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Manga / Submarine Super 99

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"Embark to A New Ocean!" note 

Submarine Super 99 (Japanese: 潜水艦スーパー99 Hepburn: Sensuikan Sūpā Nain Nain) is a manga series written and illustrated by Leiji Matsumoto. Originally written during 1970-1972, it spawned only two volumes, and is one of the creator's lesser known works, as well as completely unrelated to his bigger universe. It received an Animated Adaptation that aired on AT-X in 2003.

It is the year 20XX, and Earth's ocean is taken over by a mysterious "Ocean Empire" that carries out several attacks on vessels all over the world. The empire's military commander in chief, Hell Deathbird, demands that all shipping request his permission for sailing. Japanese forces send marine biologist Dr. Juzou Oki and his grandson Gorou to investigate the mysterious threat. They set off in an exploration submarine to investigate the attacks in the Japanese Trench; soon later, their vessel is attacked by a mysterious submarine hiding in the Trench and contact with them is lost.


Before they left, however, Gorou gave his younger brother, Susumu, a rifle modified from the Type 99 rifle of the World War II era, and Juzou also entrusts him the a key bearing a "99" mark to his secret lab. Inside, Susumu discovers an advanced battle submarine, and inside it a note from his grandfather to memorize the submarine's working manual to help its crew with any technical problems. Commanded by Captain Kizuku Ooyama, the Super 99 will embark in a mission to search for Dr. Oki and Gorou, as well as unraveling the mystery behind the Ocean Empire and defeat them.


Submarine Super 99 features examples of:

  • 13-Episode Anime
  • Ambition Is Evil: Hell Deathbird is bent on conquering the oceans and won't let anything or anyone stop him. To the point he's willing to betray the Water World Men despite all the help they gave him and build a new Ocean Empire by himself.
  • Apparently Human Merfolk: The Water World Men can easily pass off as normal humans, albeit very pale-skinned ones and with unusually blue-colored hair.
  • Arc Number: 99, obviously.
  • Babies Ever After: The final scene, set in the 30th Century shows a new crew for the Super 99 in space, commanded by the descendants of Susumu and Ze Stroger.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: When his submarine is critically damaged, Hell Deathbird refuses to surrender, preferring to have the Super 99 and its crew die along with him and his ambitions.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The rifle Susumu receives in the very first episode from Gorou. In the final episode, he uses it to shoot the torpedoes stuck in Hell Deathbird's ship to critically damage it.
  • Cool Shades: Ze Stron and Ze Stroger wear these during their operations. Turns out they do so because having lived underwater for centuries, the Water World men's eyes are sensitive to sunlight.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Ze Strait is fatally wounded protecting Hell Deathbird from the shrapnel when their submarine is critically damaged. She uses her last breath to tell him how much she loves him and begging him to not to forget her ever.
  • Double Agent: Ze Stroger and Ze Stronestro pretend to work for Hell Deathbird, but their true loyalty is towards Queen Ze Violencia.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite being ruthless towards his enemies, Hell Deathbird genuinely loves Ze Strait.
  • Gun Nut: Ze Stronestro is a downplayed example, as he collects firearms of all kinds. He even asks Susumu if he's willing to sell his rifle to him when they first meet.
  • Heel–Face Turn: General Zelbert decides to surrender himself to the Super 99's crew to ally with them, but he's killed when he attempts a coup against Deathbird.
  • If It Swims, It Flies: The Super 99, in the final episode, flies out of the ocean essentially becoming an airship. By the 30th century, it goes into space.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: In the first episode, Susumu, despite having never used the rifle before, manages to hit a torpedo launched at their ship to detonate it before it hits them, at no less than three hundred meters and while it's moving underwater. In the last episode, he also detonates the stuck torpedoes in Hell Deathbird's ship, critically damaging it.
  • Interspecies Romance: Ze Strait has an obvious one with Hell Deathbird. At the end, one is heavily implied between Susumu and Ze Stroger. The final scene shows their descendants as the new leader of the Super 99's crew in the 30th century.
  • I Will Find You: After Gorou and Dr. Oki dissapear, Susumu vows that he'll never give up until he finds them.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Agents from the Ocean Empire beat Susumu up trying to extract information about Dr. Oki's secret project in the underground factory.
  • Lady Macbeth: Ze Strait has shades of this. At least until Hell Deathbird blows up the Ocean Empire, with total disregard for her people's lives.
  • Moral Event Horizon: In-Universe, General Zelbert considers that Deathbird crossed it when he blows up the Ocean Empire with everyone inside. This prompts him to go and confront Deathbird personally, even at the cost of his life.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Invoked. Dr. Oki's note left explicit instructions for Susumu to memorize the submarine's manual and then burn it, so its secrets wouldn't fall into the wrong hands.
  • Ramming Always Works: Almost. When the torpedoes fail, Deathbird attempts to ram the Super 99 with his own submarine. Fortunately, Susumu shoots the torpedoes stuck in the launchers and detonates them, crippling the ship and saving the Super 99.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ze Stroger quickly picks up the obvious attraction between Miyuki and Gorou. In turn, Ze Stron and Ze Stronestro ship her with Susumu, commenting that they'll become the link between the land and the sea.
  • Ship Tease: Minor, but a bit is seen between Susumu and Ze Stroger. Towards the end also between Gorou and Miyuki.
  • Shoot the Bullet: More often than not, the Super 99 neutralizes enemy torpedoes with their own.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Susumu does this at one point, though he chooses to shoot out the exposed hinges rather than the lock itself.
  • Super Prototype: The titular Super 99, being able to take on any other underwater battleship it runs into.
  • Taking the Bullet: In the final episode, Ze Strait pushes Hell Deathbird to save him from the explosion of their torpedoes. This results in her being fatally injured.
  • Taking You with Me: After Ze Strait is killed, Hell Deathbird decides to self-detonate his submarine to take the Super 99 along with him.
  • Underwater City: More like a whole underwater kingdom, the colony inhabited by the Water World Men.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Queen Ze Violencia is deathly ill and has very short time to live. She dies in the final episode.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: In the second episode, Susumu tries to get answers from Ze Stron and Ze Stroger while they're captive in the ship, even threatening the former with his rifle. Ze Stron calls his bluff, and Susumu relents.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Water World men allied themselves with Hell Deathbird to create the Ocean Empire because the humans in the surface are polluting the oceans, and they're just trying to save their home. However, some begin to question Deathbird's actions and wonder if he truly wants to help them.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?:
    • Zigzagged. When the Ocean Empire agents believe they can get away with the Super 99, they decide to get rid of Susumu. However, the leader decides to kill Susumu with his own rifle as a gesture of "mercy", and in doing so he gives Ze Stronestro the chance to shoot him with a harpoon.
    • Played straight in the final episode. Hell Deathbird has the Super 99 at point-blank range and in a position where they can't defend themselves, yet he engages in some Evil Gloating over his victory and gives them five minutes to raise a white flag. More than enough time for Ze Stroger and her friends to sabotage the torpedo launchers so they get stuck when they try to fire.