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Anime / High School Fleet

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"Comrades at sea are all family"

A century after mining triggers a tectonic disaster submerging much of Japan, the nation has since recovered and thrived, constructing massive ocean-borne settlements along coastal areas. These cities are safeguarded by the Blue Mermaids, an elite, all-female organisation whose members have dedicated their lives towards the defense of ocean routes and civilian populations living along the coast. When she was younger, Akeno Misaki made a promise with her best friend, Moeka China, to join the renowned Blue Mermaids.

Years later, Akeno is admitted to Yokosuka Girls' Marine High School, where she is reunited with Moeka and assigned to be the captain for the destroyer Harekaze. On her maiden voyage, however, Akeno and her crew come under fire from their instructor, and inadvertently become accused of mutiny. Finding themselves wanted fugitives, Akeno and her crew must rally to survive, and in the process, each member of the crew turn to their unique skills in order to help Akeno and the Harekaze navigate difficult waters, overcoming obstacles on the way to discover the cause of these events and all the while, working hard to become full-fledged members of the Blue Mermaids.

High School Fleet (ハイスクール・フリート), also known as Hai-Furi! (はいふり), is an Anime First series by Production IMS that aired during the spring 2016 anime season. The anime features character designs by Atto (who previously worked on Non Non Biyori), and ship designs and CGI by Graphinica, as well as members of the staff who were involved in Girls und Panzer's production. In 2017, two OVAs were released, following Kouko Nosa's perspective in the aftermath of the TV series. A sequel movie with a new plot premiered in Japan in January 2020.

Hai-Furi provides examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst: As evidenced by their facial expressions, the engineering crew become quite envious when they watch Wilhelmina change in preparation for a bath during the sixth episode.
  • Alternate History: After the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, history diverged in that Japan began focusing on extraction of gas hydrates, triggering seismic activity that sunk their nation. Subsequently, Japan did not participate in either of the World Wars. Heavier-than-air flight was also deemed impractical and research on such vehicles was not conducted. A knock-on effect is that at least one ship featured in the show, that in reality was converted or was in the process of being converted into an aircraft carrier, is completed in its original form, the ship in question being the Shinano as featured in the movie.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Akeno asks for a damage report during the first episode, engineering reports flooding in the engine room, artillery reports that the quick reloader is broken...and the galley reports that the rice cooker isn't working. In episode eleven, Akeno checks for combat readiness; the artillery crew are ready and awaiting targeting orders, and the engineering crew have prepared the engines, waiting for Akeno to issue a speed. The Galley remarks that they've prepared rice balls.
  • Artistic License Military:
    • The Independence-class Littoral Combat Ships are armed with the Bofors 57mm cannon in reality, and while the Sarushima is depicted with one earlier in the first episode, later closeups show the Sarushima as armed with the Mark 45 5-inch gun, which is the primary armament for the JMSDF's Atago-class missile destroyers. The firing rate seen is consistent with that of the slower-firing Mark 45 — the Bofors 57mm cannon's Mark I has a firing rate of 200 rounds per minute.
    • I-201 class submarines historically did not maintain a submerged cruising speed of higher than 19 knots for safety reasons, standing in contrast with the I-201 seen in High School Fleet, which continuously holds a speed of 20 knots while pursuing the Hazrekaze.
    • It pushes credibility that any automation could enable a class of about 30 high school girls to sail and fight a Kagerou-class destroyer (which historically had a crew of over 200). It's pretty ludicrous to imagine that it could enable a similar class to do so with a Yamato-class battleship (which historically had a crew of almost 3,000).
  • Big Bad:
    • The Totalitarian Virus, aka RAtT Virus, is a bio-engineered mind-controlling Hate Plague that seeks to prey upon the crew of various ships unfortunate enough to be on its ravaging path through rats as its vectors. It just happens that the said virus is responsible for the death of its creators and the mass-infections of Sarushima, Graf Spee (sans Wilhelmina) and the Musashi crew (sans Moeka).
    • On a more Contrasting Sequel Antagonist route, the Pirate Leader in the movie is a violent, merciless leader of his Pirate crew, who has plans to capture a decommissioned seafort (at least that's what it was purported) by using Susan Reyes, so that he would target countless maritime cities in Japan with it for his bloodlust.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: In the 2016 anime, there are three in total including Kaoru Furushou, Thea Kreutzer and the Musashi Crew, albeit they are all brainwashed pawns to the Totalitarian Virus, who serves as the real Big Bad. Kaoru Furushou served as the main catalyst for Harekaze's exile in the first half of the anime. Thea Kreutzer and the brainwashed Graf Spee crew (sans Wilhelmina) serve as an obstacle to the Harekaze, who wanted to target Wilhelmina and brainwash her. The infected Musashi Crew, on the other hand, serve as the final threat, who attempt to spread the Totalitarian Virus to not just other ships, but to also the Uraga channel close to the Philippines, as well.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Ships helmed by classmates and the Blue Mermaid fleet come together to assist the Harekaze in save the Musashi during the finale.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Harekaze rescues the Musashi, but sinks after everybody disembarks due to the damage it took.
  • Book Dumb: By Akeno's own admission, her grades are average at best, and she feels that her captaincy resulted from her cramming prior to the admission exam. However, when the situation calls for it, Akeno is highly competent at leading and motivating her crew.
  • Born Lucky: Akeno is uncommonly lucky — from being able to bring the Harekaze out of predicaments where they were damaged and outgunned by a thread, to winning a year's supply of toilet paper, situations always seem to turn in her favour.
  • Born Unlucky: At the opposite end of the spectrum is Mashiro, who encounters more than her share of accidents (including slipping on a banana peel and falling into water). She also mentions that her assignment to the Harekaze resulted from her being one off with each multiple choice question during the admission exam, resulting in a poor exam score.
  • Breather Episode:
    • In the fourth episode, there are no confrontations with other vessels; Akeno makes a shore excursion to procure toilet paper and other supplies.
    • The Harekaze's crew celebrating their equator crossing with a festival in episode ten.
  • The Captain: Akeno and her best friend, Moeka, are the captains of their respective vessels, the Harekaze and Musashi.
  • The Cavalry: When Akeno and the Harekaze find themselves sustaining heavy damage during their mission to stop the Musashi, other vessels, including the Graf Spee arrive to assist the Harekaze in their operation, before Akeno gives the order to abandon ship.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Each of the crew members of the Harekaze are unique, and in an interview, mentioned the challenges associated with ensuring that each of the girls are visually distinct from one another.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Beyond being symbols of good luck, the presence of cats on board has one other outcome: each vessel that managed to escape infection by the Totalitarian Virus had cats that helped capture the rodents acting as the transmission vectors.
  • Childhood Friends: Akeno and Moeka have known one another since they were children and become become the captains of their respective ships. Maron and Kuroki similarly have been friends since childhood and serve together in as a part of the Harekaze's engine crew.
  • Class Representative: The student crews are depicted as classes with around thirty to thirty-five students; each ship has a classroom on board, and the captain fulfils the role of a class representative. During the first episode, Akeno leads the class in the "stand, bow, sit" routine.
  • Cool Boat: Amongst the naval vessels seen in High School Fleet include the IJN Yamato, the Musashi, the modified Independence-class Sarushima (a Littoral Combat Ship), and the Deutschland-class crusier Admiral Graf Spee. The Harekaze is a fictional vessel that was inspired by the Kagerou class of destroyers and named after the Harukaze, the lead ship her class of destroyers intended for anti-submarine warfare.
  • David Versus Goliath: Being outgunned and lacking the armaments to fight heavier vessels head-to-head, each battle the Harekaze participates in sees Akeno and her crew at a disadvantage, forcing the Harekaze to utilise its superior speed and manoeuvrability to survive its encounters.
  • Demoted to Extra: Moeka was featured prominently in promotional materials leading up to High School Fleet's airing, but her presence in the anime itself was limited, only appearing briefly in a few episodes and during the finale.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The opening theme is performed by TrySail, whose members also voice the cast in High School Fleet — Momo Asakura is Mikan Irako, Sora Amamiya plays Moeka China and Shiina Natsukawa voices Akeno Misaki.
  • Downer Beginning: The Sarushima opens fire on the Harekaze during the first episode's closing moments, forcing Akeno to go on the defense and respond with countermeasures. When one of the inert torpedoes she fires impacts the Sarushima, Akeno and her crew become accused of mutiny.
  • Ensign Newbie: Akeno is assigned the role of captain to the Harekaze despite lacking any previous experience in leadership and command.
  • A Father to His Men: Akeno deeply cares for her crew and their well-being, making it her responsibility to look after their safety and treating them as family.
  • Flat "What": The crew responds in this manner to Maron's suggestion of hosting a festival during episode ten.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Mashiro desires to carry on in her family's heritage of serving the Blue Mermaids, a tradition that has stood since Mashiro's great-grandmother captained the Blue Mermaid's first ship, hence her enrolment at Yokosuka.
  • Foreign Curse Word: Chaos mid-combat prompts Wilhelmina to utter "Scheiße".note 
  • Genki Girl: Maron and Koko are energetic and seldom allow difficult situations to get the better of them.
  • Girls Love Stuffed Animals: Mashiro has a fondness for stuffed animals: her entire room is filled with them, and she brings a shark plushie to the bridge mid-combat while still half-asleep.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The rodent that Shima is holding has faintly glowing eyes; when Shima contracts the Totalitarian virus, her eyes begin glowing, as do all afflicted individuals who later contract the virus.
  • Hate Plague: The Totalitarian Virus induces irrationality and aggression in afflicted individuals.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The Harekaze succeed in landing shots that seem well outside the realm of possibility, even with a computer-assisted aiming mechanism. Such instances include the successful disabling of the Graf Spee, as well as when Shima manages to intercept an incoming shell mid-flight by shooting it down with another shell.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode (including the two OVAs), save the tenth, features the phrase "In a Pinch" in its title.
  • Improbably Female Cast: Despite taking place at a marine academy, all of the major characters are women; men are present but are not a part of the main cast.
  • In-Series Nickname: Akeno is referred to as "Mike", and Moeka is shortened to "Moka". Other members of the Harekaze eventually get nicknames of their own; Mashiro becomes known as "Shiro".
  • It Has Been an Honor: Akeno and her fellow crew salutes the Harekaze as it sinks while docked during the finale.
  • Last Episode Theme Reprise: The opening theme plays during the climax of the final episode, when the Harekaze crew prepare to board the Musashi.
  • Lost in Translation: When Wilhelmina uses washi, a form of referring to oneself used by older individuals, she elicits giggles from the Harekaze's crew. In subtitled versions, this was replaced with a reference to the Euro's devaluation, causing the original joke to become lost in the process.
  • Male Gaze:
    • During the first episode, the engineering crew are shown in their swimsuits while working below deck.
    • In episode five, the camera lingers on Akeno's midriff while she attempts to strip down and join the others in the water, to Mashiro's protests.
    • While the leadership elements discuss the necessity for heavier firepower in order to recapture the Musashi during episode six, the scene focusses on Wilhelmina's chest.
    • The depletion of fresh water stores on board the Harekaze prompts the combat team to take a shower under the tropical rain during episode seven, with Kaede occupying the spotlight as she washes herself.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: The Harekaze is upgraded twice, with its 12.7 cm/50 Type 3 naval gun turrets replaced by the faster-firing 10 cm/65 Type 98 naval guns during the fourth episode, and by episode eleven, the Type 98 guns are replaced with the American 5"/54 Mk 16 naval guns, which were designed for anti-air combat but could also deal with smaller surface vessels.
  • Mildly Military: Despite being in a military academy, the Harekaze's crew are generally very laid-back and spend their moments outside of combat relaxing even when they find themselves fugitives.
  • Military Moe: High School Fleet is centered around a group of high school girls in a naval academy.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The first episode opens with Moeka and Akeno reuniting to fulfil their childhood promises of joining the Blue Mermaids, and the atmosphere is lighthearted as Akeno gets to know her class better. However, they find themselves under fire from their instructor upon reaching the location for their first lesson and when they begin employing defensive measures, are marked as traitors.
    • Spirits are high during the tenth episode when the girls host an equator-crossing festival, closing as the girls perform a cheerful children's song. As focus shifts to Akeno standing alone, wondering if everyone will make it through their upcoming operation safely, the singing fades into a hollow echo of the girls' voices.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The artificially created Hate Plague is called the "Totalitarian Disease".
  • The Nicknamer: Akeno is fond of giving her fellow classmates nicknames, doing so to help her recall everyone's names more effectively.
  • Ominous Fog: Contrasting the clear weather the Harekaze experiences after departing from Yokosuka, a heavy fog surrounds the Musashi as episode four draws to a close, hinting at the sense of foreboding surrounding the ship and its circumstances.
  • Passing the Torch: Mayuki is impressed with her students' ingenuity and resourcefulness, resulting in this conversation between her and Mayufu:
    Mayufu Munetani: Sorry, Mother, it seems you missed your chance to write history again.
    Mayuki Munetani: It's fine. My students did in my stead.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: Wilhelmina is a German escapee from the Graf Spee who sports light blonde hair and blue eyes.
  • Plucky Girl: The Harekazes all-female crew are remarkably resilient and resourceful, pooling all of their skills and wits in times of danger to survive.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Harekaze's crew are a diverse bunch who did not appear to fit in anywhere else and for the most part, had the lowest scores during the entrance exam (save Mashiro, who's one of the top students and Minami, who has graduated from Marine Medical University despite being only twelve years old).
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Principal Munetani and her daughter Mashimo do not buy into the accusations levelled against the Harekaze's crew, instead focusing on recovering everyone, and gaining a better understanding of the situation before deciding on a further course of action.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Individuals infected with the Totalitarian Virus have a noticeable red glow in their eyes.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The tactics that Akeno resorts to in order to get the Harekaze and its crew out of difficult situations are over-the-top and surprise her crew when she suggests them. Against all odds, these plans work out, whether it be firing a shot to disable the propellers on the Graf Spee by aiming for a target below the water line, or deploying the Harekaze's paravanes to disable a pursing I-201 submarine by tangling its propellers so it can be hit with a depth charge.
  • Retired Badass: Principal Mayuki Munetani, is Mashiro's mother and is well-known for her legendary exploits when she was actively serving as a member of the Blue Mermaids.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: The Harekaze's Type 3 naval guns are replaced by the Type 98s within the span of a day, whereas in reality, it would take much longer to modify the turrets of the Type 3 to accommodate the turret ring of the Type 98 to preserve proper function. Similarly, Kagerou-class destroyers were never designed to accommodate American-designed batteries without major modifications, but the new turrets are nonetheless installed in a speedy fashion during episode eleven.
  • Rule of Cool: While High School Fleet integrates real-world details into naval combat, the anime dispenses with these on occasion to make some scenes more dramatic.
    • The Harekaze intercepts the Musashi's incoming shells with its own ordnance. The success of this technique is highly improbably in reality because of the complexity in working over involved variables required to make such a shot, such as projectile trajectory, velocity and flight times, in addition to things like wind and relative humidity, and then adjusting the Harekaze's guns accordingly to strike the incoming shells head-on.
    • Ships engage in combat at much closer ranges than they would have in reality to the point where enemy combatants were in visual range, and manoeuvres are completed in more quickly than would otherwise be possible. Similarly, some ships are shown to have a much higher firing rate than possible in real life, even with autoloaders reducing the time for reloading.
    • Shima is swept back on the Hazekaze's deck by waves after after Wilhelmina throws her overboard during episode four. This occurs under calm conditions, whereas in reality, gale-force winds would be required.
  • Sadistic Choice: Akeno is made to choose between rescuing Moeka after hearing her distress signal and square off against the heavily-armed and armoured Musashi when the Harekaze is damaged and low on ammunition, or return to port, where she faces arrest and court-martial for mutiny. At suggestion from Mashiro, Akeno decides to return to port and live to fight another day.
  • Sailor Fuku: The main characters wear these as their school uniforms. Justified since they're both students and aspiring sailors, so their use of the sailor fuku hearkens back to when they were originally navy uniforms instead of school uniforms.
  • Shout-Out: According to the spin-off novels, Mashiro's shark plushie is named Bruce.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • When Akeno orders the Harekaze to accelerate and maintain a speed slightly above its cruising speed of 17.8 knots, she acknowledges the engineering crew's remarks that risk of an explosion increases from the increased steam pressure the engines must output to sustain the speeds she's requesting.
    • During its engagement with the I-201, the Harekaze's depth charges do not sink the submarine and instead, forces it to surface. Depending on the depth charge and submarine, depth charges must explode in close proximity to the hull in order to rupture it, but the shockwaves generated can nonetheless disable critical components and require the submarine to surface.
    • In episode nine, the girls initially believe an incoming vessel to the the Musashi, but catch on when they spot its turrets as having two barrels rather than the three seen on Musashi because of the distinct tower-bridge on theHiei, which was designed as a prototype for the Yamato-class.
  • Speaks in Shout-Outs: Minami enjoys referring to Chinese proverbs, quoting The Analects of Confucius in episode two and poet Meng Haoran's Chūn Xiǎo ("Spring Dawn") in episode three.
  • Synthetic Plague: The Totalitarian Virus and their vectors were originally created in a submersible for the purpose of testing a genetic experiment to improve survivability underwater. However, the experiments were unsuccessful, and an accident later released the virus into the world.
  • Terse Talker: Shima communicates with her fellow crew members in short sentences.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The full version of the opening theme plays when the Harekaze rams into the Musashi.
  • Theme Naming:
    • The surnames of the Harekaze's crew take their etymology from people, places or ships.
    • Wilhelmina, formerly of the Graf Spee, takes this to two levels: Location Theme Naming (Friedburg and Braunschweig are both in Lower Saxony, and the former is a neighbor to Wilhemnshaven, the port that the Graf Spee was launched from) and Named After Someone Famous (Ingenol for Friedrich von Ingenohl, and Friedeburg for Hans-Georg von Friedeburg, both of whom are associated to the Kaiserliche Marine).
    • Meanwhile, the cats are named for WWII Japanese admirals; Isoroku for Isoroku Yamamoto and Tamonmaru for Tamon Yamaguchi.
  • The Stoic: Shima and Minami are rarely heard speaking, usually doing so in response to questions other crew members pose for them.
  • Two-Keyed Lock: The Harekaze features a two-man lock that enables the ship's autoloader to select live ammunition; Akeno and Mashiro use their keys to prepare their vessel for defensive combat when the Sarushima fires upon them.
  • Unfriendly Fire: The Aotsuki is heavily damaged when friendly vessels fire upon them, a result of their crew being infected with the Totalitarian Virus.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Akeno's initial propensities to enter a danger zone to personally save those in danger without leaving clear instructions for her second-in-command earn her several lectures from Mashiro, who feels that Akeno's actions constitute as abandoning her crew. Mashiro constantly reminds her that a Captain's role is to ensure the safety of their crew. Akeno understands this and in later situations, formally transfers command over to Mashiro and provide explicit orders before personally tending to a situation as the need arises.
  • Younger Than They Look: The Harekaze's doctor, Minami, is only twelve years old.

Alternative Title(s): Hai Furi