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Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA Collection PDF Print E-mail
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R1 DVD Reviews
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 00:00
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA CollectionI couldn't really watch the Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV series without giving the OVA another whirl, although to be honest the OVA lacks a lot of the magic of its broadcast predecessor. While the Soyokaze crew are assigned to ground-based duties, a new enemy is beginning to prowl the far reaches of space, armed with weapons that neither the Raalgon nor UPSF seem to have any defence against...

OVA1: An Exceptional Episode (Parts I & II)
The crew of the Undefeated Soyokaze are enjoying some shore leave after their exploits, when Tylor is summoned to a meeting with Admiral Mifune - it seems the Raalgon have developed a weapon which renders the shields on the UPSF's ships useless, and there are signs that they're itching to use it. As a result, Mifune has a mission for Tylor - a mission that's secret enough that he can't even tell his own crew what it is. So back into battle the Soyokaze goes - and in Tylor's true style, it's not long before our intrepid crew are sitting in cells on board the Melva, awaiting their execution, while Paco-Paco.. err, Tylor.. is off socialising with little Azalyn again...

Secret talksPondering

AngerDom

OVA2.1: The Rules of Being 16
Azalyn's getting a bit fed up with the responsibilities of being the Raalgon Empress - Wang is constantly on at her, trying to swing her in favour of war and reminding her of her responsibilities to her troops and her citizens. It's leading her to feel the need for a change of scenery, so when she finds out that Dom's heading off to Vishram, a planet where she spent a lot of her youth, she tags along, hoping to find some peace there amongst her happy memories. What she finds on her arrival, though, is that there's no escaping her position...

EscapingOld friend, new enemy

OVA2.2: The Samurai's Narrow Escape
Kojiro has been assigned to test-pilot duties for the final phase of trials for the UPSF's latest fighter, the Gunryu - it's a top-secret project, but they're hoping that Kojiro's combat experience, gained while posted to the Soyokaze, will help them iron out the last of the issues they're having with the new ship. It's a job that Kojiro's more than happy to take on, and with his reputation as the "Samurai of Space" having preceded him, expectations are high. During one of the tests, though, he gets into an unexpected combat situation as a group of Raalgon scoutships are detected, and with his fighter damaged he's left in a tight spot...

Test pilotLucky escape

OVA2.3: The High-Tech Opposition
More new prototype testing, this time with the Marines & the new Newtype mecha. Designed by one of Andresson's Academy buddies, Oscar, it seems to be an almost unbeatable machine - and Oscar's reputation is such that those who follow his work believe that it'll be beyond the skills of mere grunts like Andresson to pilot it. No, this is a piece of kit that's going to be reserved for more skilled pilots. It's rather ironic then, that when one goes berserk, it falls to Andresson and his team to find its weakness and bring it back under control...

Shore leaveLooking for the magic button

OVA2.4: White Christmas
It's Christmas Eve, and while the rest of the Soyokaze's crew are making their own arrangements, Yuriko feels the need to spend the evening with Tylor. Having arranged to meet at 7pm, Tylor finds that keeping the arrangement isn't going to be easy, thanks to the repeated interventions of a young boy who seems to be alone for the festive night. Tylor, after originally being roped in by the boy to deliver a package to another officer, finds that the boy just won't leave him alone - and that trouble is usually very close behind him. Yuriko, meanwhile, is getting tired of waiting...

Gift huntingAnother delay

OVA2.5 & 2.6: If Only the Skies Would Clear (Parts I & II)
Yuriko's assigned to UPSF Intel Division to carry out an investigation on the recent destruction of a freighter. The initial investigation concluded that the destruction appeared to be an accident, but Intel aren't convinced & have tasked her with trying to find out what really happened. No sooner has she finished her report, than she's captured by a pair or Raalgon agents, determined to draw the UPSF back into war with the Empire. Meanwhile, Yamamoto has finally achieved his dream - his own command. Unfortunately, his first mission is less than stellar when the freighter he's escorting is destroyed & his own ship is disabled before he can even fire a shot. Faced with what he sees as his own dishonour, Yamamoto is left to consider his future...

InvestigatingRescue

AttackLast respects

OVA3: From Here to Eternity (Parts I & II)
Hope you were paying attention during If Only the Skies Would Clear - these episodes run almost parallel to that 2-parter, with some events taking place in both & clear links between the 2 stories, so it certainly helps to have seen both. Admiral Mifune's finally got his chance to get Tylor out of his hair - with the commissioning of the new Project R high-speed ships, there's no longer any need for relics like the Soyokaze, so she's to be scrapped. It just takes a while before they get around to telling the crew. Meanwhile, Yuriko and Yamamoto have been working on tracking down the cause of his first command's untimely demise. A detailed analysis of the flight recordings & some other information Yamamoto manages to dig up reveal that the strange red light is definitely not natural - something new & powerful is prowling around the frontier. Back on the Melva, Wang uses all his skills at political manoeuvring to force Azalyn into agreeing to an attack on the UPSF - but it's not the welfare of the Empire he has at his heart. With the help of some outside allies, he's got his eyes on Azalyn's throne, and with Dom & the Imperial Guard sent to the frontier, her future isn't looking too bright...

ScoutingLonawer

Cheerful prisonerMission start!

A bit of a mixed bag, this one, with each OVA 'season' having its own feel and tone. OVA1 is closest to the TV series in overall feel, while the other two stray away from it in ways that don't help its appeal, with subtle changes to character designs making them feel not quite right while OVA2's lack of humour does it no favours at all. But let's take one season at a time, and see what we've got.

An Exceptional Episode picks up pretty much straight after the TV series ends, and keeps the TV show's sometimes serious / sometime humourous style. The main appeal is in revisiting what, for me, was the best 'arc' of the TV series: the time that Tylor spent with Azalyn, as the two characters have a dynamic together which is better almost than any other 'couple' in anime - even though you know there can never be anything other than friendship between them (Tylor's true affections are, after all, already accounted for). Dom, meanwhile, is used as comic relief for a lot of the story, an unusual role for him but one that works surprisingly well. Being an OVA, there's a slight but noticeable improvement in production values from the TV show, but under the surface it's still the same show - space-opera wrapped up in comedy with some romance thrown in for good measure. The overall story itself is nothing overly special, but it gives fans of the show another opportunity to see the gang all together, and for that reason it's great fun for Tylor fans to watch. In common with the other OVAs, though, it's not a good place for newcomers to start as it assumes you know the characters and relationships between them.

Where OVA1 was great fun, though, OVA2 has real issues, not least in the pacing department. The season consists of six episodes - four character pieces, and a two-part finale that introduces the first murmurings of something new on the frontier and sets up the premise for OVA3 to deal with in detail. Of those six, the first (Azalyn's character piece) and third (the marines getting a workout) are worth watching. Anything with Azalyn in it gets by vote, while the marines provide the season with some rare action and humour. The other two character episodes, though, are devoid of humour, while what perhaps should have been the highlight of the set - Tylor and Yuriko's 'Christmas special' - is an exercise in tedium that is very, very difficult to watch, on account of being so slowly paced and so lacking in almost anything of real appeal. The final two-parter, If Only the Skies Would Clear, is interesting enough up to a point (and gives Yamamoto his chance in the spotlight), but because so much of it is rehashed by OVA3 there's a real question mark over what the point of it is, other than seeing some events from OVA3 from a slightly different viewpoint. When the OVA series was originally released by RightStuf, it could be bought as three separate volumes - back then I would have almost recommended skipping OVA2, but the current release is a complete collection only, so you're stuck with it. While it does have its moments, though, it's really not up to the standard of the rest of the show.

OVA3 brings us back to the usual Tylor-in-space style of episode, and it's definitely good to see the Soyokaze crew together again, with all the character interactions that made the TV series so enjoyable back as well - so as far as it goes, From Here to Eternity is a very enjoyable 2-parter that promises to end the series in a suitably epic way. The problem is, though, that it should really have a few more episodes tacked onto the end of it - without going into spoilers, the story is left on a cliffhanger that could easily take a few more episodes to resolve. Fair enough, these things sometimes happen when money runs out or a series is cancelled (His & Her Circumstances, anyone?), but as far as I'm aware it was always planned to end Tylor at this point - in which case leaving it on a cliffhanger in the way that's done here pi***s me off no end & definitely spoiled my enjoyment of the show.

So, definitely a case of the ups and downs, with the downs perhaps edging it. While there are moments where the old Tylor brilliance shines through, many of the stories here simply don't have the magical appeal that the TV series did, and are lacking in anything resembling a hook for the interest. The cliffhanger ending is also damned near unforgivable, under the circumstances. So worth buying? Just about - there are enough good moments to make it worth the reasonable price that Nozomi are asking, but don't be expecting too much - the TV series simply set the bar of expectations too high for the OVA set to have any real chance.

Rating - ***

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