Azur Lane: Slow Ahead!

Azur Lane: Slow Ahead!

Azur Lane: Slow Ahead! anime series cover art
Azur Lane: Slow Ahead!

Series Overview

Azur Lane: Slow Ahead! (Azur Lane: Bisoku Zenshin! / アズールレーン びそくぜんしんっ!) is a slice of life series made up of 12 8-minute episodes and is, obviously, based on the Azur Lane mobile game. I’ve previously reviewed the full-length Azur Lane anime, so this review is going to reference that a few times.

Slow Ahead! follows the four main Azur Lane girls, Ayanami, Javelin, Laffey, and Z23 just like the full-length series did. Well, kind of. I think Z23 was in the full series. But I actually don’t remember her and I never even mentioned her in my review of it.

The big difference between the full series and this short series is that the short series has no plot or action. It’s purely slice of life fan service. There’s some ecchi fan service, especially in the first episode or two. But after that, it’s basically just cute girls doing cute things.

Now, I’m not an Azur Lane fan. By that, I mean that I’ve never played the game and I have no interest in starting it. So to someone like me, the slice of life content in this series isn’t all that interesting. I don’t have a pre-existing connection with any of these characters beyond watching the full series.

If you’re not already a fan of the series, I wouldn’t really recommend watching Slow Ahead! Some people who aren’t fans of the series still enjoy it, though. If you’re really into cute girls doing cute things, you might.

But, just be warned that this series is exactly what it looks like. There’s no surprise waiting for you within it. It’s just some boat girls talking to their friends at boat girl school — yes, it’s apparently set in a school.

A Different Side of Some Characters

If, like me, your only exposure to the Azur Lane franchise before this short series was the full-length anime, some of the characters may seem a bit different. Z23 is probably the most different simply because she’s a main character this time instead of a background character.

Laffey’s character isn’t different at all between the two anime. She’s the sleepy loli in both. There’s not really much to her character than that. She sometimes takes a leadership-ish role in the main series, but I think that has more to do with there being a plot.

Javelin, to me at least, seems a lot less confident in Slow Ahead! Maybe this isn’t actually the case, but the change in setting seems to have affected her character. The school setting in Slow Ahead! means she’s being put into more social situations, and she doesn’t appear to be the best at those.

Laffey yawning from the anime series Azur Lane: Slow Ahead!
Laffey yawning

Ayanami has changed drastically between the two series. It’s almost like she’s an entirely different character. I don’t know which Ayanami is the real one (the one in the game), but my guess is that the Slow Ahead! one is the closer of the two.

In the full series, Ayanami was kind of a loner, which she still is to an extent. But the big thing about her character in that series is that she was one of the only boat girls on her side of the war to see her enemies as similar to her. She helped lead the change that resulted in peace.

In Slow Ahead!, Ayanami is a NEET gamer girl. She’s still my favorite of the main characters as she was in the full series. But if you had told me that this is what Ayanami is actually like after I finished the full series, I wouldn’t have believed you.

What Do Azur Lane Fans Think?

Now, here’s where we get to the crazy part of this review. Right before I started writing this, I saw some reviews of the series by Azur Lane fans. And let me tell you, there were some hot takes in these reviews.

Obviously, not every Azur Lane fan is going to agree with some of these opinions of theirs that I’m about to share. But at the same time, maybe I’m just the one who doesn’t understand the true appeal of Azur Lane to the people who play it.

The first thing I saw was that they consider Slow Ahead! to be the real Azur Lane anime adaptation — they hate the other one. I get that the plot wasn’t really that good and that it was obviously based on a gacha game. But it looked nice and had some interesting parts.

Javelin eating something from the anime series Azur Lane: Slow Ahead!
Javelin eating something

Where things start to go off the deep end is when they say things like the plot and action in the other series were needless. Apparently, just seeing cute boat girls doing cute things is all they want. Isn’t the plot and action a key component of the mobile game even if the plot wasn’t the same?

But, the most baffling thing to me is that people seem to like Slow Ahead! more because it has “more consistent animation.” Do you know why Slow Ahead! has more consistent animation? Because its animation is just average.

The main series doesn’t have bad animation. It just sometimes has insane animation that makes the average animation look worse than it really is. Having great animation for important scenes shouldn’t be something to complain about.

Conclusion

To me, Azur Lane: Slow Ahead! is a 5/10. It doesn’t do anything particularly well, but it also doesn’t do anything particularly poorly. And since the episodes are only 8 minutes each, there isn’t enough time for them to have real plots.

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