Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Mr. A's review of.....Super Atragon (Shin Kaitei Gunkan)

I finally got to see this 2-part OVA after all these years and I just had to write a review about it:

The Story
Go Arisaka, a member of the Japanese Navy, and his team are sent to Antarctica to investigate a series of strange events. Things only get stranger when they discover that every person and thing has been annihilated due to some odd form of radiation. As the gods of brisk pacing would have it, the entire team is suddenly wiped out with the exception of Go and his girlfriend Annette (who plays a bigger role in all this than you think). Waking up from what he hopes is just a horrible nightmare, Go finds himself aboard the Ra-Go, a super battleship capable of both undersea as well as air combat built during the Pacific War. Armed with state-of-the-art weaponry and a steadfast crew, the Ra-Go sets out to put and end to the mysterious forces trying to destroy the Earth.

The Review
Though the film stock itself hasn't exactly stood the test of time, the story is something told over and over again throughout history. The areal combat sequences are well done, if incredibly one-sided. Characters are a tad bland and backstory could've used some work. On the other hand the redesigned Goten-Go, dubbed the Ra-go in this version of the story, is a sight to behold. I'd actually say it's almost, if not far better than the redesigned Goten-Go seen in the film Godzilla: Final Wars.

The Verdict
With the right amount of action, romance, and story-telling, Super Atragon is one of those animes that they just don't make anymore. Go and pick this one up if you can (I found a few copies on Amazon) or rent it or look for it on YouTube (I won't tell you exactly where, I don't want the guy to lose his account).

Before I go, I thought I'd leave you with a new nuggets of trivia:
First off, the Japanese name of this as well as the original film by Toho Studios and the book they were both based on has been translated as "Undersea Battleship", however the Japanese word for battleship is Senkan. The word Gunkan actually means "Warship".
Secondly, the name Atragon comes from the word Atoragon, the international title used for Toho's version of Kaitei Gunkan. Presumably, the title is a contraction of the words "Atomic Dragon" (a reference to Manda, the films antagonist).

Jaa matta,
Mr. A

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