Submarine 707R (also Limited Edition) - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: D+

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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Menus Rating: N/A
  • Extras Rating: N/A
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Geneon Entertainment (USA), Inc.
  • MSRP: 19.98/29.98
  • Running time: 100
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Submarine 707R

Submarine 707R (also Limited Edition)

By derekguder     October 18, 2004
Release Date: November 09, 2004



The Review!
It might look slick, but it's disjointed, cliché-ridden, unfocused and generally pretty boring. Unless submarines alone are enough to get you ready to jump into the pool, this probably isn't going to get you into the mood for a swim.

It should also be noted that the copy I have for review has a big "PROMOTIONAL USE ONLY – NOT FINAL PRODUCT" sticker on the case and DVD, so some of the details of the packaging and even the DVD release itself are certainly subject to change.

Audio:

The back of the DVD case boasts 5.1 audio for both Japanese and English audio tracks, but this release had only the English audio included, so I can't comment on the original version. Nor were any subtitles included.

The English dub is generally adequate. There isn't much use of directionality, aside from music or sound effects that cover the entire sound stage. The acting was also acceptable. The main cast was solid and reliable, but only the evil villain, Admiral Red stood out much. I don't really fault the actors for that, however, none of the characters really have any distinguishing character traits for them to work with.

Video:

Crisp and polished, the show looks rather slick. The cell animation is vibrantly colored and fluid, though it seems like the animators were less interested in the characters than they were the equipment – the ships and explosions receive loving care and are very nicely rendered indeed. The submarines, however, use CG animation. It's not poorly done, but not particularly exciting either, not being much different from much of the other fare out there.

Packaging:

The DVD case has a nice detailed shot of the submarine with some of the cast arrayed in front of it, and the back has the villain's sub with a few pictures arrayed around it and the text. The whole thing is done in on top of very nice translucent blue that gives the impression of depth or even being under shallow water, a rather nice effect.

Menu:

No menu was included in this promotional disc.

Extras:

No extras were included either.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

Starting this up, I was immediately reminded of another slick-looking submarine anime, Blue Submarine No. 6, and it turns out that the original manga was from the same creator. The content of the shows differ dramatically, however, with Submarine 707 Revolution coming out with the short end of the stick.

Of confusing note is that the DVD is entitled "the movie", but it appears that it is actually two OVAs that form an almost complete storyline. Purists should be pleased, however, as the credits appear to have been properly preserved. Also, the story seems to be either the end of a larger storyline or the beginning of something much longer. When I started it, I had assumed that it was a follow-up to a previous series, so that we would actually care when the first 707 is destroyed. Furthermore, the real plot seems to be the seeds of some sort of UN plan that is left totally unresolved or even addresses by the end of the disc. I know that this is based off of a manga series and is clearly the beginning of a series, but I'm not aware of any previous anime and the whole thing feels incomplete and a bit contrived.

Anyway, on to the story we're presented with. It opens with a sea battle where Admiral Red and his super-sub easily defeats two foolish surface vessels for some reason or another, making it apparent how evil he is. Then we're quickly off to the calm Japanese submarine 707, on its way to the great UN ceremony commemorating the establishment of the PKN to safeguard the world's seas from Admiral Red and his USR. Using super-technology and turning the UN's hubris against it, Red is able to sneak his submarine right into the middle of the fleet and start destroying ships at his whim, but only after we get a quick tour of all the cool submarines that each country has donated to the navy. A big show is made of the US submarine and its computer AI control system – only so that when Admiral Red easily beats it later we know how truly bad-ass he is. Oh, and America gets a chance to act like an arrogant ass on the international stage.

So Red easily dispatches almost the entire UN fleet in a single stroke and is about to take care of gigantic super-aircraft-carrier-that-can-transform-into-a-submarine-just-because that serves as the UN base when 707 shows up in the nick of time to put itself in harms way take the torpedoes meant for the flagship. The crew was safely able to jump ship, of course, but the precious 707 floats burning, dead in the water.

This takes up the first half-hour or so and it's all really just to set up a rivalry between Red and our heroic captain Hayami, give the UN in general (and the US in particular) a black eye and have an excuse for a newly outfitted 707 to be built – something that might actually be able to match Red's super-sub.

While the new sub is being finished, we get a quick look at the captain's home life (where he wears quite a dashing pink sweater adorned with hearts). His wife is, of course, the perfect little Japanese woman – little personality and completely subservient to her husband's desires, barely voicing a complaint when he unexpectedly decides to head back out to sea again. His daughter has more character, but I can't say it's really welcome, as she parades around in underwear and loosely hanging clothing, coming across as nothing so much as pandering pedo-bait. At least the executive officer has the presence of mind to blush for us when he sees her, though part of me fears that it's for other, less wholesome reasons.

So the captain goes out to sea again in the new 707 and a new crew, including some plucky young kids who pilot the "juniors" – mini-subs that launch from the main one. One of the kids gets promoted from the cooking staff to the sonar crew because of his amazing ability to pluck out sounds from a general noise, but none of them ever actually amount to much as far as the plot is concerned. They all get a few scenes, but not even the juniors ever actually matter. They get a quick training run and are then quickly recalled. The entire scene seems designed more to give us a brief lesson in undersea physics that will predictably play a role in the final, dramatic conclusion.

We also get a look at Admiral Red's home life. He seems to be a rather prolific father, with three young, doting daughters, a baby son and a sex-bomb of a wife. He doesn't say much other than to promise his son a clean ocean, but a giant monolith behind him reveals that USR stands for "Undersea Silence Revorution" (sic), with the familiar and infamous motto "GOD's in His heaven, All's right wiht the world" (sic). And judging from the snow outside and the underwater launch facility buried behind the ice, they're based around one of the poles, like all good villainous organization.

Having had another scene to build his sympathy and humanity, Red reveals that he has the sister computer to the one that is running the American super-sub and easily destroys the UN ship, as I mentioned earlier, ending the first episode.

The second episode is the showdown between heroic Captain Hayami and evil Admiral Red. The UN fleet takes extreme losses at Red's hands until 707 arrives. Hayami narrowly escapes Red's ambush and the two subs square off in the typical submarine battle of a cat-and-mouse game waiting for sonar contact. When a small fleet of reinforcements show up to help Red, he herds the 707 into a canyon and nearly collapses it on them, pushing them into another ambush where the fleet of subs can easily fire upon them. Using the physics lesson from episode 1, Hayami manages to not only evade their attack but wipe out the fleet in one fell swoops, once again leaving only the 707 and Red to face off against each other.

Then it's a battle of wits and will. Red has only one torpedo left and Hayami has none at all – but bluffs Red into thinking he might have something left. After what the music told me is a tense game of chicken, Hayami rams Red's sub and scrapes along its top. Admitting defeat, Red retreats and the 707 heads back for restock and repair itself.

Before the episode ends, however, we get to see a shadowy UN official congratulate himself on how well his manipulative plan is going. We also see Hayami's family waiting at home for his return – his daughter in her underwear again and the mother dressed like she turned tricks while her husband's gone or something. And then, finally, the credits.

In Summary:

Somehow, my opinion of the show seems to have dropped significantly in writing this review. I was eating dinner when I first watched it, so I guess I had something to distract myself. Now I realize that surprisingly little happens in the show, and far less is actually interesting. The plot is all over the place and wastes time with half-hearted characterizations of bit characters instead of developing any sort of central narrative to actually engage our interest. The action scenes, while well-animated, are both predictable and unremarkable. They aren't even particular good as examples of sub combat, both Blue Submarine No. 6 and even Last EXILE manage to pull that off better.

Without a cohesive story, compelling characters or even an adequate execution of its core schtick – submarines – there's really nothing that Submarine 707 Revolution has going for it. I'd only recommend it for submarine otaku, and even then only if you don't mind a boring anime wrapped around them.



Review Equipment
Panasonic CT27SX12AF 27" flat-screen TV; Koss KD365 DVD player; Onkyo TX-SR501 receiver; RCA 6-piece home theater speaker package; Component video and optical audio connections

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