Video Game: Kantai Collection
Your orders, my Admiral?note 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 natural habitat
, 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 Navy Otaku
, 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
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 light and heavy 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
, Dragon Magazine
, Monthly Comic Alive
among a few).
The Manga spinoffs
- 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.
- Kancolle Play: Kankan Biyori
- 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.
- Someday As The Seas Turn Calm
- Slice-of-life vignettes focusing on a different ship girl per chapter, each concluding with the featured ship girl's modern Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force or Japan Coast Guard counterpart.
- Torpedo Squadron Chronicles
- A series focusing on the adventures of the Akatsuki-class destroyers of Destroyer Division 6, as well as their minders Tenryu and Tatsuta.
- Kancolle: Nanodesu!
- Another series about Inazuma and her sisters, with focus on Inazuma's conviction to save lives, even if its that of their enemies. Notable in how it's not set in a specific Japanese naval district, and is instead centered around a town suspiciously similar to Venice...
- 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.
- Tomarigi no Chinjufu
- An yuri-flavored episodic series, centering on heavy cruisers Kumano and Suzuya. Notable in how it lampshades how the admiral never seems to be around, and instead leaves the day-to-day running of the base to the fleet girls themselves.
On top of those, there are several official manga anthologies.
There are also a few official Light Novels
written for the franchise.
The Light Novels
- Kagerou, Setting Sail!
- A somewhat serious entry in the franchise, this story follows Kagerou, a trainee at Kure, as she is transferred to the more front-line naval district of Yokosuka. Specifically set in the modern day of our world, or at least a place really similar to it.
- 1st Carrier Division, Heading Off!
- Unrelated to the series above, this entry focuses on carriers Akagi and Kaga, as well as their charges (Ushio, Akebono, Oboro, and Sazanami), as the increase in Abyssal attacks force them to transition from merely training and expedition duty to the front lines south of the mainland.
- Bonds of the Wings of Cranes
- Also unrelated to the two other light novel series, Zuikaku awakens as a human girl, yet with all the memories she had while she was a ship, in a world that's similar but definitely not the same as one she left behind.
- Day at a Certain Naval Base
- Similarly unrelated to the other books, this series instead follows the day-to-day lives of the fleet girls as they go about their business at their naval base. More of an anthology of stories that all happen to be set in one place.
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
. The first preview, released on November 2014, can be seen here
, and it looks like it will contain all new content up to the current (as of this edit) Fall 2014 event.
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
Beware the following tropes and the Character-specific tropes need constant updates and may give you outdated information about the game.
Kantai Collection features the following tropes:
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- Ace Custom: A variant of the Zuiun seaplane, operated by the 634th Naval Air Group, offers improved anti-ship and anti-submarine stats compared to its standard version.
- The 931st Air Group, which have been restricted to being ranking rewards and Ryuuhou Kai stock equipment, have higher anti-submarine stats than their vanilla counterparts.
- The Tenzan Model 12 operated by Tomonaga's group, whose stats even surpass the Ryuusei Torpedo Bomber.
- And the Suisei operated by Egusa Takashige, also known as the "God of Dive Bomber".
- There is also the 601st Naval Air Group, whom belongs to Unryuu.
- Ace Pilot: The "experience" version of the low-tier planes in game, which possess even better stats than some of the high-tier planes.
- Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: Since the introduction of the game, the English fanbase has used the US Navy hull class codes as a type of localization when referring to the ships (which the game itself also uses in its loading screen). It is very common to see many acronyms in chat channels, let alone across This Very Wiki and The Wiki Rule.
- 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.
- Alternate Universe: Explicitly said to be the setting of the Bonds of the Wings of Cranes light novel. It has similar locations, but as Zuikaku quickly learns, not only did World War 2 not happen, Japan doesn't exist as a sovereign country.
- 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 ships cannot sink as long as they start an enemy encounter with at least orange HP (more than 25% of full HP). And before fleets were automatically made to retreat once a flagship is dropped to red or critical status to reduce subcheesing effectivity, flagships couldn't sink under any circumstances. (It is currently not known whether this still applies to the flagship of the escort fleet when you sortie under Combined Fleet rules, since the automatic retreat only applies to the flagship of the main fleet.)
- 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. Disconnection mid-battle due to maintenance starting works too. 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 (or for some artists such as Yadokari, the opposite) 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 possibly one of many Acceptable Breaks from Reality for the sake of game balance, seeing as the game got most other facts right.
- Before the update on 28 July 2014, fast battleships were unable to equip AP ammo, despite the fact that the Kongou-class did carry them historically.
- 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, were also capable of being an AA gun as well, before a revamp to AA mechanics removed this function.
- Later update added a much bigger gun, the 51cm Prototype Twin Cannon design for the A-150 battleship aka "Super Yamato"
- 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, Ooyodo, Hatsushimo), actually survived the war (Yukikaze, Nagato, Houshou, Jun'you, Kitakami, Myoukou, Ushio, I-58, I-401, Sakawa, Taigei/Ryuuhou, Prinz Eugen, U-511/Ro-500), somehow avoided or survived damage that had easily taken out their sister ships during a particular action (Hiryuu, Zuikaku) before they themselves got sunk, were Sole Survivors of certain major engagements (Yukikaze again, Shigure), sank in shallow waters where it was easier to raise them for scrap or were run aground or otherwise not actually technically sunk (Nagatsuki, most of the ships that were lost near the end of the war) or simply were the last of their classes to sink (Kasumi, Zuihou). Yukikaze in particular not only survived more major battles than she had any right to, but she also served as the flagship of the Republic of China Navy before finally being dismantled in 1970. Her luck stat of 60, higher by far than any other ship in the game, 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.
- For some reason, Yamagumo has even lower luck than the other destroyers, being the first destroyer to have less than 12 luck on remodel.
- Bragging Rights Reward: The Winter 2015 event adds the First Class Medal, which is displayed beside your player name whenever its displayed on Server Lists or PVP lists. You can only get it if you complete the event on Hard Mode on its final map, already infamous for its extreme dose of Random Number God-influenced shenanigans.
- 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...
- Up to Eleven: While maps normally have star difficulty at most 9, world 5-5 have 11 as a larger star indicate 10 stars.
- 2014 Summer E-6, Autumn E-4 and 2015 Winter E-4 all have 12 stars, but only the former is absolute nightmare(documented elsewhere)
- 2015 Winter E-5 (A-class) now stands as the hardest ever map ever conceived, with many Admirals upon seeing Two Battleship Princesses (same as Summer E-6 final boss) now as just escorts to the even more powerful Battleship water demon, expressing outright disbelief.
- 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).
- Not to mention that while all of the Kongou-class wear unconventional shrine maiden outfits reminiscent of Reimu's, Haruna gets bonus points for wearing a red and white version.
- 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* , ship classes* and divisions* to historical fleets* and ship-girls who look like each other* .
- Chainmail Bikini: Yamato, when getting damaged, shows her metallic Type 91 Armor Piercing Shell Coconut Bra dropping out◊. It made her attire look...really paper thin there.
- 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.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: You see this equipment list? All of these stats used by the enemy are way higher than the player's counterparts.
- On the other hand, the enemy lacks the Anti-Frustration Features the player has. Not to mention that in every engagement, the player always gets to attack first.
- 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.
- Crack Is Cheaper: Actually invoked for once. Kadokawa has noted that the browser game proper is a "nearly unprofitable" business due to the many partnerships (which includes voice actors, guest artists, and many other things in the game), so they rely on other forms (including Light Novels, Manga, special figurines, and many other things) to generate a profit. The game, however, will remain Free To Play as long as it is up.
- 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.
- Darker and Edgier: The two light novels — Kagerou, Setting Sail! and Bonds of the Wings of Cranes — are much more serious than some of serialized manga and, indeed, fan-made doujinshi. Neither, for example, mince words with the fact that fleet girls can and have died, with Kagerou in particular mentioning off-hand that the number of fleet girls slaughtered before the events of the novel started numbered in the hundreds.
- 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.
- Difficulty Levels: Introduced with the Winter 2015 event, with higher difficulty levels having higher level requirements, and replacing the old Level Scaling mechanic.
- 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. (However, Fusou-class do get even higher firepower on their second remodel.) 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. Taigei also undergoes a similar process when she becomes Ryuuhou, except that Taigei can't equip seaplane bombers or midget subs.
- 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 these lines. 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.
- Eyepatch of Power: Worn by light cruisers Tenryuu and Kiso.
- 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 ( maps E-1 and E-2) couldn't be used in Operation MI (maps E-3, E-4 and E-5). In addition, operation MI forced you to deploy two fleets at the same time, one consisting of mostly carriers and another one with mostly light ships. To further complicate matters, the final map E-6 locked out ships used in any of the previous event maps. As a result of all this, in order to just have a chance to complete the entire event you essentially needed four full fleets of adequately powerful ships (Six if you wanted Support Fleets in both midway and boss stage of E-6). 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 couldn't be used in another, and made no mention of Midway's dual-fleet system or the extra stage which forbade any AL/MI ships. Considering that each map haad several variants of suitable team compositions, the amount of shipgirls involved in the event for an elite player may well surpassed 40.
- Elaborating on this three-front war: Operation AL's first map was fairly easy regardless of the difficulty level. However, E-2, the last map of AL, which the devs even described as 'beginner-friendly' prior to the event, is generally regarded as one of the hardest map of the entire event, especially if your HQ Level was above 60. One of the main difficulties of AL was that the branching rules pretty much forced you to use light/medium ships only. While it was possible to use heavy fleets, you then had to face either more battle nodes or the stronger enemies. Or both. Not to mention that you couldn't use those ships in later event maps. Operation MI, while a whole lot easier than AL thanks to being able to use all the heavy ships at your disposal and bring 12 ships instead of the regular six, turned into a nightmare for your resources because of the very same reasons. One fleet full of heavy ships can already be quite costly, but two fleets deployed at the same time meant an even higher resource consumption. Bauxite supplies usually suffered the most, since almost all enemy fleets contained lots of aircraft carriers with very strong planes. Those that didn't were either submarine nodes or night battle nodes, which didn't make things easier. Also, ships like Akitsu Maru, who were previously deemed useless except for their equipment, actually made things easier. However, the last map, E-6, was a nightmare. First of all, no combined fleet, only your regular fleet of six ships. The first battle node pitted flagship-type carriers and battleship (among other things) against you, and it got progressively worse from there. The "safest" route was over a submarine node and pre-boss node that contained the final boss of the previous map as a regular enemy but still at full strength. To secure this route you had to use two light aircraft carriers, who due to their weak armour got wrecked easily. The alternative was reaching the boss via night battle nodes, where even mere destroyers could wreck your battleships easily. Speaking of the boss node, in order to even reach it your fleet was required to have a very high LOS rating. If you failed to meet that requirement you were sent to a dead end. And even if you managed to reach it, you found out that the final boss was none other than the Battleship Princess, the most hated enemy in the entire game due to her ridiculously high stats and ability to critically damage even your best ships in one shot. Beating this map required you to deal damage to her that amounted to a total of ten times her health bar (thankfully chip damage was allowed). And if the boss gauge had been depleted enough that you needed only one more kill to break it? If your HQ Level was below 100 it was random, but above 100 it was guaranteed that the game pitted two Battleship Princesses against you.
- To further complicate matters, the event outright punished you for trying to figure out branching rules. When faced with a new map, the general course of action is to use different ship types and combinations and see where your fleet gets sent. However, due to the ship locking mechanic, this meant that, for example, you could send ships to Operation AL, only to realize that they were practically useless in it and were actually needed for Operation MI, but now you couldn't use them in MI because you'd already sent them to AL. Keeping two operations in mind when organizing fleets was already bad enough, but with E-6 thrown into the mix it was a punch in the face for those who didn't have a large number of ships at their disposal. As a result of this multiple-front war many players have started training two ships of the same name, which would have been insane in the past when Special Events had only one front, since two ships of the same name can't be in the same fleet.
- Fashionable Asymmetry: Several ship-girls have intentionally asymmetrical designs (The Tone-class and many of the Fleet Carriers per example) but for a few, this trope is invoked and justified. Several of the Operation Ten-Go participants (especially the ones who make their debut more recently) wear only a left thighhigh, as if to emulate Yamato, who wears such legwear by default, either from the get-go or after a remodel.
- 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.
- Gender-Blender Name: Comes with the territory of ships being referred by name and traditionally referred to as girls/women/etc., really — you won't see many Takao, Atago, Kongou, and Musashi as girls' first names. Played completely straight for the Kriegsmarine ships, however, who actually are named after men.
- 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 "BURNING LOVE!" 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!
- If It's You, It's Okay: Most (but not all) of the ship girls towards the Admiral in varying degrees.
- Improbably Female Cast: Comes with the territory.
- 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
- "Atashi" (あたし): Jun'you, Kako, Maya (those three have rougher speech patterns, though), Sakawa...
- "Boku" (僕): Satsuki, Shigure, Mogami, Z1 Leberecht Maass.
- "Jibun" (自分): Akitsu Maru.
- "Ore" (俺): Tenryuu, Kiso.
- "Uchi" (うち): Obviously, Kuroshio and Ryuujou. Urakaze as well.
- "Wagahai" (我輩): Tone.
- "Warawa" (妾): Hatsuharu, in line with her antiquated speech patterns.
- "Watakushi" (わたくし): Kumano.
- 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.
- Kansai Regional Accent: Kuroshio and Ryuujou. Neither are particularly stupid, though.
- Legacy Character: Quite literally in the Kagerou, Setting Sail! light novel, as the identity of a ship is something that is passed on from one girl to another if the previous bearer is killed. This includes memories, by the way. Due to the sheer attrition implied, there are very few "originals" left.
- 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 . As a result, the admiral ended up traumatized by it.
- With the introduction of Isokaze, we have yet another lethal chef, whose food makes the Admiral have a stomachache after breakfast and run away 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 Grinding: At some point Admirals will have to resort to this, as certain stages require a minimum level to survive the normal nodes on it, nevermind the boss nodes that need to be cleared to unlock the stages that come after. And even then, due to the RNG-based mechanic it's not even a sure thing, since it's equally possible for a fleet averaging in the 90s to get stuck at a node as it is a fleet of levels 30s to squeak past it.
- 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). Replaced by choosable Difficulty Levels in Winter 2015.
- 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.
- Luck-Based Mission: Many, many stages, if it wasn't obvious enough already.
- 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 some of the best light aircraft carriers in the game), this trope is played straight.
- Marionette Master: After their upgrade to Light Carriers, the Chitose-class become this, controlling their planes by Dual Wielding control bars.
- 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.
- Moe Anthropomorphism: As mentioned in the description above, all the controllable kanmusu.
- 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. (Most) female admirals somehow avoid the T-head, but still end up looking suspiciously familiar anyway...
- Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Either Admiral (提督, teitoku) or Commander (司令(官), shirei(kan)).
- The admiral in Bonds of the Wings of Cranes plays with this, as barring the fact that he's a blatant pervert, Zuikaku had trouble not only placing his ethnicity, but any distinguishing features (like scars and whatnot), which meant that if he wasn't such a perv, it would be easy to miss him in a crowd.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Rensouhou-chan, a trio of Danbo-like turrets that tag along with Shimakaze. Also Rensouhou-kun, Amatsukaze's turretnote .
- 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 .
- 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.
- Otaku: Sazanami talks like she frequents 2chan. One of Yuubari's idle dialogues also insists she is not interested in watching midnight anime.
- 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...