Sho HayamiMitsuo IwataThe Irresponsible Captain TylorYuji Ueda
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor
Medium: TV, OVA, series
Year: 1993, 1994
Director: Koichi Mashimo
Original creator: Hitoshi Yoshioka
Studio: TV Tokyo, Big West, Tatsunoko
Actor: Kouji Tsujitani, Yuri Amano, Hiroko Kasahara, Kazue Ikura, Kotono Mitsuishi, Kousuke Okano, Masako Katsuki, Maya Okamoto, Mika Kanai, Mitsuo Iwata, Mugihito, Sho Hayami, Sumi Shimamoto, Tamio Ohki, Tomomichi Nishimura, Toshihiko Seki, Yuji Ueda
Keywords: anime, SF, comedy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 1993 TV series (26 episodes), 1994 OVA series (10 episodes)
Website category: Anime 1990s
Review date: 3 July 2006
Justy Tylor may have a brain dysfunction. He has no training, skill, leadership qualities or sense of gravity, instead bumbling through life on dumb luck. Mysteriously, for him this works. He rescues a General's beloved granddaughters and gets given command of his own spaceship, although the downsides of this are: (a) war has just broken out with the Raalgon Empire, and (b) his furious rivals in the United Planets Space Force have given him the worst ship in the fleet with the most insubordinate crew imaginable. Absolutely everyone is now trying to kill Tylor, which he treats as a bit of a laugh. Can he win the war for Earth?
Jesus wept! What the hell was that? When it's being a comedy, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor can be wonderful... but heaven help us when it ditches the laughs. When turning Tylor into a hero it's merely lacklustre, but the last three episodes of the TV series had me trying to gnaw my leg off. I don't care if that's some clever Space Battleship Yamato pisstake, although if it is then my Yamato discs suddenly look less inviting. That ending is just boring.
Then again that's not even the real ending, thanks to the OVAs. The first release was called An Exceptional Episode and isn't too bad. It's a two-part epilogue to the TV series, although it does kinda reboot some of the character development. Hadn't the Soyokaze's crew learned to trust Tylor? The other eight OVA episodes are more serious with more realistic art and don't even have a proper ending. The series was cancelled, so we never learn exactly what happened with their Second Raalgon War.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor was originally a series of novels from Hitoshi Yoshioka and is basically a parody, albeit less of Space Battleship Yamato than of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. In fairness there's much to like here. It can be hilarious when Tylor's wreaking havoc as captain of the Soyokaze. With hindsight, I think the show started falling apart when the Raalgon Empress got into the action. Suddenly Harumi's (excellent) plot thread is dropped like a hot potato and the show's most interesting character becomes a background spear-carrier. Princess Azalea throws her weight around and drools all over her Paco-Paco, but then disappears with nary a whimper. Was that really the end of the war? How? What happened with her mutinous Prime Minister, eh?
I have trouble with the motivations of Tylor's superiors. Also what about Tylor and, it seems, every woman he meets? At some point they all seem interested in him, mostly in a certain episode where they're practically queueing up to throw themselves at him. Justy Tylor however doesn't even notice because of problems with a porn video. What a twonk! Playing silly buggers with a war is one thing, but... bloody hell. Oh, and personally I'd have said "yes" to the twins.
It's almost as if the very concept of an irresponsible, individualist war hero is so freakish to a Japanese sensibility that they feel they have to angst over it and justify it at excruciating length. I'm not saying that's actually the case, but it's certainly the impression one gets from this show. Gyaaah.
It's noticeable that Tylor has a way with machine intelligences, though. The Raalgon spy, that poor computer he chats up in the first episode...
Overall, this is a reasonable series if you stop halfway through. Something about the Uchuusenkan genre seems to rub me up the wrong way (see also my underwhelmed reaction to Space Battleship Yamato, Martian Successor Nadesico, etc.), although in fairness there's a lot to like here. I enjoyed most of it and even laughed. I loved the Tylor-Harumi relationship for instance. "Answer your spy phone, I won't listen." There's some lovely comedy in here, although as parody it's not as sharp as it thinks it is. I'd even recommend the show... up to a point. To be precise, that point would be somewhere around episode twenty of the TV series.