Ginga Hyouryuu Vifam - Reviews

Alt title: Round Vernian Vifam

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Ebonyslayer's avatar
Jan 16, 2021

Vifam is a mecha anime that Tomino worked on in 1983, while also juggling Aura Battler Dunbine. Considering how much Tomino was working on at the time its not surprising to hear how he would be drunk while working on Dunbine. I see Vifam as a side-project that Tomino worked on while taking a break from Gundam.

If I have to be honest though, I don't think I really enjoyed Vifam that much.

Story- The story focuses on the 13 children who escape their colony on a spaceship after its attacked by aliens. And from the start they make it their goal to go home to earth Over the course of the series they learn to grow and adapt to the danger situations around them, much being the case seeing how this is a real robot anime. The characters eventually become involved in the conflict between the Kuktonians and the Earthlings.

And that is one of the bigger problems to the series. It was never properly explained why the Kuktonians and the Earthlings were at war with each other. Did peace negotiations go wrong, did one of the races attack first, that is what I want to know. And sadly that question never really gets an answer. I'm not sure how involved Tomino was with the writing, but he probably didn't get enough time to flesh out the story.

It also doesn't help that the pacing could be slow, and with 46 episodes, including the recaps, its kind of a slog. That sort of thing hurts the rewatchability.

Animation- The animation feels typical considering it came out of the 80s. But the characters designs are simple and not over-designed, which is a plus for me.

Sound- The sounds were interesting, seeing there were some organ soundtracks for the anime. Some soundtracks were rather chill, which fit since the children had a slice of life/space life going on when there weren't mecha battles.

Characters- The characters or specifically the main cast was one of the better parts to the anime. While slow, each of the characters did get their own arcs in the anime, and that was good. However, the same can't be said for the antagonist. Mueller was the definition of a boring antagonist. He overall never gets his own arc, most of the time he's an obstacle to Rody and the other characters.

And it sure felt like he was trying to play the tragic character, seeing how he had Kuktonian and Earthling blood. Whatever Tomino was trying to do with this character, he kind of failed.

Overall- There were definitely parts to Vifam that were good. I thought the main cast got some good development. Its sort of like Astra Lost in Space but if it had mecha and a longer episode count. However, I feel like the history with the Kuktonians and the Earthlings wasn't developed enough. And the antagonist was boring if I'm being honest. Would have helped if the story felt a bit tighter too.

Not Tomino's worst work, but its definitely not his best either. At least Sharon made the series a bit better.

Recommendations:

Mobile Suit Gundam

5/10 story
6.5/10 animation
6.5/10 sound
7/10 characters
5/10 overall
ThatAnimeSnob's avatar
Jun 15, 2012

ANIME MINOR JEWELS SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
http://anidb.net/perl-bin/animedb.pl?uid=251338&show=userpage&do=blog&blogid=29009&page=0

TEASER: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqp486fAdAg

Vifam is better than a run of the mill mecha for the strong focus on its characters. It would even be a mistake to view it as an action mecha, since the battles are to the most part simple or without choreography. It is in fact a lot closer to a children’s adventure, where (literally) a team of children need to reach safety.

The story is VERY dramatic and morbid at times, so this is not exactly an anime you can show to little children without scaring them or making them cry at times (if there is still a chance children will be willing to watch such an old show). There is a lot of death and destruction in it and despite the light way it tries to depict everything, I still believe this is a children’s adventure for adults. Plus it is full of sexual humor revolving little children and despite being done in an innocent way it still feels unacceptable for most non-Japanese audience. Damn those Japs; they are plain crazy!

So in the story, there is a war between Earth and an alien planet and during an attack on a base, a team of children are separated from their parents and are taken on-board a fleeing military ship. The aliens persist their attacks as they want the cargo of that ship and as a result more and more adults get killed in battle until there are only children left to fend themselves. I must say that the death total and the dread of seeing your friends and caretakers lying dead is extremely graphical at points, thus making this show a rather effective war drama and again not suitable for children. It is even highly tragic how the children need to survive by learning how to fight and keep eluding the alien attacks.

At the same time, the series is not exactly going serious with itself, as there is no actual consistency between the capabilities of the combatants. If the scriptwriters feel like it, the aliens are elites who wipe out entire armadas of earth soldiers, and if they don’t they are incompetent to beat a few children that clumsily pilot robots. I mean they can barely stretch their limbs enough to reach the controls and yet they fend off the aliens numerous times. Also, it is more than obvious how adults are the only ones who ever get killed in this show, fast and brutal, while children survive no matter the odds. After a point on, they don’t even seem to be affected with all the death around them and evil kill the highly human-like aliens like it doesn’t matter. For this reason the show is not convincing at all in making you believe the children are in deep trouble if not even experienced soldiers can defeat the aliens.

Although the realism part suffers tremendously, there is still a very good aspect in the show and that is the character focus and interaction. The whole meat of the show is looking at the children trying to survive and cope with any problems they encounter along their journey. Each one of them has a different personality and despite being a dozen, each one of them feels very likable and memorable in its own way. Some are definitely more active and comical or tragic than others, yet the show wouldn’t be the same if even one of them was missing.

As I said despite the dark overtones show goes for, it is still to the most part a humorous light adventure with the “almost” daily lives of children that need to survive on their own during a war. Each episode has several comical moments of how they mess up or trying to understand something, or even how they try to deal with their sexual frustration. I must say it has some really bold scenes concerning how the boys need porn magazines to steam out or how they drink alcohol to fight the pain they feel, or how the girls need to mend their underwear and lots of other not-exactly-humor-for-kids situations.

There is still a lot of drama present to balance it somehow, especially with one of the children being an alien and having to win the trust of the rest. Plus they need to solve the mystery of what is so important in their cargo that the aliens want so bad and still find their parents who are somewhere out there. There are also many mentions of the reasons behind the war that seem to give some justice even for the aliens, who are definitely not inhuman satanic conquerors but almost like earth-people, easy to misunderstand and snap. And humans are not exactly innocent either as they have mistreated the aliens’ colonies for far too long. Just don’t expect too much from all that, since as I said the show goes too easy with its dark side.

As far as production values go, the artwork is good for its age and has detail when it comes to robots and machinery. The character figures look a bit simplistic but their body language is very vivid so that saves face. The animation is not too good as there are a lot of still images going around and the battles are full of simplistic explosions. Music on the other hand is very good for its time as the voice actors did a god job in giving life to the children and the main music theme is amazingly captivating.

In all, Vifam is a good anime with likable characters, a bit of naughty humor, and nice anti-war messages. It simply never goes too bold with its themes and thus the serious aspects in it are feeling too naive to take seriously for long. It is not a masterpiece but surely more captivating than the average children’s adventure because of the very same dark elements and because children suffering is always an easy way to attract attention from the audience. Recommended with the bar set with middle expectations.

SUGGESTION LIST
Mujin Wakusei Survive
Infinite Ryvius
Ulysses 31
Galaxy Express 999

And now for some excused scorings.

ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (generic)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (basic but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)

SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Voice Acting 2/3 (corny but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Music Themes 3/4 (not great but fitting with the feeling of the series)
Sound Effects 2/3 (ok I guess)

STORY SECTION: 5/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 1/2 (erratic)
Complexity 1/2 (not much)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 1/2 (cheesy)

CHARACTER SECTION: 6/10
Presence 1/2 (generic)
Personality 2/2 (rather cheesy but well founded)
Backdrop 1/2 (generic and simplistic but it’s there)
Development 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)
Catharsis 1/2 (overblown but it’s there)

VALUE SECTION: 4/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 3/4 (interesting enough to remember it)

ENJOYMENT SECTION: 5/10
Art 0/1 (looks typical)
Sound 1/2 (I liked the music score but the dialogues are meh)
Story 1/3 (interesting themes that are presented too light)
Characters 3/4 (typical but nicely presented)

VERDICT: 5.5/10

5/10 story
6/10 animation
7/10 sound
6/10 characters
5.5/10 overall