In 2013 Kadokawa had the big-brained idea to take historical warship, make them wholesome anime girls, launching the game turned into anime Kantai Collection. In 2017 a Chinese publisher, Yostar said ‘you know what? Fuck Akagi being a wholesome senpai, what if we made her a T posing yandere instead?’ that fated choice spurred three results. One the loss of my sanity as I have fallen down a hole in which Akagi has become the face of my brand, I purchased my first ever Dakimakura of her, and for some reason, I find her little bit about killing me so I won’t make her sad anymore, ‘cute’. Second, one of the worst anime adaptions in recent memory that COVID was blamed for but honestly, I’m not buying it. And third the quite charming Winter 2021 anime short, Azur Lane: Slow Ahead!
Giving it a second go in the anime world, Azur Lane: Slow Ahead is an anime short that follows the weekly manga that follows the same name. The premise of the series follows the 4 main starter destroyers, the alcoholic Laffey, the charming Javelin, the ever so serious Z23 (Nimi), and the calm and collected Ayanami. Unlike its anime counterpart that tries to tell the overall lore of the game, Slow Ahead pretty much just follows those 4 as they get into different actives around the dock, helping out other ships and expanding their friendship. Slow Ahead is a by-episode ecchi series of everyone’s favorite ship waifus doing everything from building Onsen, teaching Bismarck how to dance, or making cookies for the commander you never see. (That’s because you ARE the commander)
As an Azur player and someone who had to experience the train wreck that was the original animation, I was cautious when I heard Yostar was going up to bat again, getting its popular gacha mobile game another anime. But as I sunk into the first episode when it first aired something became immediately clear, this wasn’t anything like the other animation, in fact, this was wholesome goodness of the best kind. Slow Ahead does everything right, it’s fun, cute, full of the power of friendship, and each little ship quirk of their own. Every episode brought a new adventure, bringing in personalities of different ships as they assist or be assisted by the main 4, and honestly, the best thing I can say about this series is after every episode, I just felt good.
It has been a while since a show has given me the general feeling of bliss without being all the deep or complicated. Slow Ahead is exactly what anyone would think it is but that’s a good thing. Unlike the other adaption, it seemed to know its lane, knew how to present itself, and ultimately, it knows its audience. The show came out during one of the most stacked seasons in recent memory and I am not enough a fool to state that it was among the best, simply, it wasn’t. But what I am willing to say is the series deserves its spot within the anime world, and I think it held its own quite well for the Winter lineup. Actually, there is only one thing I can think of about the series I disliked, there was no Akagi to be found. How can you make a show about a game where one of the most iconic ships is the yandere floof ball? But for what it’s worth there is a Taihou bit so I guess that counts. I think I’m just obsessed with IJN ships.
Anyways, if you are in the market for a feel-good short full of adorable girls, silly activities, and the power of friends this show is definitely worth checking out. Add the fact it’s short, and each episode is about 6-8 minutes long, it sets a pretty high bar personally for me. If I had to put a number on this series I’d be comfortable with a 7, its good, does what it means to well, and I actually hope they will carry on with another season. As always, thanks for the read!