Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Limited Edition Ultra Box Set - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: B
  • Video Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: A+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
  • MSRP: 69.95
  • Running time: 455
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Irresponsible Captain Tylor

Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Limited Edition Ultra Box Set

By Brett Barkley     April 11, 2006
Release Date: November 08, 2005


Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Limited Edition Ultra Box Set
© Nozomi Entertainment


What They Say
The amazing sequel to The Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV Series is finally available in sterling release it deserves - a Limited Edition Collector's Ultra Box Set!

This astounding collection includes: all three Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Series DVDs; the Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA CD Soundtrack, complete with printed romaji lyrics; an Extras DVD filled with 95 minutes of Japanese interviews and extras related to the Tylor OVA series; a 32-page novella follow-up to the series written by the original creator of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Hitoshi Yoshioka; and a 48-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!

This spectacular set is a Tylor fan's dream come true!

THE IRRESPONSIBLE CAPTAIN TYLOR OVA 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!

Six long months have passed... The Raalgon Empire has developed a horrible new type of weapon and Tylor has been charged with the duty of intercepting them as they're being transported. But when all that could go wrong, does go wrong " the crew of the Soyokaze finds themselves at the mercy of their enemies. As the hours tick down toward their execution, the crew wonders, has their irresponsible captain misled them or is this all a part of some greater strategy?

The Raalgon Empire is also having its own problems. Prime Minister Wang is still plotting to seize control of the Empire and an overworked Empress Azalyn is looking for any excuse to get away for a while. When she travels to her old summer home, she makes a startling discovery " her childhood friend Ruu is still alive! Once royalty himself, Ruu is now merely a shattered shell of the happy boy she once knew, and he doesn't recognize anyone or anything around him. Deeply affected by her friend's drastic change, the young empress wants to help him, but doing so might lead to war...

The Review!
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor returns as Right Stuf International collect the OVA's in yet another incredibly appealing box set.

Audio:

Unlike the release of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition, this set does not offer the third language track, instead offering the ubiquitous English and Japanese tracks. These tracks are presented in the standard stereo format for works of this age. Each track is nicely done, though I noted some severe crackling on the English track at the start of the last OVA episode. I also noted more voice synch issues with the English track than I expected.

Video:

Originally airing in Japan between 1994 and 1996, and created well before the widescreen era we now enjoy, the OVA collection is reproduced here in its original 4:3 aspect ratio. I found the transfer to be fairly clean and crisp. The OVA's feature a great deal of bright and vibrant tones in its very wide array, the majority of which I found very nicely reproduced. There were some slight issues of fading, but particularly when compared to the videos included in the extras, the OVA's are very clean and solid.

Much of what impressed me in the original set release is still strong here. From the alien color schemes of the Raalgon Empire, to the vivid tones and hues found in space, and beyond, all of it is well-reproduced. While the film may show occasional slight signs of its age (minor dust in most cases), these are truly very minor and outweighed by a solid transfer.

Packaging:

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition OVA Box set is stout and hefty, its dimensions resembling that of its preceding set, rather 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 (again, no Yamamoto?), used tastefully and set against a textured light brown background. The box artwork (much of which was taken from the Japanese laser disk and VHS covers) 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 menu for the OVA series (shared throughout the three disks) is fairly standard. The design is nice, and is definitely consistent with the slightly darker, yet hopeful tone of the OVA's. The background is broken in to three tiers, the first featuring a dove as it ascends in to the heavens, the second, middle tier, scrolls a number of clips as taken from the OVA's and accompanying videos, and is largely dominated by Azalyn and Yuriko. The lowest tier features images of Azalyn, again as taken from the videos. The two gutters between these tiers feature the DVD title and, in the lower tier, the episode titles. The disk options are in descending order as follows: Play All, Episodes, Bonus, and Set-Up. These are clearly labeled and are easy to scroll through. A brief audio clip loops throughout.


Extras:

Like its predecessor, the Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition OVA Series box set features a large number or great extras. However, most of these extras are found outside of the OVA disks themselves. While the disks do feature a number of extras spread across the three in the set, these are typically limited to videos, some of which are actually very, very well done, and all of which feature some of the beautiful music from the series.

The extras on Disk One include: The Undefeated Soyokaze, DVD Credits, and four videos. The Undefeated Soyokaze is a brief profile of the ship and features some absolutely beautiful still of the Soyokaze and a great cut-away of ship as well. The videos are as follows: Strange Love, focusing on Azalyn's affections for Tylor; Fleet, To Battle, showcasing the space fighters of the crew; A Tribute to Dom, which obviously focuses on the Raalgon captain; and Passing Days, an interestingly bittersweet vignette offering a glimpse in to the future of Yuriko and Tylor and their relationship.

Disk Two features DVD Credits and five different Videos. The videos are as follows: Galactivally Irresponsible Tylorgar, a strange and humorous piece which interestingly features Cryburn in the lead as the eponymous Tylorgar; The Castle With the Nice Entrace, a farcical piece following the crew of the Soyokaze as a drunken party leads to a n erroneous warp deep in to the heart of Raalgon territory where the crew is rescued by the doctor and the powerful lasers that fire from his eyes (like I said, farcical); My Racing Pink Heart, the tale of Emi and Yumi's fickle affections (and subsequent violent rage when these affections are spurned) feels more than a little out of character; Vacation Resort does little more than follow Lt. Kim on her vacation, but does features some very nice art and design; Har-Ru-Mi * Sexy is fairly self-explanatory, featuring a number of shots and poses of the beautiful android assassin.

Disk Three features a Photo Gallery, DVD Credits, and four Videos. The Photo Gallery features a number of very fun images, many, if not all, of which are not taken from within the series and therefore feature some great, more-finished art. The videos on this disk feature some truly great pieces and are as follows: The Night Love Disappeared, which features an individual I can only guess is one of the marines as he waits for an encounter that does not come; Yamamoto, the Soldier, one of the true standouts on the disk, offering a peek in to Yamamoto's youth and his passion to be a great soldier, all set to one of the series' greatest marches; Dreams Come True, a whimsical piece in which Tylor is a gardener who eventually dances with a woman made entirely of vegetables; and Impermanent, the other of the disk's standouts, this video features some truly spectacular art and follows Admiral Mifune and his reflections on the legacy of the samurai he so adheres to.

Again, like Right Stuf's tremendous release of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor Series box, this box set also features a similar array of bound-in extras. There is the original OVA Soundtrack 1, featuring 40 tracks as well as English and Japanese lyrics. This box set also features the conclusion of the two part Men Have it Tough-Tylor and the Iron Curtain novella, which was a really fun read (and great incentive for fans to purchase both sets). Continuing the lengthy interview with director Koichi Mashimo from the first volume, A Memorial File of Random Works Vol. II features a great deal of insight in to the creative process and the property's development, including the challenges found therein. A Memorial File of Random Works Vol. II also includes a number of model sheets, continuity sheets, as well as Japanese VHS sleeves and LD jackets. Of the extras, I found this booklet to be the most appealing. A Memorial File of Random Works Vol II also offers insight in the form of liner notes for the OVA Extras. The OVA Extras disk features 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 (if not wacky) insight in to the series and the Japanese culture.

Much like Right Stuf's earlier Tylor release, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition OVA box set is literally packed with extras. From the episode liner notes found on the DVD's, to the soundtrack, and beyond, there is something here that will appeal to Tylor fans of all degrees. In this OVA Ultra Edition, I believe Right Stuf International have continued the standard met in the release of the first set.



Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)

I have to admit to a bit of trepidation as I began watching the OVA's featured in this box set. Having become a devoted Captain Tylor fan while watching Right Stuf's collected series, I realized this will likely be the last of Tylor and the Soyokaze crew's animated adventures I'll ever have the opportunity to experience. So while I was very excited to see where the story went, I was also just a little sad to know it would all be coming to an end. But what a great way to go.

The OVA's offered in this set are spread over three disks, with the first and last serving as bookend movies, each featuring two extra long episodes that actually constitute one movie. Between these two movies is sandwiched six individual episodes, primarily dedicated to exploring the character and lives of individual members of the crew of the Soyokaze. Initially, I was a little put-off by the degree to which Tylor was neglected in order to focus on these other characters (he doesn't appear at all in several of the six episodes), but as I began watching, I quickly recognized how the creators were building the story through these previously peripheral characters.

The first disk features the two-part "An Exceptional Episode" which picks up an undisclosed, but short time after the close of the television series. However, the war with the Raalgon Empire is not at an end. The crew of the Soyokaze, who in the interim between the television and OVA series, have found themselves on ground duty, but are suddenly brought back together for a secret mission. The requirements of this mission, while not immediately revealed, are certainly dire and are vitally important in the war between the UPSF and the Raalgon Empire. While the mission takes the crew of the Soyokaze deep in to terrifically dangerous territory, in which they must risk their very lives, it quickly becomes clear Tylor is withholding information from them. Throughout the two episodes, all the trust and faith established in the television series is quickly eroded here, as the crew can only speculate on the Captain's motivations. When the Soyokaze is captured when the Captain apparently botches a sneak attack, these feelings of doubt are only compounded. Once taken aboard the Melva, the Captain manages to barter with Azalyn for his crew's release. The crew, in turn, believes he has betrayed the UPSF and, on the trip home, vote to have him officially removed as Captain. But as Captain Dom (who has also seemingly forgotten all he learned of Tylor in the television series) soon decides to test the new Raalgon secret weapon on the Soyokaze, who will safe the ship and its crew now that Tylor has been removed?

I truly enjoyed this episode, though it felt a great deal like we were covering previously explored territory. In fact, after all that was developed in the series, I was a little disappointed to find Dom's regard for Tylor to have slipped to that of just about everyone else in the Captain Tylor universe. I truly enjoyed the respect and even admiration that developed for Tylor throughout the television series, so this was a little disappointing. However, these episodes comprise a very strong story and a great springboard for the rest of the OVA's, setting the tone for what is to come. It also does a great job of subtly shifting the focus from Tylor to Yamamoto, which becomes integral to the story in the next several episodes.

Disk two features six episodes, The Rules of Being 16, The Samurai's Narrow Escape, The High-Tech Opposition, White Christmas, and If Only the Skies Would Clear Parts 1 and 2. As mentioned above, these episodes make a departure from the television series, in that Tylor is no longer the sole focus. While I was initially put off by this, as I truly love Tylor's character, these episodes do a fantastic job of building and exploring some of the more prominent background characters the viewer has not previously gotten a chance to truly know.

The first episode, The Rules of Being 16, is deceptively integral to the overall plot of the OVA series and what comes after. The episode focuses on Azalyn, nicely portraying her as a girl lost among the tumultuous and bloody politics of intergalactic ruler. Beginning to truly feel the burden of her position, she elects to accompany Dom to the planet Vishram, a planet she pleasantly recalls from her childhood. Upon her return, she begins to truly understand she can never really go home, never really return to the feelings she enjoyed as a youth. When she encounters her long lost friend, Ruu, now in a catatonic state, the realities of her position in the universe and what that means to those around her hits very close to home. Once childhood friends, Ruu's family was destroyed by Azalyn's father after a failed coup. The resulting shock forced him in to his current state of shock. Azalyn forgets her position, forgets she and Ruu are actually enemies in the current state of the universe, instead dedicating herself to helping him recover. When he does begin to show signs of returning to his former self, Azalyn is forced in to the difficult position of choosing to protect her friend from Captain Dom and the rest of the Raalgon Empire (who seek only to protect Azalyn and the Empire from its sworn enemies), and allowing Ruu to escape and potentially pose a threat to both she and the Empire in the future.

This is a powerful and bittersweet episode, one I only truly began to appreciate in retrospect after viewing the entire OVA series. I'd also highly recommend reading the liner notes for all episodes, in order to get the fullest perspective of this series and the source material. Additionally, completed some time after the television series, the episodes on this disk have a distinctly different art style than what came before. While I was a tremendous fan of the work done on the television series, I did not find the stylistic departure to be that jarring.

The Samurai's Narrow Escape, The High-Tech Opposition, and White Christmas each focuses on distinct members of the crew of the Soyokaze (White Christmas actually prominently featuring Captain Tylor). The Samurai's Narrow Escape explores Ensign Kojiro Sakai as he is temporarily reassigned to test-fly experimental craft for the UPSF. When, due to his fellow test-pilot's bad decisions, a routine test-flight goes bad, Kojiro is forced in to a life and death struggle to survive. In this episode, Kojiro truly shows his ability, rising above his slightly immature portrayal in the television series. I loved this episode, and though it was light on humor, it is very heavy on action and suspense and features tremendous animation work by Studio Deen (associated with Sunrise, which would likely account for the some of the similarities in the tech and cockpit visuals with that of another of my favorite anime of all time, Cowboy Bebop).

The High-Tech Opposition focuses on the marines, primarily on Andresson. Forced to train and test on an newly-developed advanced exo-suit, Andresson and the rest of the marines must either catch up with the times, or fall behind. When Andresson learns the new suit was designed by an old academy friend, who has since died, he endeavors to learn all he can about the suit. When the suit malfunctions and apparently turns on those around it, Andresson and the marines must work together to stop it.

In all, this episode fell a little flat for me. While I tyhpically love the marines and enjoy their screen time, the connection to Andresson's pacifist-oriented deceased friend felt like a bit of a stretch to at once suggest a more human side to his character and justify some intense action. While I enjoyed the action and interaction between the close-knit marines, I could have done without the more sentimental aspects of this episode. However, it does fit in with the more sentimental direction the creators took the OAV's, but I just wish it could have been handled in a slightly less cliché manner.

White Christmas is one of my least favorite episodes in the series. A frustrating story that attempts to be touching, the episode follows Captain Tylor as he tries to make a Christmas Eve date with Yuriko. However, as is to be expected, he is continually delayed by a truly annoying young boy who is angry with his mother for working at her position at the UPSF on Christmas Eve. Over the course of the episode, the boy offers a number of sob stories, all of which Tylor completely buys, choosing to help the boy find the missing keys he never lost and many other time-consuming wild goose chases, as Yuriko waits for Tylor on a park bench for the now hours late Tylor. Likely modeled after some of the great romantic films of unrequited love and missed opportunities, this episode just didn't work for me. Tylor actually manages to appear more buffoonish than endearingly irresponsible as he continually falls for this boy's lies and manipulations. Will Tylor make it on time? Is there a chance for Tylor and Yuriko? These are great questions that deserved to be addressed via a better vehicle.

If Only the Skies Would Clear Parts 1 and 2 comprise the final act in the prequel to the last OVA. This episode follows Yuriko as she is ordered to investigate the destruction of a transport ship on the outer frontier. The initial investigation suggests the loss of this ship was an accident, but before Intelligence signs-off on the case, they want to be certain something was not overlooked. This is a very suspenseful episode, as Yuriko begins to receive odd phone calls and feels as if she is being followed. However, he conclusions are that this was indeed a terrible accident, and is about to wrap-up her investigation when she is kidnapped by agents of the Raalgon empire. Inexplicably, it is their intent she alter her report to indicate the destruction of the transport ship was due to a secret Raalgon attack. She is rescued, just in the nick of time, by Yamamoto, though their motives for forcing her to falsify her report remain unclear.

The second half of this episode opens as Yamamoto receives the honor for which he as been waiting his entire life. Finally recognized for his ability, Yamamoto is given the chance to captain an escort fleet for a transport vessel on the frontier. When that too is destroyed, Yamamoto survives in shame. Confined to quarters, he recognizes his career is likely over, until he decides to do whatever he can to get to the bottom of just what it was that destroyed the transport and his escort fleet. The answer he discovers poses a tremendous threat to both the UPSF and the Raalgon Empire.

I enjoyed both of these episodes, though I felt the latter was the stronger. Told in a very strong non-linear format, the story moves back and forth in time, weaving a suspenseful tale as Yamamoto strives to overcome the shame of losing his vessel, and his sense of duty to determine just what it was that destroyed his ship, to learn from this failure, as his revered mentor did. Yamamoto truly comes in to his own in this episode, proving himself worthy to be a Captain. This episode not only sets the tone for Yamamoto's future in the UPSF, but also introduces a third and terrifically powerful enemy to both the UPSF and the Raalgon empire (again, I'd suggest reading the liner notes to get the full story "more on that in a bit). The first episode, while certainly offering its fair share of suspense and action, felt a bit more like a traditional thriller than the latter. However, as the threat the Raalgon agents posed was certainly not lethal, the suspense wasn't quite as powerful. It did offer some moments for Yuriko to shine in the face of adversity, but this really wasn't anything we hadn't seen from her character before. She has always appeared cool and collected, adroitly capable in nearly all situations. But for Yamamoto, his episode truly marked a turnaround. No longer could he be seen as the bumbling wishy-washy first mate, but as the capable and honorable soldier he has longed to be.

From Here to Eternity Parts 1 and 2 marks the grand finale of the anime adventures of Captain Tylor and the crew of the Soyokaze and is the final bookend in the OVA set. The first part of this two-part OVA winds its way through the seemingly unrelated stories found in the previous six episodes, tying it all together before moving forward to what stands to be a devastating battle between the Raalgon Empire and the UPSF. Opening with the destruction of the first transport ship that sparked the Yuriko's initial investigation, the story quickly moves ahead, bringing the crew of the Soyokaze back together again. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Wang makes a bid to overthrow Azalyn. With the help of hidden allies (to be alluded to later in the episodes, and clarified in the liner notes), he successfully overthrows the Empress and has she and Admiral Lonawer. The crew of the Soyokaze, in fact the armies of both the UPSF and the Raalgon Empire are caught in the machinations of Lord Wang, as well as Admiral Mifune and Chief of Staff Fuji, as both armies are drawn inexorably toward an all-out conflict.

Amidst the threat of intergalactic conflict, the Admiral and Chief of Staff are once again, despite all the crew of the Soyokaze has accomplished in the past, planning to scrap the ship and separate the crew. But, of course, Tylor has a plan. Having redeemed himself by alerting the UPSF Intelligence to this new threat, Yamamoto is again given the opportunity to serve as a captain. Given control of the UPSF flagship on the front lines of the battlefield, he must manage to delay the conflict, giving Tylor and the remaining crew of the Soyokaze the time they need to arrive on the frontlines with the proof of the enigmatic third party manipulating both armies. Having managed to adapt a new hyper-fast warp drive the Soyokaze's frame, the old ship races for the frontlines, literally tearing itself apart to make it in time. Having arrived without a moment to spare, Tylor desperately attempts to force Dom to accept the evidence of this hidden enemy. In order to finally convince both armies to stand down and turn their attention to the true threat, Tylor and the crew of the Soyokaze make a stunning, series-ending sacrifice.

Though the first episode in this two-parter simply reiterates much of what has come before, filling in the blanks where necessary, the story truly picks up by the second half. Building on the groundwork established throughout the previous OVA episodes, Yamamoto truly rises to the challenge in the face of all-out conflict. And while the series finale feels a bit premature with so many unanswered questions, it is indeed stirring and very powerful.

While I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to revisit the world of the Irresponsible Captain Tylor, much of the content of the OVA's did not ring true of the quality of what had come before. Much of what had been developed in the television series was seemingly lost as characters appeared to regress. This was most evident in the first OVA in the set. Further, Tylor was no longer the focus of the OVA's, which could have worked had the series actually explored what his crew had learned from his unique attitude and how they addressed their trials through these fresh perspectives. However, much of the character exploration in the OVA's seemed to utterly disregard any influence Tylor may have had on their personal outlook.

Further, the series just left far too many unanswered questions, such that it did not feel complete. The true identity of this new threat is never revealed in-series, but can be discovered through reading the liner notes, which features a more in-depth examination of the original content. In my mind, relying on outside reference to the source material deteriorates the integrity of a series. This could have been addressed with just a few extra cut-scenes in the final two chapters of the series. I'm puzzled as to why it was neglected.



In Summary:

I became a Tylor devotee very soon after my initial exposure to the series. It is with that respect for the series that I looked to the OVA series. While there are numerous aspects of the OVA's that will immediately speak to the fondness Tylor fans have for the property, much of the magic is missing. The majority of the OVA's, in fact, are not devoted to Tylor at all, completely disregarding him and his impact on the crew. I was also disappointed with the series finale, which left a number of questions unanswered, making me wonder if more episodes were initially planned.

However, while I found some fault in the series, I could find no genuine issues with the series' presentation. From the packaging, to the copious extras, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor Ultra Edition OVA Series box set continues with the precedent set by the Right Stuf International's television set release. This is a gorgeous set, and it would look great on the shelf.

But is this set worth it? The answer to this question will likely be determined by your affinity for the property. I love all things Tylor, and enjoyed the extras in the set, finding them, for the most part, to be genuinely value-added bonuses to a great collection. Though I did have some issues with the content of the OVA's themselves, if you're a fan of The Irresponsible Captain Tyler, and are looking for the definitive collection of the OVA's, this is what you're looking for.

Features
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,English Subtitles, Image Galleries, Production Notes, Character Bios, "Tylor OVA and the Media" Featurette, "Just 15 Minutes" Live Action Specials, 13 Music Videos featuring the Tylor Cast

Review Equipment
34" Sony FD Trinitron Wega HDTV KD-34XBR910 and Sony Dav-FR9 progressive scan Home Theatre System with 114 watts per channel to each speaker and 115 watts to each of the subwoofer's two woofers.


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