Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Box -

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Mania Grade: A+

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  • Audio Rating: B+
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Menus Rating: A
  • Extras Rating: A
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 89.95
  • Running time: 360
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Irresponsible Captain Tylor

Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Box

    January 13, 2002
Release Date: October 09, 2001

Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Box
© Nozomi Entertainment

What They Say
Tylor again and again has beaten the odds. With volumes in this series ranging from character sidestories to devastating new weapons deployment, he and the Soyokaze crew have dealt with hardships.

First Volume Synopsis:
The shooting war is over. The undefeated Soyokaze has returned home and all should be right in the universe. It's not ... the Raalgon Empire has created an incredibly powerful and destabilizing new weapon system. With the urging of the Prime Minister, they're about to deploy it and when the UPSF forces realize this the choice is clear. These are desperate times ...

The shape of the future will be determined by the actions of very unlikely allies. Their choices will be difficult and their situation may well be hopeless. Any hope for galactic peace rests on the most irresponsible man in history. Perhaps Tylor will stay awake for this.

The Review!
The sequel to the under-appreciated ‘Irresponsible Captain Tylor’ TV series, this OVA series offers some material that comes off as more of the same-and some that’s completely different. You can’t really lose.

This release is a resounding ‘eh’ in the packaging department. TRSI tends to focus on content over presentation and for that I can’t really fault them, but this isn’t a great looking package any way you slice it. The cover has a decent shot of the cast posing in front of the Soyokaze, and the back has a similar shot with the characters saluting. There’s a wordy plot summary, a region 1 logo and umn….that’s it. Nowhere do they mention the running time, which is pretty formidable at around 360 minutes of anime. Often boxsets contain individual disks with some additional information on the keepcases, but this set does not have individual keepcases and instead has the discs right inside the box in an all-in-one package. At least the discs have images on them. Frankly, no one was going to pick up this set on the strength of it’s packaging anyway, but with this being one of my favorite series I was hoping for something a little flashier.

This is an older series-not as old as the TV series, but if you’re looking for gorgeous visuals you’re going to be disappointed. However, I ran into no problems with the disc breaking up and things looked pretty solid in general. Well, there was one incident of macroblocking (I believe that’s what it’s called) during the ‘Vap Video’ logo, but that was the only time. Just who IS Vap Video, anyway??? Anyway, regardless of its’ age, this series has a pretty high level of detail in the backgrounds, and the character animation is fairly realistic. It also uses a more subdued color palate than most anime, which at times make it look almost live-action. If you like realism, you’ll probably have no qualms with the visuals.

The default on the disc is the Japanese track, which is interesting because most discs default to English. The English tends to be louder than the Japanese, but both sound clear. I didn’t really notice anything spectacular good or bad about the audio on these discs, it gets the job done. As an aside, this and the Tylor TV series are among the few anime where I watch the dub first and only watch the Japanese track for comparison’s sake. I’ll get to why in the content portion, but if you’re a dub fan this is an example of things done right. The TV series dub was awkward for the first few episodes, but at this point all the English actors know their characters well and most of it flows naturally.

The menus feature a looping track of animation shots, mostly featuring the female characters. It’s very classy and subdued compared to the whiz-bang shooting gallery on the TV series DVDs, but it reflects the change in tone between the TV series and the OVA well.

There’s a pretty great extra on this set, Tylor Music Videos! They range from the sublime to the ridiculous, and they probably make up around a half-hour of additional animation. Anime music videos are usually montages of footage from the series set to music (and there’s a couple of those), but most of these are completely original. My brother maintains that the ‘My little pink hearts’ video, featuring Emi and Yumi dressed as playboy bunnies armed with M-16’s, is worth the price of admission alone.
We also get a schematic of the Soyokaze, which I assume will be interesting to space-battleship fans, a short photo-gallery on disc three featuring promotion artwork for the series, and perhaps the best extra of all, liner notes. These aren’t actually in the Extras section- they’re buried in the chapter-selection menu, and the logic of putting it there still eludes me since many viewers might miss it if they didn’t know in advance that it was there. Now, you know, so you have no excuse for missing the translators’ interesting commentary on the series.

This is actually two OVA’s. The first one “An Exceptional Episode” parts 1 & 2 was made soon after the TV series, and uses the same character designs with slightly better animation. Remember that ‘more of the same’ I was talking about? Well, these two episodes are very similar to the TV series, and seem to exist largely to give the fans more time to hang out with these characters. This OVA was made during a gap where there were no new Tylor novels to adapt to the screen, and the story suffers for it. The plot revolves around a secret mission given to Tylor by Admiral Mifune, and the fact that he can’t let his crew in on the secret brings up the whole issue of whether or not they can really trust Tylor. Unfortunately, when the audience is finally let in on the ‘secret’ behind the mission, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It’s obviously a weak excuse the writers used to get the crew captured by the Raalgon, where mayhem ensues.

Regardless of it being kind of poorly plotted, this two-part OVA is still a whole lot of fun. The writers were correct; having Tylor and the crew get captured by the Raalgon is worth whatever forced plot device they had to use to get them there. There’s lots of great character interaction that’s a little more raunchy than we saw in the TV series, but everything stays pretty innocent overall-the story keeps threatening to get really racy and never takes the plunge. Finally, we get to see different sides of some characters that were left one-dimensional in the series, particularly Captain Dom who seems to have been given a personality transplant (meaning he actually has one.) If you’ve seen the way the characters interact in the TV series, you won’t be surprised by ‘An Exceptional Episode’, except for the fact that everyone’s seems to have been quaffing some serious Love Potion No. 9 during the interim.

Next, we get something completely different. The remainder of the set is an 8-part OVA with a new, more realistic animation style and a much more serious tone. This OVA went back to the Tylor novels for it’s story, and the difference in the quality of the writing is very noticeable, especially towards the end. The first couple of episodes seem to be character-driven side stories, and at first I was a bit confused as to how they all tied together, but by the final two-parter “From Here to Eternity”, it’s clearly one cohesive story.

In anime, there tends to be a lot of military terminology thrown around to make the characters sound intelligent and add atmosphere; this is likely because so much anime is based on Japanese comics, where the artists are probably familiar with military terminology but don’t know enough about it to use it for more than window dressing. There’s a lot of military strategy discussed in the second half of the OVA, but what’s so nice about it is that it’s actually part of the story. A lot of anime try to fake their way through the logistics of any world they’ve created, but in Tylor it’s not a masquerade.

This is probably why the dub sounds so much better to me than most anime dubs; these characters actually have something to SAY. Too many anime are meant for a teen audience, and once you get out of your teen years, a lot of it starts to sound kind of simple. Watching it in a language you don’t understand adds a veneer of mystery that might not actually be there, and once you hear the dialogue straight up in your own language, you are forced to realized just how juvenile most of it is. I think this is a much bigger part of the anti-dub bias than most people are willing to admit. In addition, the English cast has a lot of very unique voices-you always know who’s talking. The Japanese track always sounds bland by comparison to my Western ears. Maybe after a few years of Japanese I will suddenly realize the brilliance of the acting, but until then, it’s all about the great dub by Taj Productions!

The only real flaw in this story is that it leaves you wanting more, and not just because most good anime leave you feeling that way, but because the story seems to end on a cliffhanger. To be fair, the war between the UPSF and the Raalgon Empire does end, which is the story this OVA existed to tell (after all, the TV series left you with a nagging doubt that the war wasn’t really over, just delayed.) However, it ends in such a way that seems to be hinting at a future OVA that was never produced. The liner notes do a good job of telling you how the story was resolved in the Tylor novels, but it’s kind of sad that you have to read the liner notes to get the real ending to the Tylor saga.

I realize I’ve talked a whole lot about the second OVA without giving you a good plot summary, but the back of the boxset does a pretty good job of that, and why spoil it really. Suffice to say, if you like good writing and anime that doesn’t talk down to you, you’ll like this. The quirky humor of the TV series is missed, but the OVA isn’t completely without humor and you get the over-the-top hijinks in “An Exceptional Episode” to make up for it.

Finally, the translator’s notes are a great addition to the set that will clear up most questions you might have about the story. The TV series notes seem to be half about the translation itself, and half the translators’ personal thoughts on the show. This set of liner notes seems to have nothing to do with the translation (and frankly unless you’re obsessed with accuracy or a Japanese major, who really cares), and is all about the story itself. Hopefully we’ll see more of this in the future, because it all makes for interesting reading.

With the intelligent story, great English dub, a great ‘extra’ and of course the notes, I really can’t recommend the series enough. Buy this series and make a statement that anime isn’t all about cute girls and giant robots. Sometimes, it’s about great writing.

Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Extras

Review Equipment
RCA 5230Z


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