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Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV Collection PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Written by maehara   
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 00:00
Irresponsible Captain TylorHere's a series that has been around for quite a while in various release guises - Irresponsible Captain Tylor, which as you would expect follow the adventures of a rather 'irresponsible' United Planets Space Force captain by the name of Justy Ueki Tylor. However much Tylor's superiors would like to get rid of him, though, Tylor is about to play a major role in the war that's brewing between humanity and the warlike Holy Raalgon Empire...

As usual for multi-disc releases, you can find the episode summaries and screenshots on the following pages. As mentioned, this series has also been around the block a few times - RightStuf / Nozomi have held the rights since back in the days of VHS, and have quite rightly milked it for all that it's worth since then. The version that's currently available, and whose details are given below, is for a newly-remastered version; for clarity, though, this review has been written after watching the original DVD release, which the re-release gave me an excuse to pull down from the shelf after far too long. The remastered version will of course look better, but otherwise there's no real difference between them. With that out of the way, let's move on...

On little more than a whim, chronically-bored 20-year-old Justy Ueki Tylor joins the United Planets Space Force. It couldn't have come at a more appropriate time: the Holy Raalgon Empire is in turmoil following the death (in suspicious circumstances) of the old Emperor, and the dominant faction is angling for war as a way to recapture the Empire's glory days. Wang, the Empire's Prime Minister, is hoping to pressure the young and inexperienced heir to the throne, Azalyn (aka Empress Goza the 16th), into going down a path that she really doesn't want to; and there are those in the Earth military who can see the way the wind is blowing and want humanity to strike before the Raalgon get the chance to. For both sides, it looks like space warfare on a grand scale is about to be unleashed. For Tylor, well, he's just counting the days until he can retire, maintaining a cushy admin job in the USPF Pensions Department, far away from the frontlines.

The chance coming together of Tylor and a Raalgon plot to kidnap a decorated war hero (and pension recipient) sees Tylor promoted and given the captaincy of the rather dilapidated destroyer Soyokaze, which comes complete with a misfit and non-functioning crew. As much as his superiors would like to see the back of him, though - something they're not beyond directly encouraging - Tylor soon builds his crew into a loyal, efficient one, and finds himself far closer to the heart of the Raalgon Empire than anyone would have ever thought possible...

...and all of this appears to be very much by accident. Right the way through the series, you can never tell if Tylor is truly working his way through events on the basis of blind luck, which is how it's always presented as happening, or if there's somehow a military genius lurking inside the carefree and apparently clueless young man that you get to see on screen. His true skill, if he can be said to have one, is in 'people management', and in pulling his crew together into a unit that both functions as a starship crew should - something that clearly wasn't happening on the Soyokaze - and in leading them to trust him. It's also that ability to generate trust that gives Tylor his influence with the Raalgon, gained after his capture around the midpoint of the series - a capture that sees him develop an unlikely but enduring friendship with the young Empress Azalyn.

There are quite a few people to meet along the way with all of this. On the UPSF side, Admirals Mifune and Fuji are a good place to start - they're Tylor's direct superiors, and find themselves having to keep promoting him for all his good deeds while basically loathing his existence. While they have to work together, they don't particularly seem to like each other, either, with Admiral Mifune regularly threatening to do damage to Fuji with his ceremonial sword. As a comedy double-act, they work really well; as the leaders of humanity's military, you've got to be worried about the future. There's also Tylor's crew, with First Officer Makoto Yamamoto and Lieutenant Yuriko Star both being keen on playing by the rules, and the rest of the ship doing their best to avoid that. In between there's Tylor, working his magic to bring both sides together and 'teach' them that they can work together.

The Raalgon are represented most ably by Azalyn herself, around 16 years old in Earth terms and still very much learning what's needed from her as supreme leader of a warrior race. Her chief unofficial adviser is Ru Baraba Dom, captain of the warship Doroume, who comes to have a great respect for Tylor. Officially, though, it's Wang who advises her, and he's chief of the faction within the Raalgon that's pushing for war. He's also got an eye on the throne himself, with the previous Emperor's death possibly being his doing, and plans to weaken or get rid of Azalyn high in his mind now.

The whole thing could have so easily turned out a mess, but Tylor himself is the glue that holds everyone together as the storms of war gather and surround everyone. The war itself comes to a head and ends in episode 23 with a 'battle' scene that is near perfection, and the series could (and maybe should) have ended there with no shame at all. The final three episodes are strange beasts, much more subdued and negative in tone than most of the series as as the after-effects of the war - and one other event that's very notable for Tylor - are explored. They're somewhat out of tone with the rest of the series, but they tell a story that almost needs to be told before giving the series the finale that it deserves.

While Tylor may be getting a little long in the tooth now - as a cel-animated series it's definitely lacking the visual CG gloss of more recent anime shows, which may be off-putting to some - it's also standing the test of time really well. It's been long enough since I last watched the series that I'd long forgotten the details, so this was almost like seeing it new, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it, watching the whole series in the course of a week. One of the classics, and a series that belongs in anyone's collection.

Rating - *****