Posted by psgels on 17 September 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


Blue Submarine No.6 is Gonzo’s first ever anime-production, according to AniDB at least. It was made in the time when they weren’t notorious at all, and I must say, I’m impressed. I expected a standard action-flick without substance, but the story and setting actually turned out quite interesting. There indeed is lots of action, but when combined with a jazzy soundtrack, it gives this OVA a unique and enjoyable style. This could have been a classic if handled by a talented writer.

And yes, I used the word “could” on purpose. Blue Submarine is good, but it doesn’t quite cut it to become really memorable. It’s got no major flaws, just a lot of minor ones. The minor side-characters and generics, for example, all have individual character-designs and look quite stylish, but most of them lack personality. Most of the major side-characters do have their own personality and they’re definitely interesting to watch, but half of them lack development. This story would actually have been perfect for a 13-episoded series. That one would have had enough time to give everyone of them a background.

And regarding the main characters, they’re actually pretty interesting and manage to step away from the stereotypes as a cool guy and cute girl. Still, I wish I could say the same about the main love interest for the male main character: she’s just an obvious plot-device. The dialogue could also have been written a bit more realistic as well.

I know I’m being very nitpicky here, but the flaws do add up. I would have liked to see this story executed without them, though. It would have been an awesome watch, because the OVA already has a lot of good points. This has probably been the only time where submarines have been the centre of action-scenes, but the creators show that these machines can also be really cool when in their element. One scene that was especially memorable was when the “bad guys” were attacking a city of civilians, and all of the random people who ran into our main character kept encouraging them for various reasons.

Overall, I’ve seen people describe Gonzo as a combination of Good Gonzo and Bad Gonzo, and I can actually agree with that. Gonzo has been behind gems as Bokura no and Red Garden, and yet it also produced crap like Giniro no Kami no Agito and Final Fantasy Unlimited. Still, Blue Submarine No.6 is Good Gonzo, even though they had much to learn at that time.

4 Responses

  1. Cos says:

    It’s really one of my favorite Gonzo, you should also try Gankutsuou since everybody seems to like it a lot,even if in my opinion it remodels the book too much in it’s final.

    Also a quick 4 OVA series that is in the same genre as Blue Submarine is Macross Zero, maybe you should give i a try.

  2. Chris says:

    Wah another show from my childhood! I saw it on a kid’s TV network and the show was mostly uncut except a few edits for younger crowds but I was still rather surprised at how much nudity and violence was left in.

    Anyway I loved the show itself, I was a bit bored by it at the start but the final episode made everything worth while and the art and animation is fantastic. I don’t know if I’d like it now that I’m older but I still remember the last episode because it was just very good.

  3. Chris says:

    I had watched Last Exile before this one even though it’s much older. Somehow I had the feeling that they reused quite a bit from this in Last Exile i.e., characters, uniforms and the animation style that it could almost be considered a prequel.

  4. LoliHat says:

    Somehow I had the feeling that they reused quite a bit from this in Last Exile i.e., characters, uniforms and the animation style that it could almost be considered a prequel.

    Range Murata did design work for both. He’s one of th best out there and his work on Blue Submarine #6 is why I so looked forward to Last EXILE.

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  • wicked
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 07:26 PM)
    Fire dragon arc! Fire dragon dies in the 5th episode
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 04:06 PM)
    @Bam, Well the three games were originally supposed to be one. But it turned out that the first two were bundled together and Alternative was made a separate release.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 08:38 AM)
    Jesus I never expected that doing a myanimelist/letterboxd account thing would be so hard. I’ve seen a scarily higher amount than I thought, its insanely hard to remember everything to add.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:17 AM)
    It seems then that the future of the franchise’s anime adaptations rests a bit on Schwarzesmarken’s success, which looking at the buzz doesn’t seem favourable at all. I doubt it can regain the lost audiences.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 06:14 AM)
    That would suggest that the author(s) had the foresight of including seemingly useless stuff that will come into play later. That’d be impressive if they did, as these kinda series are make-it-as-you-go.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:59 AM)
    It’s difficult to put into words but essentially while the first game isn’t good, it does work as a tool for introducing and endearing you to the characters. Then Unlimited sets down the rules of the new world. And finally alternative proceeds to kick your ass into next Tuesday.
    That’s sort of why I don’t think it would have the same effect if it was an anime. VNs allow you to get a more personal connection with the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Saturday, Feb 6. 2016 01:55 AM)
    It’s not quite the same. It’s more like there are things in extra which seem insignificant but turn out to play an important role later. It wouldn’t really work the same if you did it in reverse order. Character history is a bit different too as each game is essentially an alternate universe. The character histories in extra are different from those in alternative.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:38 PM)
    And also remember how Darker Than Black had a big jump between the main series and Gemini of the Meteor. They later made a 4 episode OVA that covered the gap, and although you knew the outcome it was still entertaining; or at least more than the Gemini one. There’s merit to non-linear chronology and storytelling, but it is usually very hard to pull. The audience is intrigued by secrets that can later be uncovered, although in anime the pay-off is not always substantial.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:32 PM)
    I don’t know, the audience usually only needs very limited information to figure out dynamics and histories between the characters.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Feb 5. 2016 11:27 PM)
    A 13 episode series would work for the second title unlimited. But Alternative is a pretty long visual novel. You need at least two cours to give it justice. Making extra an OVA could work but you do need it for alternative. But it’s not an optional part of the trilogy. It needs to be read first, so that events later have a greater impact. Personally I am not even sure Muv Luv can even work in another medium.

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