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Belated Battleships (second thread, third) is a Kantai Collection fan-fiction written by theJMPer.

Sufficient Velocity link Here. Archive of Our Own.

The Abyssal War has been raging, but the US Navy hasn't managed to summon any of the spirits of her past warships. Their latest attempt strives to summon the shipgirl of the battleship USS New Jersey, only for the ceremony to be interrupted and the ship sunk by an Abyssal surprise attack. Thinking that the summoning failed, English literature professor Arthur Crowning, one of the guests at the ceremony, heads to a nearby diner to console himself with apple pie. Then a six-foot-four blonde woman sits down next to him....

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Belated Battleships is a story of a world where America struggles to find a way to support itself and its allies against an ever-growing Abyssal Threat, but cannot summon a single ship until the Iowa-Class BB-62 New Jersey comes back. What follows is a combination of battle scenes, examination of issues in a post-Abyssal world, and slice-of-life storytelling as the United States takes its first steps back into the ocean, loyal shipgirls at their side.

See also The Iron Dynasty (SpaceBattles, Sufficient Velocity), which appears to be a spinoff set in a Bad Future.


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Belated Battleships provides examples of:

  • A-Cup Angst:
    • Infamously flat-chested Ryuujou gets hit the hardest. But Jersey suffers from it as well, merely because she's not as ridiculously stacked as her Japanese compatriots. This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight after her remodel comes with a cup size increase.
    • Inverted with Musashi when it comes to Jersey. While Jersey has generous cleavage, it's nothing compared to the Gag Boobs of some of the Japanese ships... but even other, more top-heavy ships are jealous of Jersey's other attributes.
    • While some of the Japanese ships have much larger breasts, it's noted that American ships tend to be bustier than those ships of equivalent classes... to the irritation of some of the smaller Japanese ships.
  • Accidental Truth: A piece of art in Jane's Fighting Shipgirls speculated that Jersey would look like a beauty queen, which initially appears hilariously off the mark. Then returning American shipgirls start calling her beauty queen without ever having laid eyes on said artwork...
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  • Alternate Universe Fic: The abyssals of this story do not follow canon's Iroha order and designs, but instead are twisted actual ships.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Most of the battleships, but Jersey and Musashi get special attention. Jersey's been explicitly referred to as "amazonian" in the fic, and attention's often drawn to her towering height.
  • The Atoner: Jersey is constantly trying to make up for missing the action off Samar.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Jersey arrives at her first battle while blasting AC/DC (specifically "Thunderstruck") over the radio. It's later revealed that The Power of Rock is a crucial element in the American summoning ritual.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: This is the reason why, despite Musashi being one of the most powerful and famous ships in the Japanese Fleet, she's kept sidelined for much of the Abyssal War up until now. While she is extremely powerful, her anti-air capabilities are terrible, repair times for Japanese ships stretch into weeks, and it takes so many supplies to keep her fully stocked that the resource-strapped nation can't have her going out on patrol regularly. Even worse, she (as a Yamato-class ship) is a symbol of pride for the Japanese, so if she was ever sunk, it would be a gigantic loss in terms of morale.
  • Badass Adorable: All the Taffies, but especially White Plains.
  • Bi the Way: Both in-story and out, Jersey has taken great notice of how ridiculously attractive several shipgirls are, including Nagato, Mutsu, and Musashi.
    • Word of God is that all shipgirls are more-or-less bi since, on the one hand, they are shipGIRLS, but on the other hand their spirits are a function of their crews who were predominantly straight men.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Battle of Juan De Fuca isn't going well — just one Kanmusu and two modern destroyers against multiple Abyssals, with a slow-moving convoy in danger. And then comes Jersey moving in at full flank speed, blasting the AC/DC song "Thunderstruck" over her radio and within seconds of her getting in range, an Abyssal ship has been reduced to a cloud of flaming shrapnel. Things go downhill for the Abyssals rather quickly after that.
  • Big Eater: Every last one of the battleships and carriers have an utterly monstrous appetite that's tied into how badly damaged/under-supplied they are. A hungry battleship can put a way a quarter million calories in one sitting, if she has to.
    • This is also deconstructed later on: the capital ships need to eat these tremendous amounts of food, and having to fight on an empty stomach doesn't just sharply reduce their combat endurance, it's very physically painful.
      • It also shows how badly this can hurt a nation — while America, having abundant food and resources, can afford to feed ships like Jersey and the Taffies, Japan is very resource-strapped and can't afford to keep some of their best ships stocked and on the front lines.
    • Also shows how while it may be rude for them to eat like a Shonen Anime Hero (shoveling food into their mouths with reckless abandon), it can be much better than the alternative. Washington has the same dietary needs as the other ships, but thanks to her being a proper Lady of War who eats with all the table manners befitting such, it takes her four hours to eat one meal.
    • This is also deconstructed in an earlier chapter when Jersey gets airsick. Because of her vast stomach capacity, she vomits up a literal ton of oil and food.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Various things both comedic and dramatic, including but not limited to thinking that a desire to build models is a sign of pregnancy or taking pride in Dying Alone, demonstrate that although shipgirls look human, they're not truly human in mindset.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Jersey fits this when she's not in battle, but she drops the bluster for cold Tranquil Fury when she actually needs to make something die. Musashi fits the trope to a Tee though.
  • Clothing Damage: Japanese ships show damage differently than American ships. Because blood is somewhat of a taboo for England and Japan (while sex is not as great of one), damage their ships take is represented by how badly damaged their clothing is, while leaving the girl underneath relatively unscathed. Americans have nearly the opposite priorities, with modesty being much more important and blood being much more acceptable, and their shipgirls show damage thusly. The first time that Jersey goes out on a convoy run, she loses an eye, gets severely burned, and covered in wounds, horrifying the Japanese ships that see her... but her modesty is intact.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • On a shopping excursion to downtown Japan with Kirishima, Jersey's confused why everyone seems to be staring at her, since her outfit is so much more mundane than Kirishima's miko outfit. It never dawns on her that at six-four, she's literally head and shoulders above everyone else.
    • It happens again when Jersey and Shinano go to Akihabara. Jersey's wondering how the waitress from a local tea shop knew who they were, but she's a 6'4" blonde American woman wearing a "USS New Jersey" ball cap standing next to Japan's latest hero.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Arizona is back! Great, right? Wrong. Arizona is much slower than other comparable ships, and was sunk before she had fired a single shot in battle in Pearl Harbor. She has no combat experience and is practically a sitting duck for Abyssal targets. In the one battle she fought in the war thus far, she was heavily damaged while sinking none of the enemy. Were it not for the intervention of a Japanese ship and a previously-unknown American shipgirl, she would have been destroyed.
  • Cool Shades: Jersey brings out the mirrored aviators whenever she needs to look extra badass. Or when she's trying to hide her tears. White also has a pair of American Flag shutter-shades she'll pop on when she wants to.
  • Cool Ship: Every ship is cool in one way or another, but particular mention is given to Jersey, who is the fastest battleship ever constructed, and Musashi, whose prowess more than makes up for her impractical dress (and gives very good reason to why her class (Yamato-class) was a direct rival to Jersey's (Iowa-class)).
  • Cosmic Horror Reveal: The story starts out like most Kantai Collection fanfic as the struggle between magical anthromorphised warships defending humanity and the demon warships trying to kill us all. Then it turns out there are higher powers involved with an agenda characters and audience alike can only guess at.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Jersey's vocabulary is absurdly profane, weaving between this trope, Precision F-Strike, and Atomic F-Bomb at will.
  • Crossover:
    • USS San Francisco makes a cameo appearance in Changing Destiny
    • Likewise, Changing Destiny is a book series in-universe. At least a couple of the shipgirls (and Crowning) read it. Alaska met the author of the series while on her first date.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Jersey's first fight since coming back, specifically the Battle of Juan De Fuca, lasts about five minutes from when she enters the fight to when she passes out from exhaustion, the Abyssal Fleet utterly wiped out.
  • D-Cup Distress: Shinano is ashamed of her larger-than-Musashi bustline which she feels to be un-carrierlike.
  • Darkest Hour: One of the reasons why America's summoning rituals failed so much initially is because how this is actually averted for them. Despite how many ships they have, they're initially confused as to why Japan and England have such an easy time summoning spirits of ships, until they realize that the Abyssals, as an ocean-going threat, are direct threats to the tiny, resource-starved island nations. It really is their darkest hour... but America, which sits on a massive continent with plenty of resources, isn't in the middle of its darkest hour. If they wanted, they could turtle up and be totally fine. This means that American ship spirits don't feel the pressing urge to come back from their well-deserved rests, since America isn't being threatened like other, more densely-populated ship spirit nations are. Once they realize this, they change the summoning ritual accordingly and start to get real successes.
  • Does Not Like Clothes: Borie and Frisco frequently go streaking.
  • Dramatic Irony: In "The Gale must suffer", Jersey thinks that if Musashi as the second of her class is insufferable enough, Yamato would be much worse, when the truth couldn't be more different.
  • Eagleland: Something of a mixed portrayal. Jersey is brash, loud, unabashedly patriotic, and kind of a jerk but also courageous, fiercely loyal, and takes offense to the idea that she wouldn't fight to honor America's obligations to its allies.
    theJMPer: Jersey was actually supposed to embody those traits of America. She's an asshole, but she's our asshole. When it comes down to the wire, she'll always do the right thing... after she's tried literally everything else.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The characterizations weren't solidified until after the first few chapters.
    • Ryuujou grew out of her earliest characterization (jealous of ships with larger breasts) rather quickly.
  • Everyone Can See It:
    • There is no ship girl who doesn't make fun of Jersey for her being totally-not-attracted-why-would-you-think-that to Professor Crowning. Crowning at least admits that he likes her, just not to Jersey's face.
    • Wash and Gale. They clearly like each other, but Wash, being a forty-thousand ton battleship, has no social skills to speak of, and her sheer presence and perfection intimidates Gale (not to mention the ability to eat mountains of food and not gain an ounce).
  • Everything's Better with Plushies: Destroyers are occupationally cuddled in lieu of proper plushies, and Arizona keeps a whole escort fleet of stuffed ships to watch over her while she sleeps. In fact, they're the only way she can sleep though the night. (According to Old Iron, she makes sure to tuck them all in before she heads out each morning.
  • Expy: Daniel Stewart, the author of the Changing Destiny book series in-story, is this to the author of the fanfic of the same name, Skywalker T-65. Right down to getting hooked up with his shipwaifu, Saratoga.
  • Fan Disservice: The Jersey/Musashi "sex scenes" are simply horrifyingly unsexy. "Hatefucking" is a very apt description.
  • Fangirl:
    • The taffies are amazed to see Captain America clothing on sale when they visit a mall, thinking he'd be long forgotten in the 21st century.
    • A word from Akagi: "Razgriz!"
  • Fighter-Launching Sequence: Only one so far, and for only a single ship, but when it's USS New Jersey, one of the most powerful battleships ever put to sea, and the deck-crew are using handling procedures based on carrier flight-deck choreography? The result is a launch-scene that is little short of epic.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: All the ship girls are this at first, but as the focus is on the American ships (and they are so new) they tend to get highlighted the most.
    • Jersey assumes that things like Skype Calls have to be arranged beforehand, because of the massive amounts of data involved.
    • American ship girls have thus far proven somewhat suspicious of cell phones.
    • In a case of playing it straight and playing it very serious, some of the Taffy 3 go crying to Jersey because they think that, by hogging the computer, they've driven one of the Japanese ships to suicide. It was a simple misunderstanding; not knowing of the existence of "sudoku," a numeric puzzle game, and confusing it with "Seppuku," ritualistic Japanese suicide.
    • Some of the girls are shown as having problems working alongside... well, some of the girls who had previously killed them. Albacore, having thought that the Japanese were playing a trick on the Americans, hid from the people she was supposed to be helping, only showing herself when Arizona was put in danger.
    • The Taffies proved immensely suspicious of the Japanese when they showed up, thinking that them being peaceful was a trick (coupled with some rather racist language, which, while common for the time, is not appropriate in the modern day). Heerman and Jersey, having survived the war, have to point out that if it is a trick, it's one that's been going on for sixty years.
    • Pennsylvania's worse than the Taffies were. War's been over for 70 years? She doesn't care. Those that died in the war were avenged many times over? She doesn't care. As far as she's concerned, the Japanese shipgirls are just waiting for the opportunity to knife them in the back, and she said as much to Jane Richardson, in front of (and referring to) Shinano. And, unfortunately for Pennsy, in front of Jersey as well.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: As the semi-canonical "Wolfbait's Daily Life" omakes show, not everyone is able to accept the supernatural nature of the shipgirl-abyssal war.
  • Foreshadowing: In "Sushi, confusion, and the suffering of Gale", Washington suggests that she could be able to bear Gale's children.
  • Friendly Rivalry: Jersey has one with Musashi, referencing the real-life debates over which class of ship was superior, Yamato-class (such as Musashi) or Iowa-class (such as Jersey). Both have points — Musashi's guns are bigger and her armor is thicker, but Jersey has better fire control, radar, and damage repair abilities. And then there's... other reasons that they're jealous of one another.
  • Gentle Giant: Nagato's unfailingly sweet to anything of destroyer-tonnage or below, but she's also one of the fabled Big Seven battleships.
  • Gosh Dangit To Heck: When she's happy, Jersey reverts to the very g-rated "Holy Hannah!"
  • Grave-Marking Scene: "Old Iron Writeup 8" is one from John Richardson to his late wife.
  • Hurting Hero: For all her bravado, Jersey's constantly haunted by her failure of Samar and by how long it took her to answer her nation's call. In her words, she's just a "shitty old battleship." Nagato has elements to this, but hides it better — she's ashamed of the actions her nation took during World War II, mentioning Nanking and Bataan.
  • Icy Blue Eyes: Jersey has them, a reference to the blue dye added to her shells to make their splashes distinguishable from other battleships.
  • The Klutz: William D. Porter, or Dee to her friends, means well. But she's the most inexplicably clumsy destroyer the world has ever seen.
  • Knife Nut: Borie, the destroyer who got into a literal knife-fight with a U-boat, carries around a pocket knife at all times. And at one point, threw it at an Abyssal Dreadnought. Just in case.
  • Lady of War:
    • Washington. Beautiful, graceful, deadly... which actually causes problems when her proper eating habits, coupled with the extreme Big Eater tendencies of ship girls means that a single meal for her can last about four hours.
    • And then averted, hilariously, with New Jersey. Japanese ship girls, hearing about an American "Fast Battleship", think that she'll be a Lady of War like their battleships are. What they get is a foul-mouthed, angry, blunt ship woman covered in blood. Oddly enough, Akatsuki still claims that Jersey — despite all of her flaws — is still a Lady of War, just of a different kind, since even though Jersey is, well, Jersey, she still goes out of her way to make sure that those under her command are cared for and are supported in battle.
  • The Lad-ette: Jersey's a impossibly foul-mouthed, notoriously lazy, and massively aggressive battleship. The only checkbox she's missing is the hard-drinking.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In 31b, Jersey discusses with Nagato how she seems to be the only shipgirl whose human form mirrors how her ship incarnation was sunk.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Numerous characters, including Jersey herself, regularly post in the SB and SV threads.
    • When discussing why no carriers have come back for the US, Crowning and Gale speculate that some random omnipotent being has a liking for battleships.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Musashi drops the bravado and focuses on destroying Northern Ocean Princess with ruthless vengeance after Heermann is critically wounded.
  • Lying Creator: theJMPr swore up and down that Musashi would never show up.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Averted and played straight. The summoning rituals for England and Japan are pretty much the same, but never got as much as a rowboat when the ceremony was tried for the United States. Played straight in that it is possible to summon up shipgirls for the United States (obviously), it just requires different resources, stimuli, and motivation, while still being basically the same end result.
  • Male Gaze: Quite a bit of text is dedicated to emphasising the shipgirls' attributes.
  • Mama Bear: Tenryuu towards Destroyer Division 6, of course, but Jersey is just as (profanely) coddling and fiercely protective towards the Taffies. Partly because of the events of Samar.
  • Mood Whiplash: One common criticism of the story is its tendency to alternate chapters of fluffy Slice of Life with gritty, nightmare-fuelling war scenes.
  • Moral Myopia: The Island Princess swears to make mankind bleed for every inch of ground in exchange for all the Abyssals we've sunk and conveniently forgets about, oh, the thousands of people that its kind have slaughtered, which is exactly why humanity is giving no quarter.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Jersey accidentally drinks a carafe full of decaf and suffers the after-effects for several chapters.
  • My Greatest Failure: Jersey's haunted by the Battle Off Samar, a historical naval engagement where a cluster of destroyers, destroyer escorts, and escort carriers fought off the might of the Japanese Center Force. Jersey was close enough to have rendered aid, but her Admiral at the time kept her back after he misinterpreted a question from Admiral Nimitz as a damming statement.
    • From Bad to Worse: she didn't come back as a shipgirl until numerous summoning attempts failed, which only intensified her guilt.
    • She also blames herself for the injuries Heermann received.
    • While not mentioned as often, she does feel minor guilt that Victory was on board her boat-body when it was destroyed, killing the shipgirl in the process.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Abyssals are perfectly willing to leave each other to sink or outright turn on each other to ensure their own survival, as can be seen from the Scharnhorsts in "Because that's totally logical..." or the Raider Princess and Snow Queen.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • In "Old Iron Writeup 7", Arizona recognises something's up when Hiei's mood darkens and she refers to her by full rank and name.
    • In chapter 34, Naka freaks when she realises the implications of Jersey being not just awake but coherent at 5.00am.
  • Oh, Crap!: Akron after she recognizes that the Battlecruiser Princess is CC-3 USS Saratoga
  • Only Sane Woman: Yeoman Gale suffers this, but even she's not immune to the shipgirl weirdness that surrounds her.
  • The Power of Rock: The taffies are summoned in part by Jersey and White Plains rocking out to Danger Zone after watching Top Gun.
    • White Plains is summoned when Jersey roars into battle to Thunderstruck by AC/DC.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Nagato, after Heermann is critically wounded.
    Nagato: Musashi.
    Musashi: Hai, Nagato-sama.
    Nagato: Sink. That. Bitch.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Most of the battleships have long hair. Jersey's in particular is long enough to reach her butt even when it's in a braid. She's accidentally smacked herself or others in the face with it a few times.
  • Rule of Funny: much of the impossible abilities of Shipgirls, from being able to eat a warehouse full of food without putting on a single ounce, to being able to pull airplanes seemingly from nowhere, to the confusion on how to summon them, to how the transition between "Girl" and "Ship" happens is filed under "Sparkly Magical Shipgirl Bullshit." Admiral Williams has standing orders that none of it is allowed to cross his desk.
  • Rule 34: Lewd art of New Jersey exists. The author's main reaction was to lament that the girl in the art doesn't much resemble Jersey as actually described in his story.
  • Running Gag: Mutsu's ability to pronounce tildes drives Jersey batshit.
  • Sand In My Eyes: In "A weapon to surpass the DUCKY", Jersey makes up a number of excuses to deny the fact that she's tearing up.
  • Sex for Solace: Jersey gets frisky with Musashi after Wisconsin gets sunk. They tried, anyway.
  • She's Got Legs: As a fast-battleship, Jersey traded off a little bit of firepower and armor for the kind of speed that makes even destroyers jealous. As a shipgirl, this translated into amazing hips and legs.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sins of Our Fathers: A number of American shipgirls have difficulty forgiving Japan for its World War II conduct. Admiral Williams proceeds to turn this logic against San Francisco, asking her if his coming from Virginia therefore automatically makes him a racist slave-owner.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: The taffies believe this, and insist on tearing the sleeves off of anything they wear.
  • Southern Belle: USS Texas
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Jersey is taken aback by the skimpy outfits Nagato and Mutsu wear, but Musashi's usual form of (un)dress almost makes her completely blue-screen.
    • Arizona's reaction to the skimpy Japanese girls is the famous-in-universe "Prude Rage."
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Jersey has no love for Communists whatsoever, but in "Reunion" she admits that the way the PLAN and PLAAF sold their lives and hulls to evacuate their people inland was admirable and worth avenging.
  • Tank-Top Tomboy: the taffies try to be like this with their sleeveless uniforms, but they frequently revert back to being lovable little girls.
  • Third Line, Some Waiting: There is a main plotline starring Jersey, Crowning and the inhabitants of Everett and Yokosuka, a B-plot mostly written by Old Iron starring Mutsu, RADM Richardson and the inhabitants of Sasebo that sometimes interlinks with the A-plot, and a C-plot of shenanigans from the US Gulf Coast that has mostly been fodder for questionably canon sidestories.
  • Throwaway Country: China is briefly mentioned as having descended into a giant food riot months ago following her military's sacrifices defending evacuation efforts and being radio silent from then on.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Musashi tweeting about having sex with Jersey in " Social Media will be the downfall of us all" eventually blows up on her terribly.
    • In "Weeb-land, ahoy!", a painfully stereotypical otaku makes the mistake of molesting Shinano while Jersey is nearby.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • White loves strawberry milk, but this gets brought up more frequently when she's offering her favorite drink to anyone she thinks needs it.
    • Jersey loves pie, and offering sufficient amounts will buy off any amount of anger.
  • Tranquil Fury: All the battleships, but especially Jersey, get this when Heermann is critically wounded by Northern Ocean Princess's escorts.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Both Tosa Princess and American Raider Princess attempt to capture human officers to become their “Admirals”, acting like very frightening stalkers with a crush.
  • We Have Reserves: Averted. Despite having a near-ridiculous number of ships in WW2 (as the author pointed out, the US had 24 Essex-class carriers during the conflict — more than the total number of ships summoned back by America even after the Summoning Mysteries are mostly solved), the US Navy has had no success summoning shipgirls until Jersey showed up. Figuring out why takes up a good portion of the early story, and continues to be a problem even later on, as summoning ship girls is not an exact science.
  • Wham Line: Wisconsin’s gone
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Most of the naval characters. They're shipgirls after all. Crowning's the only one who's been consistently able to see the obvious solution, because naval doctrine isn't hard-wired into his brain. As an example, when Heermann is badly damaged, the naval personnel and Jersey start making preparations to tow her (and worry about whether she'd capsize while towing). It's Crowning who suggests Jersey simply carry Heermann, since they're both girls.
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