Posted 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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  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:24 AM)
    @Emma I agree that movies tend to be more emotionally-involving, but I think that’s just because there are a lot more of them and so it’s easier to find good ones that are well-written enough to really make you feel emotionally-involved. That’s always been my interpretation.
  • Friend
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:20 AM)
    @ninja I dont know if you’ve ever written a script, but it’s pretty hard. There’s the story, script, screen composition, acting, music, lighting, and a WHOLE plethora of other factor when writing a film, as compared to a novel.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:15 AM)
    @Realist: I think that may be to do with that I can get more emotionally involved with a movie too and that they are quicker to watch and more consummable too. But your right though while I prefer certain things I will watch/read anything out there from anywhere.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:11 AM)
    @Emma I’m kind of surprised that you prefer one over the other. You strike me as the type of person who appreciates all forms of fiction.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:08 AM)
    @Realist: Also alot of anime/manga are going to be series rather than a single volume or a movie. There is more to cover when writing about a series and find to write about, takes a bit longer too.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:07 AM)
    @Realist: Ah, that would be because I have more practice writing about films than anime/manga and am more familiar with writing that type of review. Ontop of preferring American/European films to anime/manga.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:02 AM)
    @Emma Why do you think films are easier to write about it? Just because people have less constrained expectations of what films are supposed to be and don’t expect you to treat the material a certain way? I feel like some people are (unjustly) put off when you try to write about anime/manga as if it was any other form of literary fiction.
  • Mikey
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:01 AM)
    Mahouka 3: Well, “that” scene wasn’t subtle at all.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:00 AM)
    I mean @Emma lol
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 11:59 PM)
    @Realist Sounds interesting, although the lack of german accents definitely sounds like something that will irk me. It’s not a dealbreaker but I don’t like when fiction just ignores the language realities of their setting.

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