Last week, Japanese low-cost airline company Peach Aviation unveiled a fresh Kantai Collection livery wrap for one of their Airbus 320 aircraft, making what originally began as an April Fool’s joke a reality. We’ve all seen the pictures – in the past, Japanese airlines have been no strangers to collaborating with popular characters from Hello Kitty to Pokemon. This may be the first time I’ve seen such a focused appeal straight to the hearts of anime and game otaku, though.
— 「艦これ」開発/運営 (@KanColle_STAFF) May 26, 2017
Chances are I might just have to find an excuse to fly from Osaka to Fukuoka, the very route that flight MM157 soars on. Gracing the left side of the plane is Destroyer Fubuki, complete with a Peach shopping bag. Looking at the other side, we can see Aircraft Carriers Souryuu and Hiryuu, who also happen to be sister ships in the original fleet. In what may be my favorite touch, the two are wearing the very same scarves that Peach flight attendants sport inside the planes. Both aircraft and Kancolle fans were eager to snap-photos of the vessel in action, and they offer some great close-up views.
MM157 A320-200 JA816P KanColle livery
— kansai_VI (@kansai_VI) May 26, 2017
— ルミナリエ臨 (@coppola_0618) May 26, 2017
— 巻紙屋@砲雷舞鶴 (@Sand_leon) May 26, 2017
To me, this collaboration really seems like a total no-brainer. While I suppose cruise ships and ferry boats may have fit the bill a little more snugly, the plane at least features two aircraft carriers to provide suitability. In a country like Japan where the domestic transportation options are plentiful, this is just one of many right moves companies can take to get dedicated customer base flowing their way. We’ve seen it with cafes and we’ve seen it with zoos – otaku money may just be the difference between financial ruin and profitability; or maybe having cute anime girls on your plane is what distinguishes you between being just another airline and the ultimate social media talking point.
Now, if you can hook me up with a replica figure of the craft, I’d call this mission a success.
Kantai Collection, or KanColle for short, started off as a web browser based strategy game that put you in the position of admiral over a fleet of historical naval vessels, only with one important twist – all those boats are now “kanmusu,” or “ship daughters.” And thus, another gijinka smash-hit was born. The game would go on to inspire loads of fanworks, official manga and anime adaptations, and even a theatrical film. This was the next logical step, really.
Peach Aviation: Official Site