Blue Submarine No. 6 Vol. #1 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, April 04, 2000
When I got this disc in the mail (along with the other 2 Bandai titles released this week) I was rather disappointed at the 30 minute length listen on the back. However, if I only had 30 minutes to get someone hooked on modern Anime on DVD, THIS is the disc I would show them!
Listed on the back as an extra was a Japanese Language Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound audio track, which had me really stoked as reading Chris's review had my mouth watering at being able to exercise all my speakers for once, and let me tell you this disc sounds GREAT! This is the best DD5.1 mix I've ever heard on an Anime disc, and one of the best I've ever heard on any DVD, period (it's up there with The Matrix and a few other action movies). People who say Tenchi Muyo in Love is the best DD5.1 mix out there for Anime discs, you have got to check this disc out. While it's only half an hour long, even my rear speakers got a good workout.
The dub track is only in Stereo, so it doesn't pack the same "oomph" as the Japanese track, as Chris put it. However, there is some very good direction even for a stereo mix (I listened to it through headphones) and the sound is crisp and clear, so if you turn up the volume you get a very good sounding disc, but just not as dynamic in it's positioning as the DD5.1 mix. The dub actors did a pretty damn good job at their characters, and they did an excellent job of getting the lip-synch down (in fact in one scene where the captain is shouting they actually did a better job at the lip-synch than the Japanese original did).
The Video is also excellent. Since they only needed to fit a little over half an hour of total video on the disc (that's including the trailers) they could maintain a very high video bitrate and keep it on a single layered disc, and it shows! The video is gorgeous, and there's no trace of moire or rainbow effects on the entire disc. Not only is this disc technically very good in terms of video on the disc itself, but the show itself is truly breathtaking, as well. The folks at Gonzo (who also have played a part in numerous other Anime series doing computer effects) did a fabulous job with this show. The blend of computer animation and traditional hand-drawn cell animation is a strikingly beautiful, and it makes the show look so modern and dynamic that it almost seems like you are watching the future. The art directors and background artists did a fabulous job at creating a convincible post-apocalyptic Tokyo which has been submerged underwater. When you watch this series for the first time you'll be taken aback at how realistic they've made things look, especially in the details.
The Packaging for this release very cool looking, with an awesome computer rendered scene of Blue 6 on the front and Musuca above it. The back has a semi-decent recap of what goes on, although they make a big deal out of Hayami and Kino's working relationship, which really doesn't come into play much yet. The snapcase it comes in is good, and the retention mechanism on the inside is the kind I like (whereas Bandai used the one I HATE on the Eatman box set, grrrr). The cover on the outside, however is a little to short to cover the whole case, so there's this area at the edge with some dead black space on it where the plastic cover shows. This seems to be a problem with all of Bandai's DVD covers, since the Eatman box set and the Cowboy Bebop Session 1 disc covers all have the same issue.
The Menus are very cool. They're fully animated and they've got music playing in the background and everything. My only issue is that the video loops are very short. The scene selection screen (try saying that 5 times fast) has a video loop that must be only about 10 seconds long, which makes it really annoying to try to figure out what chapter you want. In fact, I crashed my DVD played by hitting OK on a chapter just as the video loop restarted (I actually had to cut power to it to get it to even turn off). Other than that I really like the menus
The Content is very cool. As I've already mentioned the wonderful atmosphere they've created for this series, they also have introduced some very good characters (although the sonar girl on Blue 6 reminds me of one of the girls on the bridge crew of Macross 7). The storyline looks to be very involving, as they've already setup all sorts of conflicts without telling the viewer very much about HOW things got like this. We still don't know why the world's oceans have risen, who Zorndyke really is, or what on earth all these sea creatures are, etc. Basically this series could shape up to have a very unique universe. I'm really looking forward to more episodes, and I really wish they could've made this volume longer, but I'll take what I can get.
This disc is truly a VERY good first effort by Bandai and I only hope that the rest of their DVDs are this good. I haven't watched the other two I received today yet, so we'll see what happens with those. However, this disc is perfect for showing off the power of Anime on DVD to anyone, so even as just a reference disc you should pick this title up. It's cheap since it's not that long, and it's so incredibly well done that it would be a pity to miss this good of a disc. I've shown this disc to my sister (anime fan) and even my dad (non anime fan) and they both thought it was really cool. So what are you waiting for? Go buy this disc, it's too good to pass up!
Mania Grade: A+
Audio Rating: A+
Video Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A-
Menus Rating: A-
Extras Rating: N/A
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Running time: 30
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Blue Submarine No. 6