So for today’s review I thought I’d review an anime that I own the manga of. While I have read a few other manga online, this is the only one I materially own.
Arpeggio of Blue Steel is set in a future where global warming has caused a significant rise in sea levels. Then with increasing frequency, a technologically superior naval fleet surrounded by fog appears. Eventually the Fleet of Fog comes out of hiding and attack human vessels indiscriminately. A joint effort by humanities navies attempts to push them back, however the brute force of the Fog wipes them out, suddenly the oceans were impassible enemy territory. Seven years after the defeat, the the Fog submarine I-401 appears before cadet Gunzo Chihaya. The AI “Mental Model” Iona, who should be their enemy, is instead under his command. With power on par with the Fog he becomes humanities last beacon of hope, because he has human ingenuity on his side.
The plot is relatively straight forward, following humanities defeat, the world surrenders the oceans and the skies above them to the Fog who follow a strict set of naval laws. The Fog, despite humanities inferiority, however acknowledge the damage done during the battle and assume that it’s the result of something called “tactics” and to understand this phenomena they create Mental Models designed to emulate humanity. Shortly after a Fog submarine surrenders itself to a human naval training facility. in search of a cadet there. Despite attempts to reverse engineer the Fog technology an unknown resource is required for all of it, which is beyond human replication, this leads to Gunzo being the only one capable of fighting the Fog alongside Iona, and his makeshift crew. They are then tasked with transporting a Japanese weapon prototype to America for mass production as the 4 previous attempts of transportation fail miserably, and on the way he builds the Fleet of Blue Steel, out of displaced Mental Models and a Fog Battleship. While making mortal enemies with one of the Fog’s commanders.
The characters are rather dull, however the exciting battle sequences more than compensate.
Gunzo-The main hero, a tactical genius who refuses to give in the the Fog. He uses Iona to take the fight to them, while taking on human jobs to fund his personal vendetta.
Iona-The seemingly apathetic Mental Model of the I-401 Submarine, she follows Gunzo’s orders and is friends with her mechanic. She cares deeply for her human crew however.
Hyuuga-A battleship that was defeated by Iona and Gunzo in the past, she comes to worship Iona as a war goddess and maintains their secret dry dock. She also gives up her Battleship for scrap in order to repair and upgrade Iona.
Takao-Takao is a Heavy Cruiser that was defeated through one of Gunzo’s tactics. She deduces that if she had Gunzo as a Captain then she’d be just as powerful, causing her to defect to the Fleet of Blue Steel.
Kongou-A commander among the Fog, she shows little emotion like Iona. In her desperation and obsession to remove I-401’s “corrupting influence” she corrupts herself.
Once you get past Blue Steels unique CG animation it is a good anime, with plenty of action and a great soundtrack to go with it. There’s something about anthropomorphic naval vessels too, if Kantai Collection: KanColle is anything to go by. Though I haven’t watched that myself, perhaps I will soon. After Arpeggio I would recommend Aldnoah.Zero, though it’s not that good an anime the animation, music and plot hold some similarity.
Now go! Set sail! And…dive!
“So 501 has set sail has she.”