Friday, July 20, 2012

Anime Review: The Irresponsible Captain Tylor

It's time for my inaugural review for this new blog, and it is... The Irresponsible Captain Tylor? Huh, I thought I was going to start off with something more grand or interesting, something unique that would change who people would think about anime... Apparently that's next week.

The fate of Earth rests in his hands... Oh dear God.
Some people join the military out of their love for their country, some join as a part of a family tradition, some join because they seek guidance in their life, and still others join at a change for adventure. Justy Ueki Tylor joins because he wants an easy life. If he gets a nice desk job he can work at a relaxed pace until he retires and then live off of his pension for the rest of his life. If he gets command of a ship, that's even better because then he won't have to take orders from anyone. However, when the United Planets Space Force and the alien Raalgon Empire start a war and Tylor somehow saves the life of a retired Admiral, he is promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander and is given command of the Destroyer the Soyokaze. Now the most Irresponsible man is now Captain of the most rundown ship in the UPSF fleet commanding the worse crew ever to have been given military ranks. However, victory after victory, everyone is beginning to wonder if this Captain Tylor is far greater than he lets on. For there is a fine line between utter stupidity and sheer genius, and The Irresponsible Captain Tylor uses that line to play Hopscotch.

They've got the Goods!
In case you haven't already guessed if from my introduction, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a sci-fi comedy centering around the concept of what would happen if the most unlikely person became Captain of a ship. And while there is a certainly many interesting and quirky characters including a first officer who is constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a fighter pilot who is deadly afraid of girl (and a pair of twin girls who never leave him alone), a sexy nurse spy, and a doctor who has 30 years of experience... drinking booze (and he is only 33), the main focus of the series is of course on Tylor himself. The antics and situations, both military and otherwise, he gets himself into and through either dumb luck or intricate planning (We are never sure which it is) he finds himself winning battle after battle, creating interest within the Raalgon Empire for his "brilliant" tactics, and the frustration of his superiors who view him as nothing more than a disgrace. The situations Tylor finds himself in and the clever, unorthodox, or just plain lucky ways he gets out of them is the primary source of comedy from the series and is where the show is at its strongest.

Meet Jason.
Unfortunately, the focus on Tylor is also where the show is at its weakest as well. The concept of having a man constantly challenging the common notions of intelligence is interesting, and the times where Tylor seems to have a plan underneath his goofy, dim-witted exterior makes for some really interesting stories. However, with how the series is presented Tylor's successes are far more often the result of a fortuitous turn of events. There is no way he could have planned half of the things he does, and the other half are just stupid in and of themselves, like playing virtual whack-a-mole in a small room with a real mallet and lots of flammable materials. I would have liked more situations where it is more unclear whether Tylor is an idiot or the smartest man alive. Also, the English voice acting in the series ranges from passable to bad. While Crispin Freeman does a great job as the laid back Tylor, other characters at times seem miscasted like Lisa Ortiz as the twins Emi and Yumi, in addition to her playing the Raalgon Empress (Every time any of those characters speak I can't help picturing Lina Inverse). There is also a lack of emotional conveyance at some points in the series. In the first episode there was a bunch of people talking and none of them seem want to show an emotion, and at another point in the series we couldn't tell if a character was laughing or crying. The series could really use a redub.

While the series has its flaws, I don't think they are enough to deter enjoyment. Even with a spotty English dub a lot of the jokes translate well (half of it because its visual) and besides you could always watch it in the Japanese dub. And even if I'd rather them characterize Tylor as more of a genius than an idiot, some of the over-the-top scenes are worth it. If you have room in your schedule to watch a 26 episode series, then check it out.

Until next time.

Crescent, I have seen weirder things.

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