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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: A+
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
- MSRP: 99.98
- Running time: 948
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Irresponsible Captain Tylor
Irresponsible Captain Tylor Limted Edition Ultra Box Set
By Brett Barkley
September 29, 2005
Release Date: July 05, 2005
Irresponsible Captain Tylor Limted Edition Ultra Box Set
What They Say
© Nozomi Entertainment
The timeless anime favorite Irresponsible Captain Tylor is finally available in sterling release it deserves - a Limited Edition Collector's Ultra Box Set! This astounding collection includes: the entire 26-episode Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV series; nearly 300 minutes of Japanese live-action interviews, previews, and Tylor-related extras; a novella written by Tylor creator Hitoshi Yoshioka; and much, much more.
This spectacular set is a Tylor fan's dream come true!
This special Limited Edition will include: all four Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV Series DVDs; the Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV CD Soundtrack "Sentehisshou", complete with printed romaji lyrics; 2 DVDs (almost five hours' worth!) of Japanese interviews and extras related to the Tylor TV series; a 32 page novella follow-up to the series written by the original creator of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Hitoshi Yoshioka; and a 64 page booklet filled with artwork, interviews, and tidbits of trivia from the Tylor universe! And to top it all off, the whole set will be released in a sturdy, high-quality, fully telescopic artbox!
THE IRRESPONSIBLE CAPTAIN TYLOR STORY
From director Koichi Mashimo (.HACK//SIGN, AVENGER, MADLAX, SORCERER HUNTERS) and character designer Tomohiro Hirata (LAST EXILE, URUSEI YATSURA, TRINITY BLOOD) comes one of anime's most beloved action/comedies: IRRESPONSIBLE CAPTAIN TYLOR!
Justy Ueki Tylor had his life all planned out: join the military, get a cushy desk job, and then retire with a big fat pension check. The perfect plan...until he wandered into a hostage situation and somehow managed to save an Admiral! Now Tylor, a man who wouldn't know what discipline was if it bit him in the backside, has been made Captain of the space cruiser Soyokaze!
The crew of this run-down ship is the craziest, rag-tag team of misfits you're ever likely to see, and they're not too fond of their complacent new leader. But they had better learn to work together, because they're about to go head to head with the mighty Raalgon Empire! For better or for worse, the Earth's fate has been placed in the hands of a man who's either a total idiot, or an absolute genius...The Review!
Right Stuf International have elected to release what stands to be the definitive Irresponsible Captain Tylor collection in the form of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition TV Series Box set. But is this hefty set oriented for the truly dedicated Tylor fans alone, or is there some value to be found for more casual viewer, or those as yet unfamiliar with the series? Well this reviewer, formerly uninitiated in the world of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor is about to tell you.Audio:
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition is presented in what would likely be a standard audio package for a presentation of this age, but for one exception; the inclusion of a third language track. Presented in stereo English, Japanese with English subtitles, AND Spanish with English subtitles, I was pleasantly surprised with the expanded language features.
I listened to each audio track throughout the series, and though I think all three tracks are very nicely done, I do have a preference for either the English or Japanese tracks and, of these, possibly favor the English track simply for Crispin Freeman's voice acting work. Though it took me a couple episodes, the personality he brought to the lead character really won me over. None of the tracks are overactive, but they're clean and well done and each, in its own right, enjoyable. Dialogue in each was well handled and the sound effects come through very clearly. I noted no distortion in any of the three tracks.
I did find some issues in which the dub varies wildly from the English translation Japanese subtitles. In Episode 11, for instance, in a scene in which Charly is telling the Captain about the virtual reality helmet he's created, Tylor asks him if it will really allow the wearer to play virtual whack-a-mole. On the English track, Charly responds, "That's right, Captain. And believe me, it is a blast." The Japanese subtitles, however, read "Despite appearances, I was really into gadgets when I was a kid." There are a couple instances like this throughout the series, but really nothing to detract from the viewing experience in any way.Video:
Originally airing in Japan over twelve years ago, and created well before the widescreen era we now enjoy, the series is reproduced here in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. I found the transfer to be very clean and very crisp. Considering the age, I was surprised and very pleased with the just how clean it appeared. This series features a great deal of bright and vibrant tones in its very wide array, all of which I found very nicely reproduced. Considering the creator's choice to give the Raalgon Empire starships, costumes, and environments a distinctly alien feel through the use of more vivid coloration, I was pleased to find this design was carried over in the transfer. Space, as filmed in the Irresponsible Captain Tylor is not a boring affair. Rather than a flat black with stars, even the backdrop of deep space is lovingly rendered in brilliant blues, greens, oranges and reds and it looks great. And while the film may show occasional slight signs of its age (minor dust in most cases), these are very minor and outweighed by the great transfer.Packaging:
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Limited Edition Ultra Box set is a stout and hefty set, its dimensions appearing far more like that of an eight-deep CD box set, than a standard DVD collection. But its unique size really works for, rather than against it. In a market in which the DVD box set seems to seek to defy the collector to find a means of shelving it, this box can actually share a shelf with other DVDs, yet still manages to stand out. Kudos to Right Stuf International for an interesting AND functionally responsible box design. The telescopic box features many of the prominent characters from the series (what, no Yamamoto?), used tastefully and set against a marbled blue/gray background. The box artwork really stands out nicely against the background, the colors reproducing vividly, and the high gloss of the box itself only helps.
This tastefully minimalist aesthetic with an emphasis on function is carried over to the interior packaging. The heart of this set is comprised of five booklets, all with designations clearly indicated on the spine. These booklets each serve different functions and varying use of front and back cover design, yet are all unified through a similar design sense. In short, the design of this set works and I was impressed with the thought and effort put in to the packaging.Menu:
The menus for the four series discs are fairly standard, but employ some clever animation and design work to retain the feel of the series. The disc features of Episodes, Character or Ships (depending on the disc), Set-Up and Bonus are clearly listed in descending order along the left of the screen. The Irresponsible Captain Tylor logo is included just below the disc features. The rest of the menu screen is occupied by a number of different gauges and a large gauge similar to a radar, with Holy Raalgon Empire ships moving randomly across the screen. I enjoyed the look of the menu, the way it replicated the feel of being a radar officer on the Soyakaze, and I was especially pleased that I was able to navigate my radar crosshairs over the ships. I was slightly disappointed to note I could not use my crosshairs cursor to actually interact with the animated ships on-screen, perhaps even firing on them. I think that would have truly been a fun and whimsical addition to an already incredible set. But this is really a very minor issue and not truly a complaint (and I found myself typically too excited to view the next episode to play a game with the menu anyway.) The menu also features a great jazzy audio clip from the series, is clearly marked and is very easy to navigate.Extras:
Wow. This set is all about extras. For the sake of this review, I'll break them in to two categories: Disc Extras and Set Extras.
Each disc features what would be considered somewhat standard, yet value-added extras, and it appears thought was given to placement throughout the four discs. For instance, there are Galleries featuring animated clips form the series, Weblinks, the Japanese language closing animation and credits, and Special Thanks from Right Stuf International to a very large number of individuals. Additionally each disc offers detailed crew and ship information and background. Considering the wealth of material the creators of the anime were forced to condense in to the 26 episodes of the series, I was very thankful for yet more background on the many characters. Again, what impresses me is that for many, the bonus features on the series discs would suffice, however Right Stuf International have far exceeded the standard.
The included Set Extras is probably what excited me most about this box. Wow, where to begin? The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition TV Series set is bound with an impressive number of genuinely value-added extras in the form of an Original TV Series Soundtrack 1: Sentehisshou, The special supplemental story for the series, Men Have it Tough - Tylor and the Iron Curtain, and A Memorial File for Random Works, which is a very complete retrospective for all things Tylor, as well as two additional DVDs full of Extras. When I said this set was all about extras, I was not exaggerating.
Having developed a tremendous amount of appreciation for the wide variety to truly brilliant anime soundtracks currently available on the market, I was very happy to discover this set offered a selection of tracks from the Irresponsible Captain Tylor series. Featuring fifteen tracks from the series, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV Series Original Soundtrack 1: Sentehisshou (Certain Victory in the First Move) offers a brief (and humorous) introduction by Tylor creator Hitoshi Yoshioka, and English and Japanese lyrics for the songs. The music, as composed by Kenji Kawai, was just another aspect of the series that totally won me over, so it's great to see it included. Featuring some beautifully composed jazzy up-beat numbers from the series you're certain to recognize, as well as the infectious "Just Think of Tomorrow" track from the opening credits (presented here in full), this soundtrack is guaranteed to impress
Men Have It Tough-Tylor and The Iron Curtain Vol. I is a thirty-two page short story by Hitoshi Yoshioka and picks up directly after the second OVA series. Lovingly referred to as "fan fiction by the original author himself", I greatly enjoyed the story and was pleased to get yet a little more Tylor.
Of the extras, I was probably most impressed by A Memorial File of Random Works Vol. I. This sixty-four page book offers a tremendous amount of insight in to the series beginning with a lengthy article on the birth and development of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor anime. Written by Masakazu Sakurai, this article follows the property on its journey from a series of young adult novels to the animated series it became. I was very interested in the changes that had to be made and the creative issues faced in adapting these novels to fit a collection of 26 roughly half hour episodes. For those interested in the creative aspect of the anime industry, this offers incredible insight in to the process.
The next offering is an interview with series director Koichi Mashimo, in which the reader is offered yet further insights in to the complications of adapting the series this time by one of the chief parties involved in the process. Mr. Mashimo speaks candidly about his initial concerns regarding the property, including the age differences in the novels (Tylor was a bit older at 26, and Azalyn far younger at 10, which made for some issues regarding their romance), the need to add characters and extend the life of others, all toward making the series a better fit for television audiences. I was very interested in learning of the creative processes in developing the anime and, having never read the novels, found this incredibly interesting.
A Memorial File of Random Works Vol. I goes on to feature copious images from the original VHS sleeves, Laser Disc Jackets, DVD Jackets (of which are many of the original Japanese covers, most of which haven't been seen in the US), as well as a large number of model sheets and production designs. There are also further interviews and reflections from many of those involved with the creation of the anime. And finally there are overviews of the DVD Extras included in the set.
The DVD Extras is actually a pair of discs featuring an all live-action variety and publicity program that was initially only available on VHS rentals of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor television and OVA series. In these shows, a number of actors in the role of news anchors seek to determine the background and origin of Tylor. These shows are fraught with puns and interesting insight in to the series and the Japanese culture. In order to get the very most out of this programming, I'd recommend watching these discs with the overview included in the latter pages of A Memorial File of Random Works, vol. I. There you will find notes and translations of much of the humor from the shows.
If you're a fan or The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, or even mildly interested in the series or anime in general, there is something here for you. In my mind, the extras included in this set are, if not the very best, certainly among the very best I have ever seen included with any DVD set. Right Stuf International have truly utilized the medium to its fullest extent. I am certain fans of the series will be very pleased with the extras featured in this set.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review may contain
Perhaps Louis Pasteur was not entirely correct when he stated, "Chance favors the prepared mind." At the very least, he had never conceived of a human being quite like Justy Ueki Tylor, or Captain Tylor as he quickly becomes known. Captain Tylor relies entirely upon serendipity and more than a little Divine intervention to save the day. In fact, when "nope" is the most popular answer Tylor gives to any question regarding whether or not he has plan, it becomes obvious this is an individual best kept from commanding a giant military vessel. Or is it? This strikes at the heart of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor, and is precisely what the series creators ask the viewers to overlook just long enough to allow Tylor's magic to work on our own suspended disbelief.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is based on a series of "young adult" novels written by Hitoshi Yoshioka and published as part of the Fantasia Bunko series by Fujimi Shobou. It earned its place in anime history as one of, if not the first of this genre of novels to be adapted into an animated television series. This series, originally airing in Japan throughout 1993 and 1994, features the often humorous, the occasionally touching, and always fascinating exploits of "Justy Ueki Tylor, age twenty," a do-nothing/slacker without a future who rockets to prominence in the United Planets Space Force (UPSF) and beyond.
Upon learning the series primarily revolved around the titular character and his exploits as a man supposedly without common sense, I was initially concerned the series creators would not be able to maintain the status quo without resorting to a long line of clichés. I mean, how long can a captain without a clue keep ship and crew intact in the middle of a galactic war? The answer and the means by which the series proved it was a pleasant surprise for me. Like the eponymous Tylor, this series is quite full of surprises.
Down on his luck, bored, and having no real place for himself in the world, Justy Ueki Tylor joins the USPF on a whim, erroneously under the impression the military can provide him with an "easy life," and Recruit Justy Ueki Tylor of the UPSF Pension Department is born. He is, however, completely oblivious to the fact a galactic war is looming in the not too distant future. It seems His Highness Goza the 15th, Emperor of the Holy Raalgon Empire has been assassinated, seemingly by the USPF. Azalyn, or Empress Goza the 16th, the sixteen year old orphaned princess must assume the mantle of leadership once held by her father. Bowed by political pressure to attack what stands to be the most likely culprit, Empress Goza the 16th declares war on the UPSF.
With war coming, the UPSF must maintain a high morale. So, when a young and completely inept Tylor stumbles into and manages to unwittingly handle (mishandle?) a hostage crisis, which gains him worldwide recognition and popularity, he serves as the most likely candidate for a very public and very political promotion of convenience. His promotion is pushed through by Admiral Mifune and Chief of Staff Fuji, two high-ranking officers in the UPSF with agendas all their own who quickly become major series antagonists and grow to provide as great a challenge for Tylor as the many starship Captains from the Holy Raalgon Empire. However, soon after promoting him to Captain of what amounts to a throwaway post on a decrepit destroyer, Fuji and Mifune must now figure out what to do with him. Recognizing the tremendous liability such an inept and untrained Captain represents to the tradition and reputation of the UPSF, the scheming pair set out to plot his demise. But in his role as Captain of the much maligned Soyokaze (which translates to "Gentle Breeze" - a truly inspired name for a battleship), Tylor continually manages to unwittingly foil their very best efforts to do he and his crew in. Is he truly that good, or is he just unbelievably lucky?
The cast of characters in The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is large and diverse. Initially concerned with such a large cast and how they could all possibly fit in to a 26 episode series, I was very impressed with the way in which the series creators managed to find a means of fleshing out so many. In this I found a serious strength of the series. The way in which the characters are explored, how we come to learn so much about many of them, from their dreams and ambitions, to their fears and failings is really remarkable and adds such a tremendous depth to the series. My initial concerns this anime would fall in to a series of clichés, following a simpleton (which, after viewing the series, I realized is not a fair assessment of Tylor) through his successive follies and foibles, were completely put to rest as I began to see the emergence of the rich characterization surrounding Tylor. The series, though it certainly focuses on Tylor as the lead, does not rely entirely on him to carry the show. The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is as much about how the other characters react and interact around him, how they rise to the unique challenges that seem to follow him, as it is to Tylor's own exploits.
The Soyokaze itself has nearly as much character and depth as the crew who keep it operational and serves as the primary environment in which the characters interact. Having a long and sordid history, it has served as the dumping grounds for the unwanted and those in command hoped would simply disappear. It seems, much like those it has housed over the years, so too is the Soyokaze the bad penny that always seems to turn up. In one of the more unique episodes of the series, Episode 12 offers further insight in to the ghosts of the Soyokaze's past. In what is literally a ghost story, the viewer learns of the fates of the Soyokaze's last crew and the part Chief of Staff Fuji played in their demise.
But beyond the character drama, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is at its heart a war story (albeit a very different sort) and features its fair share of action. I was often impressed with the way in which the series handled the starship battles. However, these aren't battles relying purely on bright explosions and loud sound effects, more flash than circumstance. Through strict control of pacing and mood, while also maintaining the somewhat lighter tone of the series, the creators managed to infuse a genuine sense of tension. To this degree, Episode 23 features one of the best, most tense space standoffs I have seen. And though there are a number of nods to Star Trek throughout the series, this single battle stands out among all the science fiction shows it pays homage to, handled in such a way as to evoke thoughts of a Cuban Missile Standoff in space. Needless to say, while this show typically relies on character, rather than action to propel the plot, the action is handled in such a way as to emphasize quality over quantity.
Considering the very large amount of characters and material to be covered and somehow condensed to fit 26 episodes of 22 minutes in length, the creators of the series had their work cut out for them. However, the manner in which they did this is very clever and ultimately very successful, particularly in regard to character development and exploration. The Irresponsible Captain Tylor can be broken down in to five separate arcs over the course of the storyline. Those divisions are roughly as follows: Introduction, Demotion, The Formidable Captain Tylor, Tylor and Azalyn, and Conclusion (NOTE: These titles are mine and are designed solely to give the reader a better idea of the course of the series plot.)
In the first stage, the Introduction, roughly consisting of episodes 1-8, we are introduced to the primary cast of characters and the primary plot threads are established. In these episodes, the viewer will get a fairly clear sense of where everyone stands, except for Tylor. Much like the crew of the Soyokaze, the viewer will also struggle to define the strange and seemingly inexplicable decisions made by Tylor. Is he blessed with the greatest luck ever known, or is it something else? All the while, Tylor remains strangely calm and unaffected as the crew somehow manages to survive a series of galactic near misses. It quickly becomes clear that Tylor does not believe the universe can so easily be bound by the rules we apply to it. But though the crew of the Soyokaze may be the misfits and ne'er-do-wells of the UPSF, they still follow military protocol, and Tylor's ideas often fly in the fact of what they've come to expect from a captain. And as Tylor's exploits cause confusion on the battlefield, so too do they send his crew's morale on a roller coaster ride. Initially, only Dr. Hidezaburo Kitaguchi believes there may be far more brilliance in Tylor than anyone else is willing to see.
In the second, or Demotion arc, the creators actually make use of this time to more adequately explore many in the large cast of characters. I was most impressed by how the creators took advantage of the Soyokaze's decommissioned status to slightly diminish Tylor's role for a period, as a means of giving greater insight in to the personality and motivations of the ship's crew. Episode 11 serves to develop a great point of contrast between the characters of Commander Yuriko Star and Lt. Kyon Hwa Kim. When Tylor says the crew can do what it likes, Lt. Kim, a former model, decides she's had enough of her uniform and decides to bring a more fashion conscious sense of dress to the bridge. This doesn't sit well with Yuriko, whose straight-laced-military-to-the-core personality can't tolerate this insult to the uniform. The result is an episode that gives the viewer a much better understanding of these seemingly very different characters and shows they may not be so different after all.
Episode 10 is my favorite in this arc and one of my overall favorites in the series. To this point in the series, Ensign Kojiro Sakai, the young, cracking-voiced chief among the pilots, has avoided the Hanner twins Emi and Yumi like the plague. Though they continually tag after him, he refuses to pay them any attention. This all changes, however, when the twins (daughters of the famous Admiral Hanner introduced in Episode 2) petition Tylor for a chance to become fighter pilots. Mr. Kojiro is adamantly against it, so certain space flight is not for girls, he assumes the twins will fail whatever ridiculous test he gives them. After sending them out with less than adequate training, disaster strikes and Mr. Kojiro, Emi and Yumi all learn valuable lessons about themselves and all they're capable of.
Things really begin moving for the crew of the Soyokaze in the third arc, The Formidable Captain Tylor. Running from roughly Episode 13 to 15, the Raalgon Empire has shifted its focus from destroying Tylor and the Soyokaze to capturing him. While attempting to merely flee Admiral Donan's entire Raalgon fleet, Tylor inadvertently leads them directly in to a brilliant strategic trap and their inevitable destruction. Making note of Tylor's formidable ability and Harumi's own inability to assassinate him, Captain Ru Baraba Dom decides a man like Tylor must be captured-Enter Shia Has. Captain in her own right, Shia Has does not see the brilliance in Tylor's actions, but agrees to have Tylor captured at the behest of Captain Dom. Making use of a reluctant Harumi, who has begun to believe she may even love Captain Tylor, Shia Has orders her to infect the crew of the Soyokaze with a mysterious virus. Shia Has demands Tylor and Harumi in exchange for the antidote. In a show of his compassion for his crew and his concern for Harumi (who, like Tylor, faces near certain execution once brought before the Raalgon Empire), Tylor barters for the antidote, Harumi, and his crew by willingly offering himself.
Arc four, Tylor and Azalyn, runs from Episode 16 to 21. Now captured by the Raalgon Empire, Tylor somehow manages to view his current situation with much the same perspective that led him to become their greatest enemy. With blind optimism and hopefulness Tylor sees his current circumstances as a great opportunity to experience a new and strange culture. However, things don't look good for Tylor until a chance encounter between he and Azalyn. The two quickly become friends with the hint of something more and things change greatly for Tylor. Meanwhile, Mifune and Fuji, seeing a great opportunity to finally rid themselves of the Soyokaze and its troublesome crew, have them all quarantined until further notice. However, the crew has a different idea. Inspired by the Captain's brave heroics, they're determined to bring him back. Though they recognize he may very well already be dead, they refuse to believe it and staging a daring break-out, the crew makes its way to the Soyokaze and flees. Now the Soyokaze is indeed the most hunted ship in the entire galaxy as it is targeted by both the Raalgon Empire and the United Planets Space Force.
When yet another assassination attempt on Princess Azalyn gravely injures Tylor, Azalyn realizes the only way to save him lies with his people. Defying the wishes of her advisors, Azalyn returns with him to the Soyokaze where the crew immediately begins to care for the comatose captain. The UPSF, realizing it may now have victory in its grasp with the capture of the enemy princess, calls off its hunt for the Soyokaze. As Tylor is revived, he and Azalyn realize the gravity of their situation and, as per her wishes, Tylor agrees to send the princess home.
This arc had a great deal of bittersweet moments, which I thought worked well for the story and was completely unexpected. Episode 16, for instance, gives insight in to the Azalyn's character and the burden she bears as the orphaned princess charged with sending her people off to war. While I found myself hoping Tylor and Azalyn could somehow find a way to continue to be together, I, as they did, came to realize it could not be, that too much was at stake. For the first time, Tylor's decision to do the right, and not the logical thing, by sending the princess back to her people is supported, albeit begrudgingly, by his crew.
The final arc, Conclusion, consists of Episodes 22-26 and pulls together all the disparate plot threads, wrapping the series. As Tylor faces the firing squad for returning Princess Azalyn to the Raalgon Empire, Fuji and Mifune finally have their excuse for getting rid of him once and for all. Episode 22, another highlight in the series, features a major turning point for Yamamoto, as he finally decides between serving the strict code of the military and serving his heart. When a Raalgon surprise attack buys Tylor a reprieve from the firing squad, he offers to command the entire UPSF fleet against the whole of the Raalgon Empire's fleet as commanded by Captain Ru Baraba Dom. And in Episode 23 as these two great empires come face to face, the burden of their command resting firmly on the shoulders of these two men, this was, as stated above, one of the best-written space standoffs I've ever seen and is not to be missed.
With the result of the battle in Episode 23, Tylor and crew return to terra firma. But all is not well as Tylor receives some crushing news. Faced with this tremendous loss, Tylor is now without an anchor and believes he cannot continue as a captain in the UPSF. Tylor came from nowhere to lead the crew of the Soyokaze and even the whole of the UPSF, changing the hearts and minds of all he touched, but now he seeks to return to that anonymity. Fragmented by Tylor's decision, the crew of the now decommissioned Soyokaze each go their own way, pursuing life as he or she has dreamed. Cmdr. Star is promoted in another branch of the UPSF. Mstr. Sgt. Cryburn becomes a fisherman. Lt. Yamamoto finally has his opportunity to captain a starship. Tylor, however, is nowhere to be found.
Now given command of the Aso, the newest and greatest starship in the UPSF, Yamamoto contacts each of the old crew, giving them the option to serve together again. All who received the letter agree to return without hesitation. But will it, could it ever be the same without Yuriko and the irresponsible captain? This is an ending and series resolution that cannot be missed.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor works for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is its refusal to rely on the cliché or the expected. While the viewer may believe Tylor and crew will somehow survive each of their trials, the question lies in how. And that's part of the great fun of the show, because as the crew begins to value Tylor as Captain, to actually find merit and even some strange logic in his decisions, so too does the viewer. It was incredibly interesting to chart the course of character development throughout the series. I truly enjoyed seeing the military stalwarts such as Yuriko and Yamamoto, and even the fiercely independent marines such as Lt. Andressen and Master Sergeant Cryburn grow to care as much for Tylor as he does for them. It's a rare thing to find such dynamic character development in a series, anime or otherwise, and it is definitely a large part of the charm of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor.
But I think the series also works so well because of what it says through its characters. There's a sort of optimism found in the crew of the Soyokaze, an optimism and hopefulness that is truly out of place amidst the backdrop of intergalactic warfare. In Tylor there is found a sort of naiveté that immediately strikes the viewer as complacency or even apathy to the very real dangers around he and his crew. But as the story progresses, it becomes obvious this is more than just a lack of care or concern, but a child-like willingness to see the best in a situation, or in a person. When Harumi is revealed to be a Raalgon spy, Tylor's immediate reaction defies conventional logic (as do most, if not all of his other decisions) and how he handles the situation says a great deal about him. Watching the characters grow to love Tylor, and watching Tylor develop and mature in his own right, particularly as caretaker of his family, the crew, showed a level of love and compassion also rarely expressed in popular media.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is indeed far deeper than one may immediately assume. I know I certainly underestimated it. But even after viewing only the first several episodes, I'm certain anyone could find something to enjoy with the rich characterization and engaging plot. I also highly suggest each viewer take the time to read the Liner Notes for each episode (found by navigating from the main menu: Episodes/ Episode chapter selection/Liner Notes). I found this to offer yet further insight in the creators' intent, historical references, and translation issues of the series. If you love Tylor as much as I came to, you will not want to miss these invaluable additions.
Composed by Kenji Kawai, the music follows a very interesting path, having both a very strong, military-oriented march-style of sound, yet also retaining a very uniquely jazzy, up-tempo style that I found complimented the unique nature of this series so well. In fact, I could not imagine this series cast to any other style of music; this soundtrack is as uniquely Tylor as his trademark trench coat. On a quick note, I also loved the clever homage to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in Episode 6.
As I've stated above, this is a very colorful series. In fact, one of the aspects I found most appealing was the wide use of color in defining the series environments. And when one considers these aren't the more contemporary digital effect backgrounds, but the more traditional hand painted backgrounds, it really helps add to the appreciation I found for the art in the series. In fact, this appreciation for the hand-crafted art throughout this series really pushed my enjoyment of it, particularly when the art and animation is so good and so very consistent.
Along these lines, character designs are solid. Though fairly simple, they also reflect a great deal of consideration and planning. I've never personally seen the art from the novels that inspired this series, but I imagine they are closely aligned with what was established there. In a series such as this, in which there is a) a very large cast of very unique characters, and b) the characters are all affiliated with the military and should therefore dress accordingly, there is truly a lot to confine the creators in terms of creating unique and easily identifiable characters. That the creators were able to take these limitations and still somehow make them work is impressive, but upon viewing the series, one can really see the genius behind it. Even the slightest variation in the uniform or style of dress conveys so much about the individual's character. One must only compare Tylor's frumpy trench coat thrown over his disheveled uniform to Yamamoto's impeccably crisp uniform to glean the essentials at the heart of each character.
As stated briefly above, the animation is truly spectacular and easy to appreciate. One must only note the subtle consistencies to truly appreciate the work done by the animators. In Episode 23, for instance, as Tylor falls to his knees on the deck of the Soyokaze, the viewer can really appreciate the fluidity and expressiveness in the character motion as Yamamoto's hand rests on the railing in the foreground as he vaults himself over the railing to attend to his captain. If one pays close attention to the way his character moves in a non-linear, realistically stumbling, it's easy to see the brilliance in the animation. So while some may find the animation of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor a bit dated, particularly in regard to the more refined CG animation more typically employed today, I find myself marveling at the work and effort of the animators in creating something similarly authentic in motion and detail completely by hand.In Summary:
It would honestly be difficult for me to have a higher recommendation for this set. I was absolutely floored with the attention and dedication Right Stuf International gave to making The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition TV Series THE definitive box. I took time to pour through the copious extras offered in this set and found both the quantity and quality to be astounding, going far beyond even the better DVD collections.
In terms of the content, I found myself departing each episode with a smile. In no time, I became excited to review each episode, highly motivated to scrutinize all the series had to offer. In short, I came to this review having no background knowledge of the world of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor, and left it not just loving the series, but having become a fan.
There are some things I would have liked to have seen in this set. I wanted a bit more of the concept sketches, or would have loved to have had this set in Dolby 5.1, and would have been blown away by some creative commentaries, but those are actually minor and quite possibly irrelevant in lieu of all that is offered. In summary, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition TV Series box set is not perfect, but it's very close.
Japanese Language,English Language,Spanish Language,English Subtitles,Image Galleries, Production Notes, Character Bios, Ultra Confidential Footage Collection, "Sprinting Ahead" Japanese Promotional Video, "Just 15 Minutes" Live Action Specials, Japanese Voice Actor Interviews, Original Opening and Closings w/ Japanese Text, Clean Opening and Closings, Music Videos