Monday, September 30, 2013

:anime: Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month:: Blue Submarine No. 6

Blue Submarine No. 6

Additional Links: ANN Entry, MAL Entry
Video: Hulu

In the four years of doing "Free/Low-Cost Anime Pick of the Month", I never had the chance of spotlighting the landmark OVA, Blue Submarine No. 6. Not only was it among the earliest anime I had watched in my burgeoning fandom, but it was also the subject of HardDoor's first feature post (spoiler warning)! That's because it was never posted online during that span (perhaps ever, though it may have appeared on Toonami's website before), but all of that changed a couple of months ago, when Bandai posted the anime uncut--and for free--on Hulu!

The series is a nostalgic one for many older anime fans, given its run on Cartoon Network's block, and it helped play a role in introducing them to the genre. It was also the first anime to make extensive use of CGI in its production, which would become a trademark of then-fledgling GONZO's future work and identity. Additionally, it was co-founder and veteran animator Mahiro Maeda's (Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo) first full directorial work and featured the talents of Koichi Chigira (Last Exile, Full Metal Panic! director), Range Murata (Last Exile character designer, Solty Rei conceptual designer, and a studio mainstay along with Chigira), Shoji Kawamori (Macross, Escaflowne creator), Osamu Kobayashi (Paradise Kiss, BECK director), Kanetake Ebikawa (Full Metal Panic!, Gundam 00 mechanical designs), Kazuya Tsurumaki (FLCL, Rebuild of Evangelion director), and Takeshi Honda (Dennou Coil, Millenium Actress character designer, Rebuild of Evangelion animation director).

The series focuses on the efforts of the titular vessel as it and the marine fleet it belongs to are locked in a struggle against a mutant species created by a wayward scientist, who is seeking to do away with mankind. He has already succeeded in wiping out a vast amount of it through manipulating the Earth's climate and raising the sea level, and now the remnants are pitching a last-ditch effort in taking him out before the situation becomes even more dire. But the success of their operation hinges on the help of a former, jaded crew-member, who is the only person who knows how to reach his domain…

Though the CGI is of the late 90s-early 2000's variety, it can still be rather impressive to watch, especially during the frenzied action scenes. The rock-jazz score, on the other hand, may not agree with some ears, given its wartime setting. Personally, however, I count it among my favorites and believe it fits the equally-unique tale and its sea setting and sublime nature very well. The series runs for four episodes and while it may feature the great English dub from the days of Toonami (sorry, no subbed version was made available on Hulu), this is the uncut version, which features more cursing (besides the two that squeezed their way onto the broadcast version…), no censoring, and a few scenes that never aired on the block (for good reason…). There is something of a different feel to it and a few moments may prove jarring to those whose memories are comprised only from the edited one, but it still remains an enjoyable watch, nonetheless.

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