This was brought on recently by the realization that the (as of this writing) Fall 2013 Event is based on the freaking Naval Battle of Guadalcanal, down to the bombardment of Henderson Field for the final phase of the event. Heck, the third phase (E-3) is even titled Ironbottom Sound, the area between Savo Island and Guadalcanal where many ships the kanmusus are based on met their end.
This made me think that what we're really seeing is the spirits of the IJN ships (or maybe the resident kami that Japanese believe to reside in everything) are unknowingly reliving the encounters that got their "bodies" sunk in the real world. Given how many of these ships met violent ends (it was war after all), their spirits are fighting these battles again and again until they let go of whatever grudges they had upon sinking, so that they could move on to the next phase.
Which leads to the next whacked out theory...
They're the grudges of the Allied ships sunk by the IJN during the war. This theory was brought about by the fact that Abyssal Fleet ships use the English system of measurement for their gun calibers (5 inch, 8 inch, etc.), in contrast to the metric system used by the kanmusus (12.7 cm, 41 cm, etc.). If these were kanmusus sunk by careless admirals, as the fandom thinks, then wouldn't they be using the same measuring system? The thing is (and this was after watching documentaries like Discovery channel's Battlefield series), only the calibers of US ships are ever described in this way.
Add to the fact that the Fall 2013 seems to be a direct reference to the aforementioned Naval Battles of Guadalcanal (down to starting with night battles, something the IJN mainly did during that campaign), it's easy to put the two together...
Which makes one wonder if the monstrous forms of the Abyssal Fleet are simply a type of glamour to make it easier to fight the Abyssal Fleet... instead of fellow shipgirls of the US navy just doing their own missions (like, oh, defending vital airfields), while the US-aligned shipgirls think they're fending off the monstrous forces of the Abyssal Fleet...
- Doesn't really work; the Abyssals have aviation battleships and tons of torpedo cruisers, neither of which were used by the Allies. They never even designed torpedo cruisers.
- While the Japanese kanmusu are indeed based on historical ships, we can't guarantee that every other nation is going to follow suit; perhaps Allied shipgirls were remodeled to be more like Axis ones after seeing how well the Japanese fleet was doing against the Abyssals. It's also possible that the Abyssals are able to reconfigure themselves to become different types of ship than the original, which would explain it.
- Plus the US did copy and adapt Japanese night battle doctrine. Maybe here they didn't stop there but adapted those ship classes too. After all, they did have the flip side of the aviation battleship, the gun-mounting carrier, for a short time with the Lexingtons.
- As a rebuttal, the Abyssals also have heavy cruisers armed with triple 8-inch main batteries along with torpedoes. The US was the ONLY nation that fielded triple 8-inchers, and the combination of triple 8-inchers plus torpedoes corresponds to exactly two classes of USN heavy cruisers, the Pensacola and Northampton classes.
- The separation occurred when aliens tried to animate fallen ships. The grudges were too strong.
- Nirvana can only occur for the ships if they seek out and find their counterpart grudge; and defeat/fuse with their Enemy Without.
- The Summer 2014/Aleutians-Midway Campaign Event just adds more fuel to this theory, as the lines of Midway Princess and the Carrier Princess imply that they're the nightmares or dark sides of Akagi and Kaga brought to life, respectively.
- This changes the WMG a bit. The Abyssal Fleet aren't Allied Grudges, they're the Ship Girls Grudges. Using Allied measurements for weaponry then is part of the Ironic Hell.
- Those two specifically may even represent Akagi and Kaga's sister ships Amagi and Tosa, who were never completed due to certain circumstances. Amagi was undergoing conversion to an aircraft carrier like Akagi when she was severely damaged in the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and consequently scrapped. Kaga was tapped as the replacement while Tosa was never completed as part of the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922. She was used as a testbed for armor layouts and later scuttled. Think about it. Akagi and Kaga's stillborn sisters have come back from the dead eager to slaughter the shipgirls who got a chance at life.
- Adding credence to this theory is the Light Cruiser Dwelling Demon boss in the Winter 2015 event (Operation Hailstone). She looks like a fusion of light cruisers Naka and Agano, both of whom were sunk during Operation Hailstone.
- The Neuroi didn't understand what they had tapped into. Time Travel is not "clean." The erased timeline always reminds reality that it had existed, and it was in the dark places at the bottom of the ocean that the Neuroi embraced dark magic; the opposite of the Strike Witches; and took it to the next level. Where the Strike Witches donned aircraft and augmented it it with magic; (and unknowingly the persona of men fighting The War to End All Wars), the Neuroi reached into the other world and took their fallen ocean ships; and amplying their grudge, became them. And the Abyssal Fleet was born; alien science, dark magic, and the grudge of the fallen all fused.
- The magic of the Strike Witches was not enough against this. It wasn't a question of air superiority; or tactics. By definition; the Abyssal Fleet made their existence into a No-Sell magically. But once again; the aliens taking the darkness of humanity from the other world and embodying it left a weakness. If a Strike Witch was willing; she could give up her humanity (but not her shining soul) and become the embodiment of a Ship Girl; the ideal of a weapon in a war that was never fought in this timeline. The Neuroi became the grudge, the Ship Girls became the personification of courage, of duty, of sacrifice.
More accurately, Kantai Collection takes place after Arpeggio of Blue Steel. Sometimes during or after the war against the Fleet of Fog, humanity managed to either capture or re-create them, putting them under the control of humanity like Iona, as well as developing the technology far enough so that even destroyers and minor ships get to have their own Mental Models as well. Sometimes further after, the new Fleet of Fog, now called kanmusu or shipgirls to avoid the negative connotation of the old name (or the technology has advanced to the point they are different things), gained relatively equal rights with humanity and they are eventually assimilated into human society thanks to their new appearance. It is quite likely that somewhere in between, the nanomaterial used to build the "dummies" of the Fleet of Fog also advanced to the point it can be used to mimic human body perfectly while retaining the same destructive power.
The Crossover event in Christmas 2013 suggests that the weapons of ship girls cannot penetrate the Klein Field of the enemy. However, it takes but modifications (presumably to be rather simple, seeing that the entire arsenal can be modified without consuming many resources, and the Abyssal Fleet also get to have them) to make them only slightly less powerful than the Fleet of Fog. Combined with the fact that ship girls are stated by canon to be somewhat human in size, that means that ship girl technology is actually more advanced than the Fleet of Fog despite the objective differences in firepower. This technology is also seen in the form of repair buckets, which can instantly repair Fog ships, as well as Damage Control equipment, which can prevent them from sinking; the Repair Goddess in particular can even restore a Fog ship to full health, fuel and ammo instantaneously, at no additional cost (read: without even using nanomaterials). The Fleet of Fog has no known equipment with anywhere close to similar functions.
As for the Abyssal Fleet, they might be The Remnant of the original Fleet of Fog, or other projects that might or might not be the precursors or ship girls.
- Crossover events aren't proof for or against this theory. Take the short story crossover fight between Kirito and Silver Crow. It's implied in-series that the Accel World setting is the future of the Sword Art Online setting. The fight, however, was straight-up portal crossover, and wasn't canon in any way that would change either setting. No Time Travel worries.
- Alternatively, both Kancolle and Arpeggio happened on the same timeline but branched out differently; two different branches from the same trunk, so to speak.
In this world, the OTL Axis powers-or at least Japan-are free and democratic and defending themselves against a fascist US and her allies. The Abyssal fleet is the results of American attempts to make their own kanmusu.
- Jossed with the reveal of Iowa as a character.
And it doesn't care what is going on at the surface, it doesn't even bother. Everything that happens is just a side effect of ships having come to close to it when they sank. That would practically turn the whole setting into one huge Cosmic Horror Story.
This winter season, Kancolle will get its anime while Arpeggio will be getting The Movie. Is there a better occasion to host another crossover event? Plus, Arpeggio's story has advanced to include and/or shed more light to a few more interesting new ships (Vampire, Yukikaze, Repulse, etc).
- Jossed. All the way up to Winter 2016, no second Arpeggio crossover has occurred.
This will probably be revealed at the start of her focus episode which shows what happens when a girl leaves the Fleet. It'll be a heartwarming and heartbreaking story where we get to see just why she's so set on becoming an idol. We'll see the other girls' reactions as she's packing, and maybe a bit about what she does after she leaves the base. Everybody will be lonely without her. And then, for whatever reason, she'll be re-commissioned right at the end of the episode, because Naka-chan drop rate.
- Jossed, but given that a second season has been announced...
Given how Kisaragi sank in ep. 3, which became a huge whiplash in tone up to that point, the Urobutcher has gotta be involved in the anime somehow.
- Funnily enough, the day the episode aired, Gen officially followed the Kancolle Twitter account.
At some point, if any episode featured both Hiei and Yukikaze in the same mission, it won't have a happy ending for both ships.
Case in point: Mutsuki's unrequited feelings of love for Kisaragi is going to eat away at her until she becomes an Abyss Fleet Girl.
- Jossed, at least for first season.
- Completely jossed,Kisaragi came back in the Kantai Collection movie twice,first time as an proto-abyssal but still fights on the kanmusu side which later perished again to be purified into a kanmusu,second time as a fully recovered kanmusu.
In real life, The Samuel B. Roberts was known as "the destroyer escort that fought like a battleship" due to her performance in the Battle off Samar. Therefore, when she shows up as an Abyssal ship, she has the fighting capabilities of a battleship, while retaining the small body of a destroyer escort.
- Alternatively, considering her number of attacks, supply of planes, and power on-par with or even exceeding some bosses, Re-class may represent all of Taffy 3.
- The Winter 2018 event introduced a ship girl for Samuel B. Roberts and fellow Taffy 3 ship Gambier Bay, with the latter having an Abyssal counterpart in Escort Water Princess.
- To make matter more worse, the Doolittle Raid just happened as well as that the Admiral is insisting to cancel Operation MO, making History Repeats undeniable for the next episodes.
- Confirmed. The Naval District is attacked in episode 9, forcing the fleet to cancel their current operations and focus solely on Operation MI.
- Jossed; the girls manage to achieve victory with the help of reinforcements.
- Jossed; See above's jossing for details.
- It's also possible that in the KanColleverse, the Allies have fallen to the Abyssals, who use their resources to replenish their infinite supply of Mooks.
- This actually makes a lot of sense, and also goes a long way towards explaining certain parallels between the Abyssals and the Allies. With the Allies also fighting the Abyssals, there are going to be casualties. And as we know, Abyssals are born from the grudge of fallen kanmusu. However, if a kanmusu hold a grudge, it would most likely be against the Abyssals. As self-hatred isn't exactly conducive for a soldier, it's likely that when a kanmusu becomes an Abyssal, the grudge would transfer to whichever group they were second-most likely to have a grudge against. Now who would, say, American kanmusu have a grudge against? Here's a hint: who bombed Pearl Harbour? That's right. The Abyssals the Japanese kanmusu fight aren't the Allied fleet, they're the grudge of the Allied fleet. It's equally possible that the Allies can't help because they're caught up dealing with Abyssals born from the grudges of Axis kanmusu.
- The recent unveil of Iowa is pretty much a joss in and of itself to this idea.
- Not necessarily. It could be an XCOM 2-style situation where most of the world is being suppressed by the Abyssals, but after the main resistance in the form of the ex-Axis forces force a breakthrough by defeating Central Princess, they are able to make contact with the Allied Forces. They send Iowa over as the ex-Axis are clearly in a better position to make use of her than they are.
- Jossed by later update. Harbor/Seaport Princess and Water Demon are separate beings, with Princess having her own map 4-5.
- Except that Harbor Princess becomes more powerful when her health gauge reaches its final segment, thereby confirming that she holds back.
- Pretty hard to say, as some of them are based on Allied ships. For example, CL Tsu-class is obviously the USS Atlanta because it posses the same weapon as it is.
- Not much of an objection. Resurrecting your enemy's dead to use as your own is a time-honoured tradition of necromancy, one that Japlenniumnote would probably enjoy rubbing in the faces of the gaijin.
- The 51mm cannon (quest reward) is slated for that particular ship, so it might as well be a foreshadowing.
Of course, there are Abyssals that are implied to be the grudges of Japanese shipgirls. It's possible that the Abyssals decided to try a new tactic in an attempt to demoralise the kanmusu, by making them fight their own former allies instead of other regions' ships, and may continue to do so in the future. Time will tell if they continue to bring up the ghosts of old enemies, or switch entirely to this "fallen allies become new enemies" policy in the future.
- With the recent reveal of American equipment in a recent update, this is surely becoming the case. What we need to wait for though, is the ship that the equipment in question is for...
- With the reveal of the USS Iowa, this may well be confirmed.
- Ship girls from the American, British, and Soviet navies have been introduced.
- End credits has Yoshinori Shizuma as the artist of Iowa, the same artist behind the Akizuki, Nagato and Yamato-class ships.
- As added bonus: Yuudachi will cement her reference to Gundam 0083 by bellowing out the infamous line like this:Yuudachi: SOROMONYO! YUUDACHI WA KAITEKTA-POI!
And the ship girls? Well, they sure as Hell didn't come out of a government procurement programme. Perhaps the would-be founder of a certain Mega-Corp encountered things from the stars and repurposed it for human use, hoarding it until the time is right. Well, with the emergence of the Abyssals, that time is now.
Adding on to the above, she may well and truly represent Pearl Harbour as a whole. Her extreme vulnerability to dive bombers is a reference to how the Arizona was sunk, while her having the Iowa-class' main armament can be explained by her assimilating the Missouri museum ship.
- Appearance-wise, the Leviathans are Kaiju-style anthropomorphic marine lifeforms mixed with all types of weaponry (assault rifles, handguns, bladed weapons, etc.) and named after the genus of which species they're based on.
Then, the bosses also seem to be closer to the "whole" ship/installations represented, ans their relative strength is one proof of it. My theory is that the mooks are simply rough amalgamations of multiple ships of the same/similar types, while the bosses are close to "pure" incarnation of what it represented in the past, and that is the probable reason some of them "turn back" into ship girls after they're defeated.
- I doubt so, because Azur Lane does have Enterprise and use her prominently even in their English advertisements without any apparent fear of this.