What They Say
To combat the terrorist organisation known as the Underwater Silence Revolution (USR), eleven countries combine their naval forces to form the Peace Keeping Navy (PKN). However, all hell breaks loose when Admiral Red and his USR submarine UX crash the PKN’s inaugural ceremony and destroy the majority of the fleet. At the last minute, when the UX lands the final blow on the aircraft carrier Apollo-Norm, the obsolete Japanese submarine 707 (aka “Snapping Turtle”), captained by Youhei Hayami and his loyal crew, appears from out of nowhere and sacrifices itself to save the PKN flagship.
Six months later, Captain Youhei Hayami is called back to duty to lead a new group of recruits and captain an all-new 707, known as the “Revolution”, in the war against terrorism underwater.
As seems to be usual for Manga releases these days, this release has the full range of audio options. I listened primarily to the Japanese DTS track for this release, spot-checking the other tracks in places. There’s some good use of direction throughout the disc, particularly during the battle sequences, although dialogue doesn’t seem to be handled as well as it perhaps could have been. Audio was clean and clear throughout, with no obvious problems.
The series is presented in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect, enhanced for anamorphic playback. Submarine 707R is quite a recent production (released in 2003), and makes heavy use of CG animation, which for the most part looks very good. There’s also some great use of colour made to help catch the feel of the settings, particularly in underwater scenes, which really adds to the atmosphere of the show. There were no obvious enconding problems.
No packaging was provided with our review copy.
The menu is quite a nice piece of work, with a sonar-style effect in the middle of the screen with a series of clips playing in the background, all tinged in an underwater blue. Submenus are provided for audio setup and trailers, with direct access to both episodes. There are no transition animations, so it’s all quick & easy to use.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
It’s the near future, and the nations of the Earth have banded together to create the Peacekeeping Navy, in response to the fugitive Admiral Red and his Underwater Silence Revolution group. Admiral Red has taken offence at mankind’s continuing exploitation of the oceans and has vowed to put an end to it, and for that purpose he’s developed the UX – a highly-advanced submarine ” and a fleet of other submarines with which he hopes to drive humanity back to dry land. It’s a significant enough force that the Peacekeeping Navy is having problems dealing with him. The Japanese contribution to the Navy is the 707, under the command of one Captain Hayami – a submarine that, compared to the likes of those provided by the US, is decidedly outdated and attracts the derision of the rest of the fleet despite having a good active-duty record. But when Red attacks a gathering of the PKN fleet, it’s Hayami and the 707 that saves the PKN flagship, the Apollo Norm, from almost certain destruction, an act of noble sacrifice that turns out to be the old sub’s last. Six months later, Hayami is given his new command – the new 707R, a far more advanced sub than her predecessor, and just the vessel Hayami needs to settle the score with Admiral Red. Red’s had his eyes on Hayami as well since his attack on the Apollo Norm was thwarted, so the PKN opts to use Hayami and the 707R as the lure in their latest attempt to trap Admiral Red.
The original Submarine 707R manga was written by Satoru Ozawa, who was also responsible for Blue Submarine No. 6, and the two stories share an environmental theme. Where Blue Sub 6 was quite serious and muted in tone, though, Submarine 707R takes a more light-hearted approach, and a few more liberties with scientific accuracy to help it keep an all-action approach. Both Red and Hayami are portrayed as family men, with wives and kids back home waiting for their return, who nevertheless can’t resist the call of the sea. With this 2-episode OVA series apparently being just a dip into the full story, there’s no time spent on really looking at their pasts and motivations ” I would have particularly liked to see how Red came to be the environmental warrior ” but the home scenes both men are given are enough to round out their personalities a bit and let you see that there’s more to them than just being dedicated military types.
The first episode here sets up the story, introducing the characters and creating the rivalry between Hayami and Red that’s a direct result of Hayami thwarting his attack on the Apollo Norm ” after all, hell hath no fury like a villain whose scheme has been foiled. You do have to wonder what the PKN was thinking when it decided to gather a sizeable chunk of its fleet in one place ” a bit like painting a huge target on themselves ” but it does give the opportunity to see some very well-realised ship and submarine designs, from the gargantuan Apollo Norm which towers over every ship around it, through the sleek and high-tech Great Guardian (the American contribution to the PKN), right down to the comparatively basic and well-used 707. There’s an attention to detail here that really does add to the feel and believability of the show.
The second episode is more combat-based. Red’s attack on the PKN fleet has left it decimated, with even the Great Guardian destroyed – and all before Hayami and the 707 had even been able to rendezvous with it. Red’s ability to seemingly attack from nowhere has left the PKN ships with no way to fight back, and the situation is looking grim. On arriving at the battle zone and finding nothing but wreckage, Hayami’s shocked – but he’s also convinced he knows what makes Red tick, and when Red learns of the 707’s arrival in the area, he’s determined to make sure it’s their last meeting.
If Hayami had spoken with a Scottish accent, I would be convinced I was watching Hunt for Red October here, as the UX and the 707R play an underwater game of hide-and-seek, looking for any and every opportunity to gain the upper hand. For the most part it’s presented really well, with some good tense moments in a very evenly-matched contest, although there are a few “yeah, right” moments thrown in there as well.
There’s also some time given to behind-the-scenes scheming that we’ll never really get to see the outcome of, namely the PKN’s Operation Red Scream, in which Hayami seems to be unwittingly playing the lead role. There are also some pointers towards a lack of co-operation between some of the PKN’s members, but we’re left to go and dig out the manga to see how that plays out.
At only two episodes, Submarine 707R just gives you a taster of a larger story, but it’s certainly been enough to whet my appetite ” I’m definitely wishing there were more of this to see, as there’s plenty going on here that’s only just touched upon. The underwater battles are also very well done which, together with a cast of mostly engaging characters, makes this very easy to watch.
Content Grade: A-
Audio Grade: A-
Video Grade: A
Packaging Grade: N/A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: N/A
Released By: Manga Entertainment UK
Release Date: March 13th, 2006
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:! Anamorphic Widescreen
Japanese Language 2.0 / 5.1 / DTS,English Language 2.0 / 5.1 / DTS,English Subtitles
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28″ widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.