Daihatsu KanColle: Car Company X Game and Anime

In an unexpected crossover between Japan’s automotive and anime worlds, Daihatsu has become integral to the popular anime/game franchise “KanColle” (Kantai Collection). Exciting, isn’t it? Let’s delve deeper into Daihatsu KanColle further!

Kantai Collection (KanColle)

KanColle is a free-to-play web browser game developed by Kadokawa Games in 2013. Players act as naval commanders, collecting various World War II ships transformed into female characters and assembling them into fleets for strategic gameplay. 

The game is set in a world where humanity faces the threat of the abyssal fleet. On the other hand, specialized human girls are weaponized and possess the spirit of Japanese warships to counter the threat.

The extensive cast features over 100 anthropomorphized ships, from famous carriers and battleships to minor patrol boats and landing craft. Complementing the frontline naval vessels are the “Ship Girls” representing Japan’s auxiliary support fleet. 

This is where Daihatsu KanColle comes in, among the auxiliary support fleet. The runaway success of the browser game soon spawned manga, anime shows, films, merchandise, and console/mobile games.

The Daihatsu Kancolle 

Why Daihatsu? As Japan’s oldest car manufacturer, founded in 1907, Daihatsu has a long history of supplying the country’s military. In WWII (World War II), Daihatsu vehicle production was largely devoted to trucks, small passenger cars, and three-wheeled vehicles for the army.

So, the inclusion of Daihatsu cars as auxiliary support characters for the Ship Girls makes sense from a historical perspective. They keep the naval fleets functioning on the high seas.

Daihatsu KanColle also known as Daihatsu Landing Craft was modeled after a real boat used in WWII, namely the Daihatsu-class Landing Craft. The Daihatsudotei (large powered boat) was developed in 1924 by the Japanese Army and later also adopted by the Imperial Japanese Navy Service.

The Development in The Game

In the game, it was first implemented in December 2013. Later, the vessel became upgradeable to Daihatsu Kancolle (Type 89 Medium Tank & Landing Force) in 2016. As a supporting character, the Type 89 Medium Tank & Landing Force provides considerable merits to the fleet as cited below.

  • Slightly increases your “Expedition” resources gain,
  • significantly increases “Resource Nodes” resources gain,
  • significantly increases TP gauge drain during “Transport Operations”,
  • deals great damage against installations, making it a great component for “nukes”.

Later in the same year, the craft can be upgraded to another version, namely Toku Daihatsu Landing Craft. This upgrade also brings different merits to the fleet.

  • Greatly increases “Expedition” resources gain, affected by “Improvements”,
  • greatly increases “Resource Nodes” resources gain,
  • deals moderate damage against installations,
  • significantly increases TP gauge drain during “Transport Operations”

In 2021, the game introduced the Armed Daihatsu as one of the upgradable options for the vessel. This version also brings another set of merits, such as:

  • slightly increases “Expedition” resources gain,
  • greatly increases “Resource Nodes” resources gain,
  • significantly increases TP gauge drain during “Transport Operations”,
  • deals good damage against installations, and also
  • extra bonus against “PT Imps”.

Of course, abide by the game mechanics, to get this Daihatsu product you need to go through certain quests at a predetermined point.

The Impact of Daihatsu KanColle

The inclusion of Daihatsu has expanded the Kancolle storyline and gaming elements in four important ways. 

1. Logistics Gameplay

Repairing docks, fleets, and bases, and managing resources has always been part of Kancolle. The addition of Daihatsu auxiliary ships added more resource transport options, repair abilities, and base expansion possibilities.

2. Accessibility for New Players

The simpler auxiliary ships are more accessible for new Kancolle players, versus complex battleships which require more game knowledge. Daihatsu KanColle ships make it easier for newcomers.

3. New Cosplay Opportunities

Cosplay is huge in KanColle’s fandom. While the WWII warships offer cool costume ideas, Daihatsu’s civilian cars open up cosplay to everyday fashion instead of military garb.

4. Strong Marketing Synergy

Kancolle has benefited enormously from various corporate sponsor tie-ins. For Daihatsu, the visibility and symbolic connection to KanColle has boosted brand awareness among younger audiences, creating new sales leads. It translates to real business impact.

Business Impact

Financially, the KanColle franchise has proven hugely lucrative for Daihatsu in both direct and indirect ways. Aside from specific business gains, including increased brand visibility among younger audients, Daihatsu also gains from licensing royalties from KanColle merchandise sales, and sales from scouting Kancolle fan events.

The project even boosts discontinued retro vehicle models gaining renewed collector interest. Fostering stronger female consumer appeal in the commercial vehicle market has also been an unexpected benefit for Daihatsu.

In one further example, Daihatsu–KanColle launched a limited production run of “Hibiki” custom edition trucks specifically catering to Kancolle fans. This special release sold out swiftly, hinting at the willingness of new car buyers to purchase Daihatsu vehicles linked to the franchise phenomena.

The Kancolle anime empire continues expanding in Japan and likely won’t slow down any time soon. Moreover, Daihatsu seems poised to grow right alongside it as an entrenched faction among fans.

This sweet-spot alignment between Otaku subculture marketing and commercial vehicle manufacturing has been quite effective on all sides. Daihatsu has shown how even non-combat auxiliary ships can battle effectively in tapping anime success for real wartime business impact.

Fan Response

Fans’ reaction to the Daihatsu KanColle project has been overwhelmingly positive. With their cute personalities yet pragmatic wartime roles, the Daihatsu fleet was welcomed by gamers and anime viewers alike. 

From a historical accuracy perspective, fans appreciate how the inclusion of Daihatsu models that served in WWII helps reinforce the WWII naval theme at the heart of KanColle. Adding Daihatsu matched perfectly with existing fan motivations.

The designs of the Daihatsu ship girl costumes also attract praise. Elements like hats, gloves, and other accessories featuring the brand reflect attention to detail. It strikes the ideal balance between anthropomorphized femininity and realistic vehicle styling.

Add Daihatsu KanColle to Your Fleet!

From the looks of it, the Daihatsu X KanColle project would likely grow with time. One of the reasons is that finding the sweet spot between the Otaku subculture and commercial vehicle manufacturing is not an easy task. While Daihatsu KanColle still only lives in the game, the Daihatsu has demonstrated how business experience crosses previously unthinkable areas.

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