Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Beginner's Guide to Anime, No. 30

There are plenty of series which are worth watching simply because of the engaging characters. In this series, the title character is one of the most intriguing, mainly because no-one is ever quite sure about his state of mind. Is he a genius? Is he a lucky idiot? Who knows? Does he even know for that matter?

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a sci-fi comedy series which began as a series of "light novels" in 1989 entitled The Most Irresponsible Man in Space, which have annoyingly have never been released in English. These books however are still being made and released. The series was turned into a 26-part anime in 1993, with 10 Original Video Anime (OVA) being released between 1994 and 1996.

The series is a comedic "space opera" set in the far future. It follows the adventures of a mysterious 20-year-old man called Justy Ueki Tylor, who is just after an easy life. He thus decides to join the United Planets Space Force (UPSF) getting an easy job in the pension department. However, when accidentally foils a murder plot to kill a retired admiral he gets a promotion. The senior officers of the UPSF are keen to get rid of Tylor, so they make him the captain of the worst vessel in the whole fleet, the Soyokaze, which is full of people of varying degrees of skill. Amongst other problems the doctor is an alcoholic, the marines are crude and violent, and the star fighter pilot is a misogynist. There are some straight-laced officers, but most of the time they are just trying to keep control of the crew and correct Tylor.

Soon the crew find themselves engaged in combat with the enemy, the Raalgon Empire, ruled by the young Princess Azalyn. However, for some reason which no-one seems to be able to figure out, Tylor is able to pull of victory after victory, escape various attempts on his life by both the Empire and his bosses, and even comes into contact with become friendly the Princess. Throughout the entire course of the series however, one question remains: Is the irresponsible captain really a military genius, or is he just an incredibly lucky idiot?

This question is what makes the character of Tylor so appealing. It is a question that remains unanswered throughout the series, with the viewer left to make up their own mind as to the answer. There are many moments which raise the question. For example, there is one enormous battle which Tylor commands, in which he comes up with a way with making a brilliant victory for the UPSF while the Raalgon Empire also does not lose the battle.

There are other aspects of interest concerning Tylor. For example there is his relationship with women. He begins to develop certain feels with the crew members, such as the officer Yuriko Star, a woman who seems to have no personal life outside of the UPSF. But then he meets up with Princess Azalyn she too begins to feelings, as Azalyn is fed up with being surrounded by a stuffy court.

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is an enjoyable series, mixing both sci-fi and comedy together in a wonderful manner. If there is a problem with this anime it is the fact it ends abruptly. The printed stories do continue the adventure, but light novels are only rarely translated into English so it is unlikely we will be able to read the whole thing unless you can read Japanese.

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is only available in Region 1 DVD, released by Right Stuf.
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