DVD REVIEW: Marine Boy The Complete First Season

This Warner Archive release is a Manufacture-On-Demand (MOD) DVD. It is made to be played in “play only” DVD devices, and may not play in some DVD recorders or PC drives. This DVD, however, played with no problems in the Toshiba DVD recorder used for this review.This title is available directly from WBShop.com by clicking here.

 

THE SET-UP

Using an array of gadgets and a handy supply of Oxy-Gum, Marine Boy fights a number of threats from the ocean depths in this classic anime. Stars the voices of Corinne Orr, Jack Grimes, and Peter Fernandez. This three disc set contains all 26 episodes of the show’s first season (1967).

 

THE DELIVERY

This three disc set contains the following episodes from season one: “The Green Monster,” “Danger at 300 Fathoms,” “Monsters of the Deep,” “Dangerous Starfish,” “The Astounding Shellfish,” “The Mysterious Paradise,” “The Deepest of the Deep,” “The Ghost Ship,” “The Monstrous Seaweed,” “The Super Mystery Boat,” “The Greatest Power on Earth,” “Disaster on the High Sea,” “Secret of the Time Capsule,” “Mystery of the Missing Vessels,” “Menace of the Missing Bomb,” “Danger in the Depths,” “The Gigantic Sea Farm,” “Terror of the Fire Ball,” “Empire of the Sea,” “Battle to Save the World,” “The Terrifying Icebergs,” “The Whales of Destruction,” “The Power of Power,”  “5 Billion in Diamonds,” “Mission at Corkscrew Strait,” and “Lighthouse of Terror.”


Marine Boy holds the distinction of being the first Japanese anime made for American audiences, barely beating Speed Racer to U.S. TV screens. First broadcast in 1966 by Terebi Doga Studio as Hang On Marine Kid, the show was a revamp of a short-lived black and white Japanese anime called The Dolphin Prince. It was cancelled after 13 episodes, but US television distributor Seven Arts Television struck a deal to take the original 13 episodes, produce over 60 more, and air them in American TV syndication under the new title Marine Boy. They aired from 1967 until the early 1970s, but have been rarely televised since.

The episodes were dubbed in English by the same production company that would produce Speed Racer that same year. In fact, many of the same actors were used for both productions. Corinne Orr, the actress who voiced Marine Boy, also voiced Trixie for Speed Racer. Peter Fernandez, who voiced Dr. Mariner (Marine Boy’s father), also voiced Speed Racer.

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The show itself isn’t much like the anime that most fans are familiar with today. Marine Boy is squarely targeted at kids, and as such, there is a distinct lack of logic, but a lot of imagination and fantasy. It really isn’t explained why Marine Boy (we don’t actually get a real name), who appears to be about 12, is the only one who can get all the cool gadgets and swim around the ocean on dangerous missions. His father, Dr. Mariner, is head of the Ocean Patrol, and doesn’t really object too much to his son going around and fighting evil under the sea. He does, however, seem shocked when Marine Boy gets into real trouble, which tends to happen every episode.

 

The animation is more cartoon-like, as opposed to the more realistically detailed animes we are familiar with today. I can’t judge it too harshly in that respect; many Japanese animes of the time weren’t stylistically sophisticated, and Marine Boy was meant to appeal to kids of the time. As I mentioned before, the stories aren’t terribly interesting, but do involve a variety of villains, both human, animal, and otherwise. Killer electrified coral, aggressive starfish, and mad scientists are all the roster of threats Marine Boy encountered week to week. This is the real appeal of the show; without much character development, we get some inventive villains and lots of action.

 

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Assisting Marine Boy are a variety of characters, including his father Dr. Mariner, the aptly-named Prof. Fumble, a topless mermaid named Neptina (her hair was always conveniently covering the naughty bits), and Marine Boy’s trusty sidekick Splasher, a white dolphin.

 

Some elements of the show don’t age well, but its’ simple charm works. I kinda dig the theme song, and because it is so similar to early animes like Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion and Speed Racer, it holds a certain bit of nostalgic entertainment, even if you’re a new viewer. It’s an interesting snapshot of anime history, and who wouldn’t want to carry a pack of Oxy-Gum, which chewing on apparently allows you to swim underwater for hours without coming up for air?

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VIDEO AND AUDIO

Considering the source material likely isn’t ideal, the video image lacks pop, both in color and detail. However, it was newly remastered, and the prints used for the video transfer were pretty clean, as the image is mostly free of dust and debris. The screenshots in this review are all taken from our review copy. The audio is the original mono track mixed to a two-channel Dolby Digital soundtrack, and while it does sound a bit “canned,” it has good clarity.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES

None

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THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?

Ratings (1-10 scale)

Show: 6

Video: 7

Audio: 6

Extras: 1

Overall score: 5

 

Marine Boy Season One may not have any extra bells and whistles, but it gives fans what they want: all the episodes in excellent quality. For Marine Boy’s legion of dedicated fans, the release of this set is a long time coming. Even though it isn’t Akira or Battleship Yamato, the show is worth a look if you’re an anime fan, just to see the kid who started it all.

 

DVD SPECS

Release Date: June 17, 2013

Rating: Not rated

Running time: 637 minutes

Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: None

Special features: None

Label: Warner Archive

 

Click here to order Marine Boy: Season One on DVD from Warner Archive!