ANIME MINOR JEWELS SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
Notice: This review covers both the main series and the OVAs that followed it.
You know how it goes with leaders in anime. They are usually very charismatic, energetic, and set aim to be the best in the universe or something like that. Now, try to see that in reverse. Imagine a guy who has no real leadership or tactics, bored as heck, and with only goal to live a life of just fooling around, to be placed on a seat that demands him being the aforementioned archetype. What you get is Tylor.
Animated by Tatsunoko Productions, a generally minor studio. Amongst its numerous titles this one and The Soul Taker are the only ones I consider worthwhile so they are not exactly bigshots. Directed by Mashimo Kuichi, a man whose style has changed considerably after he switched studios. The guy directed almost all the famous Bee Train anime later on (all the .hack and all the Chicks with Guns themed titles) and I must say he is very good at what he sets out to do. Most of his roster is average to good shows, with a few mishaps here and there; overall he is a very good director, despite not being known to most.
Irresponsible Captain Tylor is exactly what the name implies. The story of a man who dislikes responsibilities and who is trying to get the easiest job that pays well and has the shortest hard labor in it. He decides to join the army. Because, well, Earth was at peace for far too long and the military was spending its years doing drills and mock battles; so why not? Unfortunately for him, as soon as he signs in for evaluation, war breaks out and all candidates are immediately accepted. Furthermore, because he seduced the AI that was supposed to evaluate him (yes, it was a cyber chick) he was placed as captain of an entire ship, as there was no time to double-check the procedure. And the fun has hardly began.
Yup, it is a hilarious premise and most of the episodes have really smart gags and situations. And they are not exactly random because there is always a sinister plan some big shot will throw at Tylor, only to be trashed by his uncanny luck and bizarre reaction to everything, to the point where he is unpredictable enough to win. Yeah, sounds ridiculous but it works. The humor is based mostly on the ridicule of forms. In martial arts, a fighter will usually do one form of attack and expect his opponent to react in a specific way, at which point he also counters in a specific way and so on. But Tylor doesn’t do forms. He doesn’t know anything about them! He hardly thinks there is a ship to take care of. That is what makes him so funny and unpredictable. Of course, he wins the hearts of everyone on board for this feature, which makes the whole deal even funnier.
CHARACTER SECTION: 5/10 (Tylor alone is a 10)
Analysis: Presence 2/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 0/2, Catharsis 0/2
The humor is indeed smart to the most part and that is what makes it a good show in terms of enjoyment. Tylor becomes almost a cult figure because of it, a sort of Yang Wenli (the lead in Legend of Galactic Heroes) parody. All the rest unfortunately are not memorable for any reason, with the exception of the alien princess, which gets to even fall in love with the greatest enemy in their war with Earth. Plain hilarious. Not that I assume all the characters are dried up prunes or something, it’s just that they don’t really do anything to move the plot forward. Plus, they are rather simplistic fellows, with their characteristics being rather standard in most anime. They don’t develop in any way as well. I still recall the female lieutenant and the twin girls on the ship, and only because of the erotic humor they kept throwing at poor Tylor. Every babe is practically giving signs of interest towards him and all he does is yawing. This is not because he lacks balls, like the average shounen lead out there. In fact, he is quite the lecherous womanizer. He just finds women too troublesome to care getting in a steady relationship. And what do we know about men who don’t react to women who like them? Yes, they are super sexy for playing it hard to get. Hilarious!
ART/ANIMATION & SOUND: 6/10
Art Analysis: General Artwork 2/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
Sound Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 2/4, Sound Effects 2/3
Animation and Sound have nothing much to write about. There is an ok amount of detail given to ships and machinery, and characters are drawn in an almost typical 90’s way. The animators made a fine job at making you feel THIS is an Earth ship, THAT is an alien one and OVER THERE we have a megacity. It is mostly done with the use of different sets of colors. There is action and some bare skin showing occasionally but you will definitely care less about all that than Tylor’s weird take on everything. Voice acting and music score seem to be on a better level, as the lead has a great voice actor to fully portrait his zany character, while the humorous songs and light atmosphere actually help you get in the mood of the series easily. I must point out how the animators weren’t afraid to break the fourth wall at times and show how they had things made “behind the scenes”. The opening film speaks for itself, lol. They also had budget problems at times (expected from those tragic recession years Japan was going through) and that kinda shows easily. But since they made fun of themselves while doing so, I excuse them. You don’t see many anime where you clearly feel the makers were having fun while doing their work; so good job.
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 2/2, Pacing 1/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 0/2, Conclusion 0/2
The story is by far the weakest part in all. It starts well, it provides lots of progress at first, and then it begins to slow down. Eventually, the series ends anti-climactically, while the following OVAs are to the most part aimless adventures in space. The first two though are a blast! But anyway, the story is weak; the war or the supposed romances never result to anything.
ENJOYMENT & VALUE SECTIONS: 6/10
Analysis: Historical Value 1/3, Rewatchability 1/3, Memorability 4/4
It is a famous retro series but most modern viewers probably don’t know, don’t care and most likely won’t bother watching it. Too many superficial comedies come out every year and most are now close to porn. I say it is a worthy watch but may be hard to follow through a second time because you will know all this insanity won’t lead anywhere. Which is nothing new to anime comedies.
Great Teacher Onizuka