So I watched Legend of Marine Snow. This is one of the few things done by Leiji Matsumoto that's still not subtitled. The only version of this movie I was able to find is what seems like a raw VHS rip, complete with slight VHS tracking at the bottom of the screen. I don't speak any form of Japanese, but I do recognize some phrases and looking at the context of scenes and having familiarity with other Leiji Matsumoto shows sure helps.
I tried to research this thing but there is fuck all information about it. So, here's my best guess about what Legend of Marine
Snow is all about:
The Synopsis: In the not too distant future mankind extended its populace to giant city structures on the ocean. Mankind's ongoing abuse to the ocean has led to an ancient underwater civilization to revolt against humanity.
There are a few things needed for every Leiji Matsumoto show. The young hero, the potato-head, the fragile-looking heroine, the handsome adult hero, Leijiverse animation, and awesome music. This movie has all of that.
First up, some science: "Marine Snow" is an actual scientific phenomenon that happens in the ocean. First, things die and decay on the surface on the ocean. These things are either plants, animals, fish, garbage, or any kind of filth that sits in the ocean. Over time this junk falls to the ocean floor and when it does it looks like white puffy flakes and bits that would resemble snow. The problem is, when this stuff hits the ocean floor it covers the floor with ooze. This is important to know because Legend of Marine Snow undoubtedly has environmentally-friendly messages, even with its foreshadowing early on in the movie with a scene of a soda can sitting in the ocean.
Thoughts on the movie: The only way to watch it is to watch it raw. I didn't know anything about this movie or what to expect, but I thought it was pretty good. I knew next-to-nothing about the language, It was kind of fun trying to figure out what exactly was going on and rewarding when I feel like I know what's going on. This kind of way of watching these foreign cartoons are almost obsolete with many, many things being subtitled. However, 20-40 years ago this would have been the only way to watch most things in the English speaking world. I've heard stories from old fucks on the internet who watched the entirety of Fist of the North Star in raw because that was the only way to watch it. Jesus, I can't even imagine that much of Hokuto no Ken without subs.
Would I recommend it? Only if you can tolerate watching something raw and if you're a big enough fan of Leiji Matsumoto.
-End of Review-
I thought I'd include this just because there's so little information out there on this movie for the English speaking world.
The entire plot: (Don't read the rest of this if you don't want to know) Mankind's populace has extended to giant man-made city-structures on the ocean. Humanity's presence here is making the ocean suffer.
The protagonist, Hiroshi Umino, and his potato-headed friend(Yamamori) were having a good time until one day some asshole off the coast blows up part of an unfinished city structure Hiroshi and potato-head were hanging out on. These two characters fall into the water as the structure they were on sinks, meanwhile Nami Shimaoka dives in to save them. The two drowning wake up later in a hospital not remembering exactly what had happened to them. They later return to their apartment to find a note addressed to Hiroshi, written by Nami, saying that Nami had to leave for an unexplained reason. Shortly after reading this, the police bust in Hiroshi and Yamamori's house. They are both confused as hell and the police take Hiroshi away. Hiroshi then gets questioned by a scientist and someone from the government that were seen earlier in the movie. They ask him about a battleship. Hiroshi says he doesn't know/understand anything. Hiroshi is then let go and exits the interrogation room. The government interrogator is then seen talking on his telecommunicator watch device checking in with somebody. Hiroshi takes a train home but is unknowingly be watched by the government.
The next scene goes to the mysterious battleship. Professor Oki(one of the interrogators) checks in to the battleship and the captain's name is revealed to be Doctor Zelvado(There's a giant Z on his uniform). Suddenly, a female blue alien(Izanami) appears on the ship's video screen. She gives a menacing speech and Zelvado doesn't like it. Next, what I assume are giant floating cities of France and Canada are attacked and sunk into the ocean.
Hiroshi leaves the city to a nice tropical beach area. Probably an island somewhere in Japan. Hiroshi is still unkowningly being followed. Hiroshi visits two elderly people who apparently raised Nami. They explain where she came from, a scene plays where a baby is crying in a wrecked ship on the beach, it starts to rain, and humanoid creatures rise from the ocean to take the baby and place it somewhere where it can be found by the elderly couple. Hiroshi thanks them for the story and leaves to walk on the beach to surprisingly find Nami. Meanwhile, the government stalker calls in on what Hiroshi is up to. Hiroshi is told an horrifying truth. It's revealed the government is after Nami. The government then shows up on the beach with tanks and try to capture Nami, whom is running towards the sea. Suddenly, green aliens rise from the sea and rescue Nami. Hiroshi then stares into the sunset and is astonished and confused as hell.
The next scene is a montage of these sea people blowing up aircraft carries, submarines, and various ships in the ocean. Some moments later we go back to the mysterious battleship showing Doctor Zelvado blowing up some of these green alien people. Here it looks Zelvado is the epitome of human evil against nature. Hiroshi tries to stop Zelvado but is then restrained and drugged by sedatives. Hiroshi ends up back at his house and is kidnapped by the green alien sea people. He's taken to an Atlantian undersea city, where he persistently asks where the hell Nami is. Hiroshi looks out of the windows of the undersea palace and is mystified by the Marine Snow, he notices all this along with the debris of floating battleships. The Marine Snow is clearly a problem for the undersea people. Hiroshi is then greeted to the blue alien(Izanami) seen earlier in the movie. She tells Hiroshi that Nami is alright and is a commander for the ancient aliens. Nami is then seen leading the fight against Doctor Zelvado and humanity.
The fight is now taken directly to Zelvado. Many of the sea people are fighting and clearly losing. Nami and the alien that rescued her(Zeina) from the hands of the military return to the undersea palace to speak to Izanami. They tell her things aren't going well and Zeina rushes out to seek a desperate, suicidal attack on Zelvado. Izanami then asks for help from space and she sets plans in motion to leave Earth. At the same time Zelvado has launched missiles onto the undersea civilization, causing considerable damage. Parts of the undersea civilization detaches itself from the sea floor and Hiroshi leaves in an escape pod watching everything be destroyed in front of him. Zeina miraculously makes it all the way to Zelvado, desperately rushes towards him and stabs Zelvado to death. Zeina is simultaneously shot as he makes his killing blow. Zelvado is dead and the floating pieces of the underwater civilization that survived evacuation rise above the ocean and up into the sky.
Hiroshi makes it to the surface and says his final goodbyes to the alien people.