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Manga / Azur Lane Slow Ahead

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Cute Kansen doing cute things
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The naval port of Azur Lane is as lively as it can get—just some of the people present include the upbeat and cheerful Javelin, the laid-back and easygoing Laffey, the quiet and calm Ayanami, and the earnest and determined Z23. Living out their lives to the fullest, these girls get into various shenanigans—slowly but surely!

Azur Lane: Slow Ahead is a Yonkoma manga spin off of Azur Lane written by Hori no Su and was first released on 23 April 2018. It is posted on both Japanese and English official accounts of the game and in Japan has two physical volumes. It can also be read on Mangadex (and Cubari) with chapters being added as they finish.

An anime adaptation premiered on 12 January 2021 by Yostar Pictures and Studio Candy Box. Each episode airs a number of times a week on different sources with the earliest being on mondays.

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Slow Ahead contains the following tropes:

  • A-Cup Angst: This tends to come up with the girls, usually Z23 in response to running into larger (in both displacement and "displacement") kansen. But it's not that she is exactly small, but the other girls are BIG, like the Littorio class battleships
  • Adaptational Curves: While the manga does this by varying degrees to a number of kansen, the anime takes it to another level. A good example would be Bismarck, who in the game and manga has a bust no one would be caught dead calling small, but is not on the level of some girls like Zara, Pola, Taihou or Illustrious. The anime however, boosts them to being bigger than her head.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Anime in each episode, connects two or three chapters together in a series as well as including all 4 starters more often (in the manga, most chapters only have 1-2 of the starters). Various characters also have minor cameos in the episodes. And in an exact case, the first few scenes of episode 1 are an expanded version of colored prologue chapter that came with Volume 1. Episode 9 went a different route, expanding only one chapter (Belfast and Little Bel) to full episode length. Episode 12 in contrast has an original plot involving a number of girls from past episodes.
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  • The Alcoholic: Laffey, which comes up a few times in the manga with one particular incident involving Admiral Hipper's rigging getting drunk off of Laffey's bottle shaped chocolates.
  • All Women Are Lustful: In contrast to the original series, due to the existence of The Commander, many ships behave this way towards him, though the younger leads (Mainly Javelin in the manga) just stop at fairy tale romantic interest.
  • Art Evolution: As time went by, Hori has refined his style by some margin with focused shots having quite some shading on them as one could see with Hiei (chapter 58) and Shinano (chapter 59) being some examples.
  • Butt-Monkey: Z23 is usually on the receiving end of things, be it getting in a snare trap or being mobbed by Meowfficers.
  • Call-Back: The first season finale of Episode 12 has the main cast try to restore Laffey's memory by utilizing the massive breasts of all of the previously seen mature ship girls as boob pillows.
  • Chocolate of Romance: Prinz Eugen reveals that she's making chocolate to further her intimacy with the Commander. She also plans on keeping said chocolate quite close to her chest.
  • Fanservice: Even by Azur Lane standards, the comics don't shy from it depending on the chapter, like Prinz Eugen's and Atago's being prime examples. The anime has some bits unique to it, like a couple of bathing/showering scenes.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Or rather gender blender title, as while Belfast describes that Commander as Goshujin-sama in the anime which is for male lords or husbands, Bel-Chan uses this term for the main cast who are neither in an effort to train with them to become a maid herself, as opposed to Ojou-Sama which is what maids use for female lords.
  • Genre Shift: Azur Lane is an action packed mobile game which also spawned a serialized and serious high stakes anime in 2020. Slow Ahead and its anime adaptation are comedic Slice of Life stories. Unlike a typical "cute girls doing cute things" show however, the series is far less innocent in its content. Black Comedy and "Shaggy Dog" Story chapters are rife (unlike the more light hearted humor of CGDCT), still keeps the fanservice aspect with the more mature ship girls as opposed to focusing on cute innocencenote , and though he is The Ghost, still has The Commander as the object of everyone's affections which drives a few plots as opposed to friendship being the dominant theme.
  • The Ghost: The Commander who clearly exists and is referenced but is never shown. He appears to be a Chick Magnet though, as Prinz Eugen was attempting to win him over with a Chocolate of Romance (and her body) while Dunkerque in episode 5 mentions that she's gonna go on a date with him, much to the shock of the leads who seem to have a crush on the Commander too. In the manga a few ships remark on their interest, with the context of Rodney's chapter was being stood up for a date (and her blasting of the watermelon is venting). It was also he that assigned Z23 to try to teach he others and gave her an idol costume.
  • Harem Genre: Despite that the focus is on the ships and not The Commander, because of their crush or sexual interest in him this series definitely counts.
  • Hotter and Sexier: The manga and anime is this compared to the game. Hori has a way of highlighting the charm points of any kansen, even ones not made for fanservice (such as Haruna in chapter 58). The anime does this through less subtle means. And some of the physical edition only bonus chapters can take it further like Sirius and Atago's chapters.
  • Insistent Terminology: Unlike most of the cast, Belfast refers to the Commander as Goshujin-Sama or "Master", which is for a male lord or a husband. When deciding to train by serving the main cast, Bel-chan herself uses this term for them, who are neither lord nor husband as opposed to Ojou-Sama
  • Living Crashpad: Intentionally done by Shinano to cushion Laffey's fall from a tree, overlaps with Funbag Airbag as she mainly lands on Shinano's very ample chest.
  • Mind Screw: Not a common occurance but a notable case happens in chapter 68 where Javelin runs into Erebus and Terror (in their Halloween skins) in a haunted house as they help her out. There she run into them in their regular clothes, only for them to reveal they've been outside the whole time.
  • Reluctant Fanservice Girl: Honolulu the Tsundere as usual is this in Episode 8, where she hesitates to put on a revealing Yukata her sister St. Louis gave to her to attract the Commander at a festival. Interestingly, the same episode has Washington also reluctantly put on a bunny girl outfit in an effort to match her own sister North Carolina, though the latter insists she's wearing the bunny girl outfit to attract customers for their festival booth. Regardless, Honolulu does warm up to the idea of being with the Commander at the end of the episode when she wins a date with him. Episode 12 thus has Honolulu unintentionally blurt out that Commander is the only one allowed to grope her when Laffey is looking for a boob pillow.
  • Sensei-chan: Z23(Nimi). She tries her best, but has little luck keeping the others in line.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Chapter 14 has Taihou make it clear she has no shame about wearing her dress very low to the point where it might fall off in order to get attention from the Commander, and is okay with wearing it lower if he desires it. The japanese commentary reveals Akagi's just as willing with Kaga stopping her to prevent "pointless brinkmanship". Atago is another example as she happily does a sexy photoshoot of her in various outfits.
  • Shipper on Deck: Episode 8 has St. Louis give Honolulu a revealing Yukata to wear for a festival, explicitly in order to be able to attract the Commander. Honolulu ends up winning a prize that ends up being a date with him anyway, much to her visible pleasure.
  • SleepyHead: Laffey, naturally. It's a common sight to see her falling asleep in various chapters.
  • Sexy Soaked Shirt: Baltimore's bra is exposed after she sweats too much from overdoing club activities.
  • Shown Their Work: Hori draws from both history and in game material for content. Taihou's chapter references bits of her character story while in another chapter North Carolina is show trying to visit I-19 referencing their crews' post war friendship.
  • Slice of Life: The entirety of the series is about day to day shenanigans of the ship girls when they aren't in combat.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: No, Rodney, you are not supposed to smash the watermelon with your 16 inch guns, no! Also, temper, temper, Rodney — you don't need to send fish flying with your own gun again!
  • The Unreveal: The reason for Laffey sleeping in a tree in chapter 58 is never revealed despite Javelin asking early on.
  • Verbal Tic: Ayanami has her "desu" translated as "yes" in the English version, and likewise Javelin semi-regularly adds "wot" and "innit" to the end of her sentences (which from a certain point of view makes her sound like a chav).
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Taihou at one point tries to hide a spare key to the Commander's room in her cleavage, but is thwarted at last minute due to it falling out.
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