Something about this OVA caught my attention a long time ago, and ever since I’ve wanted to see it but just never got around to it. There was always another series that looked more interesting, or one that was recommended by someone whose tastes I trust, etc. Plus the reviews for this show are rather lukewarm, with an overall opinion that it is merely okay, but not worth going out of your way to see. Despite all this, the concept intrigued me so much that even though I haven’t kept up with anime these last two years, it stuck in my mind, and here I am sharing my thoughts on it. So how does BS6 stack up? Let’s take a look.
The idea, like I said, is amazing, though the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Sometime in the not too distant future a mad scientist named Zorndyke has created a hybrid army of mutant creatures in Antarctica and flooded much of the world in order to make room for his aquatic dwelling children. Billions perish, and most of the world’s major cities are left submerged beneath the oceans waves. In order to combat this threat the nations of the world build a fleet of high tech submarines known as the Blue Fleet who’s mission it will be to sail to Antarctica and destroy Zorndykes base along with his armies. You can see why this show perked my interest.
There are some things this show does very well. The action is fast and exciting, and though it’s unrealistic for underwater warfare that’s easy to forgive as it’s just so visually stunning. The best parts are when the two opposing fleets came together for their epic battles. It’s not all it could have been however. In this universe they have super high tech mini subs that work as “fighters” after a fashion, but these are hardly ever used by the human forces, and we don’t really get to see a lot of them after the opening fight scene from Zorndykes side. Adding more fights between these craft would have been awesome, though not necessary as the action is great even without it. The visuals are another high point, though again it too has its flaws. The designs of some of the hybrid creatures, esp the sea elf type creatures (whatever they’re called, I don’t think it’s ever explained) as well as the Antarctica “paradise” Zorndyke created are beautiful. But for every good design there’s a really stupid one. The “Phantom Ship” that acts as the main antagonist for most of the series is nothing more than an underwater battleship (note, it is literally an underwater battleship) captioned by a man shark who cries a lot and his army of… demons? I don’t know what they’re supposed to be, but every one of them look like spawn from hell. This wouldn’t be a bad choice had the show not tried at the end to make me feel sorry for these guys, but honestly how can you expect me to feel sympathy for mindless killing machines that look like demons? A baffling choice in my opinion.
The animation, too, is outstanding for the most parts. By that I mean the actual animation is outstanding. I don’t know why, but a lot of this show is done in CGI as opposed to standard hand drawn animation. Sometimes it enhances the visuals, but most of the time it just distracts. Often a shot will begin as standard animation, then we’ll get a cut scene to the same exact object (a ship for example) but now it’ll be in CG instead of animation. Dear God, why did they do this? It’s not like the visual was just so complicated it had to be done in CG instead of traditional animation, so why did they do this? The world may never know.
The characters are passible, for the most part, if a bit one dimensional. There’s really not a lot to say about them really. They play their roles well, the voice acting (I watched it with subtitles) is well done, and the character designs are fine, but they aren’t really the focus of the show and so we don’t get a lot of depth to them. They’re your typical role playing anime characters and not anything to write home about. One thing that did annoy me was the utter lack of explanation for many of the side characters. It’s as if this show was made with the express purpose of making fanboys of the manga happy and had no problem leaving the rest of us in the dust. Characters are introduced and given important roles but little to no explanation on who they are is given. For instance there’s a little girl who works the sonar for the Blue Submarine 6, but also has the ability to communicate with Zorndykes creatures. Who is she? Why is a sonar operator a pre teenage girl? How is it she can communicate with these creatures through song? You want to know these things you say? Well too bad.
A lot of side characters are treated this way. I guess it all makes sense to those who’ve read the manga, but no adaption should require its viewers to read the source material in order to understand important plot points or characters. A good adaption will make sense to fans and newcomers alike. This, unfortunately, isn’t one of those “good” adaptions.
Overall, despite all the flaws I’ve mentioned I very much enjoyed this show, and was more than willing to give it a higher rating. But then came the ending. Good God, what a terrible climax this series had. I am so sick of this psychobabble BS many anime creators try to pull by trying to justify what the villain does with some slock about how evil us humans are, how we’re destroying nature, how we just don’t understand him, blah blah blah blah blah. No, I’m not buying it. They try to throw in a curve at the end, but no matter what they say all I wanted was to see this guy get beat to death with a rusty hammer. I won’t give away the “twist” if you can call it that, but let’s just say it wasn’t good. M. Night Shamalonadingdong would be proud.
Oh God, its like he's.... its like he's thinking about doing another Last Airbender movie! Oh God make it stop!
So what’s my final verdict for Blue Submarine 6? Overall it’s a fun anime with a lot of great action, an amazing premise, and some good visuals. It’s a real shame that the designs and animation weren’t quite as consistently good as they could have been, and that ending really pissed me off, but I still enjoyed it for what it is. It may want to be a thinking man’s anime at the end, but don’t fall for it. If you go in thinking it’s going to be some deep philosophical story (it fails hard at doing that at the end) you’re going to be disappointed. If, however, you go in just wanting some good ole’ anime fun and just ignore the BS ending, then you’ll have a good time. Take that for what it’s worth, and enjoy.
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About the reviewer
Jonathan J.D. Lane (A1CJonathanLane)
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more