I just watched the first episode on CR. Spoilered for length:
- Mecha-musume genre
- Already having been aware of the genre still didn't prepare me for the need to adjust to it. Is it just the genre in general, or more specific to how KanColle was presented in this episode, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around the establishment of the setting. From what I could tell, these are normal girls that simply have awesome cybernetic-like weapon attachments (and embody the spirits of their namesake WWII-era ships). Ok. I've watched four seasons of Ikkitousen where the characters are modern day teenage brawlers who are more or less reincarnations of their Romance of the Three Kingdoms namesakes, so the spiritual aspect I can understand. But then Akagi and the other carrier-class ships used bows to shoot arrows that morph into warplanes... I get it; they're carriers, but it took me off guard for a bit.
- Humongous cast
- A navy isn't going to have a handful of ships, so I was prepared for this. "Collection" is in the name after all. Thankfully, the first episode establishes different battle groups, which should make learning the characters a bit easier. (This is what I did with Touhou.) I guess starting off with Fubuki will be first since it seems she's the main character. What I really hated was the fact that I am totally unfamiliar with actual Japanese WWII history (thank you, public high school education) other than the very end (also Pearl Harbor), so during most of the episode, I was worrying that since I am unfamiliar with the histories of the various real life ships, that the significance of the various interactions among the characters was being lost on me. Now of course, I've watched Ikkitousen, and Sengoku Collection (which bases its characters loosely on historical figures from the Sengoku Period) and was reasonably entertained (to various degrees) without needing to know the histories, but possessing that knowledge beforehand is always a bonus.
- Inside jokes/memes/etc.
- While I haven't actively pursued anything KanColle-related, its spread on Danbooru over the past year or so, makes it seem as nearly as pervasive as Touhou. And knowing Touhou's fandom, I can only assume KanColle's fandom also possesses numerous memes, references, and other inside jokes. All of which have gone over my head thus far.
If pushed, I would probably say that while a few of the battle scenes were nice, others didn't have that epic feeling to them. Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam is the closest anime that I've watched that had any sort of aerial/naval warfare and its scenes were impressive. But with KanColle's very nature, close-ups of the girls is necessitated, and since I'm not already a fan, is a little jarring, because of the unfamiliarity. At the very least, I didn't mind the clothing damage to the girls when they got hit. It makes sense, and it helps that having watched four seasons of Ikkitousen, I'm already desensitized to the phenomenon of "exploding t-shirts".
I think the main issue is simply getting to a place of comfortable familiarity with the show. I'll stick with it, just to see if that happens organically, or if I will be forced to do so myself independent of the anime.