Spaceship Agga RuterpiratesJapanese
Spaceship Agga Ruter
Medium: OVA, series
Year: 1998
Director: Masaki Kajishima, Shigeru Yazaki
Original creator: Masaki Kajishima
Studio: AIC, BEAM Entertainment
Keywords: anime, SF, hentai, boobs, comedy, pirates
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 4 episodes
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 12 August 2006
Taiyo is one lucky boy, aged 18 in the Japanese dialogue but 19 in the American subtitles. He gets to fly around in space with a beautiful older woman called Kei, who spends her days educating him in the finer points of sex. She's not possessive, though. After training him thoroughly in "communication", she's keen for him to test his knowledge and "communicate" with any other women they might meet. For his part, Taiyo is the kind of good-natured lad who wouldn't dream of disobeying mother. Yup, that would be Kei.
Oh? Didn't I mention that bit? Don't worry, she's neither: (a) his biological mother, or even (b) human. That doesn't stop "yes mother" from being something of an eyebrow-raiser in sex scenes, though.
That was great hentai! Crucially it's softcore like Buttobi CPU instead of scary hardcore like Angel Blade. It's porn, yes, but it's lots of fun. Interestingly it was created and developed by Masaki Kajishima, one of the masterminds behind Tenchi Muyo, and it was animated by AIC, the Tenchi Muyo studio. You don't get more mainstream than that. These guys know what they're doing and this is clearly where they let rip with all the ideas they couldn't use anywhere else. The result is an SF comedy with gags I'd never seen before. The communicators are cups on strings, while you wouldn't believe their idea of "shields up". Ironically the fact that it's just porn helps the comedy. The creators didn't have to take it seriously and as a result could can let rip with sight gags you'd hardly see in a spoof. It's worth watching just for the googly-eyed robots.
Admittedly it's so Tenchi-like as to be almost a parody, but that's why I bought it! Taiyo is obviously a surrogate Tenchi himself. Kei would be Tsunami. Jannis the space pirate is a cross between Ryoko and Ryo-ohki, while later we meet versions of Kiyone and Ayeka. Matsumoto fans might also recognise a spaceship design or two, with versions of the Queen Emeraldas and the Arcadia (the latter with breasts). One has to approve. All spaceships need breasts.
The pirate guild Shank we see here even return in Tenchi Muyo GXP, so arguably it's actually canonical to its more famous cousin.
What's more, Taiyo's a better protagonist than Tenchi. The problem with Tenchi Muyo is that it's stuck in relationship limbo, with no one able to commit to anyone else because that would pop the bubble. That's, uh, not a problem here. Taiyo's also extremely amusing in his own right. He's an innocent, eager-to-please fellow without a malicious bone in his body, seemingly unaware that there might be consequences to having: (a) superstrength, and (b) superhuman sexual prowess thanks to Mummy's painstaking education. He's almost mindless in his cheerful optimism and "let's go" attitude to everything, which makes him endlessly entertaining. He's basically a walking inseminator, but he's far funnier and more interesting than such a plot function has any right to expect.
Kei's hilarious too, soft-spoken even when saying or doing things that are absolutely filthy. "Homework time, Taiyo." "Yes, mother." She wants Taiyo to have a full range of sexual experience, including one or two things that might raise your eyebrows. For example she merrily tortures Jannis for the sake of Taiyo's education, which is scary but hilarious.
Episode one is charming and even sweet. It has some of the best sex comedy I've ever seen, not to mention a riot of throwaway SF ideas. Incidentally Jannis is dressed and armed like Space Pirate Captain Harlock.
Episode two is the most pornographic, albeit still strictly softcore. However throughout this series, the sex is always integral to the plot and driven by character development. They also make full use of the SF possibilities, yielding sex scenes I don't think you'll have seen before. I also liked Kei's comedy hair, by which I mean hair that's being used for visual comedy instead of the usual meaning of "a tragic fashion error".
Episode three makes fun of the "no means yes" meme in Japanese porn, aka. rape. I'd have found this funnier if I hadn't just suffered through Angel Blade, but in fairness it's impossible to be offended at its treatment here. I was poised and ready to bristle, but even I have to admit that this episode is just funny. Taiyo can't help being thoughtful and gentlemanly even when trying to play the moustache-twirling ravisher as instructed by Kei. This was also the point where I noticed that all the girls play dodgy dating-simulation computer games. Oh, and is that a penis? No, it isn't. They're teasing us.
Episode four is the weakest episode, since the Shag Of The Week's emotional problem is deliberately silly and she's a bitch. Okay, that's the point of the story and Taiyo helps her become a better person, but it's still unfortunate. There's also a cliffhanger ending leading into a non-existent part five. Grrr. Fortunately it's still funny, with some of the best fourth wall animation gags I've ever seen. Scene-shifting maids! The Mop Song! There's also the threat of kinky bondage and beating, although the episode ends up not going there (to Jannis's relief).
Spaceship Agga Ruter is an excellent show which incidentally happens to be porn. It's funny, charming and sweet. Moreover it's attractively drawn, well animated and thankfully devoid of the scary creepiness to be found in certain hentai. All the sex is consensual, for a start. It's probably more emotionally honest than many romantic comedies, not to mention far funnier. I found it fascinating.