Blue Submarine No. 6 Anime Legends Complete Collection (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Release Date: Tuesday, May 15, 2007
What They Say
In the future, the rising temperature of the Earth has melted the polar ice caps. As aresult, the planet's last masses are in danger of sinking into the ocean. As if humanity didn't have enough problems, an army of ocean-dwelling creatures led by scientist Zorndyke have seemingly declared war on mankind. Humanity's last hope rest with the state-of-the-art vessel, Blue Sub 6 and her crew! Can Tetsu and Mayumi stop Zorndyke's mutant army and save what remains of humanity?
Great animation and computer graphic effects, but...
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this show in the English dub. There is a solid set of sounds sent to both front and rear speakers directionally throughout the episodes. The English track sounded decent with no drop outs or distortions. Overall, the English track sounded very good.
The greatest aspect of this anime lies in its outstanding video transfer. The underwater sequences, including blues and varying blacks, just looked absolutely realistic. The interior scenes of the Ghost Ship, with its dark colors intermixed with rolling fog was really awesome. The surface scenes were very distinct and bright. There is great clarity in almost every scene with little to no oversaturation of colors. The visuals, both hand drawn and CG, were terrific.
The thickpack collection (it's thick because the box is big) is the atypical Bandai collection box. This collection has three discs. Two of the discs are double-sided, meaning you have to flip them over after viewing one side. The third, and final disc, contains all of the extras that appeared in the 2003 Blue Submarine No. 6 Special Edition release. It looks like Bandai would slim the boxes down as there is a whole lot of empty space in this thickpack box. A thinpack case would serve well for this collection as there are only 3 discs.
The menus on the disc are very creative and nice to look at. The animations behind the menu selections look great. A selection of Blue Submarine No. 6's musical score loops in the background, though it may be a bit short. It definitely should run a little longer before looping again. Selections are easy and quickly accessible. For the two double-sided discs, the Japanese language and English Subtitles are the default settings. Also a great plus is in the scene selection submenu, the chapter selections are all animated.
The extras provided with this collection appear to be a culmination of all the extras that were released in the previous collections. It appears that most of the extras from the Blue Submarine No. 6 Special Edition are included.
The breakdown of the extras includes:
-Blue Fleet Background Information
-Zorndyke's Forces Specifications
-Animerica Feature Spotlight: Blue Submarine No. 6
-Blue Submarine No 6. Antarctica Introduction
-Making of the Game Featurette including interviews with: Mahiro Maeda, Shoji Kawamori, Range Murata
-The Thrill, Game Creative Staff
-Anime Cut Scenes from Blue Submarine No. 6: Antartica
-Exclusive Music Clip: Yukikaze
-Bandai Entertainment Blue Submarine Trailer Collection
-Cartoon Network TV Spot
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers).
Originally released in 2000, Blue Submarine No. 6 is an anime series based off of Satoru Ozawa's original 1960s manga. The manga was an action packed story that starred the United Nations' blue submarine six and its valiant crew who patrolled international waters and thwarted all the plots of pirates, smugglers, terrorists, and other baddies. The anime takes the crew of blue submarine six and places them into a modernistic, yet apocalyptic, scenario where they must fight to save all humankind.
The plot of this show is a bit difficult for a first time viewer unfamiliar with previous manga storyline in that the rapport between the characters is already well established. This makes it somewhat difficult for the viewer to establish any commonality with the characters. The villains in this show aren't your typical villains that have one goal in mind. The pursuit for world domination, riches, power, or revenge is not the concern of the villains, it's something more subtle if not easy to overlook. This makes for an interesting story, but makes the viewer want more background on the characters and their situation. This is where Blue Submarine No. 6 lacks in its plot. From the very beginning, the viewer is thrust right into the plot without much build-up to who, what, when, where, and why. It leaves the viewer with having to piece everything together throughout the story.
The flashy production and great musical score doesn't mean a whole lot without a decent plot. Blue Submarine No. 6 tends to ride the fence in this area. This may be due to the fact that this reviewer is comparing some great, yet more recent, CG animated shows such as Ghost in a Shell, Macross Zero, the Final Fantasy Movies, and the recent Appleseed movie to name just a few.
Blue Submarine No. 6 takes place in the near future, after a catastrophic event has caused the polar ice caps to melt, leaving the Earth almost completely covered by water. As a result, almost all human life and all surface dwelling animals have been nearly wiped out. This cataclysmic event was instigated by a madman scientist named Zorndyke, who appears hell-bent on wiping out the human race. As if inflicting massive flooding isn't bad enough, Zorndyke is experimenting with genetic mutations and has unleashed a horde of genetically altered sea creatures against the remaining populace.
The series focuses on the remaining naval fleets of the Earth; in this case, submarine number six and the fleet in which she belongs. Hayami Tetsu and Mayumi Kino are the main characters who have a connection with submarine six. Tetsu happens to be a former submariner pilot who left the navy to get away from the conflict and imminent extinction of the human race. Mayumi tries to coax him back to the fleet, due to the fact that Zorndyke's forces have severely decimated humankind. Tetsu initially refuses because he knows that fighting against Zorndyke is a lost cause and he would rather live out his remaining days the way he wants instead of fighting in a useless war. He is reluctantly exposed to the conflict again when he is forced with the decision of having to save Mayumi's life from an attack by Zorndyke's minions. A lot of character development is revealed in the first few episodes that explain Tetsu's past motivations and actions. Tetsu initially appears to be your stereotypical, rogue hero turned savior of humanity. However, he actually breaks this mold by demonstrating a much greater understanding of the situation than one would have thought possible. This of course, is coaxed by Mayumi and a mutant sea creature.
Mayumi is a young, idealistic, and impulsive girl who gradually comes to realize the truth of the war. She soon discovers that war is not always as black and white as it seems. Unfortunately, the remaining characters are more or less inconsequential, with the exceptions of Verg, Zorndyke's hideous, yet impulsive, half-shark/half-man creation. Verg, along with many of the mutants refer to Zorndyke as their father. Unfortunately, Zorndyke has a very limited role in the overall plot. This is one of the biggest flaws in the series in that the main villain really doesn't do much of anything to make the viewer identify with his evil plans. In short, Zorndyke doesn't really seem all that evil.
For the most part, the plot of this story takes a back seat to the action. The action itself is great and is appropriately sequenced. Of course, the laws of underwater physics are not accurately applied, but reality hardly makes for great action sequences. The action finally takes a back seat in the final episodes where revelations for our heroes and villains are finally brought to light. This almost makes your head swim as the story quickly concludes. It almost appears as if the directors have to suddenly end the story. As Paul Harvey would say, "And now, for the rest of the story..." Where is the rest? I want more!!
Blue Submarine No. 6 is a great example of how to effectively marry hand drawn animation with computer animation. It still remains as a stunningly amazing video to watch and ranks right up there with the more recent anime that use the combination of CG and hand drawn animation. However, stunning animation and eye candy alone cannot completely make an anime a masterpiece. Great storytelling must have a plot that allows the viewer to establish some kind of identity with the main characters. This is where Blue Submarine No. 6 falls short. Keeping this in mind, this reviewer can only mildly recommend Blue Submarine No. 6 as a must have for your anime library.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles
Hitachi 62VS69 62" UltraVision LCD Projection HDTV, XBOX 360 DVD player, XBOX 360 Component HDAV Cable with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.
Mania Grade: C
Audio Rating: A
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: A
Extras Rating: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 100
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Blue Submarine No. 6