So love it or hate it Hetalia is still going strong in anime culture after all these years. To be honest, I am not the biggest fan of it but I can appreciate what the creators have done in terms of presenting the nations in a historical light. I wanted to focus on America after hearing his American voice actor, Eric Vale, speak on him. To paraphrase, he said he wanted to embody America as cool, cocky, and arrogant and while this may have been how American soldier’s entered the European theater, this attitude was quickly put in place after fighting veteran German units on the march to Berlin. See, for the early years of World War II, America was supporting the Allied powers with both supplies and finances. During this time America was gearing itself up for total war manufacturing. The State Department worked with major manufacturers to retool their facilities to create everything from parachutes to ammunition. By the end of the war, American manufacturing was incredibly efficient. American industrialists applied assembly line production techniques to everything from planes to boats. It has been argued by many historians that it was American (and Russian) mass production that overwhelmed the German army. In short, Eric Vale’s cocky attitude is perfect for depicting America in Hetalia.
So for this post we are heading back to Kancolle! I promise to expand out to new shows soon (I am watching Hetalia this week!). Hibiki is one of my favorite characters in Kancolle and I absolutely loved learning more about her. Originally launched on June 16, 1932, she was one of the last Fubuki Class destroyers built. Now if that class name sounds familiar it is because the Fubuki Class was named after the destroyer Fubuki, the main protagonist in Kancolle. That is why Fubuki is referred to several times as a name ship. But anyways, back to Hibiki. I love Hibiki’s character design as I feel it truly reflects her history in the Imperial Japanese Navy. Hibiki served throughout the entirety of World War II and was one of the few ships involved with the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands. These were the islands that stretch of the tip of Alaska and was one of the only times Japanese boots walked on American soil during WWII. I believe this is why Hibiki was given ice-blue hair. Another thing to note about Hibiki is that she often speaks Russian throughout the anime. This is because in 1947 the Hibiki was given to the Soviets as a spoil of war after WWII. She was ultimately renamed the Dekabrist (Декабрист) (Decembrist) and served several years in the Soviet navy. Sadly she would end up being sunk as a target dummy in 1953.
I absolutely loved watching Girls Und Panzer and cannot wait to explore this anime in more depth. So to start on this series I wanted to talk about the tank driven by our main protagonists. The Panzerkampfwagen IV Ausf. D or Panzer IV for short is crewed by Miho Nishizumi, Saori Takebe, Hana Isuzu, Yukari Akiyama, and Mako Reizei. The Paner IV was the most widely produced tank by the Germans in WWII with over 8,000 built. So why was this tank left with the other “un-sellable” tanks at Ooarai? Well that is because the Panzer IV was never designed to fight other tanks but was originally planned as an infantry support vehicle. Its short KwK 37 L/24 gun did not have that penetrating power or the range that other tanks on the battlefield had and couldn’t penetrate the armor of tanks like the Churchill (as seen in the fight against St. Gloriana Girls High School. During WWII the Panzer III was designed to deal with tanks but failed at this task, resulting in changes to the Panzer IV to beef it up for anti-tank combat. But, the Panzer IV needed some more fire power if it was to penetrate the armor of the Russian’s T-34s so the KwK 40 was added. This was added in the Anime before the girls fought Pravda (which means truth in Russian and was also one of the state sponsored newspaper/propaganda tools of the Soviets). This brought the Panzer IV’s classification to Ausf. F2. Lastly before the final match against Kuromorimine Girls High School the Panzer IV gets its trademark Schürzen skirts which were basically metal sheets attached with brackets over the treads. This upgraded the girls’ Panzer IV to the Ausf. H which was basically the final form of the Panzer IV. While there was an Ausf. J produced it was a simplified model of the Panzer IV to cut down production time at the end of the war. Also during this time the Panzer IV’s armor was greatly increased which meant the tank would be much slower. However this was not demonstrated or explored in the anime which I think was a real shame. Despite showing its ability to drive at the same speed or faster than Maho Nishizumi’s Tiger I it was actually much slower. The Ausf. H version of the tank could reach speeds of 25 km/h (16 mph) max and only if it was on a nice even road while the Tiger I with its massive engine could reach 45.4 km/h (28.2 mph). But if the writer’s kept to that then we wouldn’t have gotten to see Ooarai’s victory in the tournament!
From the hit anime Kancolle produced by Diomedéa, based on the game Kantai Collection by Kadokowa Games, Akagi is the anthropomorphization of the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi. So for those of you who do not know what Kancolle is its basic premise is that high school girls are the manifestation of WWII Japanese battleships that are fighting the mysteries “Deep See Fleet” that look like a cross hybrid human/monster/battleships. So Akagi is a representation of the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi, commissioned on 25 March 1927. The Akagi was originally meant to be a battle cruiser but after the Treaty of Washington (which limited the number and size of naval vessels to be built) she was stripped of her guns and made into an aircraft carrier. This is reflected in the anime Kancolle by Akagi acting with what I interpret as “the heart of a warrior.” She was originally built for the front line but forced to take a supporting role as a carrier. I appreciate how Akagi is depicted in the Anime as a leader seeing as she was the flagship of the first 1st Air Fleet (known as Kidō Butai). The Akagi fought from Pearl Harbor to Midway, where she was damaged beyond repair after a dive bomber hit her while reloading and refueling planes below decks. Thankfully in a divergence from historical accuracy, Akagi survives the battle of MI in the anime to return for season 2!
This is a new project of mine where I will be writing about historical accuracy of various form of media, concentrating mostly on anime. It will be a fun, quirky, sometimes emotional, and always entertaining journey using animation as a gateway to learning more about history. I look forward to sharing this journey with you all!