Oh lord he we go, girls as the personification of wartime machinery. Memories of Strike Witches’ different fighter planes come rushing back as the quiet, long-haired Iona - the “mental model” of a submarine - is first introduced. Despite its name, Arpeggio of Blue Steel isn’t a follow up to Kathryn Bigelow’s film about a rookie New York cop or John Waynes 1934 western but a fully CG animated series about an alien fighting-force, the Fog, subjugating humanity in the guise of naval vessels.
That “fully CG” aspect of the series is front and centre as unlike recent attempts at blending traditional and computer-aided 3D animation such as the Berserk movies or some recent mecha musume productions (Busou Shinki, Infinite Stratos et. al.), there is not a scrap of hand-drawn animation in the thirteen episode run. This isn’t the CG of Vexille or Appleseed though but a genuine and concerted attempt to emulate hand-drawn animation with 3D models. And for the most part, it kind of works. The first few episodes venture into the uncanny valley - odd when the subject of emulation is far from human - however whether due to prolonged exposure or a proliferation of characters beyond the loli submarine with a thousand-yard stare, the later episodes lack the creeping unease of the earlier ones.