Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Vol. #3 (of 3) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, October 09, 2001
What They Say
Some time has elapsed since Tylor and the Soyokaze lead the UPSF forces to victory. The Raalgon war has cooled to a point where it can probably no longer considered to be one: in fact, many of the Soyokaze crew had been temporarily reassigned.
Even Azalyn had taken time away from her duties as Empress. Although generally placid, some areas of the galaxy are certainly not: the Raalgon cabinet is in turmoil (at Wang’s urging) and some odd things are happening on the frontier. There are the reports of ships being destroyed (including Yamamoto’s first command) under questionable circumstances. It also seems to some that the UPSF is being pushed towards full scale war with the Raalgon Empire, but why would this be ... and who’s doing the pushing? While there are people who don’t believe what they’re told, they’re probably too few and too late.
Unlike last time, the UPSF is fully prepared to take the offensive and has the weapons to win. The Raalgon empire understands this perfectly and is preparing to defend itself. It seems certain that what ended last time in a brilliant compromise will end this time with billions of people dead.
If there’s a solution to this it won’t come from Tylor, but perhaps from someone who has learned Tylor’s lesson. It’s likely that no one can solve this before the carnage starts though, and even if they did that no one would listen. As the Tylor series comes to an end with this volume, things are looking very grim! Still, if there’s anyone who can save the day ...
The final volume of the OVA series, and the final animated release of the Tylor franchise, makes its mark here in two 45 minute OVA's that cap off the six OVA's from the previous release. It's a fairly complicated setup in how they maneuvered everything, but it works spectacularly well when you really think about it.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Throughout the track, we didn't notice any dropouts, distortions or other problems with and were fairly well pleased with how it sounded. A lot of this is just dialogue driven with a few action sequences, but the delivery was good and the front soundstage was nicely used.
The transfers for the OVA's continue to be solid here. The show here maintains the same solid quality level that was seen on the first two discs. The lack of cross coloration right off the bat makes this a good looking transfer, but when there's hardly any shimmering during camera panning movements and the colors look nice and solid, I have little to complain about. There's still a general film-like softness throughout the episodes combined with a bit of grain to give it that just right feel.
The front cover artwork here is pretty good, giving a small cast shot along the bottom while the Soyokaze gets some space along the top, as well as a partial image of the evil Wang. The back cover provides a few animation shots, but then goes mostly into text talking about the episodes. The text is much easier to read this time since there's little but black space below it. Unfortunately, like almost all TRSI covers, there's the usual missing information such as audio tracks, subtitles, extras and running time. No insert was included with this release.
Moving away from the overly interactive menus in the TV series, this release has the best looking menus yet from TRSI. There's plenty of moving animation and music playing in the opening menu but it doesn't slow things down at all and looks quite pleasing. The submenus are laid out pretty well though some may feel the liner notes are a bit buried, being in the scene selection submenu. The only area where we had a problem was in both liner note menus, when we moved from the 2nd to the 3rd screen, the player took about 15 seconds to actually make the change, and it occurred on both sets of notes.
The main attraction here for the extras, at least those in the extras section, is four more music videos. Though not all are terribly long, they're solid pieces and are something worth checking out while waiting for your significant other to get around to sitting down and watching the show with you. There's also a brief 2 minute video photo gallery that shows off some really nice pieces of artwork. But to me, the big main extra is the extensive liner notes, particularly the beyond the call of duty job done on the last episode where the novels and magazines are all explained for future lives of the characters and recommendations on what to get. More on that later.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
There's two focuses going on during these episodes. The first OVA brings the story all over the place by connecting the previous 5 OVA's into the continuity established on the last disc in solving the mystery of what's attacking the ships out on the frontier. We also see how this inquiry is being observed by the Raalgon empire, with Wang leading the charge to war due to the growing build-up of humanity's forces all over the frontier.
Wang pursues his quest for war in an interesting way. He instead pursues for peace through Azalyn, insisting that the fleets soldiers are not prepared for such a lengthy war and that the morale is excessively low. This pushes Admiral Lonawer on the defensive in saying that while morale is low, the troops are ready and they will serve their empress. Wang capitalizes on this by saying Lonawer is opposed to peace, and manages to force an agreement on a huge all out war to secure victory for the empire. It was quite an interesting act on his part.
On the Earth side of things, Mifune is applying his subtle pressures to acquire the new high speed battleships for the Frontier division. With there being so many bases being built along the frontier, his push is to get more defenses lined along the frontier and in his fleet division. There's a lot of jockeying going on for these new cruisers, a lot of the maneuvering going on in the forces high command is over who gets these things. When the declaration of war comes from the Raalgon empire, tied with a request for peace talks, it's quickly decided who gets what.
During all of this, the various members of the Soyokaze come across each other after their various placements in the 2nd OVA disc and the pieces start coming together. After Yamamoto's disastrous turn as captain on the frontier, he begins working hard with Yuriko on discovering what the enemy was that took him down. With this going on, the UPSF gets itself ready for war and amasses its fleets to take on the Raalgon.
There's a lot of subtle shifting and power plays going on here, but the way it plays out works perfectly. From the way Wang "masterfully" takes over the Raalgon empire and causes a split to the way the Tylor crew imitate Star Trek III and hijack the soon-to-be-scrapped Soyokaze for one last mission. The ending with Yamamoto and Tylor is also played out brilliantly and serves as a really solid character growth moment.
So what's wrong with it? It ends well enough, by discovering who the real enemy is and averting the war between the UPSF and the Raalgons, but it doesn't answer any of the questions about this new group whose come to control Wang's ascent and have been responsible for the attacks on the UPSF. To find out what happens next, you have to read the liner notes from the 8th episode. Thankfully these detailed notes are included, that talk about various characters futures, the real people behind the new invading force and the relevance of all of the individual OVA episodes in this segment.
Suffice to say, it's talking about the novels and magazines that came afterwards. It's truly a shame that these pieces were not animated, as it really would make things a lot more palatable here. The ending works, but it really leaves you wanting more. But then, the TV series ended in a fairly similar way, and Neil Nadelman really went above the call of duty in telling us how the characters and their children turn out in the novels, so we have some sense of closure.
Tylor's definitely been an enjoyable series (though he's lacked prominence in the OVA's) and now having finished the last animated chapter, I'm a bit sorry to see that it's all over. At least until I pull them all out again and reinvest myself in the series and enjoy the adventures all over again. Very recommended.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Video Photo Gallery,4 Music Videos,Extensive Liner Notes
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: B-
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
Running time: 180
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Irresponsible Captain Tylor