Whoah, so I went into this one without knowing that it would be 95% CGI. A little surprising I’ll admit. A risky visual design choice like this can spell certain doom for a series, but I feel like Arpeggio of Blue Steel (mostly) pulled it off and left a good impression on me. I will hereby refer to this show as Blue Steel now for short.
The first thing you’ll notice about this anime is that it doesn’t look quite like any other shows this season. It’s creators have put faith in CGI over traditional hand-drawn animation so it all feels kind of strange at first. While this works perfectly for action scenes (and we got a bunch of them) it makes the characters models seem weirdly dissonant in some scenes, almost video-game like but hard to describe. That said, it does look pretty awesome a lot of the time so don’t belive the grumbles of those who are writing off this series simply because looks ‘funny’ to them. Blue Steel has the balls to take a pretty big risk in the way it’s presented, so for that reason I believe it’s worth it for you to check it out and make your mind up yourself.
The setting and characters show a little promise too. Blue Steel is a futuristic anime, set in a time when the ‘Fog’ fleet has appeared out of nowhere and cut off human access to the ocean for some reason. One might wager that their intentions are more sinister than environmental… But I’m just going to wait and find out.
The male lead (Chihaya) is the cliché yet seemingly tolerable captain of a previously captured Fog submarine, the I-401. This sub is controlled (somehow) by the female lead (Iona) who is almost as moe as she is mysterious. She is magically linked to the submarine and seems to exist as its control interface. This idea of unexplainable linking characters to military hardware is not exactly a new thing for anime, but Blue Steel is already a far cry from the ecchi meanderings of Upotte! so don’t go in expect something like that. It would be a stretch to call Blue Steel subtle, but it presents itself with a degree of maturity and coaxes you in with action and intrigue rather than blatant fanservice.
I’m looking forward to seeing Blue Steel get fleshed-out because I’m already sold on the setting, and I’m already curious about how it will unfold. OP + ED were nice too.