Bought this manga in physical form:
The limited edition even (with small booklet containing a few colored illustrations, and a ‘box’ that can hold 5-6 volumes of manga):
This is the case when I fail at keeping my buying impulse in check ^^;
I kinda knew that they’re implementing ‘delayed digital version’ strategy with this one (so the digital version doesn’t cannibalize physical version). Basically, the digital version would appear most likely 3 months after the physical version release date.
But yeah, so this is the first physical manga review post in this blog ^^;
What makes this manga special (compared to the rest of Kantai Collection mangas out there) is that the story is supposedly authored by the ‘father of Kantai Collection’ himself.
And the illustration (by Sakae Saitoh) is relatively accurate to how the characters officially look in the game. Well, there’s a bit of the author’s style, and the Souryuu-class characters actually look better in this manga ^^; but this manga is like Kamen Rider Spirits; the art takes a step further in respecting the original version.
The story is very character focused, and it takes great lengths to illustrate how they really fight in battles. You get strange details like how they catapult the plane fighters. Even the arrows shot by the archers can transform into plane fighters ^^;
If you look at this from far perspective, it’s pretty surreal ^^; (considering the girls are personification of ships, and yet they take the personified battles so seriously).
This manga’s story also has a consistent ‘pattern’. Basically, each chapter focuses on a ship class. It would end with the girl’s portrait along with the real ship like this:
The character in these illustrations is always one among the class. Usually the first ship (e.g., Kongou) but not always (Ise is the first ship but Hyuuga is the one featured)
The previous featured ships also tend to appear at the start of the next chapter. It’s like they are ‘passing the baton’ of the story to the next ships, even though they don’t realize it.
Character appearances of volume 1:
– Chapter 1 Hyuuga (+Ise)
– Chapter 2 Hibiki (+Akatsuki, Ikazuchi, Inazuma)
– Chapter 3 Kongou (+Hiei, Haruna, Kirishima)
– Chapter 4 Souryuu (+Hiryuu) part 1
– Chapter 5 Souryuu (+Hiryuu) part 2
Other ship appearances (not-so-minor, participate in battles):
Mogami, Isuzu, Myoukou, Choukai, Tone, Chikuma, I19, I58, I168
Tenryuu, Ayanami, Shikinami, Kisaragi, Mutsuki, Ooi, Shigure, Yuudachi, Mikuma, Tatsuta, Kitakami, Akigumo, Yuugumo
Who are who? For references (if you can read hiragana ^^;)
You might notice the very popular ones like Shimakaze, Akagi, Yamato and Fubuki etc have not made appearances yet (not even minor ones). A big tease for the upcoming volumes I guess ^^;
I actually won’t be surprised if the last chapter of this manga series features the poster girl Fubuki (I personally think that would be a pretty cool concept) ^^;
I also don’t think they’re going to have a feature chapter for every ships due to requiring lots of chapters. Probably the ones that already have not-so-minor appearances (e.g., Isuzu, even Myoukou, representing the rest of Myoukou class) won’t get a feature chapter.
And oh yeah, this manga doesn’t seem to feature any admiral character. Just the ship girls ^^
This is probably the best Kantai Collection manga to date, i.e., as official as it can get. The rest are anthology comics of varying quality, while the Kongou and Shimakaze feature mangas have art that deviates from the original.
Can’t wait for volume 2 X)
P.s., You can read this manga at ComicWalker btw. It’s currently on the last chapter of volume 1. The next update (11th May 2014) would be the first chapter of volume 2). Note that you can only read the first chapter and the latest chapter.