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Irresponsible Captain Tylor Litebox Anime DVD Review

12 min read
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor

Sometimes luck can really carry you quite far 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 in the backside, has been made Captain of the space cruiser Soyokaze! The crew of this rundown 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 had 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. 

The Review:
Audio:
The audio presentation for this series is pretty straightforward and shows its age a bit as we get the original Japanese language and the previously recorded English dub in stereo encoded at 192kbps. The series has a good mix of things that it does, from the action sequences to the comedy and slapstick as well as calmer dialogue pieces between just one or two characters by themselves. The action doesn’t exactly get expansive here with its forward soundstage design but it has a good full feeling overall that works properly for the way it unfolds. It’s not something that will knock your socks off, but it first for a science fiction comedy. Dialogue itself is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Video:
Originally airing in 1993, the transfer for this twenty-six episode series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The show is spread across five discs with an average of five episodes per discs, with the final one hitting six. Working off of the previously released remastered edition that came out, this litebox edition uses the same discs as that and presents a very good looking show for its age. The series has always had a good look and the transfer here is as solid as it likely can get for standard definition as there’s some noise in the backgrounds and a bit of line noise here and there, but nothing much beyond there. There’s some very minor cross coloration in a few scenes, but it’s so negligible you almost hate to even mention it because it doesn’t impact the show in the slightest. Colors look good, the details come across well and the presentation in genweral is exactly what you’d want, though it may leave you craving a high definition release as well just to see what else can be eked out of it. The show holds up well here compared to some other 90’s shows being released these days.

Packaging:
With so many editions of this out there over the years, the appeal of a litebox version like this is to nab some new fans of course, but also to provide a very tight package overall. This release gives us the five discs inside a single sized keepcase to keep it all together. The front cover gives us the three primary characters of the Soyokaze where it’s all done large so there’s not much to the background besides a touch of stars. The logo is kept small in the upper left corner which sort of fits as the appeal here is definitely the very good looking character designs. The back cover works nicely here as we get a few shots from the show and a nice black and white piece that’s serious for Tylor and Yamamoto. The premise isn’t delved into in a big way but it covers the basics well along with a good listing of the discs extras and what the show itself has for its episode count. The technical grid is simple but it covers everything cleanly and clearly. No show related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

Menu:
The menu design for this release definitely goes for something a bit spartan, but not in a bad way. The static menus have the star filled background as a constant which looks nice enough and there’s a good piece of character artwork, done in black and white, of Tylor and Yamamoto together that’s more serious than it needs to be. I would have preferred something with a bit more humor and lightness to it when you get down to it. The navigation strip along the bottom has the logo along the left that looks good and the selections are kept to the right of it. It doesn’t have a lot of flair or style but it’s effective and definitely fits the show in a good way. Submenus load quickly and we didn’t have any problems in getting around or accessing anything.

Extras:
The series has an average of five episodes per disc so there aren’t a lot of extras being worked with. But we do get some good extras that are spread across the set, with the most regular one being the very welcome and fun liner notes that fleshes things out more as it goes along. There’s some data points on the show and its ships at times and a variety of images in different galleries. Add in the clean opening and closing and some character bio material and you get some basic things here but it’s the liner notes that shows the heart of it all.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is quite an interesting and amusing show that has certainly survived multiple viewings of the years since Right Stuf first released it. At the time, it was ahead of itself in its style and general feel. Looking back at it now, many years after its initial Japanese broadcast, the show feels old school in its style, but still fresh and alive. The series so far manages to not date itself, and with some above average animation for a TV series, it holds out decently against some of the jaw dropping stuff we see coming out nowadays.

The show is at its essence a science fiction comedy, but not one that goes in hugely unrealistic or outlandish ways, though it touches on it at times. It shares some similarities with another show of the same genre, Martian Successor Nadesico, in the odd crew lead by the offbeat captain and the ragtag crew. There are alternating moments of hilarity and more somber moments. Though one difference is that the women of the crew aren’t all fawning over the lead male, in this case Captain Tylor.

Tylor starts out in the gutter, rain falling down on him and getting soaked by passing by vehicles. At twenty, he has no real goals other than trying to enjoy life, and that doesn’t seem to be going to well. The video billboards start up and the ads for joining the United Planets Space Force kick off with the scantily clad spokesgirl. The military is where it’s at he decides. A true life of comfort. Free food, free clothes, free rent… how can you go wrong? Through a series of mishaps and accidents, things that follow Tylor throughout the series, he ends up easily enlisted in the UPSF as war is declared by the Raalgon empire. The empire believes (rightly so?) that the UPSF is responsible for the assassination of their emperor. Now led by the young Empress and surrounded by ambitious ministers, she begins her plans to avenge her father.

While on Earth, Tylor’s time in the pension department is amusingly spent playing games and enjoying the good life. Through yet another amusing set of mishaps and accidents, he meets up with Yuriko Star, a rising commander in the forces, and Lieutenant Yamamoto. His lack of sense causes widespread destruction, but the end result gets him promoted to the position of captain, and off he goes to the Soyokaze. Unfortunately, the Soyokaze (Gentle Breeze) is where the bad of the bad go, a dumping ground of UPSF members who just don’t fit in. Tylor naturally fits in well here, and his accidental style of leadership provides some predictable moments along with some great moments of fun and surprises as well.

After the varying results from Tylor’s initial encounters, those above him and in charge of the fleet do their best to get him out of the way again. Instead of trying to put him into battle, especially after the previous episodes results, they demote the ship and send it off to a special sector just for demoted ships. But before the order comes, the crew hold a swimsuit contest! Though the fanservice is one of the highlights of the episode, the real fun comes when Harumi is instructed to take out Tylor.

Raalgon assassins are snappy dressers and Harumi is no slacker in that department. Dressed up in her best skintight jogging suit, she does her best to take Tylor down through various means. Tylor’s luck naturally keeps this from happening, and the final attempt is both amusing and surprising as Tylor reveals more than the viewer would guess he knew and manages to diffuse the situation easily.

When the demotion comes through, the crew realizes that Tylor is the one to blame, even though through his own luck he’s saved them several times over and actually accomplished quite a lot. Yuriko pulls out a little known regulation that gives them the ability to challenge the demotion, but it means Tylor has to go to Earth and dispute it in person. Being Tylor, he brings Yuriko and Harumi with him, but finds himself easily sidetracked when he comes across the old Admiral Hanner. The episode takes some small amusing turns but does more in terms of showing again just how nice Tylor is in general though using his lack of a clue in regards to the time sensitive nature of disputing the downgrade.

Having now rejoined the fleet proper after the last disc, it doesn’t take long for things to go truly bad for the Soyokaze crew. Harumi gets instructions to capture Tylor and bring him to Dom’s subordinate as he has plans for Tylor. And getting the man responsible for Donan’s fleets demise doesn’t hurt either. So Harumi takes up the task again (sans jogging suit!) and sets loose a virus on the ship that quickly takes most of the crew down. Once the ship is nearly out of commission, one of the enemy vessels slinks into view and offers the command staff the antidote. On one condition of course – hand over Tylor. The sick crew sets up a plan to overpower them once they come on board since Tylor likely won’t give himself up, but are surprised when the ship lands and Tylor is already there to give himself up and are even more surprised when they see Harumi there and apparently both a spy and an android!

With a bit of maneuvering, Tylor manages to get both the vacine and Harumi from the Raalgon’s, since Harumi would have been discarded as defective due to her emotions over Tylor. With a smile (and after trying to get Yamamoto to come along), Tylor goes off into the Raalgon empire, leaving the crew behind to deal with everything. The crew of course is quickly quarrantined and put out of the way, leaving them to ponder their fate and the fate of their now brave missing captain.

It doesn’t take long for Tylor to arrive in the presence of Dom, who takes the superior stance with Tylor as he shows him off to other members of the fleet command and the prime minister, which Tylor adoringly calls an old man or general, constantly mistaking who he is. Dom eventually puts Tylor into a dank holding cell, a holding cell he purposely has set with an escape hole. Tylor puts on a hilarious goofy look and heads out into the ship…

… to feed. A prompt midnight snack occurs with a wide array of dishes. At the same time, her highness her self, Empress Azalyn, sneaks out of her chambers to get a midnight snack too. She tries to sneak it out under Tylor’s nose, not knowing who he is, but ends up being caught. Tylor of course has no clue who she is and invites her to join him. And so begins the romance between the Empress and her new Chef. The resulting interactions between the two are very sweet, very Tylor-esque and very frustrating in knowing that there are several women who want him and knowing the kind of fights that may be coming up.

The episodes that deal with Tylor and Azalyn turn out to be a high point in the series, moreso than his misadventures in battle with the Raalgons. Azalyn does fall under the spunky Empress stereotype, but it works well when combined with the freewheeling and loose Tylor. When Tylor becomes the de-facto court jester for Azalyn, he takes things in odd an humurous directions as he takes down the prime minister repeatedly in speaking what he sees as the truth.

Yuriko brings into play some rather parent-like discussions with Azalyn about responsibility and being careful about what you say, especially when you’re in a position of power such as she is, as well as being more thoughtful of others in general. In other words, a typical Yuriko moment, but one that turns the tide in things as Azalyn evaluates the things she’s said and done. In seeing the carnage that followed on the ship, she decides to end it all and return back to her people to try and do some good.

Tylor’s luck doesn’t quite hold up at this point though. Once Azalyn’s headed back, who shows up but the Admiral and his Dragonball Z’ish co-conspirator to collect the empress and use her as a bargaining chip. Can you imagine the stunned looks? Or the stunned looks of the crew as they quickly sentence Tylor to death for treason! Tylor’s quickly hurried off after a rushed and loaded court-martial that finds him guilty of many things and sentences him to death by firing squad. Yamamoto is given command of the Aso, the newest shiniest ship in the fleet and Yuriko is moved into the intelligence group. The rest of the crew goes their separate ways.

The result of Tylor’s trial proves to be an interesting maneuver on his part (though it obviously wasn’t planned) and the remaining half of the disc goes in some interesting ways that would be really spoilerish. While the series doesn’t conclude in any meaningful way, it does end on a good note and set the stage for more which came in the form of OVA’s. In the end, the final arc of the series didn’t completely wow me, but proved to be entertaining and fun with some great serious moments mixed in. A few scenes were reminiscent of Legends of Galactic Heroes which had me smiling but overall, the hype about the end really didn’t seem to live up to itself. But that’s what they say about hype, it never lives up to it. Tylor’s a good solid fun series that I’m glad I finally got to take a look at.

In Summary:
While there are some series that I never see a second time for many reasons, there are those like Irresponsible Captain Tylor that I end up revisiting multiple times over the years. The show appeals on a lot of levels, from the simple but nicely done fanservice at times to the comedy of it all and the kind of old school science fiction approach to it. While there are some less than engaging episodes along the way, the show as a whole definitely works in what it does. When you have seemingly main characters like our Raalgan princess not in the first half of the series and a slow build and exploration of the Soyokaze crew, it’s something that comes together naturally without the forced nature of bringing in new characters every episode. Tylor is a show that just has a lot of good fun with it and it’s easy to get into Tylor’s mindset and kind of laid back approach to life with his expressions. It’s not a proper military attitude to be sure, but it’s something that holds a lot of appeal with how it’s approached here.

Features:
Japanese 2.0 Language, English 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Liner Notes, Character Bios, Ship Data

Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B

Released By: Nozomi Entertainment
Release Date: July 9th, 2013
MSRP: $39.99
Running Time: 650 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Review Equipment:
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.

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