04 Feb 2006
I’d be lying if I said I enjoy watching naval anime. In truth, they bore me to tears. It seems to be the same recycled storylines over and over again. Blue Submarine No. 6 with its mutants, large ships and plots to change the world did absolute nothing for me. So a submarine story set in the near-future with a UN-style organisation and a fleet of submarines didn't exactly ring of excitement and adventure. Well, I guess in some respects, I’ve been proven wrong.
Submarine 707R follows the Japanese crew of the submarine, the 707R as they become part of the new peace-keeping task force, the Peace-Keeping Navy (PKN) that has been formed to taken out the hidden and mysterious organization called the USR,. The 707R is complete rust-bucket and an embarrassment to the Japanese fleet, especially when compared to the might of U.S. navy and its submarine, the Great Guardian. However, when Captain Youhei Hayami sacrifices the obsolete sub to save the aircraft carrier Apollo-Norm, the sub is rebuilt and tasked with taking down the USR’s ultimate sub, the UX.
I will admit that Submarine 707R actually took me by surprise in some areas. The animation, background and the ships/submarines themselves are some of the most detailed I’ve seen in a long while, with fantastic 3D animation seamlessly incorporated into the OAV.
To look at, Submarine 707R is very pretty and has some truly interesting and exciting action sequences. The fact that the battles centre around the captains having to outwit each other rather than using stupid amounts of force and power to win battles is a refreshing change, allowing the anime to be a little more cerebral.
Despite all the nice touches, one aspect seems to be missing: plot development. While there coule easily be a huge expansive plot waiting to kick in and take the viewer through many twists and turns, it never does. While there are plenty of characters, no one is seen in great depth. In fact, we don’t even know why the USR is attacking or why they are determined to bring the world to its knees. The anime takes a very long time to get going, and by failing to set up who, what, when and why everything is happening makes the anime very empty and ultimately pointless.
While Submarine 707R has everything it needs to make a fantastic series, this OAV is too short and thin on plot to make it satisfying. Given a 26 episode series, some decent pacing and in-depth look at the characters, then I would say that Submarine 707R could easily be as good as Gundam Seed (but underwater).
Until then, we have only this offering, and while it impresses at first the end result will leave the viewer feeling short changed. We’ll just have to wait and see if the story is continued.