-game store, extra resources, and high-end furniture that require custom furniture craftsmen can only be purchased through points, which can only bought via real-world money. Can be particularly galling for players, as while the other contents of the store can be found via expeditions, one important consumable (Emergency Repair, which prevents unplanned sinkings), can only be bought this way.
Even so, all the items mentioned above are entirely optional and players have the option to not resort to purchasing them in order to win the game. Given that getting the ship daughters involve either being lucky with drops, building, or clearing (often extremely hard) certain levels during timed events, paying with real money does not really help either (unless you pay A LOT).
Brutal Bonus Level: 2-4? Just subcheese it or use 4 BBs 2 CVs. 3-4? Same. 4-4? 5-3? You just have to beat the RNG. The bonus level 5-5, which introduces Re-class battleships (which can attack with planes and torpedoes, can attack submarines with said planes even at night, has insane HP and armor comparable to demon princesses, and only its normal form lacks pre-emptive torpedoes) and flagship Wo Kai carriers (which are simply a much stronger version of standard flagship Wo-class aircraft carriers), makes every other level in this game look extremely easy. Of course, S-ranking the boss node isn't impossible, but...
Buxom Is Better: The Takao sisters for Heavy Cruisers, Tenryuu and Tatsuta for Light Cruisers. In the former's case it's even lampshaded by Atago in the game's database section, where she mentions how her... fuel tanks are heavy and make her shoulders stiff.
Cap: A soft cap (100 against submarines, otherwise 150 for day battles and 300 for night battles) applied after pre-cap modifiers, where damage done exceeding the cap will receive diminishing returns (the excess is square rooted and added to the cap, making the effective soft cap 1 higher than the mechanical cap).
Captain Ersatz: Some ship girls look similar to certain Touhou characters. Kiso looks a lot like Murasa with an Eyepatch of Power, especially after her second remodel. In addition, Suzuya has some similarities with Sanae, Yayoi resembles Patchouli (complete with crescent moon hair clip), and Akitsu Maru outright looks like she was designed by ZUN (although she wasn't), although she doesn't much resemble any currently existing Touhou character (except for maybe Yoshika).
Cast Herd: With the huge cast as well as the various historical and in-game interactions, there's several dozens of groups available. This goes from ship types* Destroyers, Aircraft Carriers..., ship classes* Fubuki-class Type III(Akatsuki-class), Shoukaku-class... and divisions* DesDiv6, CarDiv5... to historical fleets* The Mikuma fleet used at Savo Island and ship-girls who look like each other* Takao and Atago, already sister ships, have been collectively called the "Takao sisters" due to having identical outfits and visible "ship parts", while their "younger sisters" Maya and Choukai form another pair with identical clothes and turrets. The repair ship Akashi and light cruiser Ooyodo form another such cast herd despite there being no connection between their real-life namesakes: they wear identical outfits and also both started out as NPCs (running the item shop and assigning quests, respectively) before becoming playable..
The official 4-koma played this as a joke as well. Naturally Yamato is very uncomfortable with that revelation...
A Genius Bonus for historians - Yamato's guns were originally specified as much smaller than the 46cm monsters they truly were. Seems that Yamato didn't want to reveal the secret of her...shell size.
Clingy Jealous Girl: Many ship girls are like this, either to the Admiral, or to their sister-ships. Kongou is a well-known example of the former, while Torpedo Cruiser Ooi is a good representative for the latter.
Cloning Blues: Given how the game functions somewhat as a collectible card game, it's inevitable that a player will get multiple copies of a ship girl if they play long enough, particularly the more common types like destroyers. Not too surprisingly, this gameplay mechanic has made its way into both official media and fanwork, in the form of "clones", where it's played for either comedy, drama, or (in the case of Famitsu's Kancolle Play manga) both.
Kancolle Play featured a whole gaggle of Ooshio clones. While for the most part they were treated as comic relief, with them filling odd roles at the base (like being Naka's backup dancers during her concert), the comic also makes it quite clear that each Ooshio was a unique individual — which makes the fact that one of them had to be scrapped all the more heartbreaking.
Clothing Damage: A visual representation of your ships' condition, if they are suffering from moderate or major damage, complete with smoke coming out from their icons. Under minor damage though, their clothes and weapons are intact, although there will still be smoke.
Cool Big Sis: A lot of lines heard from the game can evoke this particular trope. Especially Hiei's desire to be like Kongou, or Yamashiro's admiration towards her sister, Fusou.
Cool Plane: Since this is a WW2-based game. Most of the IJN planes, along with the German Stuka, are usable equipment.
Cosmic Plaything: While not so obvious in the game, Shōkaku hints that she's one unlucky girl (and is depicted by fans as one, especially when receiving minor damage), thanks to how she was treated during the war, by Japanese accounts. Her database even introduced her as "the ship that received terrible fate during that war (Battle of the Philippine Sea)".
Displayed prominently in the 4-koma where, in quick succession, she gets pooped on by a passing bird, hit on the head by a thrown rock, and has an empty pail dropped on her. The fact that she's such a magnet for misfortune (aside from the obvious real-world WW2 references) caused Kaga to be terrified of her, once she learned that both Shōkaku and Zuikaku were joining the fleet.
Covert Pervert: Shirayuki in the 4-koma, which causes Fubuki to be more than a little worried. Also Sendai, who likes seeing other girls get wet in the rain as it makes their underwear visible.
Critical Existence Failure: Averted, performance wise. The kanmusu can still perform well as long they have not taken moderate damage (50% or less, but more than 25% of their overall HP, shown as orange, performance reduced to 70%) or major damage (25% or less of their overall HP, performance reduced to 40%). Scratch Damage taken, on the other hand...
Critical Hit: It does an extra 50% of the usual damage a normal hit would do, before taking armor into account. However, for some reason, normal hits dealing 40+ damage are also called "critical hits" in the game, and critical hits dealing less than 15 damage do not register as such.
David Versus Goliath: Invoked by mission 3-2, where the boss node can be only accessed by a fleet of destroyers, the smallest class of warship (whose high evasion values are offset by having the lowest damage, hit point, and armor values of all non-submarine unit) available to an admiral. They're expected to battle elite battleships and heavy cruisers. The fact that many destroyers (like Akatsuki, Inazuma, Ikazuchi, and Hibiki) are portrayed as middle-schoolers or younger just strengthens the impression, especially since the Abyssal Fleet ships they're going to battle look like adult women or saurian monsters.
Discard and Draw: The battleships that remodel into aviation battleships (Fusou and Ise classes) suffer a loss in firepower in exchange for improvements in other stats, particularly the ability to carry more planes. The Chitose class seaplane tenders lose the ability to equip seaplanes as well as the ability they gain from their second remodel (equipping midget submarines for a pre-emptive torpedo strike) in their third remodel where they become light aircraft carriers, which gives them the ability to equip better planes.
Eldritch Abomination: Many of your enemies fall into this trope. Sure some sport a more humanoid form, but that doesn't make them any less of a monster.
Embarrassing Nickname: Yamato is nicknamed "Hotel Yamato" or simply "Hotel", which embarrasses her from time to time. The reason once again came from the fact that Yamato had a real history of being treated as one - when she was secretly built by the Imperial Japanese Navy, they had the mindset of "Aircraft Carriers are the best, Battleships are just a bonus/an alternative". That, and her status as a flagship along with her high consumption, causes Yamato to spend most of her time at the bridge until 1944 (Battle of Leyte Gulf), leading her to be nicknamed "Hotel Yamato". Historically, the term is also taken from a real Yamato Hotel which was located at Manchuria (presently Dalian, China).
Interestingly, although it was considered a luxury to ever spend a night in the ship's bridge, the purpose of Yamato stayed true to the core. Still, she was quite unfortunate, participating mostly in escort missions instead of offensive operations.
Yamato: 'H...Hotel!? N-No, you're wrong!"
The whole Yamato being treated as a hotel is played with in the official 4-koma manga, like how she was equipped to manufacture ice cream and was fully air-conditioned (both of which were true of the real battleship; back then, air conditioning was still getting phased in to the general public, but was considered a luxury). The little destroyer girls loved hugging her as a result.
Engagement Challenge: Under the marriage system, you have to complete a few quests (the last of which involves a fleet with a level 90-99 ship getting S rank at the 2-3 boss node) to obtain a set of wedding ring and marriage documents... or you could buy it for 700 yen at the cash shop. In addition, the ship you wish to marry must be level 99. Benefits include slightly increased stats (including HP), reduced fuel/ammo consumption by 15%, and the ship instantly becoming level 100 with a new level cap of 150.
Literal-Minded: When the marriage system was first announced, it was called kekkon kakkokari (ケッコンカッコカリ), which means marriage (temporary) and implied that "marriage system" was just a placeholder name. Kekkon kakkokari would later go on to be the official name of the system on implementation.
Love Confession: The marriage system is chock full of theselines. Some have the ships "confess" to you, some accept your "confession", and others reject you. Still others have lines which have nothing to do with confessions.
Marry Them All: You can marry more than one ship, so this is possible if you wish to do so, but you will have to buy the cash item from the cash shop, each costing 700 yen or around 7 USD. As only one can be obtained free of charge, it means doing a literal Marry Them All (around 160 as of March 2014) will cost more than a whole grand.
Visual Pun: A lot of people have assumed this marriage mechanic to be Kancolle's answer to "mai waifu". This includes many fanartists drawing the girls in wedding dresses.
There Is Only One Bed: The pinnacle of the marriage system is getting the couple's futon, which requires finishing the last two marriage quests.
Fake Difficulty: Luck-Based Mission and Random Number God aside, if you have enough submarines you can easily cheese out certain stages, some of which would be much more difficult to clear otherwise. In particular, if you got a submarine in the process of clearing 2-3, 2-4 becomes a Breather Level instead. (At least that was the case before ASW equipment got buffed, but all you need now is just a bit more luck than before. Or Iona.)
The 2014 Summer Event turned to be a particularly unforgiving example of fake difficulty. Due to the nature of the real-life event it's based on, ships used in Operation AL (comprising the maps E-1 and E-2) can't be used in Operation MI (maps E-3, E-4 and E-5). In adition, operation MI forces you to deploy two fleets at the same time, one of mostly carriers and another of mostly light ships. To further complicate matters, the final map E-6 locks out ships used in any of the previous event maps. As a result of all this, in order to complete the entire event you essentially need four full fleets of adequately powerful ships. On top of all that, prior to the start of the event the only thing the dev team revealed about the whole system was that ships used in one operation can't be used in another, and made no mention of Midway's dual-fleet system or the extra stage which forbids any AL/MI ships.
Flawless Victory: A special condition in sortieing where you defeat your opponent while taking no damage on your side. Due to how RNG works, this can be either easy (do There Is No Kill Like Overkill) or absurd (the possibility of you actually doing this on a hard Boss Node approaches zero quickly). Although there is no additional benefit in doing so (you receive the same experience and morale bonus as normal S rank) and is more of a Bragging Rights Reward.
Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Despite being the instructors of the Destroyers in the 4-koma, Ise is regularly characterized as far less serious than her sister Hyuuga, the latter of whom actually got annoyed at Ise's need to be the center of attention.
Foreigners Write Backwards: Due to the history of how traditional Japanese is written, Shimakaze can also be written as "Zekamashi". Inazuma's (not) verbal tic "Nano-desu!" is also played with, becoming "Sudenona!".
Fragile Speedster: Destroyers in general. They possess a base speed of Fast, and have high base Evasion rates, but have low Armor and Hit Point values.
On the other extreme, there are ship girls who simply happen to have genuine feminine names. Examples include Fubuki, Hibiki and Chitose.
Genki Girl: Kongou is the most famous example of this trope. But some characters like Nenohi, Ikazuchi, Ooshio, and Naka count as well.
Glass Cannon: Any ship with a high attack power but relatively low HP and Armor value is this, like Yuudachi or the Torpedo Cruisers.
Goroawase Number: I-168 and I-58 have chosen to do this with their names to make them easier to pronounce and to make them sound more like actual names. Thus, I-168 and I-58 are also known as "Imuya" and "Goya" respectively. For the same reasons, I-19 and I-8 are called "Iku" (no, not that Iku, and not that one either) and "Hachi".
Gotta Catch Them All: It's called Kantai Collection for a reason. There's even a library detailing the ships/equipment you got before. Naturally, the ships/equipment you have never got before are left blank.
Gratuitous English: Kongou, who enthusiastically shouts lines like "BURNINGLOVE!" for her attacks. Based on the fact that the real-life Kongou was built in England.
Gratuitous German: I-8, who is then followed by actual Kriegsmarine ships Z1, Z3, and the Bismarck.
Gratuitous Russian: Hibiki sometimes talks in Russian. She has more lines in Russian after she gets her final upgrade into the Verniy.
Guest Star Party Member: For the collaboration event with Arpeggio, there was Iona, and later on, Takao and Haruna, all three of which were available only for the duration of the event.
Hair Decorations: Unsurprisingly, they are all over the place. Some of the most impressive examples come from the battleships with Yamato's "Sakura and Radar Mast" thing going on, the Fusou-class' pagoda mast being portrayed as these, Nagato and Mutsu's head apparatus and the Kongou-class' signature winged headset.
Heroic BSOD: As shown in the 4koma, many ship girls bear some sort of trauma related to how their real-life counterparts got sunk — like Akagi's issue with everything even close to being related to the Battle of Midway, or the abject fear many Destroyers show for Submarines.
Hidden Buxom: Ushio has a nice stack, which can only be seen when she receives◊ critical damage. Yuugumo and Naganami also play this straight. To a lesser extent, Suzuya, after upgrading.
Hime Cut: Hatsuyuki. Murakumo, Yuudachi, Hiyou and Shouhou have decorated variants. Also if you let her hair loose, Kitakami's hairstyle is considered one as well.
Historical In-Joke/Shown Their Work: All over the place, especially apparent in the 4-koma. That said, the real-life references of the ships each girl represents are more often than not played for moe points instead.
Hot-Blooded: While most kanmusus have lines that show their spirit and passion when fighting, Suzukaze is particularly high spirited and hotblooded in almost everything she does.
Hypocritical Humor: In one manga, Akagi, the "Bauxtite Queen" herself, notices Shimakaze is helping herself to an absurdly large amount of food and cautions her against wasting resources. Meanwhile, Akagi's tray has three times the amount of food that Shimakaze's does!
Inferiority Superiority Complex: Kaga towards the Shōkaku-class sisters (Shōkaku and Zuikaku). In real life, the Kaga was the slowest and generally worst-designed (but had some of the most experienced crew) of Japan's large fleet carriers, while the Shōkaku-class were arguably the best and certainly the most advanced pre-war design (with a relatively inexperienced crew).
Item Crafting: There are two usual ways to gain additional ship girls in the game. One is via random drops during sorties or expedition. The other way is constructing one, a much more time-consuming process that uses up resources (fuel, ammunition, steel, and bauxite). Specific resource ratios during construction yield higher chances of getting "rare" ships (like Shimakaze or Yukikaze), or even ship types (in case of carriers). Even so, to get exactly what you want is a hit-or-miss thing.
Jack of All Stats: Ships belonging to the Heavy Cruiser class tend to be this. They are average in every stat and can hit anything in the game (except submarines) with suitable equipment.
Master of None: Occasionally falling into this category for the same reason, as you can only field no more than six ships, regardless of types, in your fleet.
Japanese Politeness: Haruna and Hōshō. They stand out when compared to other characters in the game.
Japanese Pronouns: The standard here is still "Watashi" (私). However, with the number of characters with odd speech patterns, there's also a good number who also use other pronouns to refer to themselves.note Also, quite a few don't have any lines outside of their introduction in which they refer to themselves at all, or always refer to a different person than themselves or the admiral.
"Atashi" (あたし): Jun'you, Kako, Maya (those three have rougher speech patterns, though), Sakawa...
Joke Character: Maruyu, a supply submarine introduced during the December 2013 update. Even when maxed out her stats are all still below 10 in value, and she can't mount any equipment until reaching level 20 and being remodeled. As such, her only viable use in combat is usually just to soak up hits and force enemies to ignore the rest of your fleet. Outside combat she can also make expeditions slightly more efficient due to having even lower resources consumption than the other submarines, but her real purpose (according to the Developers) is in modernization to increase other ships' luck stats.
Joshikousei: While many of the ship girls have outfits that invoke this look, it's more obvious in the case of Kumano and Suzuya.
Lethal Chef: Kongou and Hiei, after their second remodel, which exposes them as terrible cooks, with Hiei being the worst. How bad? Her curry makes the Admiral run around avoiding her for 2 hours. You're free to imagine what happened to the Admiral during that time.
According to the drama CD that comes with the limited edition volume of "Side: Kongou", it is somehow established that neither Hiei nor Kongou's cooking is actually lethal (thus making it somehow averted) but rather a result of focusing too much on "unique flavors"note Japanese are known for their inability to eat spicy food, so serving South East Asian style curry is going to make them scream murder. As a result, the admiral ended up traumatized by it.
With the additional of Isokaze, we have yet another lethal chef, who's food makes the Admiral have a stomachache after breakfast and runs away from her at the mention of lunch and dinner.
Lethal Joke Item: The kotatsu, played with in the official 4-koma. It makes nearly everyone useless (as in, they completely lose their will to sortie), even Yamato.
Level Scaling: In effect for the seasonal event maps from the December 2013 Arpeggio Collaboration event onward, as well as so-called "Special Operations" maps. Lower-leveled Admirals faced equivalently low-level mobs, but at specific level "checkpoints" elite, then flagship-class ships start to appear. Going beyond a certain level threshold often meant the difference between a map simply being challenging, to mind-blowingly difficult, as evidenced during the Arpeggio event (where low-leveled admirals didn't even encounter named Fog ships) and the Spring 2014 event (where going past admiral level 80 spawned a Battleship Princess, on top of the already difficult-to-defeat boss present).
Loads and Loads of Characters: An ever-growing number, especially since events or special updates add at least one new ship to the line-up, and this isn't including the admiral's support and maintenance staff, or the so-called "generic" enemies which compose the Abyssal Fleet.
Magikarp Power: Many ships' more powerful remodels only come after significant level grinding. If the ships are particularly weak prior to their final form (most notably the Chitose class seaplane tenders, whose final forms are the best light aircraft carriers in the game), this trope is played straight.
Meganekko: Musashi(!), Mochizuki, Kirishima, Makigumo, Choukai and I-8.
Memetic Outfit: Shimakaze's infamous "thong-fuku". Helped by the fact that she's the only ship of her class, and as such the only girl wearing the outfit.
Mighty Glacier: Battleships with a listed speed of Slow (Nagato/Fusou/Ise/Yamato classes) are this. They can take a lot of punishment and give it back tenfold but are very slow. On the other hand, battleships with a listed speed of Fast (Kongou-class and Bismarck) are a different trope.
Miko: All Kongou- and Fusou-class battleships have this for their unifying theme (though only aesthetically), with the Kongou-class combining it with Detached Sleeves and Thigh-High Boots.
Mildly Military: Considering the sort of things the ships say to the admiral, and (according to the same quotes) the sort of things the admiral is implied to be doing, it seems this trope is in full effect. The official RPG goes a step further by never mentioning any links between the player's organization and the Japanese government or military - presumably to avoid Unfortunate Implications.
Mooks: The game's primary objective is that you sort your team of 6 to fight demon ships, known as the "Abyssal Fleet" (深海棲艦, Shinkai Seikan). Similar to your compositions, they also have different types of mooks to go against you. But beware, these mooks aren't simple to defeat, thanks to the game's unpredictable, automated system. You may even come across Elite Mooks, Airborne Mooks, Aquatic Mooks, and many more as you progress.
My Greatest Second Chance: As each event is based on an actual historical World War 2 campaign, some of which the IJN lost (Guadalcanal, Midway), they're seen as this for a player's fleet girls.
No Communities Were Harmed: Played straight during the first few months of the game's life, the developers went to great lengths to obfuscate the fact that its normal and event maps were based on major World War 2 Pacific campaigns (specifically the ones the Imperial Japanese Navy lost), then averted utterly come the 1st-year anniversary, where the bosses were immediately identified with the ABDA. Come the Summer 2014 or Operation AL-MI event, the devs aren't even bothering hiding the fact that the Abyssals are stand-ins for the US Navy, what with their carriers now equipped with Hellcats, Helldivers, and Avengers.
Non-Entity General: The admiral/teitoku commanding the fleet of kanmusu, basically acting as the player's self-insert. This obviously results in (male) admirals having wildly different portrayals in fanwork, though it also makes a large segment of Pixiv artists simply replace the admiral's face with a 'T' (sometimes known as "T-toku"), much like how the Producer in Petit Idolmaster has a 'P' for a head or alternatively and memetically make him Japan from Axis Powers Hetalia. (Most) female admirals somehow avoid the T-head, but still end up looking suspiciouslyfamiliar anyway...
Non-Human Sidekick: Rensouhou-chan, a trio of Danbo-like turrets that tag along with Shimakaze. Also Rensouhou-kun, Amatsukaze's turretnote since in real life Amatsukaze was Shimakaze's predecessor..
Nonstandard Character Design: Due to using different artists, some of the girls may look sharply different from one class to another, and even within classes. For example, compare Yukikaze's design with the design of the other Kagerou-class ship girls or compare Murakumo's design with the design of the rest of the Fubuki-class and the design of the first two of the Hatsuharu-class.
No Plot? No Problem!: Either this, or the game has a very very flimsy Excuse Plot if one squints hard enough. Proponents of the latter point to how the missions range further and further afield, starting with clearing out the waters around the naval district, before culminating in a raid at the Abyssal Fleet anchorage, complete with supporting bombardment by another squad of allied ships from your fleet.
No Sell: For the Crossover event with Arpeggio of Blue Steel in Christmas 2013, weapons used by ship girls were stated to have no effects on the Fleet of Fog because of their Klein Field. However, they were modified by Arpeggio!Hyuuga to be able to avert it (mostly)note Mechanically speaking, the Klein Field is actually just a fancy miss animation that Fog ships have.
Ojou: Definitely Kumano. Speaks like one, acts like one as well.
Onmyodo: Light Aircraft Carriers Hiyou, Jun'you and Ryuujou use shikigami paper planes. Their flight decks are represented as a scroll with an image of their flight deck printed on it.
Out of Focus: Poor Fubuki, being the poster girl of her own game, only to get overshadowed by more popular characters like Shimakaze, Kongou or even Inazuma/Ikazuchi. Alleviated a bit in the 4-koma, where she and Shirayuki are the viewpoint characters.
In one of the official manga anthologies, there's a story where Fubuki gets replaced as the poster girl - by Shimakaze, of course. She goes to great lengths to win back her spot, but it doesn't exactly turn out as intended...
Peninsula of Power Leveling: Although World 3-2 has a reputation for being That One Level due to the requirements needed to even get to the boss node, it's also known as a prime leveling spot to level up ships, due to the same composition restrictions.
Play Every Day: Being a browser game Kancolle plays this quite straight, mostly by way of the daily quests, which are generally the most viable way to get certain resources.
Power Equals Rarity: Both played straight and subverted. Nagato class, Yamato class, Shimakaze and Yukikaze are particularly strong and rare ships in their respective ship types. However, many of the rarer ships don't live up to their rarity. For example, Kaga, despite being a gold-rarity ship, has higher damage output than other rainbow-rarity Standard Carriers due to her huge carrying capacity of the third equipment slot. Rare Random Drop Destroyers (those who are uncraftable and only obtainable from boss nodes) are not much different from Com Mon Destroyers aside from anti-submarine stats (which are better obtained from equipment anyway).
Completely subverted for Light Cruisers. Kinu and Abukuma only gain advantage from the faster remodeling level and high anti-sub at lower levels, and their final stats are actually lower than their easily obtainable sisters of Nagara class. Agano class is the worst offender of this; not only are their stats not that flattering compared to Nagara class, but their fuel/ammo cost is also on par with some of the Heavy Cruisers.
Power Up Letdown: Battleships or standard carriers could be considered as one as their upgrades, while considered an overall improvement since it raises their stats, experience letdown on other important aspects, most significantly increased fuel and ammo consumption for sorties and repairs. This is generally exacerbated during limited-time events, particularly those in which the boss health meter regenerates over time, forcing players to repair their high-powered fleets more frequently than usual.
Some ships (such as Fubuki, Ooi and Musashi) suffer a decrease in luck after their remodelnote for Ooi though, Ooi Kai 2 upgrades her luck from 10 to 13.
Random Number God: Oh god RNG really is everything in this game. Even if you manage to find some construction or development recipes that lead you to what you want, be very careful not to get too worked up. You will regret it.
Random Drop: It's been theorised that when you get the first of a ship, you become more likely to get her wherever it's possible to get her (be it from construction or from sorties). This would explain why the "Last Sister Syndrome" (you have every ship of a certain class... except one, which you just can't get) is so prevalent: getting every other sister ship increases the chances of getting them instead of the ship you want.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: Elite Abyssals get this, to accompany their angry red aura, as well as the fact that they're significantly harder to take down than their non-elite versions. On the playable side, there's Yuudachi, whose green irises turn a bright red once she's given her second remodel (which turns her into one of the more powerful Destroyers around).
Akagi (Red Oni) and Kaga (Blue Oni). Akagi is Emotional and somewhat prideful. The latter is The Spock.
Kitakami (Blue Oni) and Ooi (Red Oni). Kitakami has great pride in her abilities but she is ultimately laidback and rather goofy, Ooi is fiercely protective of Kitakami and appears to have more fun in battle.
Shigure (Blue Oni) and Yuudachi (Red Oni). Shigure is quiet and reserved, having also been tempered by the battles she survived; Yuudachi is cheerful and energetic, being a little power-plant who can out-fight cruisers.
Musashi (Red Oni) and Yamato (Blue Oni). Musashi is a Hot-Blooded Determinator who lives for the battle. Yamato, being better known for her livability, is gentle yet extremely powerful.
Nagato (Red Oni) and Mutsu (Blue Oni). Nagato is a dignified ship and a natural leader... if she remembers to be dignified; Mutsu is demure yet fearful of her own safety, lest she blows up and becomes torn in half.
Sailor Fuku: Not surprising, given this is a game about anthropomorphized ships, that variations of these show up worn by the girls, most obviously among the various destroyers.
Sarashi: The Kongou-class sisters and Musashi wear it. Musashi wears only a sarashi to cover her her chest, while the Kongou sisters wear theirs under their shirts.
School Swimsuit: I-58, I-168 and I-401 wear school swimsuits covered by the upper half of their school uniforms as their unifying theme. I-19 and I-8 both wear only the swimsuit.
Scratch Damage: If a low enough amount of damage is dealt to a target, it becomes this, which ends up ranging from 1 to a maximum of around 10% to 12.5% of the current Hit Points of the target. If an even lower amount of damage is dealt, it may or may not be treated as a miss (the combat mechanics have not been fully deduced).
She Is All Grown Up: Some of the second remodels, such as Isuzu Kai 2 and Yuudachi Kai 2 (and to a lesser extent, Verniy). Compare them to their base forms, and the difference is staggering.
Naka is one to both AKB48 and The Idolmaster (in fact, many of her lines are references to Atsuko Maeda). Her number in the ship library, as well as her second remodel level and Hit Point count, are all 48. She also gets into a Santa costume for Christmas.
Naka: Naka-chan wishes you a Merry Christmas! He-he!
One of Yamashiro's lines can be said to be this to Touma Kamijou.
Yamashiro: Such misfortune...* in Japanese, Touma's line is "fukou da"; Yamashiro adds a "wa" at the end, making it "fukou dawa".
The blazing-blue left eye of a few remodeled Abyssal Fleet flagships looks very familiar.
Single Issue Psychology: Inevitable for some of the ship girls that are famous for events of their real life counterpart (usually sinking). As an average ship girl only has around 30 lines of dialogue to work with (which can get repetitive very quickly, especially for the battle-related ones), flanderization is inevitable either way. Some averted it by either not having a major focus on such events, or having additional lines boosting the number to ~60.
Starter Equipment: In this case, a rookie admiral starts out with a choice from a selection of five destroyers — Fubuki, Inazuma, Murakumo, Samidare, and Sazanami.
Stop Poking Me: Some of the ship-girls have a line about getting touched that they repeat after clicking them several times.
Hyuuga: (explaining to destroyers) I haven't done much work as his secretary, but... Kongou: (flashbacks) I don't really mind the touching, but I'd like for him to know the proper time and place! Kirishima: He just wouldn't stop with the poking. Kako: Wish he wouldn't pull at my skirt. Nachi: That wasn't some sort of tactical maneuver!? Hyuuga: ...is what I've heard. (cueMass "Oh, Crap!"by the destroyers)
Sugar and Ice Personality: Kaga is normally this, even to you. The only exception to this is her interaction with Akagi, be it in doujins or even in the official 4-koma manga. However she is not that stoic as she does offer her ears for you if you need to talk to her about something, be it for official or personal matters.
Super Move Portrait Attack: An interesting example. Called a "Cut-In" by players, this night battle attack which procs with a chance based on several factors (the most well-known being the Luck Stat), and does damage based on the type(s) of weapons equipped, zooms in on the equipment used in said attack, instead showing the sprite of the character using them at the same size as with other attacks.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Usually averted; many things (such as submarines being nerfed) can take months to patch. However, this is also sometimes played straight. The fourth event boss of Fall 2013, Airfield Princess (飛行場姫, Hikoujyo Hime), is known by many Western fans as Henderson Field personified as a scary looking female. Some thought that as a building, the battle itself can't be T-crossed (basically a battle situation that is extremely unfavorable to your side as well as the enemy). But you have to remember, as Henderson Field is now an opposing unit in this game, that technically means she is a character, hence even if she is a piece of South Pacific real estate she can T-cross you. You would have to give credit to the developers who thought of this though.
5-4, Tokyo Express. Players have developed a habit of refreshing when they reach an undesirable node (such as when they get diverted away from the boss node). The developers took this into account, and as a result, the only end node in this map (that isn't the boss node) has no encounter.
In addition, 5-4 (which had a fuel node that gave fuel depending on the number of fuel drums your fleet had) was added as part of the Spring event preparations, along with expeditions which give a lot of fuel and ammo. Given that the speculated Battle of Midway was mainly fought in the day, support fleets (which consume a lot of fuel and ammo, and are useful only in nodes with day battles) would likely be very useful here. It was as if they anticipated the large amount of fuel and ammo that would be consumed at the event.
In the final extra stage of the Spring Event E-5, a map that was basically a Boss Rush with a brutal line-up of bosses from previous events and stages (including the Final Boss of the Fall '13 Event, one of the deadliest enemies in the game) in each consecutive battle node, before meeting up with the ultimate event boss escorted by the aforementioned Final Boss, bringing even 1 submarine in your fleet will result in a dead end (Bringing 3 or more will send you straight into a dead end before you even get to start the first battle).
The Rival: A lot. Just to note some examples (be it in fan depictions or official):
Fusou and Yamashiro towards Ise and Hyuuga. This is due to the fact that the real life Ise and Hyuuga were created as an improvement on the design flaws of Fusou and Yamashiro.
Kirishima towards Haruna. This time it's due to the production rivalry/competition between Kawasaki Shipyards in Kobe (which built Haruna) and Mitsubishi Shipyards in Nagasaki (which built Kirishima), with the ships in question being built around the same time. However, Kirishima's production got delayed for a daynote On the contrary, Haruna's engine was actually found faulty during her engine test. As a result the construction ended up taking an extra 6 days to complete, and the person who was responsible in the production of the engine committed suicide in order to apologize for his mistakes., which caused Kirishima to look at her as a rival, despite them being both completed on the same day, effectively making them twins. Do note that the whole rivalry is actually one sided as Haruna does not actually think much of it.
Kaga towards Shoukaku and Zuikaku. Kaga belonged to the First Carrier Division, while Shoukaku and Zuikaku belonged to the Fifth Carrier Division. Since both divisions couldn't get along well during the war due to complications (mainly because of how they thought soldiers from the Fifth Division Carrier were amateurs), their rivalry began. Some lines in the game justify Kaga's uneasiness towards the Shoukaku sisters.
Kaga: ''Don't put me on the same league as the Fifth Carrier Division."
The Stoic: Kaga is one, but the prize goes to Shiranui, who is arguably more stoic than Kaga.
Displacement: While it depended on the artist, early on there was an obvious correlation between the maximum displacement of a ship and just how buxom its personification could be. So you had destroyers who were fairly flat-chested (due to being portrayed as kids), and super-battleships that were on the other side of the spectrum. However as time went on, the historical displacement of ships became less and less of a factor to their buxomness, to the point one had an incredibly flat Taihou (an armoured aircraft carrier), and yet also an extremely stacked Hamakaze (who as a destroyer is far lighter than Taihou).
Fuel Tanks: Originating from one of Heavy Cruiser Atago's lines, where she complains about how her fuel tanks make her shoulders stiff... Except she doesn't have any visible fuel tanks, though what she does instead have is a bountiful bosom. Has become a catch-all word to describe the bustiness of Takao and Atago.
Night Battle: What happens when Admirals and their favorite ship girls do This and That in doujinshi. With the implementation of the marriage system, well, what would you expect a married couple to do anyway?
Verbal Tic: Several of the girls have one. Kuma has "-kuma", Tama has "-nya", Arare has "n'cha"...
Somewhat enforced, both in several fan depictions and (later) the 200k user special scroll, where Kiso, the only one in the Kuma-class to NOT have a verbal tic, was struggling to have one ("-kiso"!) herself.
Yuudachi has "-ppoi?", which roughly means "it is like...?"
I-19 loves to end her sentences with a "-no", usually "-nano".
Uzuki ends her sentences with "pyon" for a good reason, just like Kuma's "-kuma" or Tama's "-nya".
Walk on Water: For obvious reasons, this is a common ability of the ship girls. When it came to this, the official 4-koma compared it to ice skating.
Ascended Meme: Originally, it was unsure how the ship girls even moved while on water. On Nico Nico Douga, where Miku Miku Dance models became prevalent after the popularity of the game, videos popped up which showed the girls skating on water as a possible way of emulating the propeller on an actual ship. So it is unsurprising that the 4-koma decided to go along with the idea as well.
Wave Motion Gun: The Kancolle girls were introduced to these care of the visitors from Arpeggio during the December 2013 event. Take note: all Fog ships barring Iona had these, and they could hit the entire squad.
Woman of a Thousand Voices: Applied to incredible effect. Most of the game's voice actresses have more than five different roles (often voicing all the ships of a given class) and as such get the chance to showcase their versatility. Who would guess that Nagato, Shimakaze, and Jintsuu are voiced by the same person?
Taken to its logical conclusion in the Drama CD for the limited edition volume of the Side: Kongou manga, where Nao Touyama performs a 20 minute skit alone with 8 of her characters.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Houshou and Haruna. The former for her gentle tone of voice, and her lines evoking the feel of a traditionally-trained housewife, the latter for her politeness and general "good girl" air she projects. Surprisingly not Yamato herself, who can be better described as a normal girl suddenly thrust into a major responsibility.
You Gotta Have Blue Hair: While most of the girls have reasonable hair colors, a good amount (including entire classes) thrive on the technicolor hue of their hair.
You Require More Bauxite: While the game generates the resources on its own, it is common for Admirals to get into low reserves and the game complaining you do not have enough of them. One specific Memetic Mutation even has its roots in this problem: Akagi can be acquired fairly early in the game with only a few quests, but the problem is that, as an aircraft carrier, she uses up bauxite, sometimes hundreds in one sortie, and repair buckets. Having neither usually results in having a two+ hour repair time and/or not being able to perform more sorties. Hence the reason images like this are really popular, because of the level of maintenence required to handle it.
...It feels like some numerical counter somewhere is dropping like a rock!