A Deadly Game of Cat and Mouse
Red October meets Captain Nemo in the perfect submarine movie for that boring Sunday afternoon.
Submarine movies should really be an action-adventure category of their own, as Submarine 707 Revolution: The Movie falls well with movies such as The Hunt for Red October and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. In fact, the plot and characters can be seen as an animated crossover between these two famous films.
Terrorizing the oceans is a mysterious group called the USR –Undersea Silence Revolution. Using cutting-edge technology, USR seeks to destroy all the submarines and ships of the world as to return the seas to their natural, unsullied condition. The leader of the USR is Admiral Red, a submariner fatalist who mourns the lives that must be taken in order to achieve the revolution, an animated Captain Nemo. In his submarine UX, which uses technologies beyond those known by the nations of the world, he scours the ocean, seeking to destroy the ships and subs of the PKN, Peace Keeping Navy, consisting of eleven nations that seek to destroy the piracy and terrorism of USR, with the support of the UN.
Japan, one of the PKN nations, has reluctantly donated the slow and nearly obsolete diesel submarine nicknamed Snapping Turtle –submarine 707. With Youhei Hayami, the stereotypical overweight and jolly submarine captain at the helm, and executive officer Nangou, the 707 slowly makes its way to the rendezvous point for all of the PKN ships to begin their assault on the nefarious USR.
Submarine 707 Revolution opens in the middle of a naval guerilla ambush, with the UX destroying two large ships with two volleys. Then the UX decimates almost the entire PKN during its opening ceremonies on the mammoth submarine/carrier, Apollo Norm. The only sub that survives (due to it being late) is the 707, which Captain Hayami bravely uses as a shield to stop a torpedo bound to destroy Apollo Norm in one fell swoop. Thus starts the grudge between Red and Hayami, culminating in a John Woo-like showdown at the end of this two-part OVA movie. Between these two encounters lies the rebirth of submarine 707 from its ashes and the side-story of three young members of 707’s crew. Two of them (Kenji Minahaya and Gorou Kusaka) pilot mini subs (think of the machines used to explore sunken ships), while the third, Senta Umino ends up being upgraded from mess crew to sonarman, and saving the 707 with his keen hearing of the stealthy UX.
This anime does a good job of showing the confusion of battle, using audio only and sepia-toned stills to bring a feeling of reality. Submarine 707 Revolution also shows how both sides are justified in their goals from their own point of view, with the USR desiring a cleaner, better world, and the PKN only wanting peace on the seas. It also illustrates how both Red and Hayami have dual natures as undersea warriors and fathers. Obviously, the movie is mainly about the cat and mouse games played between the UX and 707, but we see also into their family lives back at home, giving a human touch to what would have been otherwise a typical submarine action movie. Home for Red is an idyllic biodome/undersea base in a snowy wasteland, with his wife, three daughters and infant son, who seem to live a somewhat normal life, albeit in an artificial world. Hayami’s household is your standard anime fare, with a sexy and obedient wife and a disobedient pre-teen daughter who only wants her father to come home and stay home, a shared desire with Red’s daughters. Despite their differences, the two opposing sides are very much the same.
We were impressed by the amount of research that was done in order to make Submarine 707 Revolution as true to the reality of submarines and naval battles as possible. The only truly fanciful element is the use of highly intelligent AI in submarine navigation and calculation, and perhaps the size of Apollo Norm, large enough for passenger jets to land.
Music is also an enjoyable feature in Submarine 707. From the stern martial theme of the USR to the somber music with the near defeat of the PKN, this is a very cinematic soundtrack that enhances the viewing experience, especially the silent sense of being underwater. The animation backs up this otherworldly feeling, showing a silent and starkly beautiful world undersea while noisy chaos reigns above.
Submarine 707 Revolution shines as a wonderful story of submarine action, with the romantic strains of families left behind onshore, left behind to wait. The conclusion comes as a refreshing surprise for the western viewer, though it is not entirely unexpected that this movie would end like this, so unlike blockbuster summer movies that demand to go out with a bang. Get onboard the 707 and discover a great movie to share! Join the revolution!