Reviews: Kurogane Pukapuka Tai
World War Two lesbian sex comedy on the high seas?
Some series are entirely created out of Author Appeal and Fetish Fuel, and this is one of them. If you share the fetishes of the creator, you may love it; if you don't, you might find it rather odd indeed. The obsessions explored here are sexually aggressive lesbians in uniform, naval warfare, and military hardware in general, and the setting is a tropeful and surprisingly clean, given the subject matter, sex comedy and Unwanted Harem plot. If you don't like or get any of the obsessions explored, or are bothered by the fetishization of warfare or Nazi German / Imperial Japanese military subjects, or by the playing for sex comedy of such serious subjects and the consequent making light of the horrors of war, this is probably not the series for you. The juxtaposition of seriously researched military stuff with plenty of Rule Of Cool or Rule Of Funny-driven unlikeliness could work out badly, but for me, this is a case in which it works. There's even, scarily enough, something of an overall plot arc going on, and while the series is young yet (only eight chapters are scanlated into English and I don't think there are that many more available in Japanese) there do seem to be a number of things introduced, Chekhovs Gun-like, to come back as plot points later. The series begins with an introduction to the ship and main characters, which is done in the lower-quality art style typical of omake and includes photos of a ship model for the main ship itself; fortunately, the actual story is much better drawn. It's pretty damn good, actually, and very clear, even in the fight scenes which can sometimes be a scribbly mess in manga. The characters, unsurprisingly, start out as stock stereotypes, but deft characterization touches give them personality pretty quickly. The central character, Commander Kuki, is in many respects in the mold of the typical shonen hero, but GenderFlipped; confident in combat, but shy and easily embarrassed when it comes to relationships and sexual come-ons. She's tomboyish and cute, nigh-on bifauxnen, and way clueless about things. Her harem—shy tsundere XO Mamiya, Chivalrous Pervert U-boat captain Nina, and aggressive seductress Royal Navy Captain Ann—are well-matched, while the supporting characters are interesting as well. In my opinion, the cute-as-hell Odd Couple seaplane crew are the standouts.