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SUBMARINE 707R Limited Edition (a J!-ENT anime DVD Review)

July 4, 2008 by  



“A long awaited 60’s manga by Ozawa Satoru (Blue Submarine No. 6) gets the animated treatment with full of action, cool animation and music. The only problem is that there are only two episodes and ends without a continuing story.”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: SUBMARINE 707R

DURATION: Approx. 100 minutes

DVD INFORMATION: COLOR/NTSC / Japanese Audio (Dolby Digital 5.1 ch and Dolby Digital Stereo / English subtitles

CATALOG #:12305

COMPANY: GENEON/PIONEER

RATING: Suggested 13 and Up

STAFF INFORMATION:

ORIGINAL STORY: Ozawa Satoru

DIRECTOR: Masuo Shoichi

SCREENPLAY: Ohnogi Hiroshi

CHARACTER DESIGN: Murao Minoru, Takagi June

MECHANICAL DESIGN: Miyatake Kazutaka

ART DIRECTOR: Ogura Hiromasa

COLOR DESIGN: Gotoh Keiko

SOUND DESIGNER: Tashiro Atsumi

MUSIC DIRECTOR: Ishiwata Yoshiaki

MUSIC: WAVE MASTER

PRODUCED BY: ANIPLEX

A HIGH-TECH TERRORIST PLAGUES THE OCEAN… To counter the subversive activities of the USR, a shadowy terrorist group menacing the seas, the leading nations of the world join forces to form the Peace Keeping Navy (PKN). Its inauguration ceremony, however, quickly turns into disaster as Admiral Red, charismatic leader of the USR, launches a surprise attack on the PKN. With fierce firepower, Red lets his intentions be known that he will destroy anything that gets in the way of his twisted vision of an ideal future…

Dive in the this exciting deep-sea military action adventure thriller, as Captain Hayami and the crew of the 707 try to outwit Admiral Red’s gargantuan nuclear submarine.

I’ve been wanting to watch this two-episode anime OAV series for quite some time. Ozawa Satoru’s “SUBMARINE 707” manga series is a classic and one of the first mecha (non-robot) manga series to spawn a toyline with plastic submarines and captured the imaginations for many young readers from 1963-1965.

Ozawa’s other submarine manga “Ao no Rokugou” would see an animated form ala “Blue Submarine No. 6” released in 2000 which would showcase cool animated 3D CG but many manga fans would talk about Ozawa’s first manga series “SUBMARINE 707”.

Flash forward nearly 30 years later and in 2003, the first OAV series titled “SUBMARINE 707R” (R which stands for REVOLUTION) was released in Japan. The second OAV series was released in 2004.

This highly-anticipated anime is definitely a modern interpretation of Ozawa’s popular manga and would feature the exciting action-adventure killed or be killed submarine warfare storyline between Captain Hayami of the Self-Maritime Defense Force and Captain of the 707 and Admiral Red of the terrorist USR.

Two men who are professional and have special abilities and passion for the seas and their submarines and a passion to outwit each other and nevertheless, made an anime series exciting.

If anything, the animation really shows the two different opposing sides and the nature of Hayami and Red. Both are professionals and great leaders but in their personal lives, fathers who care about their wives and children and crewmates.

I found both episodes to be intriguing, gripping and full of action. I really enjoyed it a lot. Of course, there is not much character development with only two OAV’s but you learn enough to know that these two leaders are passionate about their job, their crewmates and their submarines.

But as a OAV series that focuses on one battle within a storyline that is so huge that it deserves possibly a good-sized TV run, unfortunately, it’s not to be.

You only get two episodes and because submarines are not exactly as attractive to viewers in modern-time compared to mecha robots, the series has attempted an animated series since the 60’s but has never gotten itself out of the ground until 30 years later. And with two episodes, the viewer is left wanting more.

VIDEO:

Video is presented in anamorphic 16:9 widescreen and in its original aspect ration of 1:78:1. The animated visuals are well-done. The staff put a lot of attention in trying to make sure the submarine character models, the water and how movement in the water is featured. The colors are brilliant blue underwater, showing the fading of colors through various shadows where red turns to grayish and just really well done.

Outside of the water scenes, especially focusing on the Captain Ayami and Admiral Red’s families are colorful. All in all, the colors are brilliant!

AUDIO:

I watched the OAV series in DTS 5.1 surround sound in English and in Digital 5.1 Japanese. I was amazed of the audio usage especially the 2nd OAV when you hear radio distress signals coming from different speakers. The battles sound absolutely awesome! Voice acting in both English and Japanese are well done and I have to admit that I enjoyed the English dub very much (coming from a guy who tends to listen to the Japanese audio track more). Even the music is very cool and stylish with it’s action-adventure style of music and cool, smooth jazz.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

This limited edition version of “SUBMARINE 707R” features creator interviews, 3D CG modeling demo, theatrical trailers, art gallery and more.

Personally, there was only one special feature that I really excited to watch was the creator interviews. Interviews with director Masuo Shoichi (who worked on the original “Akira”, “Dirty Pair”, “Macross: Do you Remember Love”, “Neon Genesis Evangelion”, “Wings of Honnemaise”, etc.), screenwriter Ohnogi Hiroshi (known for his works on “Mobile Suit Gundam Seed”, “MS Igloo”, “Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam” to name a few), and legendary mechanical designer Miyatake Kazutaka (known for his mechanical designs for the “Super Dimension Fortress Macross” and “Super Dimension Century Orguss”, “Gunbuster”, “Macross Plus”, “Aura Battler Dunbine” and much, much more).

There are major anime industry names attached to this title and to see how they worked with each other, disagreed with each other, worked on a solutions together and really worked and learned from each other was just great to know.

From the character and mecha design, the animation, the music… the interview with these talented individuals is just priceless and was very pleased that Geneon included the creator interviews on this DVD.

I’m quite aware that “SUBMARINE 707 R” received positive and negative criticism in Japan. Major criticisms include from hardcore fans that it is not a faithful to Ozawa Satoru’s manga series and that for those who are not familiar with submarine technical issues, the anime series would be awesome but for those who are familiar would see the technical aspect as a bit farfetched.

I’m with the former. I know nothing about submarine physics or submarine combat. Nor am I the type of mecha fan who gets too technical with the mechanics of a vehicle like many hardcore fans who I know.

So, taking it for what its worth, I thought that this anime OAV series kicked ass! It was not only sporting beautiful animation, an exciting action-adventure story with great audio, it was a very entertaining series.

What I will agree with Japanese reviewers who criticized the OAV series was that it ends too soon.

That is true. After watching the OAV series, you probably will look online to see if there is a TV series available or more episodes and just to find out that there are none. That’s a unfortunate shame because this series was so intriguing and fun to watch that it had the potential to become a wonderful TV or OAV series. Maybe even a full feature film.

But perhaps submarines that captured the imaginations of young children back in the 60’s that enjoyed the manga and 707 toys is not exactly exciting for children these days. Especially when there are mecha robot and a variety of anime and its toylines capturing their attention these days.

But for being only two episodes long, there is a lot of punch in this action-adventure series.

During the interview, the creators talked about adding so many elements that it would appeal to all anime fans of different levels. Especially with the inclusion of a variety of characters such as Hayami’s daughter who will appeal to the magical girl fans, the young pilots in training that will appeal to children and of course the original characters that will appeal to fans of the original manga series.

All in all, it was beautiful to watch and enjoyed every minute of it. Highly recommended!

+ A great collaboration of top tier staff within the anime industry

+ Great story, cool animation, great voice acting

+ Audio especially the English 5.1 DTS track for additional audio enjoyment!

+ Cool special features and a awesome interview with the staff!

– Only two OAV episodes and that’s it…

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