Irresponsible Captain Tylor
eking to find the most comfortable living possible, Justy Ueki Tylor stumbles upon what he thinks is a dream career: delivering pension checks for the United Planets Space Force (whose logo looks suspiciously like a giant tomato). Through his sheer luck (which at times borders the unbelievable), he goes from utter layabout to hero in charge of the good ship Soyokaze ... oh, wait, did we call it a good ship? The Soyokaze, to put it bluntly, is the disgrace of the UPSF, and a dumping ground for the dregs of the universe. Even so, Tylor remains undaunted ... after all, why should he care? He's only the captain, after all ...
Growing up in a Trekkie household, I found Tylor to be the perfect yin to Star Trek's yang. Tylor, quite simply, is the anti-Kirk, and it works beautifully. This series is one of the most beautiful productions I have ever seen, and is the perfect blend of comedy and drama, with even the most minor of characters fleshed out. From what I understand, this series was a labor of love ... and it shows.
For the space opera genre, which often takes itself way too seriously, it's refreshing to see a takeoff on it that isn't overtly slapstick. Instead of going for sight gags and below-the-belt humor, the writers go for wry, witty dialogue, and allusions to many a classic science-fiction novel and movie. The situations, while unbelievable, are still plausible ... they really could happen in battle, and you never really figure out whether Tylor is along for the ride or really IS the great tactical genius in military history.
Again, though Tylor is the main character, and an incredibly good one at that, he doesn't steal the show. He has the perfect balance of supporting characters, ranging from Yuriko Star, the uptight, by-the-book lieutenant; Yamamoto, the even-more by-the-book traditionalist, who is prone to weeping spells and (ultimately useless) dramatic speeches, the marines Andressen and Cryburn, who could have been pulled out of Starship Troopers (mind you, the Heinlein novel, not the Hollywood travesty), and the obligatory cute teenage twins, Yumi and Emi, who turn out to be pretty darn good fighter pilots. Even Jason. Yes, THAT Jason, the star of so many slasher films, is a crew member on the Soyokaze. And a good team player to boot! (Who'd have thunk it?)
In short, Tylor is a smart spoof that stands up quite well on its own. With an engaging plot, wonderful characters, well-rendered world-building, and surprisingly sympathetic "bad guys", Tylor will still be as fresh years from now as it is today.
Recommended Audience: Probably not the best idea for children, but they wouldn't catch the sci-fi in-jokes anyway. If you know any Trekkies or Red Dwarf fans who haven't seen any anime, give them this series as a starter - they'll be rolling on the floor in no time.
Version(s) Viewed: digital source; R1 DVD
Review Status: Full (26/26)
Irresponsible Captain Tylor © 1993 Hitoshi Yoshioka / Kadokawa Shoten / Tylor Project
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