Saturday, January 28, 2012

Tide-Line Blue Anime Review

Tide-Line Blue
Bandai Entertainment
Complete Collection - 4 discs
325 mins. - 13 episodes
$49.98 (2008)
ISBN 669198228445
Japanese/English Audio - English Subtitles
Director - Iida Umanosuke
Studio - Bandai Visual

Synopsis: It's been 14 years since the catastrophic environmental disaster called "The Hammer of Eden" flooded 90% of the Earth's surface and killed over 6 billion people.  Mankind perseveres and has rebuilt a global civilization comprised of island nations.  Leaders from these surviving political states have gathered to discuss the establishment of a new United Nations under proposed chairwoman Aoi.  The negotiations have been less than successful as larger nations with deeper resources demand veto power.

In the midst of the negotiations Captain Gould, the renegade commander of the now-modified nuclear submarine the U.S.S. Ulysses, attacks.  His goal is to unite the world by military force where political meetings have failed.  Gould's physical appearance is unsettling - he's covered in scars across his body and has lost the use of one eye.  His determination to achieve his goal runs as deep as his scars, but he once had a collaborative relationship with Aoi after the global disaster. 

Caught in the middle of the fight are delinquent Keel and his beautiful, pregnant friend Isla.  The shock of the battle forces her into early labor.  The two are aided by a member of Gould's crew and by shocking coincidence Keel's twin brother, Teen.  He delivers the baby and disappears amidst the carnage.  Keel, Isla and the newborn baby manage to find their way aboard Gould's ship. 
Seriously, what happened here?  I need to know!
They find the frightening Captain Gould to be a gentle, rational man at heart who takes them both under his wing.  Keel and Isla must readjust to life aboard the Ulysses as the world's naval forces vigorously pursue them.  Keel and Teen are linked to the last manned space station in orbit called Freedom.  They haven't spoken in years and despise each other.  What made them this way and complete polar opposites?  Keel is rambunctious while Teen is reserved. 

Overwhelming forces are on their trail and the two must work together in order to save the world's hope for a fragile peace.  What secret does Freedom hold which could tilt the delicate balance of power in the world and why is Aoi hiding it?

Pros: Quality animation and production values (Bandai Visual doesn't fool around), good use of CG, highly accurate portrayal of naval vehicles, distinct character designs, some amusing moments, cool extra where they sail a motorized model of the Ulysses in a swimming pool - damn fine looking model, the ostrich was pretty funny

Cons: Environmental disaster "The Hammer of Eden" is never explained, I didn't really dig Keel's character design, comedy deflates the serious nature of the story (too goofy for the subject matter), especially Captain Gould - the guy was a hardcore submarine captain yet he had this jovial side which appeared constantly (quite a contradiction and completely on purpose), ending with Keel and Teen was unsatisfying

This man does not look jovial and should really wear an eyepatch
Mike Tells It Straight: This show is very well-crafted with an interesting plot setup, quality animation, and characters with compelling motivations - yet is fails to be emotionally moving because of the obtrusive comedy moments laced into what should be a serious plot. 

Tide-Line Blue was created by Satoru Ozawa, renowned creator of Blue Submarine No. 6.  Both shows have a similar post-apocalyptic world-with-flooded-land and massive population decimation, but the latter had a serious tone and much more positive reception. 

The story tries to be funny and endearing, but ends up diluting its potential to make a lasting impression.  It's still a decent show and I mostly enjoyed watching it (let's be honest - you're not going to find too many submarine anime out there), but it just didn't quite iron out. 

TO BUY and Recommendations: