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Azur Lane (碧蓝航线) is a Free-to-Play Chinese mobile Shoot 'em Up with Mon elements developed by Manjuu and Yongshi, published by bilibili for both iOS and Android. It officially has Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and English (US and Canada) servers and localization — the latter releasing on 20 May 2019 after a period of open beta starting on 16 August 2018. An open beta for the SEA region had also begun on 23 August 2018.

Set (mostly) during an alternative timeline of World War II, the player takes on the role of a Commander (CN/JP:指揮官, zhihuiguan/shikikan), commanding and maintaining a fleet of shipgirls. In the midst of an earlier worldwide conflict, a mysterious enemy named the Sirens emerged from the sea, devastating the divided nations of the world and causing humanity to lose more than 90% of its control over the sea.

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Decades later, deciding to unite against this enemy and reclaim the sea, the major nations of the world allied and created Azur Lane, a worldwide military organization. The story starts off with a training drill with the USS Hornet, during which the Commander learns of the bombing of Pearl Harbor; the Ironblood (German) nation and the Sakura Empire (Japan) have formed the Crimson Axis, betraying Azur Lane and using Siren technology to attack the Eagle Union (United States) and its Royal Navy (British) allies.

However, where did the Sirens even come from? What are they really after, and why would they aid the members of the Crimson Axis? Why do they seem surprisingly uninterested in the conflict itself? And what, precisely, do the leaders of the Crimson Axis seem to know that the rest of the world doesn't?...

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The game also spawned a few official spinoffs:

  • Anime
  • Light Novels
    • Starting My Life as a Commander with Laffey
    • Episode of Belfast
    • Ayanami, Happily Married
  • Manga
    • Slow Ahead, a Yonkoma by Hori no Su featuring Javelin and Z-23 as viewpoint characters,
    • Queen's Orders by Tsuchii featuring Queen Elizabeth and Warspite as viewpoint characters.
  • Video Games

See also Kantai Collection, which has a very similar premise with shipgirls, but entirely different gameplay.


This game provides examples of:

  • Ace Custom: Some of the carrier-based aircrafts have five star Ace Custom variants.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality
    • Torpedoes deal less damage to lightly-armored ships. In reality, torpedoes, especially the WW2 vintage utilized in AL, are more like mobile mines and are extremely explosive, making them a bit closer to HE shells. And since lightly-armored ships takes extra damage from HE shells, torpedoes should, theoretically speaking, deal extra damage to them. There are instances in real life where lightly-armored ships were just torn in half after taking a hit from torpedoes, and bigger ships, of course, would last longer before they could be sunk or require repairing. This is averted in case of Kawakaze, because all enemies, regardless of their armor type, will take equal share of misery (115% damage to all armor type) when getting hit by her torpedo.
      • However, this is not much of a determent to sinking light armor enemy ships with your torpedoes as it's possible to boost up your torpedo damage quite a ways and compared with the how Hit Points many light armored ships have, one shots are very likely despite the disadvantageous modifier.
    • Speaking of torpedoes, you can launch them at almost point-blank range in-game (and in fact, this is the most efficient way of utilizing non-tracking torpedoes). First, this is a case of Friendly Fireproof that is acceptable gameplay-wise, and second, in real life, this was an impractical practice, as most torpedoes were equipped with a delayed fuse that prevented them from detonating prematurely if launched from a close distance.
    • Ships can fight without having to worry about the wear and tear of their weapons and equipment. Fuel is the only thing that matters for each sortie. Also there is the instance of Bottomless Magazines, due to the fact that they can continue fighting even when in "out of ammo" state at a cost of 50% of their offensive stats (Bismarck gets a reduction of said penalty from 50% to 35% if she's carrying U-556's pledge of protection).
    • All guns have fixed a ammunition type. In real life, most (if not all) naval artillery is designed to fire different shell types for different purposes. For example, for ship-to-ship engagements, AP shells would be almost universally. For coastal bombardment, the HE shell would be selected. The "normal" shell in-game might be a compromise between AP and HE shells that have both types' pros and cons.
    • Some of the AA guns featured in the game are designed, in real life, to engage both surface and aerial targets. In-game however, they will only engage enemy planes whenever they get into their firing range. Some auxiliary guns, however, have an anti-air stat that contributes to the overall anti-air capability.
    • When heavily damaged, ships will look like they are burning, but without actual damage over time. This is also a separate effect from the "burning" debuff which does cause damage and has its own graphic.
  • The Ageless: Shipgirls are more or less immortal. They cannot get old and will stop aging after reaching a certain point of development (as seen in a trailer featuring younger versions of Yorktown, Enterprise and Hornet). One prominent example is how Kaga looks now comparing to her version back when she was still a battleship - it was almost decades between the two time periods and Kaga didn't seem to age even a bit).
  • Allegedly Free Game: Defied and subverted, where the only thing one definitely needs many Gems (which are also available through quests) for are mostly vanity things like skins, Promise Rings, and dorm expansion. While the Dorm allows for automatic stat and level increases, Commissions are completely free (except for oil costs) and do the same thing too. The aforementioned oil required to start missions, do commissions, and buy food for the Dorm to increase stats and levels is also very abundant. Play Every Day is enforced, as many of the lucrative quests are refreshed daily and weekly. Players also don't want to miss any of the events, as they are very helpful to level up lower-leveled ships too as well as the opportunity to acquire very lucrative and enticing rewards, for free.
    • As well, some of the commissions actually have a chance to award the player with gems, though generally only in small amounts, ~10 - when these rare commissions come up, and if they do indeed end up dropping gems. Most players recommend saving the gems earned from these and from some missions to get the dorm expansions, as they have one significant advantage over commissions (free or otherwise): the dorm restores morale over time. Low morale lowers how much XP a ship earns from battle, while high morale boosts it. More slots allow for more ships to recover morale simultaneously.
    • If you do want to take a Gotta Catch Them All approach to recruiting ships, however, spending gems on dock expansions is mandatory. The default maximum falls woefully short of the number of characters that can join your roster, and that's putting aside having enough space to avoid having to incessantly offload duplicates mid-mission. Even still, free gems are generaly enough to cover most port expansion.
  • Alternate History: While several maps and events are clearly based on specific famous battles and events, some changes have been made for drama purposes.
    • "The Solomon Ranger" is supposed to be a recreation of the Battle of the Eastern Solomons, yet the second map has Mutsu as the boss. While she was really there, she historically never attacked or was attacked by enemy ships then and would only be lost to a still-mysterious turret explosion in port a year later. Also, Enterprise is shown as being on a suicidal-anger plateau of the Despair Event Horizon from the loss of Yorktown, Wasp and, it's implied, Hornet; while the Wasp was indeed struck down at the Eastern Solomons, Hornet was the carrier that relieved Lucky E and Saratoga after the pounding they took in the battle. Hornet wouldn't meet her historical end until the Santa Cruz Islands a few months later.
    • "The Hunt for Graf Spee" has the titular Graf Spee scuttling herself in the middle of the Battle of River Plate, against the Royal Navy forces. In reality, she was scuttled after making it to a neutral port looking for repairs to make her seaworthy, following said clash with British forces. note 
    • "Crimson Echoes" show us Amagi and Kaga completed as a battlecruiser and a battleship respectively (with Akagi also featured and still fitting-out), and the latter two's eventual conversion to fleet carriers due to the Washington Naval Treaty. In reality, none of them were that close to completion prior to the Washington Naval Treaty. note 
    • "Moonlit Overture", a recreation of the Battle of Savo Islandnote  somewhat glosses over some of the details regarding Chicago and Australia's role in the communication breakdown that lead to the outcome of said battle.note 
    • An alternate version of the Battle of the Denmark Strait plays out in the game's beginning introduction, followed "Scherzo of Iron and Blood". In this version Bismarck was given new powers by the sirens, and with this new found power heavily wounded instead of sinking the HMS Hood in one hit. The Royal Navy proceeded to hunt the Bismarck for betrayal of the Azur Lane alliance instead of the context of preventing merchant raid in the WWII. The hunt of the Bismarck then proceeded with some siren intervention thrown in. note  Bismarck still sank in this version, but a roaming U-556 spotted the sinking Bismarck, and rushes to fufil her promise to save her. Whether she suceeded or not was not mentioned in the story. In actual history, U-556 spotted the the Royal Navy ships heading to Hunt the Bismarck, and they were not deploying the usual anti-submarine measures. However U-556 had already spent all ammo on hunting merchant ships and was low on fuel, thus she could only relay messages back to the command while witnessing the hunt and sink of Bismarck despite being the closest German vessel on the scene.note 
    • The first half of "Iris of Light and Dark" is a retelling of Operation Catapult and the Attack on Mers-el-Kebir, in the French Algerianote . One of the differences, is that Dunkerque and the others act as if Vichy France is already in full effect, but Operation Catapult happened a week before the formal formation of Vichy France, in July 10, 1940. Furthermore, Richelieu is shown as joining the brits, but in real life, she was attacked by Hermes at Dakar following the attack of Mers-el-Kebir.
    • "Ashen Simulacrum" establishes in A2/B2 that NYC harbour is the most heavily-fortified location of the Eagle Union. The now-defunct real world Naval Station New York was far from any exemplar of American naval might.note 
  • Alternate Self:
    • The shipgirls that the Commander personally orders to sortie do not seem to be the same shipgirls as seen in historical events (which can be experienced in flashback events or the main story). This is why your shipgirls will occasionally comment on their ultimate fate, unlike in-story characters. There are events like "Ashen Simulacrum", though, where the ships are explicitly your group.
    • This can lead to some hilariously peculiar moments, depending on how your drops or gacha rolls go. For example, the final boss of Chapter 3 is Hiryuu (the chapter being Midway). The previous mission (3-3), however, features Hiryuu as a drop. It is, therefore, entirely possible to obtain Hiryuu as a drop, put her in a fleet, and then have her kill "herself".
  • Ambiguous Situation: Due to the events scrambling around, there isn't really any way to pinpoint which girls are alive when - for instance, ships such as Helena, Hornet, and Juneau have been shown alive and well, despite being sunk canonically.
  • Anachronic Order: The events can be problematic this way: they're side stories or additional backstory to the conflict we see and some of the individual ships involved, but unlike, say, Fate/Grand Order (where the event stories usually take place between the story chapters which bracket their release), precisely when they take place in the war jumps around in the chronology and the game expects you to broadly know your history in order to keep up.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • For starters, everybody speaks Chinese or Japanese regardless of side (and presumably would speak English if full English voice for the game was considered feasible), flat screen television exists, the Coca-Cola Captain Ersatz use the modern bottle design, apparently video games exist (as shown in Long Island's sidequest), as do idol singers (as shown in Unicorn's sidequest), light novels, manga, and modern romance novels as seen in Visitors From Another Dimension (the Hyperdimension Neptunia event), and online shopping and thus the internet (Atago's sidequest), but all the characters are based on WWII warships and have appropriate armament for WWII warships and seem to have no prior knowledge of the events of WWII.
    • However, some lines and biographies have the ships reference things that happen later in the war, such as battles they take part in long after the start of the game, or even after the war, including mentioning their eventual fates note . This is an exclusive trait to your playable ships, as the story ones appear unaware of such things. As such, much of the anachronisms are actually explained: the majority are only seen alongside the playable ships, who seem to be living in an era post-WWII, which is explains why they have modern technology and concepts, while little to none of the anachronistic elements show up alongside the story versions.
  • Animal Motifs: Most of the IJN girls have animal features such as ears and tail or wings (with the broadest association being kitsune), while other IJN girls have Oni horns. A few ships from other nations, such as the Sims or Benson classes, also get in on the action.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Danger level: It does not make clearing stage any easier, but it does make your quest for farming shipgirls much easier in the future after clearing said stage, such as Jintsuu in World 10-4. With hard mode stages, lowering it to 0/Green and 3 starring a level allows you to just fight the boss (making farming boss only drops easier to a degree). However, expect future events to be initially harder, so it is zig-zagging here.
    • Level difference between your ships and the enemy. Of course, your ships grow stronger and more powerful with each level, but that's not all. The higher level you are compared to enemy, the more damage you deal to them, and less damage taken from them, capping at 50% (which means the level difference is at least 25, as each level grants 2% more damage deal and 2% less damage taken). The only exception to this is chapter 13-4, in which enemy boss fleet is at level 122, which put you in a slight level disadvantage (your ship maximum level, currently at the time of this writing, is 120). But then when coupling with Danger level, which acts as level difference bonus (each Danger meter cleared grants you 2 levels difference), would make things much easier. It's the reason why it is recommended to limit break your ships as soon as possible (unless you can manage an acceptable level difference when running 0LB fleet for cheap farming).
    • A plurality of ships can be obtained in different ways instead of just spending Wisdom Cubes and Coins on the build menu and gambling in the gacha, which really helps make every ship collectible for the average player. Many are available as quest reward drops, even up to the highest rarity and including some of the strongest in the game; as boss fights guarantee a ship drop when beat with an S ranking, even casual story progression nets numerous ships. During major story events, the signature Super Rare of the event can typically be farmed as a drop from the final mission of the story as an alternative to completing point-based goals. There are only a small number of non-event-related girls who never drop from quests, and even these have ways of being acquired that don't necessarily rely on the gacha (for example, girls like Enterprise and Warspite rotate through the Medal of Honor shop, and you can farm for ships to convert into MoHs if you really want to go for it).
    • If a ship is sunk during battle, you can quit the current battle before it ends and your fleet's health will be back to the point before said battle, at the cost of spent oil.
    • Also, you have one free chance per day to fully restore a sunk ship to full health after a battle. The subsequent emergency repairs are available via gems.
    • Moving over a defeated enemy fleet's "carcass" will not trigger an ambush or airstrike from the enemy. However, this mercy doesn't apply to ambush fleets themselves, which do not leave a carcass to hide in. The elite fleets during events also do not leave anything behind, but that is hardly a concern as there are no ambushes at all in modern events.
    • Some maps feature ammo replenishment point, in which you can resupply up to three ammo to have some advantage over enemy fleet (you deal more damage to the enemy when ammo is full).
    • When refilling the dorm's supplies, the game will warn you if there isn't enough room for current supply item, so you won't waste a more expensive supply item.
    • If your oil supply is full, you cannot collect oil from the Cantina. However, you can still collect oil from missions and commissions, so it will not go to waste. This oil storage, however, has a hard upper limit.
    • The game warns you that the auto-battle AI is stupid.
    • The warnings for both overfilling dorm supplies and the auto battle AI can be turned off.
    • Kantai Collection veterans rejoiced on discovering that map composition requirements are explicitly spelt out, there is no RNG in where your ships move on the map, and there is no system of "locking" your ships to an event map.
    • The Ashen Simulacrum event introduced a new features called "Fast Forward", which greatly accelerates the movement speed of your fleet in the campaign interface, regardless of whether you cleared the map or not. Sadly, this feature isn't available after that event.
    • The second batch of Priority/Decisive ships. Players often complained that the requirement for grinding EXP for PR1 ships was so strict (only allow ships of same type to take part in), for example, Roon's grind ONLY allows Ironblood cruisers (both light and heavy) to take part in, and back then, the Ironblood cruisers weren't very good, aside from rare gem like Leipzig, thus leading to very long and frustrating journey. In second batch, grinding ship allows all same supertype (either vanguard or backline) ships to take part in (for example, Seattle's grind allows all Eagle Union vanguard ships to take part in). Aside from some fleet tech point requirement, grinding for PR2 ships wasn't as tedious as before, even for super invoked Game-Breaker ships like Azuma or FdG. And with the release of the PR3 came with some adjustments to make getting the PR1 easier, with making their ship class requirements the same as the rest as well as quests to get exp packs used to fill in the Experience requirements.
    • The Universal Bulin and Prototype Bulin Mk.II can be used as Limit Break and retrofit materials in place of the ship you're actually trying to upgrade. This effectively means a lot less farming is required in order to fully upgrade Super Rare ships, since both Bulins are given as rewards for completing easy side-missions.
  • Anyone Can Die: The story and events related to them won't be afraid the kill off certain characters. Justified since a part of it is loosely based on World War 2.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit:
    • For each fleet, you can only take up to 3 capital ships for your main force and up to 3 screen ships for your vanguard.
    • You can only take a certain number of these up-to-six-ship fleets into each map. It starts at one in the first chapter and increases from there.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: Battleships' and battlecruisers' main guns cannot fire at targets too near to them, though you'll only see this happen in PVP. This is where their secondaries start firing.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • The AI controlling auto-battle is frankly not the sharpest tool in the shed. It often blatantly runs your vanguard into projectiles even when there's plenty of room to dodge and uses abilities as soon as the cooldown is over without regard to positioning and timing. At least the game is kind enough to warn you of this when you choose the option, and it's ultimately how Exercises are fought anyway and a huge convenience for Level Grinding as your ships become basically invincible if they're 15 levels or more higher than the enemy.
    • Transport ships in "Maritime Escort", like almost every other subject of Escort Mission, will take the shortest possible route to the destination without caring one bit about enemy ships and mines in the way.
  • Artistic License – Military: The ranks in Exercise Mode are a weird mix and match between between proper naval ranks (Ensign, Commander, X Admiral) and army ranks (Private, Sergeant, Major) thrown in together.
  • Artistic License – Ships:
    • You can, and will, equip armaments from different nations for any ship, leading to setups like Enterprise armed with Zeroes, for example. However, certain ships have skills that only work with specific equipment (Bataan, Graf Zeppelin, Jean Bart, and King George V all have such skills), typically guns or aircraft unique to their nation.
    • Like in Kantai Collection, a fleet with carriers in the backline should realistically never get in range of enemy shells unless something has Gone Horribly Wrong. It wouldn't be much fun however if all the vanguard had to do is Anti-Air duties.
    • Just like Samuel B. Roberts in both Warship Girls and Kantai Collection, Eldridge (a Cannon-class destroyer escort) is mis-typed as a destroyer, but her stats like her speed reflect the difference.
    • Nevada states that she carried two nukes in her biography. The real USS Nevada didn't even carry one nuke. In actuality, the USS Nevada was hit with two nukes, being one of the old ships used as targets in Operation Crossroads(the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests), and was meant to be the bullseye for the first test, having been painted red to help the bombardier target it (he missed). Impressively, while heavily damaged by the second test, it remained afloat, and even being used as a target for gunnery practice failed to sink it, eventually requiring the use of an aerial torpedo to finally put her down. Of course, this is most likely on purpose, as this Nevada is a living, breathing person, and it would be rather hard to explain why the Eagle Union decided to use her for nuclear target practice.
    • A number of ships appear to have been mixed up with ships with the same name (assuming there isn't some intentional case of Composite Character):
      • Comet is based off of the 1930s C-Class destroyer HMS Comet, pennant number H00. However, she mentions serving in the Far East Fleet and being fitted for mine laying, which H00 never did. HMS Comet, pennant number R26, is the one that served in the Far East Fleet and got fitted for mine laying, and was a destroyer that belonged to the 1943 C-Class, a different class than the 1930 C-Class.
      • Ark Royal says she is the Royal Navy's first purpose built aircraft carrier and served as the prototype for the ones that followed, but she's based on the carrier that fought the Bismarck, HMS Ark Royal, Pennant Number 91 (built and launched in the 1930s), which is a different ship from the HMS Ark Royal that was the Royal Navy's first purpose built carrier (which was built in 1914). As well, the 1914 Ark Royal was the Royal Navy's first purpose-built seaplane carrier, meaning it carried planes that took off and landed on water, deploying and recovering them using cranes. While it was built to be able to launch some wheeled aircraft and did carry some originally, it did not have a proper flight deck and could not recover them, meaning they had to return to an airbase to land. Despite this, they never actually launched any of their wheeled aircraft, and soon replaced them with additional seaplanes. To make this more bizarre, the Royal Navy's actual first purpose-built aircraft carrier is in the game: HMS Hermes, which was also the world's first ship to be designed as an aircraft carrier (though the Japanese Houshou launched and commissioned before her due to construction delays), and they do make several references to her being the first (she's makes mention of it in several lines, she's in the Aviation Vanguard collection alongside the other firsts).
    • That said, despite these goofs, they're also good at introducing historical footnotes that most people would not know.
    • Some equipment in-game also takes some differences from their real life performance. An example would be SB 2 C Helldiver bomber. Its maximum takeoff weight is around 2,000 lbs, yet it carries a 2,000 lbs bomb and two 500 lbs bombs, which far outweight its capacity by almost 1,000 lbs.
    • Something like a Dub Name Change: In CN and JP clients Kaga identifies herself as a Kaga-class battleship in "Crimson Echoes" B3/D3 preboss cutscene, as per Japanese sources. In EN, however, she calls herself a Tosa-class battleship, as per English sources.
  • Ascended Glitch: invoked A glitch appeared after the November 12 update that allows you to zoom in or out your secretary, which means you can zoom in to see her... assets more clearly. Since fan loved it so much, Yostar decided to let it be, and promised to implement this feature in the future. Well, fans love it so much that the Trello entry that reports said bug has been downvoted... A LOT. This new "feature" got implemented a week later. This feature is not available on CN client (perhaps due to censoring policy).
  • Ascended Meme:
    • Subverted. The third English server, Sandy, was thought to be named after meme queen San Diego, but it turns out all versions had this server prior to the English release.
    • There is the special dance stage furniture item released in other areas for reaching one million downloads, which is heavily about San Diego (from her face on the screen, and the legion of San Diego backup dancers that appear when you put a shipgirl on it, to her own image song playing when it happens).
    • Her sheer amount of Memetic Mutation led to the devs giving Sandy a remodel, making her the first ever playable ship above SR/SSR rarity - Ultra Rare.
    • To a lesser degree, West Virginia, where even the character designer jumped on the "Take Me Home, Country Roads" meme bandwagon.
    • The perception of greedy Akashi made by fan is becoming more and more prominent. During the Neptunia collab, she stated that she will take her share of profit made by Neptunia girls. I will get my share of the profits you earned from this event down to the last cent. Capiche?
    • This loading screen canonizes the Egyptian Gods trio of Helena, Wichita and Cleveland.
    • The poor translation of Hornet's name as "Big Wasp Yo" led to first community jokes and now In-Universe acknowledgement (as the modern, improved translation leads to Hornet warning you to not call her Big Wasp, a "feature" that isn't present in the other translations).
    • There had been circulating a lot of jokes in the fandom about how the T4 gear boxes Shiranui sells on discount are really just T3 gear boxes she painted gold. Then as of the May 23 2019 update, they actually added an image of her repainting T3 gear boxes as a potential loading screen, confirming many people's suspicions about her practices.
    • Some fans like to portray Enterprise as kind of military police who comes knocking when Ark Royal gets too pervy with destroyers. The English version canonizes this in "A Prayer for Peace" when Georgia threatens to call Enterprise on Ark after the latter's in bliss due to there being so many destroyers at the party. Later, in Spring Festival Justagram event, there's an entry of a rather excited looking Ark taking a photo of a scared looking Little Bel featuring an angry Enterprise standing behind Ark with a pair of handcuffs, with Enty captioning the picture "We caught her red-handed". Ironically, it's revealed that Ark was actually innocent, as she isn't interested in anything other than destroyers and the Commandernote .
    • "Apologems" is a very common fan catchphrase in any gacha game community, referring to the premium currency given to compensate players every time an unexpected issue or maintenance happens. In the Juustagram event, the player can choose "#Apologems" as a comment to the post where Akashi hoards a lot of red training books (the most desired kind) in a secret room.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • Played straight with cases like Bismarck — being the fleet leader of Iron Blood (as stated by Z23), she is a powerful battleship, and one of the best unit in the game. Others like Queen Elizabeth (who is supposed to be Royal Navy leader) are less badass, but it is certain they command respect and prestige to a degree.
    • Inverted with the case of the Commander. We never see the Commander fighting directly, but the Commander is the highest ranking military officer in the naval base and is put in charge of the entire fleet, consists of warships from different factions, and each faction leader will report to the Commander directly.
  • Black Box: Wisdom Cubes. They're inherited from Siren technology and allow your ships to manifest as human girls in the first place. The purpose of the Lab and its Technology tab is to research its properties and try and decipher how they function. Akashi and Yuubari tried to study it multiple times, without much success (other than the incident where they accidentally cloned Belfast (as Little Bel) when trying to study the cubes with captured Siren laser, and later 6 more girls (Akagi, Hiei, Graf Zeppelin, Cleveland, San Diego, Helena) before Akagi tells her to cut it off).
  • Bland-Name Product:
    • Gamaha, Kuwai as a stand-in for the real world city of Yamaha, Kuwait.
    • "Crescendo of Polaris" also has stand-ins for social networking sites: Juustagram for Instagram, and Portxiv for Pixiv.
    • The McLaren P1 in St. Louis' "Luxurious Wheels" anniversary outfit has the McLaren logos on its wheels' centre caps altered.
  • Bleached Underpants: Several artists, both for in-game art and related media like anthology comics and such, had worked on hentai art and doujins (may or may not including hentai Azur Lane art) before (or still do while) working in official capacity.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation:
    • The quality of the English translation early on is...poor, to say at least. Like translating Hornet's name to "Big Wasp Yo". Even after the game goes into open beta/release, the quality of translation, while serviceable, can be pretty inconsistent, including some completely unnecessary translation like translating Indianapolis' "All or Nothing" skill into "Vice Defense", even though "All or Nothing" is already in English in the Japanese version (which the English version is based on).
    • Another example is Enterprise's eagle being named God of Death in the English version, a valid translation from Shinigami, but it's clearly meant to be a reference to her VF wing, the Grim Reapers, which is also a valid translation.
    • Instead of the Free French faction being called Iris Libre like in the other versions, the English version would call the faction Iris the Liberty. According to the translation team, this was an order from the higher-up, and they weren't allowed to change it back. Recently, they seem to have gone back on this, with most of the references to the faction now being Iris Libre.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • It's possible to beat even the level 70 version of the Escort Cargo challenge by simply heading straight to one corner when it starts and then moving only as little as necessary to dodge the incoming torpedoes. It doesn't look as cool as staying in the centre and trying to dance through the patterns, but is much safer.
    • In general, lower rarity ships, especially if they have a retrofit. They tend not to have as impressive of stats as their higher-rarity counterparts and with very few exceptions, have simpler and less-flashy skills, but they cost less oil to field and are easy to limit break, retrofit, and in the case of commons, are easily fed duplicates for faster gains in enhancement, and a large portion of a ship's overall power comes from her equipment. As a result, when well-equipped, low-rarity ships can still be very useful.
  • Born as an Adult: The various ship girls are born/created looking whatever age they look in game, and only grow if they receive a retrofit. This is established as canon in Little Bel's event, during which Belfast mentions that she was never a child, being born in the form seen in-game. This also seems to be a Retcon of earlier, pre-release material, however (specifically a brief scene used in a few trailers) in which the Yorktown-class girls were shown as kids.
  • Boss Warning Siren: A giant "EMERGENCY STATUS" blares up in the middle of the screen, and the music abruptly changes into the boss battle theme.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • In the Lively Afternoon Tea Party mini-event, Inazuma tells Ikazuchi that if she stays too long in her room, her portrait in the Archives will grey out.
    • Inazuma and Ikazuchi can generally see right through it.
    • In the 4th chapter of "Visitors from Another Dimension" event, there's a lot of discussion going on about gameplay mechanics like the mood bar or running out of fuel by grinding stages. Not a surprise considering it's a crossover with the Neptunia series, where breaking the fourth wall happens very often.
  • Broken Pedestal: In "Ink-stained Steel Sakura", when Nagato asks why she can't sortie during the cutscene unlocked when opening the second phase, a mysterious voice asks her how she thinks the people will be affected if they see a seemingly invincible battleship like her hurt.
  • Bullet Hell: Pretty much every boss stage has incredibly dense bullet patterns. At later maps, even regular stages will become this. Unlike other Bullet Hell games, you are expected to tank hits, especially if your levels are far higher than the stage you are currently playing if you Level Grinding.
  • Bullet Time: When battleships fire their main guns, the time will be slowed down a bit. The second and third volley, however, don't benefit from this effect.
  • Chekhov's Gun: "Swirling Cherry Blossoms" introduces one in the form of the Watatsumi, an artifact that the Sakura Empire can use to evidently bring ships that have no other grounding in reality (e.g. no history) into being. The gun then has ammo placed next to it on the shelf when, during the event, Prinz Eugen wonders if it might just help the Ironblood with "Plan Z", and a bit later Akagi is receptive to sharing the artifact with Eugen and the IB for this purpose in exchange for IB technical information and what exactly they really know about the Sirens... and cut to black.
  • Collision Damage: Bumping your ships against the enemies will cause damage to both sides. Glowworm's main skill increases the Collision Damage she deals to enemy ships while decreasing the Collision Damage she takes.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Gameplay-wise, AP shells are light-blue, HE shells are light-red, normal shells are yellow, and SAP (semi AP) shells are purple.
  • Combat Stilettos: If a kansen isn't wearing high heels in her default CG, there's a good chance that she's wearing them in another skin. Given that they slide along the water's surface ice-skating-style during missions, high heels wouldn't be that much of a hindrance.
  • Composite Character: There's hints that kansen are partial composites of all ships that shared the WW2 ship's name. Deutschland's character story concerns the fact that she's a composite of both the name ship of the Deutschland class and the Admiral Hipper class Lutzow, which she was renamed to replace.
  • Continuity Nod: One of Surcouf's lines has her tell the Commander about a secret napping place. A line from Jean Bart's later-released Private Après Midi skin has her confusedly wonder how Surcouf found the place she's now in.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Mankind is but a gnat against the threats it's facing. It was getting soundly beaten by the Sirens prior to their leaking access to Wisdom Cube technology, with the strongest Sirens being in-story fleet or country killers, and even then every victory is for naught because the Sirens can just discard the timeline while keeping what they've learnt. Yet despite all these advantages, Siren perspectives imply there's something out there even they can't beat, hence all this tomfoolery.
  • Crosshair Aware: A red line will appear to show where an enemy unit's torpedoes will go. There's also red circles to warn where bombs or shells will drop.
  • Crossover:
    • There's a crossover with the Neptunia series with a few event maps, special furniture, and the ability to get the four main characters and their Goddess/HDD forms from a mix of tasks (Neptune, Vert), and construction (everyone else). Interestingly, it seems that the Neptunia crossover was just the start of their collaboration with Compile Heart and Idea Factory, with both of them being revealed as the developer of the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
    • There was a mini-event doing a bit of crossing with Armored Trooper VOTOMS, where the amphibious Marshydog AT ends up appearing with the girls having no idea what to do with it; it ends up being the prize at the end (a furniture piece that you can stick a shipgirl into to start it up).
    • There was also a cross-promotional campaign with World of Warships. Azur Lane receives six new ships based on high-tier "paper ships"note , available through the research system. On the other hand, World of Warships received fully-voiced captains and unique camouflages for certain ships that are also featured on Azur Lane.
    • There's also a somewhat unlikely crossover with Utawarerumono, specifically the latter games, featuring several of the female cast as new ships.
    • There's the long awaited (for both long time fans of the game and of the character) crossover with Kizuna AI where she ends up in the game world and dealing with clones running amok. You get the original/Destroyer one by logging in (and more from a mini event) while you can build other variations from the event build.
    • Following the success of the Kizuna Ai event, November 2019 saw the release of the hololive event, which centers around seven of the VTuber agency's (at the time) most popular characters. Its story also references a lot of said group's out-of-character livestreaming shenanigans on YouTube.
  • Crossover Cosmology: The Sakura Empire has strong Shinto styling, but their reverence of a solitary Creator rather than a pantheon of kamisama has more in common with monotheistic faiths. Some of the shrine maiden themed ships you get are more prone to talk about multiple gods, making the implication Creator worship is tied to the Sirens, more so given the main one talking about it is Story mode Akagi.
  • Cute 'em Up: More or less. Your units are represented as cute girls fighting equally cute girls on the opposing side.
  • Cute Little Fangs: Plenty, though some girls will only show their cute fangs in chibi form, such as USS Craven or USS California.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: Contrasting the strongest Sirens that are allegedly far more powerful narratively than in gameplay, the friendly fleets in many cutscenes will claim that they are having difficulty with their foes even if the player brings an overleveled fleet with optimised equipment that freely curb stomps.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Some of the strongest Sirens are said in story text to be One-Man Army or Person of Mass Destruction that can do things like destroying whole fleets or threatening to destroy entire countries. While such bosses' EX or SP stage incarnations are the sort of thing Commanders will indeed need optimised, fully-leveled shipgirl compositions with fully-upgraded gear to deal with, it's still a far cry from the sort of thing the story claims they're capable of.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Tactical Training Daily Raid features bosses with over 150 HP bars for a level 60 fight — in contrast, most flagship fights of this level hover between 30 and 50 HP bars. There's an option to pick one of three modes of attack (Aviation, Shelling, and Torpedo) to boost one source of damage to hopefully kill this boss in 90 seconds (60 if you want the full reward).
  • Damage Is Fire: Your own ships will look like they are on fire if their HP drops low enough without suffering damage like terran buildings. This is different from burning, which deals damage over a certain period of time.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • The "Pursuit of Graf Spee" event features Ajax commanding a vanguard of Achilles and Exeter to intercept the titular Ironblood ship, and Ajax gets the bulk of the dialogue and character development as a tactician, overshadowing even Graf Spee herself.
    • "Crimson Echoes" revolves around Amagi and a younger Kaga, around the era of the Washington Naval Treaty.
    • "Visitors Dyed in Red" focuses on the 5th Carrier Division, Zuikaku in particular.
    • "Divergent Chessboard" revolves around the Ironblood Faction in general
    • "Strive, Wish and Strategize" features Repulse and Prince of Wales at the Naval Battle of Malaya.
    • "Solomon Ranger" focuses on Saratoga, Enterprise, Atlanta and Portland as they defend Guadalcanal in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons note  from the likes of Shoukaku, Zuikaku and Ryuujou.
    • "Winter's Crown" provides revolves mostly around Duke of York, Victorious, Belfast as they hunt Scharnhorst in Battle of North Cape, and Tirpitz in Operation Tungsten. Surprisingly, it also has a Code G cameo.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: A shipgirl running out of HP merely deducts a small amount of morale with no other penalty, contrasting Kantai Collection where they can be Killed Off for Real. Averted, however, in the story mode where characters both good and evil are suffering plotline death with Hood as the first casualty.
  • Decapitated Army: Defeat the boss on her node and you complete the map regardless of how many mooks or planes are left, even if they were one more shot away from destroying your vanguard or flagship note . Also applies to the player in PVE, though, as you lose as soon as your flagship is defeated even if there are still healthy members of the backline around. That said, it is downplayed with the player, as the fleet will simply retreat from the battle and reform with its surviving members. It will only be removed from the mission map if the entire vanguard or main fleet is sunk. However, as shown in Kaizo Trap, if your vanguard gets destroyed by a stray shot during the explosion animation, it counts as a defeat on your part.
  • Defector from Decadence: Mikasa and the 5th Carrier Division defect from the Sakura Empire and the Crimson Axis, joining Azur Lane as the New Sakura Empire, in order to oppose the sirens and the 1st Carrier Division.
  • Difficulty Spike:
    • The SP4 stage of the Kizuna AI collaboration suddenly forces you to fight level 80-plus enemies after the much more manageable 60-plus enemies of SP3. The same exact thing occurs in the Hololive collaboration event as well. These two events don't follow the rules of having a Hard Mode (only having an EX mode with an SP stage and an EXTRA stage), so that explains that part.
    • World 11 onwards also is this compared to World 10, where the amount of suicide boats and surface firepower massively increases in World 11, and World 12 and 13 are filled with absolute massive number of aircraft. The last two worlds mark the point where your possible level advantage starts to really thin out (with World 13 putting you at a slight level disadvantage at best), requiring a focus on a good fleet composition and equipment.
    • At event scale, the Ashen Simulacrum is notable to be one of the hardest event so far, even for some veteran players (who mostly got caught off-guard with its gimmicks) with introduction of new mechanics and frustrating combat conditions, at least before clearing threat meter. The Empyreal Tragicomedy event also used some of Ashen Simulacrum's mechanics, but the enemy isn't too hard to destroy, and is considered to be one of the easiest events to clear.
  • Digital Bikini: Compared to the Japanese and English versions of the game, some shipgirls get more modest outfits for the Chinese and Korean versions.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Besides shipgirl examples (such as Ranger, who is detailed in her respective character page):
    • The SB2C Helldiver Type 3 (aka Elite rarity) is infamously the strongest Dive Bomber in the entire game for raw power despite its slow rate of fire, even above higher-rarity Dive Bombers, but it can be farmed much earlier in 3-2.
    • The Repair Toolkit Type 3 (Elite rarity) can be farmed in 3-4 (or obtained via any T3/T4 tech boxes) and gives a high chunk of effective hit points, even to the end game to destroyers. Tellingly, it shows up as a droppable item all the way back in 10-3.
    • The humble Fire Extinguisher Type 3 (Rare rarity) can be farmed even earlier in 2-3. While it's ultimately a situational item against fire damage, the fact that a blue rarity item is still commonly used late game and has decent raw HP bonus regardless of fires speaks for itself.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • In the Moon Rabbit mini-event, Saratoga tells Lexington that she hasn't been sunk yet. Players with historical knowledge will know Lexington was the earlier of the two to get sunk.
    • In "Crimson Echoes", the Sakura Empire characters talk about how they are inadequately prepared for the age of carrier warfare and need to rectify that. Historically, the IJN never managed to properly shore up their Anti-Air weakness and drowned under the superior aviation of their American foes. Even in game, low Anti-Air is a common trait among the ships.
  • Double Unlock: Priority ships require the players to meet certain milestones in ship collection or faction tech in order to begin research, then a large investment in accumulated EXP and consumables to actually construct.
  • Dual Boss: Some stages, including the final battle of the Urgent Ops, throw two bosses at you at the same time.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Skybound Oratorio suffers from quite a few of these due to the story dialog in some cutscenes being completely re-written in the Japanese version, which was used as the basis for the English version. Details available here.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • The Japanese version meddles with the designations for the purple (Elite) and gold-colored (Super Rare). It drops Super Rare (shortened to S-Rare) down to the purple rarity to allow the gold rarity to be called SS-Rare.
    • All of the non-IJN Meowfficers have their names (based on actual naval staff) altered in the Japanese version, which also made it into the English version. While some of the names are still tangential to the original (eg. The Bismarck-looking Meowfficer is named after Ernst Lindemann, but in JP/EN, it's instead named after Oskar the cat, with one her skills referencing one of Oskar's other names, Sam or Unsinkable Sam.), others are not (There's an Ironblood meowfficer named TOFU for crying out loud!).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Due to the English version trying to play keep-up events-wise with the Asian countries' versions, event cutscenes are prone to introducing players to shipgirls that haven't been made available for English version yet. Some girls are also introduced early via chat emotes, most notably Neptune where her [headnod] emote reaches memetic levels.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The 2nd trailer showed younger Yorktown sisters, but in-game, kansen are supposed to have been Born as an Adult.
    • A number of Eagle Union girls show this in places due to it being the first faction to be worked on, thus lacking for a while a coherent theme seen in others. This results in, amongst others, a cat-eared maid destroyer and a heavy cruiser with horns and mechanical arms.
    • Some ships got the short stick for their history (e.g. Norfolk and Pensacola) in a number of areas, compared to later on where most ships with historical weight got their due.
    • A large chunk of earlier ships and skins had no facial expressions based on their dialogue. However, later ones ended up doing so. However, the game is trying to alleviate it by giving those facial expressions (lifted from Crosswave) to earlier ships based on events - as of this writing - Saratoga, Cleveland, Hornet, Enterprise, and Helena have updated expressions on their original skins now.
  • Easy Logistics: Oil is the only thing you need to concern when sending your ships into battles. Ammo and equipment are automatically handled, unlike Kantai Collection. Also unlike both KC and Girls Frontline, ships are automatically and instantly repaired post-battle.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": You, the protagonist of the game and the commander of the fleet, are usually simply called the Commander. Some ships will either call you Master (some Royal Navy maids like Belfast, Dido or Sirius) or Milord (Fusou and Yamashiro) or Your Excellency (London), and so on.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Enemy shipgirls' sprites are bigger than your own, even when using the same one. Inverted in term of wandering non-siren shipgirls on some event maps.
  • Evil Knockoff: In "Ashen Simulacrum", the Sirens deploy copies of Eagle Union shipgirls against the originals.
  • Experience Booster: A number of ships have skills boosting exp for select ship types, mainly those noted for being the first of a ship class or type. An example would be Langley (Eagle Union CVL) boosting experience for carriers.
  • Fanservice:
    • Some shipgirl designs lean more towards this compared to the other ship games, with some designs that may make the other games' racier ones pale in comparison. Particularly infamous are Albacore's base art and Deutschland's swimsuit skin, which are so lewd that the official Azur Lane Discord won't let them be posted, or South Dakota's base art, which somehow got past all censors despite showing a part of her left areola.
    • Slow Ahead has a number of incidentally fanservicey poses in an otherwise clean slice of life 4koma, with chapters with Suzuya and Prinz Eugen among a few others really taking it Up to Eleven, or the extra chapters advertising official lewd dakimakuras.
  • Fanservice Pack: A decent chunk of shipgirl retrofits will result in some combination of Overnight Age-Up, increased size in their chest armor, or less clothing. Foxhound is the best known example featuring the former two changes plus the less-common new seductive pose "upgrade" upon retrofit.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: Averted. All guns have the Angle stat which determines how big their arc of fire is. Some smaller guns even have 360o of traverse, allowing the ship to fire behind them.
  • Flunky Boss: Almost every boss has mass production ships or another shipgirl with them, and more mass production ships may spawn if you go too long without sinking the boss.
  • Forced Level-Grinding: New ships always start at level 1. In the beginning, this isn't much of an issue, but when you're up to three fleets that are averaging around level 60, you're going to have to grind the heck out of that new ship before it becomes useful. However with the dorm and large commissions, this isn't as painful or long as you'd think, especially the higher your commander level is.
  • Foregone Conclusion: If you know history, you know how several fights in the main story or in events will play out.
  • Foreshadowing: If you don't know history, the game still gives you clues, like the eventual sinkings of Yorktown and Hornet note , specially if you've seen the 2nd trailer that shows a photo of the sister trio, in their younger days, with Hornet and Yorktown fading away eventually.
  • Fragile Speedster: Destroyers have the quickest movement speed, highest evasion, and strongest torpedo attacks of all the escort/screen ship classes. Such advantages are offset by generally lacking HP, armor, and generally gun firepower.
  • Friendly Fireproof: You cannot damage your own ships from your own gunfires and aviation.
  • Frontline General: Dialogue from "Ashen Simulacrum" says that the Commander is going into battle alongside the shipgirls, presumably on board a friendly mass production ship.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The game tends to play from one faction's point of view for each story, but the game won't stop you from using ships from the opposing faction as more likely that not, you'll have ships from differing faction. Similarly, the game won't stop you from using certain ships that have been canonically sunk in the story, or have ships appear in cutscenes that you don't have yet.
    • It inverts upon finding out that your ships are separate entities than the ships seen in the story. This actually comes up in Akagi's substory where your Akagi is indeed aware of this.
    • Takao Ember. You can easily destroy her if your fleet is beefed enough, but that won't stop her from kicking your girls' asses in cutscenes after battle. Zuikaku learned it the hard way as well as Union girls from Ashen Simulacrum events.
    • "Crimson Echoes" makes a big fuss about carriers being revolutionary, being set in the 1920s, but it falls flat when you can go into battle with full carrier main fleet and the characters still act like it's something new.
  • Glass Cannon: A few ship types would apply. Some torpedo-focused destroyers (Ayanami being a main example) are able to do a lot of damage but can't take much punishment in return. There are also monitors which pack a remarkable punch in their barrages but lack the armor and HP normal battleships have. Even a few heavy cruisers like Wichita have excellent attack power for their ship class but lower defenses/hp.
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The collection system gives you rewards for acquiring and leveling related ships. And the recently introduced Fleet tech gives in a few ways stat boosts for getting and leveling ships.
  • Gotta Kill Them All: One of the requirements to get 3 stars in each map and optionally help clearing that map more easier. Also, almost every battle will only end in victory when all of enemy ships are destroyed.
  • Guide Dang It!: Quite a few stats are hidden and require wiki-diving or research to discover how they exactly work and how effective gear that affects the stats are.
    • The Luck Stat was an infamous example until it was unhidden; without looking at game data, it was solely mentioned in-game by Mikasa's unique Zulu signal flag equipment until a Q2 2019 UI update (exact date depending on server). While the stat's exact formula remains unknown, LCK affects a ship's chance of hitting or evading an enemy's attacks and her chance to land or avoid critical hits. It's still a mystery how strong Mikasa's 5 extra Luck points would be, but the Zulu flag gives other strong buffs anyway so it's mostly a non-factor. PR ships also get a flat Luck boost on the track to a skill upgrade, which is a good thing even if it's unknown how good the +15 Luck boost is.
    • The hidden Speed stat (which is occasionally confused with Evasion). Unlike Luck, its effects are fairly well-understood if a player manages to dig up external resources to run the numbers; higher speed leads to higher combat movement and greater tactical movement on Siren-based maps. In-game, auxiliary items like the gyroscope and the improved boiler add a small amount of Speed which may seemingly due nothing, since the hidden formula depends on the average speed of the entire fleet and the individual value of each item is so minuscule, besides the whole-fleet-bonus Beaver Badge.
    • Aircraft like dive bombers have their raw damage based entirely on the size of their bombs, making a 4-Star Helldiver one of the most powerful aircraft in the game. This doesn't come without a few drawbacks: Bigger bombs have a lower spread and more blast radius (better for bosses/worse for mook clearing), and lean more towards heavy armor. A fighter's damage also depends on whether or not it carries bombs. There's a number of nuances in carrier equipping that require a wiki to do particularly well.
    • Anti-air has a number of fine details that also require wiki surfing if you want to super fine tune it, as it's more advanced than simply summing or averaging all the anti-air stats on a fleet. Manual play tends to optimize the number of anti-air shots before an aircraft goes off the screen versus the damage per shot, not to mention the radius. The fact that PvP is reliant on AI control also requires a different anti-air setup than manual, as radius and damage is more important than hypothetically hitting as many shots as possible as it would be up to pure chance.
  • Hidden Depths: A number of characters have sidequests activated by setting them as secretary and tapping on them. These often impart Character Development and reveal facets of them not shown in their normal lines.
  • Historical Badass Upgrade: Azur Lane is Based on a True Story, but there are some upgrades compared to the historical equivalents for the Crimson Axis. These upgrades are perhaps justified by Siren involvement and assistance.
    • The Sakura Empire is the in-game incarnation of the real life Imperial Japanese Navy. Towards the end of the war in the Pacific Theater, the IJN suffered one defeat one after another, mostly due to outdated technology compared to their opponent, the United States Navy. One prominent example was their anti-air capability; it was so bad, the IJN could no longer stand against USN air power (one of the reasons why Yamato and her escort fleet could do so little against Task Force 58's relentless air assault, with few plane casualties on the USN side). Later chapter in the campaign, however, have IJN ships and boss fleets gain tremendous power and anti-air stats that make friendly carriers' air raids (more so Dive Bombers than Torpedo ones) deal reduced damage and encourage more battleship use mixed with torpedo bomber and/or fighter heavy carriers instead (which is ironic, since the Pacific theater was dominated by aircraft carriers with dive bombers during the later stages of World War II).
    • The Iron Blood navy represents the real life Kriegsmarine. The Third Reich's navy wasn't as strong as their army, and they got severely outnumbered by Royal Navy, suffering a lot of limitations due to the Versailles treaty after World War I and only having a few reliable battleships/battlecruisers. Aircraft carriers were almost non-existent (they relied instead on the Luftwaffe for air power), a number of U-boat ships eventually got rounded-up and eradicated by the superior numbers and technology of the Royal Navy, and the only completed carrier (Graf Zeppelin) was in a rather woeful state.
    • The Dragon Empery. Sure, they did take part in the fight against the Axis, but mostly on land, and there weren't many fights on the sea against their main enemy, the IJN. Their navy had some prominent moments before World War II, but often with disastrous results. To say that they are a core member of Azur Lane is a bit of an exaggeration, at least, from a naval perspective.
  • Historical In-Joke: The game more or less runs on this, which is what gives it such a significant Periphery Demographic of history nerds and naval warfare nerds; just about every ship has some amount of reference to its real-life history built into it, and a lot of the character stories and more humorous side stories also reference the history of World War 2 in some way (usually hilarious, for the more light-hearted stuff). Inevitably, frequent comparison is made to Kantai Collection, where its original target audience of Japanese military otaku meant the focus is much more tightly on just the IJN (it took KanColle years to add foreign navies, and they still haven't added many USN ships - the Enterprise most infamously - whereas AL is willing to be a lot more even-handed about adding vessels from various navies, albeit losing out to KC regarding the Regia Marina or minor navies like Svenska Marinen or Koninklijke Marine) and where DMM tend to be more subtle subtext and Genius Bonus about the details of the war itself with Axis focus, as opposed to Manjuu being more in your face about the trauma of the whole thing and having Allied focus. As such, in-jokes for the individual ships would be impractical to list here and are noted on each ship's character entry.
  • Idle Animation: When the player does not drag or poke the girls, or when they are not in combat, they may exhibit some idle animation. Example would be Ayanami stabbing her sword forward, Laffey drinking her Oxy-cola, Javelin spinning her "javelin", or some married girls will throw their flowers away and then retrieve it out of nowhere.
  • Immediate Sequel: Inverted with a cutscene unlocked for "Crimson Echoes" by replaying B3 or D3 after it's completed that reveals it is an Immediate Prequel for "Visitors Dyed In Red".
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Siren technology (and, of course, their mere existence) has caused the main deviation in the world's timeline in World War II and the events leading up to it.
    • The opening cutscene shows Hood being blown apart by Bismarck's secret Siren weaponry.
    • The entire premise of the game is based on shipgirls who are built with Wisdom Cubes, which are a Black Box that allows ships to manifest as humans.
  • Interface Screw: Introduced in the Northern Overture event, the Omitter and Intruder can black out most of the screen limiting your vision and disabling your equipment attacks, and unlike the Kizuna Ai ones, these can't be clicked away. Players often dub this attack "Dahkness".
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: Light Cruisers; being the in-between of the other two escort types, though some vary between focusing more on their guns or torpedoes.
    • The Yorktown class and a couple other carriers have an evened out efficiencies and nearly evened numbers of all three plane types.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Information about the state of the world and what the Sirens are and want is given out very sparingly.
  • Kaizo Trap: If you happen to defeat a boss and during their explosion animation, your last unit(s) gets killed by a stray shot, the game counts it as a defeat on your part and your fleet is considered destroyed, meaning you have to attempt the battle with a different fleet or do the whole map over again.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: The skins system means that it's fully possible to send shipgirls out in wedding dresses or ball gowns.
  • Kudzu Plot: A bit; while it initially seems to be a pretty straightforward recreation of World War II with ship-girls, later story chapters, the side story events and even some of the lines from the playable ships themselves suggest that the situation is significantly more complicated, but it's left to the player themselves to piece together what it means. The general interpretation is that the player's Azur Lane is a much different entity than the historical, Allies-equivalent one and seems tasked with combating the Sirens (and whatever else that may entail)
  • Large Ham: Some skill activation lines are quite hammy. For example, Akagi will loudly announce that her love is unrivaled, Kaga will say no mercy for the weak, and so on. See their character pages for more information. It is rather creepy to hear two Akagis' skill activation line at the same time in PvP with a little offset between lines.
  • Level Cap: Ships are limited to a certain level when they first drop and to go past that you need to Limit Break them with either a copy of the same ship or with a special Engineer ship. Note that doing so also increases oil consumption. Upon hitting 100, you can extent the cap further by 5 by spending golds and cognitive chips, and it can be repeated every 5 levels until 120.
  • Level-Up at Intimacy 5: Married ships' stats will rise above the normal 6% bonus from 100 affection (needed amount to marry them), up to a 12% bonus at 200. This can be done at any level, though with how you raise affection, the shipgirl may be at a decent level by the time she gets to 100 affection. This also changes some of their lines towards you.
  • Luck Stat: Luck exists as a formerly-hidden stat that was solely mentioned in-game by Mikasa's unique Zulu signal flag equipment until a Q2 2019 UI update. While the stat's exact formula remains unknown, LCK affects a ship's chance of hitting or evading an enemy's attacks and her chance to land or avoid critical hits. Often, LCK is one of the few distinguishing factors between otherwise identical Moveset Clones. Besides its mechanical effects, it's often tied into the ultimate fate of the ship during World War II in real life, leading to lots of Historical In-Jokes for those curious enough to dig up the stats:
    • In general, ships that are sunk or scuttled during WW2 have low Luck stats (30-40s) compared to those who survive (and have 60-70 Luck). Oklahoma, Langley, and most Sakura or Ironblood ships (since they lost the war after all) hover at this low Luck stat, for example.
    • On the other hand, ships with particularly astounding battle careers or are preserved for historic purposes get much higher Luck stats — San Diego has 85, Enterprise has 93 (with her signature Lucky E skill to boot), and Mikasa has a staggering 95 with the aforementioned Z Flag bonus to hit 100. Yukikaze has an even more absurd 98 in reference to the seemingly charmed life that ship led.
    • Ships that suffer particularly disastrous fates from true unluckiness sometimes have even lower Luck stats:
      • Some ships that are among the first victims of war in their respective class have sub-30 Luck: Prince of Wales and Repulse were the first capital ships sunk by pure air power on the open sea; Kisaragi was the second IJN ship lost in WW2; Shouhou was the first IJN aircraft carrier lost.
      • Astoria, Quincy, and Vincennes have 15 Luck or less (some of the lowest numbers in the entire game, with Quincy at 9) due to their loss in the Battle of Savo Island due partially to miscommunication.
      • Spence has 20 Luck due to being lost during a typhoon, as well as the victim of mishaps involving her being accidentally rammed or fired upon by other friendly ships beforehand.
      • Arizona, unlike fellow Pearl Harbor sink-mate Oklahoma, has 17 Luck due to being turned into an (unfortunately) environmentally-unfriendly, oil-leaking war monument.
    • PR ships always have 0 luck, as they were never constructed or finished in real life. Along with the second wave of PR ships, there was an added "Fate enhancement" for the first wave ships which aims to up it (and buffs a skill at the very end of the process).
  • Made of Explodium: Seriously, nearly everything, when reaching 0 hitpoints, will explode, no matter if they are your own ships or enemy ones. The boss ships deserve special mention: they go out like a nuclear bomb whenever they get destroyed. Graf Spee during her event can even initiate her own self-destruction when her HP reaches low and go out in a rather spectacular fashion.
  • Magikarp Power: In general, everyone gets this to some degree, since the limit break mechanic unlocks fairly significant amounts of power for everyone - a 5* ship is a lot more powerful than the same ship at 2*, for example. There are, however, some standout examples in terms of broad ship classes:
    • Heavy Cruisers get this in terms of survivability. Early on they have decent firepower and hp with poor evasion and speed but past level 100 they'll start gaining some stats like evasion in rather large amounts, turning them into something more akin to a Lightning Bruiser.
    • Backline ships are this more generally, with battleships being the most dramatic. Because of the way their volleys work, a battleship straight out of the box is going to seem like a really weak unit because it only does one shot of its guns every time you activate it (poor Repulse is infamous for giving newbies a poor opinion of battleships as a result). The first and third limit breaks cause each activation of the guns to fire an additional volley, however, so a fully-limit broken BB or BC fires three times each activation instead of one. Needless to say, when combined with the huge increase in Firepower that comes with limit breaks (battleships being ruled by their Firepower stat to a large degree) the difference between an limit broken BB and an un-limit broken one of the very same model can be dramatic.
    • Some refits have such an effect due to the stat boosts/new skills they can bring.
    • Many guides don't consider the Starter Mon particularly good, except for two ships that are easy to obtain early in the game: Z23 (the Ironblood Starter Mon) and Portland (an Eagle Union Heavy Cruiser obtained after completing a few easy side-quests). Those two, on the other hand, are both often considered to be among the best ships in the game, due to their stats, skills, retrofit-upgrades and equipment layout. One guide even goes as far as crediting Portland's retrofit for being the sole reason why Portland is actually viable even late in the game.
  • Maintain the Lie: The Queen's Orders official manga has Queen Elizabeth, Warspite, and Akashi doing this in order to maintain the illusion that the Commander's still working on the base and needs to be away occasionally while in actuality he's gone on extended medical leave due to stress-induced breakdown caused by overwork and thus cannot work at all. This is because very few people in the base (even many who don't know about the situation) want to see the Commander replaced by someone else.
  • Market-Based Title: Not the game itself, but the Ironblood-centric event. In the Chinese and Japanese versions, it's called "Opposite Colored", but in English, it gets the more poetic name "Divergent Chessboard". It gets a third name in the "Year in Review" feature for the English version, Operation Dichotomous Chess.
  • Mascot Mook: Manjuu (same name as the devs), baby chicken-looking critters that can be see in various places (on Torpedo boats, kamikaze boats, various character art both official and fan-made).
  • The Medic: Repair ships, obviously. Not only they can equip repair cranes to passively heal your ships in battle, they also give minor buffs and provide extra ammunition/emergency repairs for your fleets.
  • Mighty Glacier: Heavy Cruisers generally have the most raw power and HP of the escort ship classes, but suffer from a low speed which might make leveling a new one up tricky.
  • Min-Maxing: Thanks to Level Grinding, it's not really required in earlier story missions but as the game progresses the enemy fleets get more and more difficult and you really need to start paying attention to fleet composition, skills, equipment, and making sure your ships work off of each other.
  • Moe Anthropomorphism: The base skins of each shipgirl shares features of the actual warship's rigging — for example, destroyers carry torpedoes, carriers have various flight decks and planes, and battleships carry giant guns that are often bigger than the actual girl. The story is a bit more complex since these shipgirls actually are the ship (or shares her former life's memories) manifested as human girls via Imported Alien Phlebotinum. Additional skins of each ship tend to downplay their warship origin in favor of emphasizing their new fictional human personality, quirks, and appearance (derived from their base skin).
  • Mon: The game is basically a Mon-style game (with the ships as acting as a summonable sapient being subtype), just with only one commander acknowledged In-Universe. Well, until the Kizuna AI collaboration event that explicitly notes that Kizuna herself must've been a commander with her own set of ships that you fight in SP4 (these being ships she actually oathed in her videos of the game).
  • Mooks: Non-anthropomorphized ships fill this role, having smaller health pool and damage output compared to shipgirls.
  • Money for Nothing: Quick Finishers are only useful for instantly finishing the construction of a ship, and they are generously given as commission rewards and side-mission rewards. This in and of itself is fine. Except the Wisdom Cubes required for initiating ship construction in the first place are generally much harder to come by, leading to some players easily amassing hundreds of Quick Finishers with absolutely nothing to use them for.
  • Money Sink: The game has several for Fuel and Coins. Considering that they easily become Money for Nothing if the player idled on their expenditure, they have pretty good reason to be around.
    • The primary Money Sink for coins in the game is Construction, with both Wisdom Cubes and Coins consumed for each ship built. If the Commander doesn't keep other expenditures in control, they can easily find themselves running short of coins during events.
    • More Money Sinks for coins are introduced as time went on, such as Retrofits and Cognitive Awakening which are more expensive for higher rarity ships. The biggest Money Sink by far though, is the Prototype Rare ship developments, which costs huge amount of fuel (and time) for the required combat experience and even more Coin for the blueprints.
  • Morale Mechanic: Keeping a shipgirl in high spirits (by putting them in the dorm and making sure they don't get sunk on missions) will confer additional EXP. Conversely, a shipgirl with low morale will gain reduced EXP and can even end up losing affection toward you (although getting to this point in practical terms requires actual dedication as the game has a number of warning signs in regards to this).
  • More Dakka: Eagle Union cruisers (minus the Atlanta and Omaha classes) favor this, having a secondary gun slot instead of being equipped with a torpedo and gaining the bonus "Main Gun +1" on their second limit break, meaning that they fire their main guns twice every time they fire. Many ships across all factions also have barrage or "All Out Assault" skills that fire a large burst of shots, limited by cooldown based on either time or number of normal shots fired.
  • Multinational Team:
    • This is the norm when building teams, especially since certain nations' ships, like Ironblood (German) ones, have much less variety compared to the massive number of Eagle Union or Royal ships.
    • And, of course, the two sides also count:
      • Azur Lane, the equivalent to the Allies, consists of the Eagle Union (the United States), the Royal Navy (the British Empire), Iris Libre (the Free French), the Eastern Radiance/Dragon Empry (a combination of the various Chinas), the Northern Union (the USSR), and the New Sakura Empire (no historical equivalent).
      • The Crimson Axis, the equivalent of the Axis Powers, consists of the Sakura Empire (Imperial Japan), the Ironblood (Nazi Germany), Vichya Dominion (Vichy France), and Imperium of Sardegna/Sardinia (Fascist Italy).
  • Necessary Drawback: All weapons have a number of stats including angle, damage, range and reload rate, such that rarely will there be any weapon that is an upgrade in every way to another.
  • No Campaign for the Wicked: Played straight until the first half of the "Scherzo of Iron and Blood" event, which is played from the perspective of Bismarck and U-556 of the Ironblood navy (the second half shifts to the Royal Navy's perspective). Until this, no events were played from the perspective of the Crimson Axis, with the IJN events either predating the Sakura Empire leaving Azur Lane (Crimson Echoes) or focusing on La Résistance - Mikasa's "New Sakura Empire," revolting against the Crimson Axis aligned Sakura Empire (Return of the War God, Visitors Dyed in Red, Ink-Stained Steel Sakura), the main campaign being the Pacific Theater of WWII from an American perspective, and various other events being either from an American or British perspective. "The Enigma and the Shark", the U-110 event about the capture of an Enigma device, actually flips perspectives between missions, with the denouement flipping between the RN and IB squads as needed.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: In a similar vein to the Chinese server for World of Warships (and likely inspired by this exact practice), each of the participating nations in this game go by fictional names. In addition, all IJN ship girls are given completely fictional names in the game's Chinese version (in order to comply with the letter of Chinese content law). Sometimes there are variations between the game's translated versions, though; for example, the Royal Canadian Navy is mentioned in Fortune's biography as-is in the original Chinese version, but is obfuscated as "Land of Maple" in the Japanese version, and further obfuscated as "Maple Monarchy" in the English version, due to using the Japanese version as a base. Achilles, meanwhile, mentions New Zealand by name in all versions of the game.
  • No Hero Discount: As elaborated on in their respective character quests, Shiranui and Akashi are selling items and gear provided by the military to you, even though they are the exact same shipgirls that the commander can deploy on sorties. In other words, they're basically selling items to themselves (via the Commander and the fleet at large). They still justify their shopkeeping as doing a service to the fleet, and there are often (mechanical, not story-based) discounts on their wares.
  • Non-Entity General:
    • In a manner similar to Kantai Collection's Admiral, the Azur Lane Commander is a featureless entity, who commands every action taken by ship girls during combat in all fleets present and micromanages the equipment assigned to all ships, but nonetheless interacts with the ship girls much more than most examples of this trope, being able to form relationships with and eventually marry them.
    • Moreover, cutscenes for the shipgirls' personal questlines and for some events that explicitly take place at your naval base do have the Commander interacting with the girls directly, though early on we never hear the Commander talk (though it's made clear that they do say stuff). Later questlines and events introduced a "dialogue option" system similar to other games, and often there's only one dialogue option - this is still meant to reflect "you" saying things and thus requires your input.
    • This does end up raising some questions as to precisely who we are, since it becomes clear that our Azur Lane is a much broader multinational entity than the "historical" one being observed by the Sirens.
    • This becomes interesting in Ashen Simulacrum where the Sirens are now targeting the commander.
  • No Swastikas: Ironblood shipgirls have their swastikas replaced with X symbols resembling Morden's Army. That said, Z46's head decoration comes awfully close. Furthermore, the actual faction symbol has nothing to do with a swastika and is instead a heavily stylized Iron Cross. However, other Nazi symbols make it through - in particular, several Ironblood shipgirls wear Reichsadlers with the very distinctive styling of the Parteiadler, though the swastika in the circle the eagle is perched on has been replaced with a plus sign and the facing of the eagle is inconsistent (left-facing is the Parteiadler, right-facing is the Reichsadler). While far from all Ironblood shipgirls wear them, Z46 wears a large Reichsadler hair ornament on her bangs, Bismarck has a Reichsadler lapel pin, and Tirpitz, Scharnhorst, and Gneisenau all have either a Reichsadler or Parteiadler on their caps.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: In the Japanese version of the game, the atomic bomb that USS Indianapolis is sitting onnote  has its radiation symbol replaced by some sort of angry horned face. Same goes with the collection reward furniture for the Portland class, which changes from a Fat Man model to lewd Indianapolis posters.
    • Indy's introduction-line also has her say "A nuclear bomb? What's that?"
  • Odd Friendship: Despite having different personalities, preferences, allegiances... many odd friendships have formed throughout the game:
    • The starter destroyers (Laffey, Ayanami, Javelin and Z23). This is also mentioned by Z23 herself, stating she couldn't think four of them could become friends, despite their differences.
    • Ajax and Graf Spee considering the former caused the latter's undoing and it's stated that they get along pretty well.
    • Ayanami is noted to be friends with Long Island (a nod to both being sort of starters) due to shared interests.
    • Prince of Wales and Prinz Eugen, despite the latter being the former's greatest failure. It appears they are on good term with each other. Justified, as they are now fighting on the same banner under the Commander, there are no reasons why they should be hostile towards each other.
  • Off the Rails: The basic theme of the historically-inspired events like "Winter's Crown" or "Scherzo of Iron and Blood" with regards to the real history of the events covered in battles. While the reasoning may differ in the first half, the events of the first part tend to play out historically or close to historically, and then the Sirens often try to derail events in the second half of the event and force another outcome; Azur Lane forces must both accomplish their original mission and deal with the Sirens.
    • Duke of York and Victorious push on with Operation Tungsten during "Winter's Crown" despite the creation of a massive Mirror Sea by the Sirens that threatens not just the operation, but the entirety of northern Europe.
    • The main story mode is based off of the Pacific Theater, but unlike the actual war, the Sakura forces continue to get stronger and a number of previously sunk enemy ships return to have another go. This last bit is explained in the Visitors Dyed in Red event where it turns out Story!Akagi was overseeing the creation of cloned ships.
    • Throughout the events, the Sirens seem much more directly involved in the Atlantic Theater and nearly always take a direct role in trying to bring about results that favor Ironblood and/or themselves, presumably because they see Ironblood's use of Siren technology as a more productive avenue for their research and attempted "forced evolution", while events in the Pacific are much more often carried out through proxies in the Sakura Empire with little direct Siren presence on the scale of what is seen in "Scherzo of Iron and Blood" or "Winter's Crown". This is understandable, as it's shown that several high-ranking members of Ironblood, including Bismarck, dislike the Sirens and want nothing to do with them, even managing to go against attempts to manipulate them. They are also outnumbered by the Royal Navy, meaning they need more support. The Sakura Empire, on the other hand, is lead by Akagi and Kaga, who are 100% onboard with working for the Sirens, and are more evenly matched with the Eagle Union, at least at the start.
    • The "New Sakura Empire" chain of events is another example as it has Shoukaku and Zuikaku changing sides and eventually being joined by Mikasa, Hiei, Nagato and Mutsu, which is a significant divergence from actual history, even as otherwise, the shipgirls mostly stick to their historical roles.
    • The "Empyreal Tragicomedy" event sees the Royal Navy make efforts to persuade the Sardengian empire to return the Azur Lane alliance, and as such none of the Italian ships are sunk or really injured and ends with the possibility that the other party may avoid their historical fate.
  • One Steve Limit: Used on the Chinese server in a few cases. Here are some:
    • Let's start with an aversion: HMS Crescent. An alternate meaning for Crescent is New Moon and thus on the Chinese server, she is listed as the direct Chinese translation, 新月. However, that sequence can be read in Japanese as Niizuki, and indeed the Akizuki-class destroyer of that name is featured in the game. However, this trope is averted simply because in the Chinese version, ALL Japanese ships are given fictionalized names in Chinese, while in the Japanese version, Crescent is rendered in katakana. An English version maintenance note actually made this mix up.
    • Neptune and HMS Neptune. In the Chinese version, the former is rendered in Chinese using a transliteration of her name (涅普顿), while the paper ship uses the Chinese translation of the celestial body she's named after (海王星, Star of Poseidon/Neptune). The Japanese version has their names nearly identical, though both girls' renderings in this version are based on different Japanese pronunciations of the same word (ネプテューヌ, Ne-pu-tuu-nu) vs (ネプチューン, Ne-pu-chuu-n).
    • USS St. Louis, and MN Saint-Louis. In the Chinese version, in order to prevent a name conflict, the French paper ship is, as her name in Chinese, named after the in-game ship's namesake historical figure, Louis IX (路易九世), the real Saint Louis.note  This is of course will not be necessary in the upcoming English version (You can clearly see a different spelling), and is unnecessary in the Japanese version due to different pronunciations of the same historical figure for each ship. Notably, the French ship uses the French pronunciation of her namesake's title (Sant-Luis).
    • Averted with USS Juneau and HMS Juno, as no such measures were taken in the Japanese version, where both of them appear with the same katakana sequence (ジュノー). The Chinese version at least makes a distinction by rendering the American cruiser phonetically, and rendering the British destroyer, just like in the case of HMS Neptune, using a direct translation of the Greek deity she's named after. This is lampshaded in one of the trailers for the anime, where both Juneau and Juno appear together in a scene at the very end.
    • The Pallada-class cruiser Aurora is listed in English as Avrora, directly from the Cyrillic for her name, to avoid a name conflict with the Arethusa-class light cruiser HMS Aurora. This is carried over for her entry for the Azur Lane collection in World of Warships, even though the ship itself is listed in-game as Aurora, and while HMS Aurora is also in that game, she appears in her PLAN Huang He guise.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome:
    • Javelin is considered the "worst" of the four starters, but she's by no means a bad ship.
    • Formidable outclassed the just about all of the Sardegnia Empire's ships during the Empyreal Tragicomedy event. Zara was the exception but even then, she was overshadowed for a time herself.
  • Permanently Missable Content: Rare, but it does happen.
    • If you didn't get Mogami and/or Mikuma during the "Visitors Dyed in Red" event, she's currently no longer available. She's missing from the archived version of the event (never being a drop) and not in any of the build pools. Same goes for Grenville from "Winter's Crown" (Japan and China). The first two got added to all areas though Grenville is still up in the air.
    • No one knows if any of the collaboration events (Nico Nico shirt for Ayanami, Neptunia, Kizuna Ai) will ever be available again.
    • The Retrofits for San Diego and Warspite each require an item that was obtainable during a week-long event to coincide with their introductions. Failing to obtain said item during the event prevents players from completing the task necessary to complete the retrofit for either character. It's downplayed since there are occasional reruns, but they're not super often.
    • Certain event equipment count as to date it hasn't been added to the core shop. The main examples being the T0 Quint Homing torpedoes and the High Powered Fire Control Radar. The latter is revealed to be a PR3 Research item, suggesting that the other may end up in a future prototype wave.
  • Play Every Day: The game gives you rewards for logging in each day. For the first week of playing, there is a separate set of log in bonus that gives Prinz Eugen when completed. In the middle of the monthly log in rewards sheet are destroyer ships generally not available for the time being (past ones have been added to the normal construction pool) or unique furniture. There are some limited events that require this as well.
  • Power Equals Rarity:
    • Rather zig-zagging regarding ships. Often, high rarity ships perform better than their lower rarity peers, but with an oil price to match, with some exceptions. On the other hand, some low rarity and common ships can outshine their rare sisters, such as USS Ranger (if RNG favors her then she can theoretically deal near-infinity damage), or be more useful and more cost-effective, like the HMS Leander (a valuable support piece in a cruiser or HMS fleet, even in the end-game) or the USS Cassin and USS Downes (very cheap to use and very resilient due to their self-healing nature), as player should manage their oil supply well if they want to grind their account. Still, a common theme is that purple (Elite) and golden ships (Super Rare) are usually highly appreciated and sought after more than teal (Rare) and gray (Common) ones.
    • Equipment also zigzags this trope. One notable aversion is the Helldiver listed under Disc-One Nuke; the community finally, decisively figured out that the lack of a gold border doesn't stop it from blowing its competition out of the water in raw Dive Bomber power. Several weapons are also competitive with higher rarity ones (such as the purple Twin 120mm Main Gun versus the gold Twin 127mm MK12 Dual Gun) or outright superior to competitors (the best Battleship weapons have been the purple Triple 406mm MK6 Main Gun and the 410mm "Twin" Mounted Gun) until various prototype weapons at higher rarity were released, over a year since the launch of the game, to play the trope straight.
    • Played straight with Retrofits. These power upgrades on ships increase their rarity, so a common Leander gets a teal (rare) border, for example. Some have far more dramatic effects than others, to the point of enabling a refitted common ship to be about on par with a high rarity one. The only exceptions are the more controversial Retrofits that completely change a ship's functionality (such as converting a battleship to a partial carrier) and may make synergies more difficult.
  • The Power of Love:
    • Enforced. Girls with high affection towards the player (up to a certain threshold) will have their stats increased. Maximum bonus is 12% when reaching 200 Affinity (after swearing the oath). It is theorized, but not canonically confirmed, that shipgirl becoming stronger the more she loves her Commander is likely linking to how she becomes closer to a human being rather than a weapon. There are some hints regarding Enterprise and Code G (Alterprise) becoming who they are now due to the fact that there are presences of the "Commander" they adored and loved, but in Enterprise's case, she managed to live a rather happily life with a real presence of her Commander, but the same cannot be said for Code G.
    • Some of the gloomier shipgirls cheer up noticeably at high affection levels.
  • Punny Name: Kansen, the proper term for the ship girls is this, twice. First, it's a Shout-Out to Gundam SEED's own G.U.N.D.A.M OS, and the 2nd as a wordplay on Senkan, the Japanese word of battleship.
  • Purposely Overpowered: With the sole exception of Izumo, Priority Research shipgirls have incredible stats and skills, including one that gives them damage bonuses against Sirens, who make up many of the most powerful bosses. This comes at the cost of needing weeks to months to grind up the EXP needed to unlock them, and likely even more time to acquire the blueprints needed to bring out their full power.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Polaris band (Cleveland, Sheffield, Gascogne, Akagi, Admiral Hipper) is just a bunch of volunteers selected by Akashi as a way to experiment on rigging and music performance. All five have no idol experience at all and they still have fun performing against other bands (composed of the Starter ships, Fubuki, Eldridge, and Graf Spee).
    • Another such musicial group is seen in Crosswave as San Diego, Cassin, Hornet, and Hipper end up forming a band
  • Random Drops: As a Gacha game, everything is pretty much set up this way. It's a little more forgiving than average:
    • There is a traditional Gacha currency in the form of Wisdom Cubes (which is given generously on a daily basis) to build new ships from a giant pool. The typical rate is 7% for a Super Rare ship, 12% for an Elite, 51% for a Rare, and 30% for a common.
    • The maps in which combat take place also have a chance to drop ships, equipment, and other resources. A good plurality of ships are available without even touching the build menu. There are even several ships, including some SR ones, that are obtained only from drops in maps. The extreme end include Akagi, Kaga, Yudachi, Maya, and Choukai, who are obtainable from a single map each with user-polled rates of 0.75% per attempt.
    • To downplay this trope, there are two types of Bulin ships that aren't intended to be used for battle, but are usable in place of a copy of the same ship to Limit Break and increase the Level Cap and stats. Several Bulin are given every week as part of simple Play Every Day quests, with an additional weekly purchasable supply in the Medal Exchange, no randomness required.
    • Several ships, including SRs such as Warspite and Takao, are also purchasable through the Medal Exchange to bypass the randomness factor.
    • Finally, the Priority ships, which are among the most powerful in the game, zigzag this trope. The ships themselves aren't random; players must complete a sequence of specific and very grindy tasks in order to obtain each one. On the other hand, unlocking their full power requires blueprint items that can't always be obtained in a "guaranteed" manner.
  • Rare Random Drop:
    • Drop-only ships, especially SR ones. Akagi and Kaga, for example, are a pair of deliberately meta-defining Super Rare carriers commonly seen in PvP and some of the most famous aircraft carriers in history. They are only obtainable from defeating the boss of chapter 3, stage 4 (at about a .75% chance per run of getting either one). There are also some blue ships that have a sharply reduced rate and limited stage selection.
    • The ship-building pool gradually grows as events run their course and event-only ships — which are themselves a style of Rare Random Drop since they're advertised as appearing for only a limited time, though at above-average individual rates — are added to the pool without an associated rate-up. This means that certain individual ships are obtainable only from the build menu, and at a terribly small chance even if they're advertised as "common" or "rare" rarities. And sometimes some ships that could be built or drop are made drop only to adjust for it.
  • Real Event, Fictional Cause: The sinking of Hood in the prologue by Bismarck in a single shot really did happen, but while it was a consequence of thin armor plating in reality, here it's caused by secret weapons supplied by the mysterious Sirens. World War II seems to be precipitated by the Sirens in the first place, as the betrayal of Azur Lane and the formation of the Crimson Axis is very sudden.
  • Redemption Demotion: On higher levels, many of the shipgirls you encounter have special attacks, but if you acquire them they don't have those same attacks, and of course, they start at level 1. On the flip side the skills the playable versions have don't really trigger as enemies. The last bit isn't true in Crosswave however, making some special exercises difficult.
  • Regional Bonus:
    • The Japanese version of the game has gotten a few events and shipgirls before China and often having easier versions of events that ran in China, overlapping with Difficulty by Region some. This has decreased with time with events being at the same general difficulty, though it does get a few unique events still.
    • English ver: Lower difficulty for Fallen Wings (to make up for not having the ability to increase the final level cap), Enterprise and Cleveland casual/bike skins for a time. It has gotten the Arte skins for both Fubuki and Yamashiro also. However it has yet to get certain events (Starry Fjord) and skins(Nagara's log in skin). It also got the easier version of World 12 from the initial addition. And currently Z23's book store skin.
    • Japanese ver.: Votoms collaboration mini event, Arte Akihabara mini event with skins for Fubuki and Yamashiro, Nico Nico Skin for Ayanami.
    • Chinese ver. : Bilibili shipgrils, Bilibili skins for Javelin and Laffey, Lawson Mini event (though this may become available to Japan in the future though not likely) with skins for Yuudachi and Rodney, cheaper 5* equipment upgrades and ability to level up past level cap (though not lv 100 one) without limit breaking them. An exclusive skin for An Shan. They do have regional penalty of more censored artwork, however.
    • Taiwanese Ver.: A summer/non swimsuit themed skin for Yamashiro currently.
  • Relationship Values: Each girl has an "Affinity" level with the player, ranging through Upset, Stranger, Friendly, Crush, and Love. In most cases their lines at each level reflect them growing to like the player more. While several of the Japanese aircraft carriers are Yanderes who are blatantly obsessed with the player from the start and instead their lines indicate the opposite, that the player is becoming more affectionate to them with each increase in Affinity level.
  • Reverse Cerebus Syndrome: Unlike other collab events, Looking Glass of Fact and Fiction actually starts off pretty seriously, with Mio and Fubuki struggling to stay alive against the Sirens in the Mirror Sea. Things progressively gets lighter the more Hololive cast are introduced, especially Matsuri, but it's when they starts facing the clones of themselves that the the tone fully shifts to the wackiness that is always pervasive in Hololive characters and streams.
  • Science Fantasy: You have the high-tech production ships and planes of the Ironblood and Sirens, the futuristic technology of the Sirens, and the Memory Cubes making the game seem to fit into the realm of Science Fiction… but you also have stuff like the Royal Navy's York-class being able to use magic, Vampire and Duke of York being vampires, Centaur being an elf, Nagato and the Sacred Sakura Tree, a number of carriers that seem to use magic to conjure their planes from cards, paper, or fire, various ships being a Little Bit Beastly, Oni, or non-vampiric undead, and Grenville having a pet griffon skewing things towards the fantasy side.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: The English version's chat censor isn't exactly the best. Examples include:
    • Censoring the "ass" in "class"... in a game about warships of various classes. Fixed by putting any form of punctuation at the end of it.
    • Censoring the "pedo" in "torpedo"... again, in a game about warships that use both ship-launched and air-launched torpedoes. Also fixed by putting any form of punctuation at the end of it.
    • In the inversion of the above, Essex will be censored due to the word "sex" if there's punctuation or other texts before or after her name.
    • Strangely, the word "shit" isn't censored at all.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • Despite being a game well known for its fanservice, it contains a lot of historical accuracies, in many cases as Historical In-Jokes, be it something as small as Hood having failing eyesight, which is a nod to Hood mistaking Prinz Eugen for Bismarck in their fated encounter on the Denmark Strait, to whole Battles like in stage 3 - Battle of Midway - where the order of the flagships matches the historical records in which the Japanese carrier fleet was sunk (Kaga, Akagi, Soryu and Hiryu) and, of course, Yorktown's demise at the end of said stage. That said, they've also committed quite some goofs, as seen in the Artistic License entry near the top of the page.
    • Even some of the commission names get in on this. One potential one in the English version is "BIW Gear Transport". BIW is a common initialism of Bath Iron Works, a famous shipbuilder in the US, considered to be one of the best American shipbuilders during the Second World War, who have built a huge number of ships for the US Navy, primarily destroyers.
    • The Beaver Squad respects the origin of the destroyer squadron's true nickname (the Little Beavers, referencing the Native American character Little Beaver in the Red Ryder comic strips) with a featured cap similar to those found in a war bonnet. Of course, a literal beaver is cuter as a logo for the in-game unlockable item than an angry man with a bow, who is the squadron's true mascot.
    • Some English players were unhappy with Z23's party skin dialogue talking about apple juice when the Chinese and Japanese line, and even the Japanese voiced dialogue says orange and the concept art shows censored Fanta. On further research, however, it was discovered that wartime Fanta was indeed made with apple, meaning English was the right one all along...........until said line was seen as a typo and corrected back to orange.
    • Slow Ahead does this for both how characters are portrayed (often taking nods from their character stories or details from their lines) as well as a few additional nods to history/ship traits. Examples include North Carolina seeing I-19 (the crew of both ships wound up on friendly terms post war) or Kaga easily handling the Sauna (a nod to how hot the ship can get in a number of places)
  • Smart Bomb: Air raid is a downplayed version of this. An air raid will always clear the screen of enemy projectiles (including torpedoes), but whether or not it wipes out everything on-screen depends on how many planes are in it, how powerful they are, and the carrier's aviation stat.
  • Spaceship Girl: Wisdom cube technology actually lets ships manifest as human girls. They can still equip their rigging and guns and float on water, but otherwise they function as normal human beings with a few ship-related quirks off-duty (notably, there's still a building called a Canteen that serves oil, even though they can eat human food just fine).
  • Spice Up the Subtitles: Used liberally in some of the newer English translated content. Profanity, memespeak, and occasionally contextually nonsensical references abound. In some cases it generally works well (the Kizuna AI crossover was basically built for this kind of treatment, and the game already has assets such as the "deal with it" shades to encourage meme overload), in other cases it's a bit more debatable.
  • Spread Shot: Certain guns and all non-homing ship-mounted torpedoes behave this way. Some trade off range for huge close-range damage potential.
  • Stalker Without A Crush: The Commander resorts to this in Shiranui's Questline just to find out what she's up to and what she's like.
  • Starter Equipment: Ships themselves typically come equipped with two items of poor quality (Common or Rare) so they have something to fight with until the commander remembers to give them proper equipment for all five item slots. If it's a destroyer or torpedo boat, they get a main gun and a torpedo; gunboats and battleships get a main and secondary gun; aircraft carriers might get second aircraft or an anti-air gun coupled with a primary aircraft. These items may be useful for stripping off to fully equip a new player's fleet, but quickly become obsolete.
  • Starter Mon:
    • The classic example of the trope occurs in the beginning: Commanders start the game by picking one of three Elite-rarity ships that are usually Cast Herded as the starters across national lines. The choices are Laffey for the Eagle Union and Javelin for the Royal Navy in all three servers, and Z23 for Ironblood in the Chinese and English servers or Ayanami for the Sakura Empire in the Japanese server. You can unlock the fourth ship in either version by getting the other three and uncapping them. All four ships are bundled together in maps, which will always have a chance of dropping any of the four (once the fourth one is unlocked) if they drop at all. All of them besides can be retrofitted and upgraded to endure well into the endgame.
    • The beginner rewards questline gives Portland, a fairly strong Rare heavy cruiser who, like the starters, receives a substantial boost with a retrofit.
    • Prinz Eugen is given as a seven-day-streak log-in reward, and is often a new player's first SR ship as well as a strong heavy cruiser for diversity. She isn't that offensively strong, but she's an utter cockroach, and is able to survive a player making a lot of dumb newbie mistakes that would get other ships killed.
    • Saratoga can also count for many players. She's a reward for purchasing Gems for the first time. While that might make her seem like a "pay to win" unit... she's a reward for your first Gem purchase of any sort. That includes the $.99 pack. Needless to say, one buck barely even registers on most people's pay-to-win radar, and she's a very common pickup, especially since she's also extremely useful.
    • While the prior examples are strong ships throughout the game, the cheaper variant of this trope occurs with two Rare-rarity ships. In all three versions, you will also get Long Island as your back row ship at the start, and then Repulse as your first battleship (actually a battlecruiser) as a quest reward very early on to function as Crutch Character backline ships.
  • Stone Wall: There are some heavy cruisers that have more HP and/or stronger defensive skills than most but lack either offensive stats or skills. Prinz Eugen is a prime example of this as she has HP that rivals Battleships but her offensive stats are rather low for a SR/SSR.
  • Stop Poking Me!: The ships have three kinds of pokes: Normal (areas besides the chest or head) which they generally don't mind, Special (the chest) which gets a mix of reactions, some angry at it being done at all, some angry you're doing it in public, and a few Unique ones, like Akagi who is generally eager for the commander to continue, or the various marriage skins where the girls don't mind being risque with you , and some can even be aggressive about it, with at worst are them annoyed you do that in public/office. Finally there's Headpat (the head), which is only present on small number of ships, and the reaction tends to be varied. The Live2D secretaries (the starters, Akashi, Yukikaze, and others with Live2D skins) have three areas (Head, Chest, anywhere else) with different animated reactions.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Nazi Germany's equivalent, the Iron Blood, have some of the most high-tech looking ships, with most of them appearing to have mechanical limbs on their riggings (or mechanical shark heads), and use the same production model ships as the Sirens, most of which are sleek, black, covered in Tron Lines, and look like the love-child of the Sea Shadow, USS Zumwalt, and a giant mechanical shark, as well as using the same aircraft as the Sirens when faced as enemies, which look like a mix between an SR-71 and a Quinjet.
  • Suicide Attack: Any enemy ship, especially suicide bomb boats will self-detonate and damage your ships off-screen if you fail to destroy or evade it in time and let them get past your vanguard.
  • Super Prototype: Prototype Rare ships have markedly superior stats over the rarest ships in their respective categories, and they come with extremely powerful skills to boot. Though they are not obtained from gacha or otherwise time-limited or event exclusive, they require an absolutely massive time and resource investment to obtain and reach their full potential. Players need to obtain 3 million (for Priority rarity) or 3.6 million (for Decisive rarity) EXP in combat with the specified ship classes and nationality for each ship. No PvP, no Non-Combat EXP from backyard and auditorium, you must sortie your ship out and Level Grind the required EXP. The only saving grace in the long grind is that all ships that meet the research criteria contributes towards the required EXP, so if you have the fuel to burn, you can sortie three ships at once to triple the EXP gain rate, possibly even more if one of them scores the MVP. The EXP grind, time consuming as it is, is nothing compared to the amount of Strengthening Materials (which looks like blueprints) required to fully Limit Break them, requiring a total of 343 blueprints for Priority rarity or 513 for Decisive rarity. While they don't require active grinding and the Prototype Rare ships doesn't require Limit Breaks to reach max level, the amount of research required is a huge Money Sink and takes so much time that it's faster to grind out the required EXP than to collect all the blueprints. The time-limited events always provide 30 blueprints that can be traded for Priority Rare blueprints, plus 10 for Decisive Rarity ships in their exchange shop, but it costs a lot of in-game currency to purchase them all, meaning you'll have to grind a lot in several events. They also have powerful weapon associated with them, easily some of the best equipment in the game.
  • Tell Me How You Fight: Discussed in Ink-stained Steel Sakura, where Mikasa tells Nagato that one battle reveals character better than a thousand words.
  • Tempting Fate: In the starting cutscene of Iris of Dark and Light B2/D2, Cleveland complains that she won't get to show off if the enemy has no planes and is immediately beset by Siren aerial units.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: This could happen if you happened to bring a superpower, supercharged fleet to engage a much weaker enemy fleet (the level difference is around 30 or more between your fleet and the enemy), and watched as your fleet one-shot most enemy ships. It often happens in Chapter 1, Map 1, as this is an ideal place to increase a ship's affection due to the fact that the enemy is just around level 2, and there is a fixed ambush spot that you can exploit to farm affection over and over again. Of course, it isn't by any mean the attacker would cut the victims into pieces, but using a gun that deals tons of damage to kill a ship with just a few hundred HP is just... overkilling. On the other hand, the enemy can do the same to you should your fleet be too weak to handle them.
  • Third-Person Person: A number of ships speak in third person in place of saying "I" in the Japanese version. Most of these don't survive the official English translation. Even for those that do, sometimes normal "I" slips through.
  • Title Drop: The title of "Microlayer Medley" is eventually revealed to refer to a compound that creates a signal-jamming mist.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In "Microlayer Medley" A1/C1, Enterprise goes on a solo scouting mission despite knowing full well that Baltimore, Helena and Memphis disappeared into a Fog of Doom nearby. To nobody's surprise, she too falls victim.
  • Trapped in Another World: Discussed in the Kizuna AI collaboration event, where Kizuna finds herself in the world of Azur Lane. Hololive collaboration event has Zuikaku and Kawakaze immediately say how familiar this sounds when they met the Hololive girls.
    Ikazuchi: I see, I see! So this is that "summoned from another world" trope!
  • Unbreakable Weapons: Played straight in combat, and subverted in in-game cutscenes. When fighting, you can go full throttle without paying a single heed to your weapon status (in fact, it is recommended to maximize your damage output via decreasing their cooldown time by any possible mean to quickly take out all enemies). In-game cutscenes, it is possible your girls' weapons can work for an extended period of time, but they will still take damage if getting hit or interfered by the enemy weaponry.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: If the flagship is sunk, the fleet can still retry the encounter if there are still surviving main fleet shipgirls. That's in theory. In practice, if the enemies were able to sink the flagship even with two or three main fleet members present, they're even more likely to be able to do so with a now-diminished main fleet, especially given that damage from the failed attempt will carry over.
  • Very False Advertising: The English version ads are rather notorious for doing this, along with making their game look like a waifu simulator. Examples here. It's due to outsourcing to another company which takes some liberties to say the least.
    • Averted with other versions which aren't misleading if they don't show some gameplay also.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: Your ships start off as subordinates but gradually learn to trust, like, and then love their commander. This even culminates in marriage. They get gameplay bonuses at each stage of their relationship, encouraging healthy relationships with commanders who give them reasonable time off, let them serve when they are motivated with a good mood, and keep them alive during sorties.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential:
    • For intentional comedy or otherwise, destroyers are mostly little girls, from kindergarten kids like the Mutsuki sisters to other elementary students, and are among the youngest girls in the entire base. They fight exclusively on the front line, serving as the vanguard along with light and heavy cruisers, bearing all damage before "it comes to backline". The fact that in real life, destroyers and other escort ships often had to partake on the most dangerous naval missions, such as patrolling, screening capital ships, escorting, fighting against submarines, bombarding coastal defense, etc... doesn't make things look any lighter.
    • Negative affinity does exist for those who truly despise certain ships. Players can repeatedly send her into battles to decrease her mood, give her poor or no equipment, make her the only vanguard (or backline) ship and take all the damage, and get her sunk more often to decrease her affinity. This is especially horribly cruel on those who were already suffering mental trauma like Helena, Arizone or Yorktown, who otherwise should not suffer anymore abusement. One must be an extreme sadist to do that to those girls.
  • Villain Episode:
    • The first half of "Scherzo of Iron and Blood" is in the perspective of Bismarck as you fight Suffolk/Norfolk, Victorious, and Ark Royal as the bosses.
    • Certain levels of the first half of "Empyreal Tragicomedy" involves this in the perspective of Littorio as she tries to outsmart the Royal Navy by claiming an alliance. It doesn't work, and they see right through the ruse.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Sirens and whoever is behind them. Despite being the scourge that invaded most of the sea and kickstarted the entire plot, The siren bosses are usually hardly hostle in dialogue, but rather, indifferent. In their cutscenes, they appearantly do not consider the human alliance as their enemy, but as collections of experimental subjects across numerous parallel universes, subjects they are trying to force "evolution" upon in order to contend with some unmentioned Greater-Scope Villain. And in their view, "evolution" entails sacrifice in the form of war and strife, and therefore they pose themselves as the enemy of mankind in order to force them (and their ship girls) to evolve. Case in point, they are also the source of the mysterious Wisdom Cubes that spawned the ship girls, our main arsenal againt them, in the first place.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • What Crimson Echoes essentially is, with Kaga having said flashbacks during the climax of Five Minutes of Fate at the Battle of Midway.
    • "Scherzo of Iron and Blood" is retelling of an event right after the player's tutorial, played in the perspective of Bismarck and her Royal Navy hunters.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: A number of shipgirls at the lowest affection levels will greet you with such a line in their status screen. And given how getting them to this level is very difficult to do accidentally (constant battles/sinkings without break), it's not unwarranted.


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