I will be reviewing the Australian release of this obscure as heck anime.
Story: This is one of the most unique animes ever made. Few, in fact, practically no other anime can claim to depict conventional modern warfare as faithfully as this anime has. No aliens, no overpowered mecha suits, no ancient interdimensional vampires etc. Just war! One side of its story is a geopolitical thriller about WW3 and the escalation of nuclear warfare. It captures the general essence of anti war cold war era movies like Strangelove, Fail Safe, Wargames etc. which in itself is an admirable feat for an anime. Equally unique IS
the dub; it features solely one person as the narrator, giving the film a docudrama feel that works well with the main, geopolitical storyline. The other storyline is a romance focusing on a scientist (Japanese in the original version, white in the dubbed one) who works on the SDI inspired missile defence system and one of his coworkers. Obviously, the narrator only approach means no dialogue, totally destroying the immersion or meaning of these scenes though I doubt the original romance plot was good either! 8 for the unique anime depiction of nuclear warfare.
Art: Artstyle is appropiately realistic and more western looking. Research was done well and period accurate military vehicles are depicted faithfully.
The animation itself is horribly subpar for an anime film, even for the early 80s. The anime tends to be too dark, meaning things become a horrible blur. The poor video quality this anime was released in doesn't help either. 5 its pretty bad.
Sound: The original version had a standard orchestral film score. But as for the musical choices in the dubbed version? Period accurate rock music featuring Asia's Sole Survivor, Wildest Dreams, Only Time Will Tell
and Rush's Witch Hunt! (in shitty quality but...) NICE! Tangerine Dream is also used as background music. 10 I've never heard rock music of this calibre being used for an anime XD.
Character: The narrator only approach screws up any characterisation that the original may have had. However, the reactions of the various military personnel to the war such as the warmongering Soviet secretary of defences villainous coup of the Soviet government, the American President's decision to not launch a retaliatory strike and the Soviet sub commanders deliberation on whether to launch nuclear missiles or not are very powerful scenes based on the sheer gravity of the situation. 6 Their actions manage to speak for themselves and give some semblance of characterisation.
Enjoyment/overall: This is actually one of the HANDFUL of anime about WW3/ conventional, modern warfare that doesnt feature any far fetched sci fi or fantasy elements. If you are in this niche audience like I am this anime will be worth a watch and rather entertaining despite the crazy limitations of having one voice actor and the horrible animation. For those war nerds out there; there are some military hardware featured in this anime that you just wont seen in any other anime; what other anime could possibly feature Panavia Tornados or Gepard Flakpanzers?