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.