Arpeggio of Blue Steel : Ars Nova (Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Sentient warships !


Gunzou Chihaya, our protagonist. Two years ago, he was a moody naval officer in training : the seas have been conquered by the mysterious “Fleet of Fog”, which showed out of nowhere and completely broke communications between nations ; so his future career is looking kinda pointless (it’s not like humanity looks like it has any hope of turning the tide). Also, his dad was a famous captain who got KIA (although there are some nasty rumours of him defecting), which earned him a fast track to the elite naval officer class. Which is how he got to see…

Iona, aka I-401, a Fog submarine “captured” by Japan 7 years ago ; they were kinda hoping to study it, but they haven’t made much progress since. When Gunzou touches her, she reacts and manifests her girl-shaped avatar ; she explains that her only purpose is to find him, and obey his orders. So, off they go, now labeled traitors by both sides.

Some of Gunzou’s oddball classmates (the masked dude, the guy who behaves like a delinquant, and so on) have somehow joined his crew at some point after the flashback. They’re acting as mercenaries for various human factions.

The current-day plot involves our heroes protecting a Japanese base while it launches a secret weapon towards America. This isn’t a hostile manoeuvre : Japan doesn’t have the resources to mass-replicate it, and sends it that way to America in the hope the Fleet of Fog can’t intercept it. The plan fails : the rocket is destroyed halway through its trip. So it’s time for plan B : give another copy to our heroes, and have them deliver it to America. If anyone can cross the seas and survive to tell the tale, it’s them.

The episode ends with a preview of some of the major Fog ships (and their avatars) our heroes are going to face. I note that we haven’t seen yet any clue as to who actually controls the Fleet of Fog. (Aliens ? A secret human conspiracy ? Who knows ?)

Production Values

Lots of CG animation ; actually, it looks a lot like even the characters are heavily cell-shaded CG models. It actually looks quite good… most of the time. (There are a few ugly shots indeed.)

Overall Impression

Well, this is certainly an intriguing premise. I’m not quite sold, though : the main cast are clich├ęs without much personality so far, and I’m not sure yet whether the girl-ship thing is too stupid even for me. There are some definite pacing problems, too.

But hey, I’ve given a second episode to worse shows than this. Let’s give it a bit of a chance.

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I've been kinda blogging about anime for years... but mostly on forums (such as's Tangency) and other sites. This site is an archive for all that stuff, just in case.

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