Captain Justy Ueki Tylor might be the most unassuming man in the United Planets Space Force. He may not know regulations when it comes to uniforms, he may actively run from a fight, and he might even have a few relations with the opposing Raalgon Empire. Stuck with the decrepit vessel Soyokaze and an equally disastrous crew, Captain Tylor might be irresponsible, but he might also be the best man for the job. The 20-year old series has been re-released in a thinpak, remastered and ready to be unleashed on a new audience. Is the series an unassuming surprise in 2013, or is it truly past it’s prime?
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is an odd bird for American audiences. It never received any sort of widespread presence, such as a run on Toonami (where it would have been a perfect fit at the right moment), but it did exist: dubbed and readily available on VHS tapes. You may have seen it at Suncoast, but it wasn’t a series with easily-available action figures, and it largely disappeared.
The disappearance is a shame, because the show is possibly one of the most enjoyable animated series of the 1990s. In 2013, it’s a clear show that many things just might have been better in the past. Nozomi Entertainment has released the original 26-episode series on a more-budget-oriented set (there was a release preceding this with bigger and grander packaging); does the show stand strong enough on it’s own, or is it irresponsible to release the series without all the bells and whistles?
The concept and plot is relatively clear and common. Everyman Justy Ueki Tylor enters the United Planets Space Force with a desire to get a pension to live on, but due to his luck and happenstance (such as saving a retired admiral and his daughters from terrorists when delivering a check), he’s fast-tracked to being a Captain of his own ship, the Soyokaze. The ship was set to be decommissioned (and put Tylor quickly out of a job), but due to his charisma, the Soyokaze and his crew survive multiple run-ins with the villainous Raalgon empire without even firing a shot. He even becomes a pet of the newly-nammed queen of the empire, but returns home just in time to find out his personal hero has passed away. Disillusioned and dismayed, Tylor wanders the streets, wondering if he should return to being a Captain.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a brisk 26-episode series that doesn’t stay in one spot for too long. Tylor enlists, is a brand-new captain, is captured by Raalgon, returns, and leaves, with no two episodes allowing the series to fall into a redundancy or plot of contrivances. The rest of the cast vary from a serious-business right-hand man, a by-the-books woman (balanced out by a “proud to be a lady” communications officer), twins with dreams beyond their happy exterior, a woman-fearing ace pilot, and even an army of grunts and gang members ready to unload on the enemies. Likewise, the enemy forces have varying personalities that don’t get as much shine as the others, but the childish Queen does have a few moments.
The plot jumps right into the middle of battle, and it’s appreciated. We get no idea on how the world reached the era of the United Planets Space Force, where the Raalgon Empire came from, what the motivations behind war are, or even where the final battle will be held. The conflict is the background like many Call of Duty games: the war’s going on, but that’s not the plot. The main drive, and success, of the series is the incredibly entertaining Tylor and his crew, alongside the solidly-entertaining animation, great soundtrack, and even the very-inventive intro (how many shows featured a rotoscoped singer?) and commercial break bumpers.
There are significant on-disc extras in this set, even if any and all physical treats are limited to “a case that holds your DVDs”. There are liner notes for most of the episodes, character bios and ship data for the opposing forces, trailers, and textless opening and closing. While it may not be the largest on paper, it’s substantial enough to requires a reading at the end of watching the episodes on the disc. It’d be great to see commentaries or original Japanese promotional material, but as it stands, there was clear work put in, and it’s appreciated. The original release would provide much nicer shelf adornments, but this’ll take up a bit less space.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is nothing short of amazing, and it’s not irresponsible to release a budget version of this series, just so it gets in the hands of many people who might not be able to check out the more expensive one. This is a great piece of 1990s animation, and with a sequel OVA series, makes you want to enlist for more.