I dare say that when it comes to publishing anime, Rightstuf and Nozomi really know what they're doing. Just about every series I have ever seen from them stands out in terms of quality, uniqueness, and overall charm. The people who make licensing decisions seem to have a real affinity for anime that wins you over, and The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a prime example of that. This series has been around for quite a number of years and has seen a couple different releases, but it's just such a fun show to watch that it's something I go back to time and time again. If you missed out on Rightstuf's previous release, then their latest re-issue is definitely worthy of a bite.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a 1993 anime that comes from the mind of Kouichiro Mashimo, whose other works include Sorcerer Hunters, Eat-Man, .hack, and Noir. It's safe to say that he has some skill when it comes to directing anime and with 26 episodes for the original animated television series, and 10 for the sequel OVA, there's no denying Tylor's place in the annals of anime history. In case this is your first time looking into this title though, you may be wondering what it's all about.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor takes place well into the future where humanity has branched out into the stars and technology has made some incredible advancements. The United Planets Space Force (UPSF) stands as the bastion of humanity's explorative efforts in the galaxy. They protect the people and could basically be considered the Federation from the Star Trek franchise. Opposing them is the Raalgon Empire, which consists of aliens who look like elves, and a real knack for disliking most of humanity. Caught in the middle is Justy Ueki Tylor, a laidback listless military soldier and all around irresponsible guy.
Tylor joined the UPSF in an effort to land a cushy job, do nothing with his life, and retire with a fat pension. It's safe to say that he's the driving force of the series and it's his charms and actions that really give the show as much personality as it has. A goofy protagonist is nothing new for anime, but a goofy protagonist who has the uncanny ability to get out of any scrape no matter how big? That's something interesting for sure. It's this devilish luck that lands him in hot water and completely ruins his retirement plans at the beginning of the show.
While working in the Pension department one day, Tylor gets involved in a plot to assassinate a high-ranking official. By involved I mean he's on the bad end of things. One thing leads to another and Tylor unwittingly saves the man, causing all kinds of attention to be brought down upon him. He's commended for his excellent job and against his wishes he's given command of a UPSF ship known as the Soyokaze. You'd think that would be a confidence or morale booster, but Tylor didn't want this in the first place. Making matters worse is the fact that the Soyokaze is a ship full of misfits and it's falling apart at the seams.
With a crew of idiots under his command Tylor carves a name for himself across the galaxy. His two able-bodied (and minded) subordinates, Yamamoto and Yuriko, are the only voices of reason in the show. Even they are silenced by the deafening idiocy that surrounds them. All of this leads to the man at the top and Tylor sets the tone for his command, however, there are hints at genius behind his actions and he may not be the buffoon everyone thinks he is. There are some outstanding moments here as the show plays with you a little bit and leaves you really second guessing just how much of a moron Tylor really is. This is one of the more entertaining aspects to the show, but thankfully the eclectic support cast of characters is just as endearing.
The Raalgon Empire presents an interesting set of antagonists and they offer plenty of tough moments for Tylor to fight his way out of. In almost every episode he and the crew of the Soyokaze will find themselves drastically outnumbered and out-planned, only to come out by the skin of their teeth. As the show moves forward the Raalgon's get a nice amount of development as well and they eventually become characters to sympathize with.
I'd also like to mention that while The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is very much a comedy, there's a fair amount of dramatic moments as well. The story is really not afraid to pull any punches or take chances and there are some nice, dark moments that push the characters to the brink. There's nothing truly epic by anyone's standards, but the show is balanced enough in all areas to be nicely rounded and completely entertaining. Because of that The Irresponsible Captain Tylor earns its place on top anime lists and it stands out as one of Rightstuf's better titles. That says something. Consider the series highly recommended.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is presented on DVD with a fullframe 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Considering the show was broadcast in 1993 it's really not surprising to see this kind of presentation. Technically speaking this transfer comes from the Japanese DVD release and features some remastered video. The difference between this transfer and the original one we saw from Rightstuf is negligible, but there's some noticeable changes in terms of overall color and noise level (this one being the better of the two). Otherwise the picture looks on par with what you'd expect 16 year old anime would look.
As far as the art direction of this show is concerned, it's styled like you'd think a classic anime should be. The animation is fluid and precise, the artwork is charming and warm, and the overall design of the show fits in with the science fiction genre quite nicely. All around the quality of this show is astounding and it's a testament to the original production that it still looks this great even today.
Being a show from almost two decades ago, it's really no surprise that The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is presented with 2.0 stereo output for both English and Japanese languages. I was pleased that Rightstuf included the English track, because many of their releases of late have been Japanese only. Granted this dub is more than a few years old, so I suppose there's no point in omitting it. The quality of both language selections is very good and there really isn't one dub that's better than the other. As far as the presentational merits are concerned the 2.0 tracks are able, but not quite as robust as they could have been. There's some definite age being felt here and the sense of immersion just isn't up to snuff. With that being said, again, this is a show from 16 years ago and it's very good for what it is.
The bonus features for this remastered collection of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor are a tad lackluster, even compared to the original release. Included here are character bios, UPSF ship data, Raalgon ship data, clean animations, liner notes, and some trailers. If you own the previous "Ultra Edition" of this show then you should know that you're missing out all of the bonus features and pack-ins that were included on that release. It's a shame Rightstuf couldn't have ported over some of those (such as the interviews and promotional videos), but it's understandable since they probably didn't want to make the prior release obsolete. With that being said, if you own another edition of the show the only carrot being dangled before you here is the remastered video quality.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is undeniably one of my favorite sci-fi anime shows. It contains the right amount of charm, humor, and dramatic elements to make it worth while, and though many of the 26 episodes may feel episodic, the show never really skips a beat. This remastered DVD collection is a great set to pick up if you haven't seen the show before, though if you own the Ultra Edition I'm not entirely certain that it's worth it due to the lack of features. Still, all around this release is solid and the show is a blast. Consider it highly recommended.
Check out more of my reviews here. Head on over to my anime blog as well for random musings and reviews of anime, manga, and stuff from Japan!