What They Say:
Through fear and conquest, the Empire of Valdana holds the future of most of human space within it’s the iron hands – and for generations, those hands have belonged to the Landless Lords of the ruling Tytania dynasty. But now the foundation of the empire is crumbling, pockets of rebellion are forming and when a mission sent to punish the city-state of Euriya is shockingly defeated, the man responsible becomes the target of a galaxy-wide manhunt! For Fan Hyurlick, architect of Tytania’s first defeat, glory becomes desperation as his own side betrays him. Now Fan must not only save his own life, but somehow turn the tables on opponents who have whole worlds to command! The legendary team of character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto and director Noboru Ishiguro, who redefined action anime in the legendary MACROSS, reunite to create a new epic space opera for the ages.
The audio presentation for this release brings us only the original Japanese audio track encoded at 224kbps. The show has some good moments where the sound shines, notably during some of the action sequences in space with the battles, but also the more personal areas with the action in the streets. The music comes across well though not too much of it stands out all that strongly overall. Dialogue is what makes up the bulk of the show and it’s pretty good throughout with a few touches of placement and directionality across the forward soundstage but nothing all that significant overall. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout however and we had no problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.
Originally airing from late 2008 into early 2009, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is enhanced for anamorphic playback. The first thirteen episodes here are across two discs in a six/seven format with a decent bit rate overall. The show has a vibrant look to it in a lot of places, from the ship animation and the beam weapons as well as with the character animation as well. There’s a good variety to the uniforms and costumes which adds more color than you’d normally see in a show like this. The transfer comes across very well with a minimal amount of noise throughout it, though some of the space scenes shows a bit more than other scenes. The source material is in great shape and the look of the show has a clean design about it that comes across very well here.
Tytania’s a hard sell across the board, from the show concept to the packaging itself. The release has a decent framework to it with a kind of royal feeling to it with silver borders that have a touch of elegance to it. Within that framework there’s a decent piece of illustration artwork of Duke Jursan and Fan Hyulick that’s kind of soft in its design but darkly serious as well. The cover is interesting and it’s the kind of show I like but nothing here really jumps out at you unless you were predisposed to it. The back cover is very, very busy as it uses the same kind of framework but adjusted for the shots from the show that are lined around the summary through the middle. There’s a lot of these shots in different configurations but it’s using appealing pieces overall. The summary cover things well and they make a good nod towards some key creative staff from Macross working on this. The episode and disc count is clearly listed and the technical grid is spot on. There’s a small listing of the discs features off to the side, but with little here it doesn’t make sense to make too much of it. No show related inserts are included nor is there reversible cover artwork.
The menu design for this show is interesting and definitely appealing on one level, though most science fiction based shows tend to have a hard time with making menus look good. The central focus is on the strip through the middle with the illustration of various characters, similar to what we see on the covers and the silkscreening on the discs, with silver bars arrayed around it in a royal kind of fashion with a starscape background underneath that. The episode selection along the top is quick and easy to use and the special features have either trailers on the first disc along with production credits or the actual extras on the second disc. The layout overall is simple but effective and with it being monolingual, defaults are pointless and they don’t include a language section here.
The second volume contains the extras in the form of the clean opening and closing sequences.
At twenty six episodes long, the first thirteen of which are here, Tytania is a series that has a whole lot going for it with a certain audience. The show is based off of the novel series of the same name from Yoshiki Tanaka who is responsible for the Legend of Galactic Heroes, The Heroic Legend of Arslan and Sohryuden: Legend of the Dragon Kings. The novel series for this began back in 1998 with three volumes published, though it’s still considered ongoing and a new presentation of it by Square Enix brought in some fresh artwork from Haruhiko Mikimoto to give it some attention. The anime production itself has some gravitas to it with Noboru Ishiguro taking on the reigns as director and Haruhiko Mikimoto serving as an original character design checker. Taking a bit of the old Macross crew and pairing it with a show from the man behind Galactic Heroes is extremely enticing. Unfortunately, parts of it are more reminiscent of Glass Fleet than Galactic Heroes.
In some relatively far-flung future, mankind has spread out to the stars and forged a number of worlds and empires. The largest and one that is fully in control is the Valdana Empire which has an interesting arrangement made for it. The Empire has as its main force the Tytania clan which has no world of its own but rather serves as the armed might of the empire and has been instrumental in creating a forced peace for quite a long time, several hundred years in fact it seems. The clan operates under the structure of a single lord who has four dukes of various sub-clans within Tytania that handle most of the larger aspects of things. These are the men to be feared at different levels. Within here, the overall lord of Tytania is watching the four of them to see who would be best suited to take over when he passes on and a new relationship must be forged with the Emperor and the ruling class.
With Tytania being feared, most smaller worlds tend to strike deals or offer token resistance in order to appease the citizenry that don’t want to be ruled by this growing empire. One such world, Euria, has made a backroom deal of just this kind for when the Tytania fleet led by Duke Ariabert arrives in that they’ve sent out their own with a weak admiral drawn from the low, low ranks and promoted for the duty. What happens though is that he isn’t aware of any such deal and mounts a creative and inventive defense that changes the nature of how Tytania is viewed by giving them their first loss in memory. While the surprise admiral, Fan Hyulick, is quietly excommunicated from his world because of what he’s done, it offers other worlds the view that Tytania isn’t invincible and a series of events starts to occur.
Tytania then begins to tell two different stories that invariably start to come together again. Fan Hyulick’s story has him going to other worlds and trying to figure out a new life after what’s happened. He’s sought after by Tytania to be brought into their world because of what he’s done, but it’s not a life he’s looking for. Others are looking to use him as symbol to encourage other worlds to stand up to Tytania and fight back. On the other side, you have the Tytania clan lord seeing this as an opportunity. A way to flex their muscles in a way not done in some time and bring about another large era of peace based on their actions. Their loss to Hyulick is seen as the chance to make their own period of time but also to do what their predecessors did in such bold statements.
With Hyulick in flight, we see him go through a number of worlds where he gets a growing feel for things as well as being pushed more towards taking a stand. While that happens, we get several stories showing the view of things from Tytania’s side, with their control of numerous systems now in danger and the various methods through which they try to put a damper on things. None of the worlds really stand out any more strongly than the others but they’re all decent little worlds for the most part with some mildly unique characteristics. Through these encounters, we see how the four Dukes deal with the situations as well as some of the bits of “intrigue” work as they all have their issues with each other as they aspire to take full on control of Tytania someday.
Tytania has a pretty good look to it with its space opera background and the elements that borrow obviously from the Legend of Galactic Heroes series. The Tytanian side has a variety of royal style uniforms to them without too much real consistency to them when it comes to the upper levels while the grunts are all fairly standard military types. When you get away from Tytania, the civilians and outlying worlds are all rather mundane without anything that really stands out, but some of the military uniforms are decent and the civilian side often goes for suits. The underground types don’t come across badly but they don’t look dangerous either. Almost all the characters fall into the same trap though of never really changing their clothes as time goes on and that always feels like it’s lacking that extra effort to make it a better show.
The space battle side is rather good overall as they do a nice job of some basic tactics here and there, a decent amount of tension in some of battles in that you can’t be completely sure how it will turn and the design of the ships is fun. Some of them they go opulent and regal with, generally just in the interior side, but it fits in with those lead Tytania ships when it comes to that. You expect a certain amount of this kind of look with these ships and its nicely balanced against the more barren and basic of those on the rebelling side. The ship exteriors are rather uniform in general though there are some nice touches to be had here and there, such as with the cannon ships, but by and large they go with standard style ships with a few touches of flair to it.
Few shows of this genre are made these days and Tytania has some really solid credentials behind it, both in the original author and the people behind this particular anime incarnation. The story takes a bit to get going after it kicks off with the upset against the dominant power but it eventually shakes out pretty well and ends the first half with a good declarative moment about what it wants to do. The opening half focuses a lot on the Tytania side and their struggles while Hyulick wanders about, but once his resolve hits and his motivation is made clear, Tytania provides a solid but average space opera experience for those who enjoy this genre. Hopefully when Sentai gets to releasing Legend of Galactic Heroes this series will see a new re-release with a potential high-definition upgrade.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing
Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B
Video Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Menu Grade: B-
Extras Grade: B-
Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: August 24th, 2010
Running Time: 325 Minutes
Video Encoding: 480i/p MPEG-2
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 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.