Blue Submarine No. 6 is a post-apocalyptic manga series written and illustrated by Satoru Ozawa, first published in 1967, which was then picked up on by animation studio Gonzo, who produced the stunning 2000 OVA entitled “Blue Submarine No. 6”, directed by Mahiro Maeda.

The story begins in the near future, when the Earth’s oceans have risen and flooded most of the sea-lying land on Earth. The rogue scientist Zorndyke caused the flooding, which killed countless individuals, and most of humanity’s remaining cities have been attacked or destroyed by Zorndyke’s army of half-animal “hybrids”. The remaining humans begin to wage war against Zorndyke’s seagoing creations for simple survival.

Humanity’s best hope for a resolution to the conflict lies with its submarine forces, among which is the focus of the story, Blue Submarine #6. It is revealed that Zorndyke is attempting to decisively end the conflict in the favor of his hybrid children by artificially inducing a polar switch using geothermal energy at the South Pole.

What makes this particular OVA stand out was its pioneering use of a hybrid mix of 3D computer graphics with traditional animation, resulting in an exquisite visual phenomenon which was pretty much cutting edge for that era.

Unfortunately though, the short nature of only four episodes hurts the storytelling of this beautifully rendered animation, and the plot ends up hurtling along at breakneck speed, losing a lot of the moments in between which could have been used to try and endear us to and flesh out the central characters that much more, and perhaps in the process manage to emotionally invest us deeper into the story being told.

All that said though, this isn’t any light piece of fluff and what is well delivered is a fairly emotional, heavy drama, with plenty of underwater action and of course, a very important environmental message to go along with it.

Accompanied by a fantastic score from the rock ‘n roll big band “The Thrill”, and featuring some great voice acting, Blue Submarine No. 6 still makes for a decent watch, especially if you are interested in witnessing one of the first and best attempts at the marrying together of traditional animation techniques with more modern CGI.

So in summary, if it is on hand watch it, otherwise don’t worry about making the effort of locating it.

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