The Silent Service

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The Silent Service
The Silent Service.jpg
Cover of the first volume
(Chinmoku no Kantai)
Written byKaiji Kawaguchi
Published byKodansha
MagazineWeekly Morning
Original run19881996
Original video animation
Directed byRyōsuke Takahashi
Released March 3, 1996 January 25, 1998
Runtime100 minutes (episode 1)
70 minutes (episodes 2-3)
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

The Silent Service (Japanese: 沈黙の艦隊, Hepburn: Chinmoku no Kantai) is a manga series written and illustrated by Kaiji Kawaguchi. It was published in Kodansha's Weekly Morning manga magazine from 1988 to 1996 and collected in 32 tankōbon volumes. The series was adapted into an anime television special and OVA series by Sunrise. The first two episodes of the anime were later spliced together and released in North America as a single volume. The rest of the series remained untranslated, though excerpts of the manga were published in Frederick Schodt's Dreamland Japan.

The manga won the Kodansha Manga Award for general manga in 1990.[1]


During the Cold War, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force jointly developed a nuclear submarine with the United States Navy. On its maiden voyage, the captain of the submarine declares the submarine to be an independent state, "Yamato". The American navy pursues "Yamato", repeatedly failing to capture or destroy the rogue submarine.


Kawaguchi's theme in this manga changed over the time. In the beginning, Kawaguchi expressed his message that Japan should be a strong and independent nation. Towards the end of the series however, his message changes in tone - indicating that all countries need to unite together. A possible reason for this change could be the dramatic shift in the political climate of Japan. When Kawaguchi started the series back in 1988, the Cold War was ongoing and the Japanese economy was at an all-time high. However, with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the USSR, the Japanese economy faltered and unity among the remaining first world nations became a prevalent topic.


Original Comic Series[edit]

The Silent Service original comic was released from Kodansha which consisted of total 16 volumes of comic books.[2]

OVA Series[edit]

Total of three OVA episodes was released by Sun Rise.[3] There were some changes in the story from the original comics since Cold War was already over when OVA episodes were in the production.

In South Korea, Anibox aired three OVA episodes with Korean voice over.[4]

Video Game Adoptation[edit]

Silent Service was adopted as a video game. The game was developed and released for the PlayStation and Windows.

For PlayStation
‘Silent Service’ Released by Kodansha, September 28, 2000.[5]

For Windows
‘Silent Service’ Released by SystemSoft Alpha, May 12, 2000.[6]

‘Silent Service 2’ Released by SystemSoft Alpha, October 14, 2005.[7]


Kaieda Shiro (海江田四郎)
Main Character of the series. He was the captain of the diesel submarine 'Yamanami'. Later, he was selected as a captain for the Japanese's first nuclear submarine called 'Seabat'. During the test with the U.S. Navy, he orders his crews to fire a torpedo against the U.S. Navy submarines and sneaks away from the area. Later, Kaieda declares that his submarine is an independent state and he names his state 'Yamato'.

Fukamachi Hiroshi (深町洋)
CO of the Japanese Diesel submarine, ‘Tsunami’. Friend and rival of Kaieda. Both Kaieda and Fukamachi graduated from National Defense Academy of Japan at the same year. He was one of the captain candidates for the new nuclear submarine ‘Seabat’. He tries to figure out what is the Kaieda up to.

Yamanaka Eiji (山中栄治)
Executive Officer of the submarine 'Yamato'. He worked with Kaieda for 10 years. They both trust in each other's abilities.

Utsumi (内海)
Navigation Officer of the submarine 'Yamato'.

Migoguchi Takuo (溝口拓男)
Sonar Specialist of the submarine ‘Yamato'

Submarine Seabat (a.k.a. Yamato)[edit]

Fictional Nuclear-Powered Submarine that appears in the series ‘The Silent Service’. It was originally assigned to U.S. 7th fleet. In the series, characters mention that it is improved version of Seawolf Class submarine. The exterior of the ship also resembles the Seawolf Class submarine.


Displacement: 9,000t
Length: 120m
Max Speed: 55kt
Crew: 76
Speed: 8 x 533mm Torpedo Tube / 50 Tomahawk Missile, Harpoon ASW Missile, Mk.48 Torpedo

Seawolf Class[8]

Displacement: 9,138t
Length: 353 ft (108 m)
Beam: 42.3 ft (12.89 m)
Max Speed: 39kt
Crew: 134
Speed: 8 x 660mm Torpedo Tude / 50 Tomahawk Missile, Harpoon ASW Missile, Mk.48 Torpedo


While it was one of the few of the Navy related series, some readers and viewers were uncomfortable with the storyline. There were many arguments among the critics that the series were promoting the idea of militarism.[9] However, some critics say that main theme of the Silent Service is actually talking about the bringing the peace all over the world.


'The Silent Service' inspired the Korean movie called "Phantom, The Submarine"(1999) in many ways. Especially, the story behind how Republic of Korea Navy obtains Sierra-class submarine and the scene where they use communication buoy cable against the JMSDF submarine.[10]

The scene from the movie "Hunt for Red October" appeared in ‘The Silent Service’, where the torpedo's safety feature was used to counter-maneuver enemy submarine's attack.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  2. ^ "「沈黙の艦隊」既刊・関連作品一覧". 講談社コミックプラス. 講談社. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  3. ^ "沈黙の艦隊". Sunrise. Sunrise. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  4. ^ "침묵의 함대 OVA". 애니박스. 애니박스. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "沈黙の艦隊". Sony Japan. Sony. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  6. ^ "沈黙の艦隊". SystemSoft Alpha Corporation. SystemSoft Alpha Corporation. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  7. ^ "沈黙の艦隊2: The Silent Service". SystemSoft Alpha Corporation. SystemSoft Alpha Corporation. Unknown, 2005. Retrieved April 21, 2018. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ Saunders, Stephen (2004). Jane’s Fighting Ships 2004-2005. Janes. ISBN 0710626231
  9. ^ 박, 형준 (February 15, 2006). "묵직한 해상전투를 그리며 우리를 유혹한다". 한겨래. 한겨래. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  10. ^ 박, 형준 (February 15, 2006). "묵직한 해상전투를 그리며 우리를 유혹한다". 한겨래. 한겨래. Retrieved April 21, 2018.

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