is a short, two-part anime OVA made in 1995, with a total running time (excluding credits) of a little over 1.5 hours. Technically, it is a Humongous Mecha Sci-Fi
work, but the Humongous Mecha
here is a powerful, submarine-battleship
named the Ra
. It has the same plot premise as the old Japanese Sci-Fi Tokusatsu
movie Atragon / Undersea Battleship
, and is technically a revival of the franchise, but the similarities end there.
The show opens with a prologue scene
depicting the Ra
in 1945, under the Imperial Japanese flag, engaging in a classic broadside-slugging match against an enemy submarine-battleship (under the American Flag), the Liberty
. This scene also introduces our lead female protagonist, Annette
, as well as her sister Avatar
, her Evil Counterpart
and the Big Bad
. This is followed by a traditional TV Show opening scene that features an awesomely epic instrumental sound track. After which, the action skips to present day Antarctica, where story kicks off proper.
The overall plot is: an advanced race of subterranean dwellers
tested humanity by sending out two mysterious women along with two mysterious, but obscenely strong sources of power and seeing what they do with them. As this test occurred during WWII and both Japan and the U.S. obtained one of the power sources, it brought back eye-rollingly predictable results. The Subterraneans — or at least Avatar — decided that humanity is no longer to fit to live and enacted a plan to exterminate humanity by building a giant orbital ring that, once complete, will irradiate the entire surface of the Earth
. Annette stopped this from happening in the 1940s by sending both herself and Avatar into comas, freeing the Ra
to sacrifice itself to destroy the Liberty
. But now, both sisters have awakened. Now, the only ship capable of battling the Subterraneans' technology is the Ra
, rebuilt in all of its big-gunned, Diesel Punk
The OVA is known for being among very few animes that prominently feature a classic, 20th century-style, big-gun battleship engaged in slug-throwing combat. The bombastic sountrack by Masamichi Amano (of Giant Robo
and Princess Nine
fame) is also memorable.
This show provides examples of:
- And the Adventure Continues
- Apocalypse How: The Big Bad is attempting a Class 3a to the Earth's surface while using a method that would have actually caused a Class 5.
- Artistic License - Ships: In their effort to stuff more anti-American cliches into the show, the writers overlooked the fact that US battleships are named after states, not abstract concepts.
- Book Ends: The opening battle and the final battle both pit the Ra against the Liberty; both battles ended with a head-to-head drill ramming action.
- Badass Beard: Captain Hayate's.
- "Blind Idiot" Translation: Captain Hayate shouts, "ENGAGE!" when issuing "Fire" commands.
- He also refers to the main guns' shells as "Missiles" despite the animation clearly showing they're shells.
- The Bridge: The only part of Ra's interior that is actually shown.
- Cain and Abel: Annette and Avatar were very close before they were sent to the surface. Then they grew apart.
- The Captain: Captain Hayate.
- Catch Phrase: Hayate manages to develop one in the 1.5 hours of runtime, "UNDERSEA-BATTLESHIP RA, ENGAGE!!!"
- Cool Boat: Both the Ra and the Liberty runneth over with cool.
- Cold Open: The prologue battle scene set before the traditional TV Show opening.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Every time the enemy fights anything but the Ra.
- Diesel Punk: The series glories in the Ra's use of 1940s-era naval and air technology with a heavy seasoning of Imported Alien Phlebotinum.
- Do a Barrel Roll: The ocean-going Ra pulls one of these in her first engagement. Ra 's main guns cannot elevate high enough to shoot the enemy target. In order to elevate them to a high enough angle, they flood the the port side ballast tanks, tilting the entire ship another 45 degrees off-keel and bringing the guns to the desired elevation.
- Don't Call Me Sir: Tashibana says this ver batim when Go meets him for the first time in Antartica.
- Evil Laugh: Avatar's cackle is used so much, it goes into Narm territory.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: The enemy's powerful laser shots; bonus points for the "gravity lens" that bends the lasers, aiming them at targets.
- Hollow Earth: Where a race of subterranean dwellers can produce kilometer-wide cylinders.
- Hot-Blooded: Go Arasaka gets into a fight inside a helicopter, nearly punches the Ra's captain (his father) and impulsively steals a Diesel Punk seaplane to go rescue his girlfriend. All this while hamming up his lines, especially when impulsively going to rescue his girlfriend in the seaplane he jacked from the Ra.
- Just a Stupid Accent: Annette has a British Accent in the English dub for no reason beyond the producers ensuring the lead female protagonist doesn't get mistaken for American.
- The Ra's chief engineer has a vaguely German/Eastern European accent for no reason.
- Large Ham: Captain Hayate, Go, Annette and Avatar all serve up truck-loads of ham enough to sink the show's seriouness. Just let it ride and watch more Stuff Blowing Up.
- Let's You and Him Fight: Avatar leads the U.N. fleet (read:Eagleland) to the doorstep of the Ra 's island base to commandeer the Undersea Battleship, then fakes an attack to bait the fleet into a full attack.
- Limited Wardrobe: The entire cast wear their full dress uniforms/science-ey labcoats/wierd cape thingies for the entire show even when it would be impractical, such as for combat.
- Military Mashup Machine: Both the Ra and Liberty are submarine-battleships.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands / Plot Tailored to the Party: The Ra gains several the following new abilities with no explanation; most are shown exactly once:
- A self-leveling bridge.
- A ''Star Trek''-like bubble shield capable of repelling enemies 10x the ship's size.
- The (completely gratuitous) ability to fly. (Though the Gotengo of the original Atragon could as well, at least it did in Godzilla Final Wars)
- Weaponized, rocket-propelled anchors.
- Given how the powers were introduced and how the story played out, the OVA might have been planned as a pilot for a follow-on TV series; this would explain the plot's continuing need to use the Ra's new ability every few minutes.
- No Indoor Voice: Captain Hayate has volume control issues, even when issuing otherwise routine/mundane orders.
Captain Hayate (after a battle is over & the Ra is still airborne) "GO TO SURFACE MODE!"
- Parental Abandonment: Go's father was a merchant marine captain that supposedly died when his ship capsized near Antartica during Go's early childhood. Go's mother died later in life. His father is Captain Hayate.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Captain Hayate is prone to saying his Catch Phrase this way, "UNDERSEA-BATTLESHIP RA, ENGAGE!!!
- Red Shirt Navy: The massive US-led, UN fleet gets swept from the ocean in one shot.
- Ramming Always Works: The climax of the opening battle and the final battle: the Ra and Liberty turn to ram each other. In the 1940s, both ships are destroyed; in the final battle, the Liberty 's drill-missiles are foiled by the Ra 's rocket-anchors, freeing the Ra to plow through the Liberty 's bow, destroying her and killing Avatar.
- Schematized Prop: The opening credits roll over blueprints of the Ra.
- Secret Test of Character: The two power sources sent to Earth's surface were ostensibly supposed to be this for all of humanity. Considering they were sent up during the middle of a raging war, and ended up in opposing hands, it comes off as more of a setup and Pretext for War than anyting else.
- Schizo Tech: Modern mach 2 fighters and their missiles could not scratch the enemy's advanced weaponry. A fictional, WWII-style, seaplane armed with nothing but machine-guns could swat down several before being damaged.
- This Is a Drill: The huge drill mounted on the bow of the Ra
- Universal Driver's License: Go can go from antartic tracked vehicles to WWII era seaplanes with no training or control familiarization.
- Wave Motion Gun: The enemies' giant black cylinders fire lasers that can cut a modern destroyer in half in a second.