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[ Aono Rokugo logo ]

Aono Rokugo

(Blue Submarine No. 6)

Episode 1: Blues

Copyright: © 1998 Satoru Ozawa / Bandai Visual / Toshiba EMI / Gonzo, © 1999 AnimeVillage.Com
Length: 30 minutes
Rating: NR, Café rated Parental Guidance Advised
Format: DVD / VHS, Original Japanese Dialog / Subtitled / English Dub


vhs jacket

In the near future, the Earth's sea levels have risen, devastating coastal cities worldwide. Zorndyke has unleashed a nightmarish terror of armed underwater creatures upon mankind, threatening to wipe out everything in their path. But the navy has its own means of battling these heavily armed creatures -- Blue Fleet, with its high-tech attack submarine, Blue Submarine No. 6. But Zorndyke is well aware of this sub, and has already dispatched his own forces -- Musucau, a bio-engineered attack creature, who just might be more than a match for man and machine...

capsule review:

Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Aono Rokugo might be based on an old manga series, but this OAV series has been dressed up with enough gee-wiz action and animation to make you forget that this is a 20 year-old series... First-rate computer-generated 3D models, quality hand cel animation coupled with fast-paced action has dressed up the tried-and-true good versus evil plot, though at first glance, you'll be hard pressed to tell if there is really anything different between this series, and countless other "bad guy sends hoards of minions to wipe out mankind" serials. And like so many other similar plots, there's a key scene involving a couple of key characters, where you're shown that not all the "bad guys" are really bad...

So if not plot, what? Well, how about the great mechanical designs, featuring names like Shoji Kawamori? Aono Rokugo herself is not much more than a streamlined wedge with a high-tech screw, but Zorndyke's mecha and the detailed work put into the two-man Grampus is nothing short of breath-taking. CG animation that's somewhere between Re-Boot and Babylon 5 -- but since it's integrated with cel animation rather than live action, it works very well. About the only time you'll notice the crossovers are with some of the water effects, as well as a few of the flame/smoke effects. With computers handling a lot of the 3d modelling and detailed backgrounds, animators were able to spend a lot more time with the foreground characters, and it really shows. Sound effects are equally well done, thought I have a real problem with the mix -- several intense audio tracks are driven to clipping, which is really annoying. This is the first title we've purchased where clipping was a consistent problem.

Character designs are a little more traditional, though some characters -- in particular, Mayumi Kino -- have such jet-black pupils, that they look sunken. Most of the other character designs (if not the characterisations themselves) are pretty stereotypical. Again, take any 'classic' mecha series, and you'll pretty much be able to swap characters in and out.

In the end, it's the fast-paced action, tight direction, mixed with the exceptional animation that makes this a great piece of escapism. First episodes are usually a chore to watch. This one, I'm pleased to report, is anything but.
- AN, 2000.02.27

café rating (english subtitled):


3 star

[3 / 5] - It's got subs. But beyond that, the plot is pretty much a recycle of the classic good vs. evil destroyer of the world scenario.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Pretty exciting stuff, comes hard and fast, and aside from the initial introductions, there's not a whole lot of time to catch your breath.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Typical acting efforts for a Japanese production, with voices that work well with the characters, despite the typical stereotyping that abounds.


5 stars
[5 / 5] - Eye-popping CG effects and 3D objects, coupled with impeccable mechanical designs. One of the best examples of combined cel/CG animation to date, though fire/smoke/smog effects are a bit weak. This is what the little boys in all of us dream about!


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Pretty decent soundtrack to boot, using a more traditional sound as opposed to heavy synths. Not particularily fond of "yet another sultry Japanese end theme" sprinkled with English words... runs too long, but it's there to fit the long list of credits.


4 stars
[4 / 5] - Pretty good for the regular non-technical terms, though I admit complete ignorance of submariner jargon.

Overall Rating:

4 star
[4 / 5] - I'd give it a five out of five if it wasn't for that darned derivative plot and "we've seen it before" characterisations. But what we haven't seen before is the wonderful mix of animation effort and exciting direction that's been put into this OAV production. One other caveat -- this series is expensive, at one 30 minute episode per tape...

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Page last modified 2000.02.27