Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: A+
- Video Rating: A+
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: A+
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 19.98
- Running time: 50
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Blue Submarine No. 6
Blue Submarine No. 6 Vol. #4
By Chris Beveridge
October 03, 2000
Release Date: October 03, 2000
Blue Submarine No. 6 Vol. #4
What They Say
© Bandai Entertainment
The poles are shifting and most of the Earth's land is now underwater! The scientist Zorndyke has seemingly turned his back on humanity, creating a race of beast people to challenge the humans for global supremacy. Mankind's last hope is the Blue Fleet and its state-of-the-art flagship, the Blue Submarine No. 6. With the final battle at hand, Hayami and Kino must confront Zorndyke and stop his plans for destruction. But who is the real enemy - Zorndyke and his undersea army, or humanity itself? The climactic end to one of the biggest anime releases of the year!The Review!
With each volume after the first one, this show has continually gotten better and better. With this fourth and final volume, I was in no way disappointed at all.
As expected with this final episode, the action kicks into high gear. And what goes with action? Another terrific 5.1 Japanese audio mix. There's a solid set of sounds sent to the rear speakers directionally through these sequences, but the front soundstage is also filled out quite nicely. There were several times during the sub sequences where they used their ping and man did it ever sound distinct. One of those moments where I was glad I had invested what I did into my setup. The English track, while lacking the same kind of distinct sounds, was no slouch either. The track sounds solid overall, but simply lacks the punch and directionality of the Japanese one.
It shouldn't come as any surprise, but the video for this is simply outstanding. The underwater sequences with their multihued blues and varying blacks just look so unbelievably gorgeous. The interior scenes of the Ghost Ship with the dark grimy colors intermixed with the fog rolling about is stunning. Mix it in with the darkened water rolling about and the soft pastel colors of the various creatures and it's top notch. Going in the opposite direction of that is the combat scenes inside the various Blue Sub's which have their battle red lights on. There's a great clarity to these scenes which aren't over saturated at all. I don't think I could be more pleased by the visuals of this disc.
After the mostly dark colored covers of the previous releases, this volume has a softer and lighter shade of blue. As the content takes place in the Antarctic, the softer shading works well with view of the Blue Sub 6 moving along under the ice. The back cover runs the usual synopsis and lists all the things to be found inside as well as a few nice screenshots. The insert continues the double page format Bandai's been using for awhile now and has some good pictures to check out.
The menus follow a similar pattern to the rest of the series as well, with the animation playing in full behind it in a loop. The various submenus all work well and for the most part are pretty quick. The only one that moves slowly is the scene select, and it's mostly because it's the transition sequence that is a bit of a crawl. It works good overall, but if you're in a rush you're going to feel a bit antsy for a second or two.
There's two extras included this time around. One is a dubbed summary of the first three episodes, which almost feels like a trailer. The other one though is the good one. The really good one. It's a 17 minute video piece that's subtitled which contains interviews with various staff members on this anime project. I really enjoy these kinds of things, even the ones that are promotional fluff, if only to get a glimpse at the people who really do all the hard work on this stuff. There's some interesting comments throughout it and it's definitely worth watching.
This final episode of Blue Submarine No. 6 simply rocks. It covers all the bases here. You jump right into it with the big climactic battle between the remaining Blue Sub fleet and the Musuca's and Verg's Ghost Ship. It pretty much jumps all over the place, from the exterior shots underwater to effect scenes above ground. There's some extremely great sequences inside the Ghost Ship with Verg demanding the banishment of the girl who tarried with Hayami. That entire sequence not only looked fantastic, but the sheer rage and frustration of Verg was intense.
We also finally get to have a face to face with Zorndyke in his mysterious lair. There's a lot of very odd things in this area that's not necessarily hard to explain, but can give away too much. The only real failing of this sequence is that it sort of cops out in giving Zorndyke a chance to do some exposition and tell his tale. A bit too Hollywood for my tastes, but it was one of the few ways that they probably could explain his motivations. Zorndyke also reveals something rather startling about himself, which we found to be rather creepy but definitely added to his level of commitment to his plan.
There's also probably one of the best looking one on one fight scenes I've seen animated in a long time between Verg and Hayami. While watching this and listening to each blow land and each grunt of pain and the wild chaotic voice of Verg, I was very much into this sequence. The animation is wonderful, with a mix of blurred lines and sharp edges. This sequence really made the entire disc for me in the end.
While writing the review, I watched it again on a smaller 27" set and in the English dub. That particular sequence didn't seem to carry the same force that it did when watching it on our main theater setup.
This series has been an absolute joy from the first frame of the first disc right down to the last one here. The music is a great mix (sounds great when driving down the highway!), the animation is wonderful, the character designs aren't the usual cookie cutter variant and most importantly, the story is one that really appeals to the hard SF reader in me.
Unless something really surprises me by the end of this year (2000), this series is likely to be my top pick of releases this year. Great stuff.
Japanese 5.1 Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Creators' Eyes Interview (video),Episode 1-3 summary
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Pioneer 414 codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster gold plated component cables and Sony speakers.