Looks like KanColle is a big hit in one of Japan’s oldest navy towns.
There are two key factors to the popularity of multi-media franchise Kantai Collection, or KanColle, as fans call it. One is the large and varied cast of cute, earnest schoolgirls, an archetype that Japanese anime and video game otaku can’t get enough of. The other is the fact that all of those characters are based on actual naval warships, which helps draw in military history buffs.
With this sort of crossover appeal, in arcades you’ll often find long lines for coin-op KanColle machines, and the one that Twitter user @arnval_mk2 recently visited in the port city of Yokosuka is no exception. What was unique, though, was the sort of people waiting patiently for their turn to play.
T-Kum (@arnval_mk2) July 03, 2016
Yokosuka was once the site of a major Imperial Navy Base, which has now been replaced by a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force facility. Among the activities that take place there are the training of JMSDF cadets, and it looks like a handful of them were spending some of their R&R time with their personal fleets of sailor-suited anime vessels.
“I came to play KanColle, but it looks like the real sailors are already here,” laughed @arnval_mk2. Another Twitter user quickly chimed in with his agreement.
@arnval_mk2 明らかに横須賀教育隊の自衛官候補生ですね。 呉へ行ったときも似たような集団を見ました。 教育課程中は制服以外では出歩けない規定になっているので間違いなく本業だと思います。—
(@fox_dog_racoon) July 03, 2016
“Those are definitely officer candidates from the Yokosuka Training Center. When I was in Kure [another Japanese city with a JMSDF base], I saw a similar group. During their training, they’re not allowed to leave the base unless they’re in uniform, so there’s no mistake. I think those are real sailors.”
That sounds like a pretty convincing argument, but since @arnval_mk2 didn’t speak with the men in uniform, we can neither confirm nor deny that they were indeed Maritime Self-Defense force personnel and not just a group of extremely dedicated cosplayers. Either way, it seems safe to say that if you’re in Yokosuka, you should expect longer-than-average lines for KanColle machines, so you might want to grab a local microbrew while you wait for one to open up.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’d like you to notice he got through that entire article about sailors in Yokosuka without making a Shenmu joke.