Intriguing naval thriller with dubious premise
Manfred Zeichmann | 08/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the better non-TV-series anime OAVs I've recently seen, mostly for its accurate and authentic use of the naval weapons shown here.This OAV can best be described as an anime version of The Hunt For Red October, but it has a highly implausible plot which is the premise for the whole OAV. The best way to describe it would be as nationalist anti-American sentiment for Japan's return back to a pre-World-War-II military dictatorship, and a rogue nuclear submarine, dubbed as the Sea Bat but renamed as the Yamato, would lead the way. Highly unlikely, don't know if it's one man's opinion or shared by a nation, but it isn't the strength of this DVD.The cool factor on this DVD has to do with the naval battles shown here and the surprising accuracy of the proper existing naval weapons depicted here. Unlike most anime where lots of weapons are created from the imaginations of the creators, all of the weapons shown here exist in real-life, except for the prototype super-sub Yamato, which is fabricated here.When the US Navy hunts down the Yamato, they don't improperly show F-14 Tomcat or F-18 Hornet fighters try to attack a submarine, as a Hollywood film would inaccurately do to shown the sleekest aircraft on screen. Here, P-3 Orions are used for surveillance, and S-3 Vikings (the only submarine hunting airplanes in the US Navy) and Kamen Seasprite helicopters are shown launching torpedoes into the water, as it might happen in the real Navy.The use of AEGIS cruisers and destroyers, armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles, 5" cannons, and ASROC anti-sub torpedoes, while defending with Phalanx Vulcan cannons, are all existing weapons in the US Navy, and they are depicted here with surprising accuracy, even with the terminology being used correctly.If you like submarine movies like The Hunt For Red October or Crimson Tide, you'll appreciate some of the genius tactical moves by the Yamato sub commander here, once you get past the highly dubious political plot of the story."
Sink the YAMATO!
Manfred Zeichmann | Austria | 04/18/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you like submarine movies like the German DAS BOOT or THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER you will undoubetly enjoy this anime.
The story revolves around a secret US-Japanese joint venture: the first Japanese nuclear submarine. On the U-boat's first mission captain KAIEDA and his crew start a mutiny and arrest the US liaison officer. The renegades rename their vessel YAMATO after a famous Japanese World War II battleship. Captain KAIEDA has an agenda of his own (namely achieving world peace by bluffing the USA into believing that the YAMATO is armed with nuclear missiles) and soon Japan and the United States are on the brink of war...
SILENT SERVICE moves at breakneck speed and is actionfilled from start to finish. More naval battles than in the second World War! Okay, okay, I admit I am exaggerating here, but it is amazing how much naval action (and story!) is crammed in the film's 100 minutes running time. The film also succeeds in creating quite a tension in the scenes which are common to submarine movies: officers listening anxiously to their sonar, vessels trying to out-manouvre one another, depth charges attacks, crash dives. The military hardware on display appears to be depicted accurately. I also liked the main character, captain KAIEDA, who is a righteous man and an excellent naval officer with nerves of steel.
While it did not bother me, I am aware that some US viewers may dislike the "the Americans can't be trusted" message of the film, evident not only in the overall storyline, but in some details as well (e.g. the American president before attending an international summit reads a "Japan Re-occupation Plan").
Don't let this put you off!
In my view most anime suffer from their usual sci-fi settings with aliens and mechs, so a more realistic and mature japanimation feature is always welcome, even more so when it concerns a war toppic. If you are a military buff, you'll like this one. Unfortunately the DVD is rather weak on the extra side. There is a rather pointless "meet the characters" - feature and a multiple angle option for the end credits sequence, where you can switch between Japanese and English end titles with your remote control (I recommend to stay with the original). There are also some trailers, of which I liked VIRGIN FLEET best.
The optional English subtitles are easy on the eyes and free of misspellings. There is an English audio track, too."
The Japanese equivalent of extreme right wing paranoia.
Nathan Taylor | Cambridge, UK | 08/30/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A convoluted mess with a plot that takes you on a submarine ride to nowhere. Silent Service is Japanese right wing propoganda given form in anime.
A rogue Japanese Captain and his merry band of nameless, faceless scene filler steal a nuclear submarine intended as a joint military project between the Japanese and the US. The US government is slightly miffed over the idea of a rogue nuclear submarine falling in to the hands of a man who's just crazy enough to declare the sub its own sovereign nation, and sends the US 7th fleet to hunt down the "Seabat."
What follows is 90 minutes of mind numbing talking heads, interspersed with hilariously stupid Americans doing equally stupid things, and an utterly anti-climactic, non-ending.
The dumb Americans and their high-jinks are the sole reason I gave this drek two stars. US Submarine crews go barging into traps so obvious you'd swear Captain W. Coyote was at the helm. The US 7th Fleet launches wave after wave of missles and torpedoes at Japanese ships, nearly all of which are blown out of the sky by the outnumbered, outgunned, but completely wooden, er, I mean stoic Japanese.
The Yanks, on the other hand, can't shoot down two missles to save their amusingly large noses, and hundreds of the round-eyed barbarians sink to the briney deep.
Silent Service is a story of the triumph of Japanese spirit over filthy foreigners. But pay heed to the final words of the blonde haired, blue eyed, large nosed US President: "We still have enough nukes to kill everyone on the planet."
Or something like that. I was reaching for the eject button."