As Captain Tylor quickly learns, sometimes being a lazy outcast can get you ahead in life.
What They Say
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 on 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'd 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!
Contains the complete 26-episode TV series with remastered video.
Both language tracks for this release are available in 2.0 stereo. The mix is nice, with plenty of directionality and no dropout among the various tracks. Dialogue is clear and there is no distortion at any point. I always want to hold out for a 5.1 mix, especially for a title with plenty of action, but I will not complain too much. What is here is fine in its own right.
With a series as old as this (1993), I did not expect much for the video quality. While it is true that it looks old, in terms of style and coloring, it actually looks very nice. The originals appear to be fairly blemish free, and the transfer is impeccable. As I said, character designs are a bit old-school, and the coloring is a bit drab compared to more modern titles, but this looks about as good as it can. Good stuff.
This set features pretty standard thinpak packaging. The artbox has a shot of the Soyokaze on the one side, with Tylor, Yuriko, and Yamamoto on the other. The thinpaks themselves have outline sketches of some of the characters on the front, with a series summary, screen shots, and technical details on the back. The covers are not reversible. I did find it a bit odd that the summary on each thinpak was exactly the same rather than disc specific, but in general, it is a nice set.
The menus are also pretty basic. The main menu features the same outline sketch that is on the front of the specific thinpak for that disc, with the selections offered below. The selections are in white, and the highlight red, which stand out well against the navy blue background. Simple design, and easy to follow.
There are some nice extras spread out across the five discs. We get the standard clean opening and closing along with the series trailer. There is also a fairly detailed analysis of all the major space craft of both the UPSF and the Raalgon Empire, as well as comprehensive character bios. But what I was most interested in, and something that more anime should include, are the liner notes, which really helped bring out some of the more obscure moments in the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When I first got into anime back in the early 90s, there were a few new shows in Japan that I heard about that I really hoped would eventually make their way to our shores. The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, which initially aired in 1993, was one of them; like many of those titles, for some reason I failed to actually follow up on my desire to see it, even though it has seen numerous releases up to this point. So figuring that sixteen years was long enough to put off seeing it, I jumped at the chance to review this set. And I am glad that I did.
Justy Ueki Tylor is at a loss: he is unskilled, unmotivated, and hates hard work; the only thing he has going for him is dumb luck—everything always seems to go his way. When he sees a recruitment commercial for the United Planet Space Force suggesting that a military man gets all the cute women, he decides that might just be right up his alley; he can get himself a nice desk job somewhere, kiss up to the right people, and retire early with a decent pension.
But then his dumb luck steps in: on a routine house call for the pension department, he finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation. It turns out that his client that day is Admiral Hanner, the famous retired war hero, and without exactly meaning to, Tylor foils the plot by the terrorists, saving the life of Hanner, his twin daughters, and Lieutenant Commander Yuriko Star.
Tylor is a hero, and sees his star shot right up the ranks. Thanks to his actions, the high command promotes him to Lieutenant Commander and gives him command of his own ship. Admirals Mifune and Fuji are none too happy with this promotion, as they realize that Tylor is completely inept, so they conceive to give him command of the Soyokaze, the outcast of the UPSF. The crew of the Soyokaze is a ragtag bunch of mutineers and drunkards, and the ship would fall apart in a stiff breeze. Mifune and Fuji look at the Soyokaze as the perfect place to dump, and ultimately get rid of, Tylor. With the war against the Raalgon Empire heating up, the Soyokaze is quickly dispatched into every conceivable dangerous situation the Admirals can conjure up.
But Tylor’s carefree ways and his absolute refusal to do anything by the book might just be the thing that this crew needs in a leader. They are an eccentric bunch, and he is an eccentric person. Add in that his dumb luck gets the Soyokaze out of every single tricky situation it finds itself in, and the ship begins to make a name for itself as the premier vessel in the entire UPSF fleet. And as the victories mount up, so does Tylor’s reputation, much to the chagrin of Mifune and Fuji.
Needless to say, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is heavy on the humor. There is plenty of action and drama, but it is the comedy that keeps the show moving forward. But what makes The Irresponsible Captain Tylor work where some other titles might not is that it often applies the humor in small doses. It is not uncommon for an episode to place the crew of the Soyokaze in some dangerous situation, really ratchet up the tension with little comic relief, and then blow it all off right at the end when Tylor’s dumb luck comes and saves them all. In the end, it is a funny episode, even if there was little actual humor throughout.
What is interesting about this series is that for all its straightforwardness, it is actually fairly complex, and that complexity comes from Tylor himself. Just like the crew of the Soyokaze, it took me quite a while to properly warm up to Tylor. I could not quite figure out why, but he was not working for me as a protagonist, and it was hurting my overall enjoyment of the show. But again, like the crew, I found myself getting more onboard with Tylor’s antics as the series went on, and I wanted to see his successes.
I finally figured out what it is: Tylor is not the prototypical comedic leader, and it is therefore tough to get a handle on what makes him tick. He is not brave, but he is also not a coward. He fancies himself as a bit of a ladies’ man, but he is not particularly perverted. He likes being in charge, but he does not view himself as being better than his crew. There is little about him that stands out; he just is. Even his carefree personality is a bit vanilla. And as such, his decisions never seemed to be borne from any personality trait (such as cowardice), he would just have an idea and follow on it. It makes it hard to care one way or another about what happens to him.
But as the series progresses, and his odd choices and decisions keep working out, his personality began to grow on me. As more than one character notes throughout the series, he is either a complete lunatic or a certified genius. Everything he does goes against every form of logic, particularly military logic, but it always works out in the end. And as the series progressed, I found that I was more and more on board with his odd decisions, and I found that I liked Tylor—and therefore the series as a whole—so much more. His lack of anything truly outstanding makes him a bit more human.
And that is what makes this series complex, at least for me. Because of the way that the story unfolded, I almost felt like a crew member of the Soyokaze: at first I wanted and expected Tylor to start shaping up and acting like a captain because he frustrated me, but by the end, I appreciated his methods (or lack of them). Like Tylor, it means the entire series is either genius or lunacy; it made me as a viewer have the same emotional reactions of the various characters. Whether intentional or not, it worked.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is an old series, but one that still works well today. It has some good action and drama, but the comedy surrounding Tylor is what really drives it forward. I am glad to see it given new life with this boxset; anybody who likes their comedy dosed with a little humanity would do well to check this one out. Recommended.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Character bios, UPSF ship data, Raalgon Empire ship data, textless opening, textless closing, liner notes
Magnavox 37MF337B 37” LCD HDTV, Memorex MVD2042 Progressive Scan w/ DD/DTS (Component Connection), Durabrand HT3916 5.1 Surround Sound System