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 time and time again. A short while ago we looked at the TV series for The Irresponsible Captain Tylor and it was a prime example of everything we've come to expect from Rightstuf. Today we're looking at the follow-up series, The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA, and it's every bit as good.
Fans of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor certainly have something to celebrate with the release of the OVA. Granted the show has already been on the market for some time now, but those introduced to the franchise via Rightstuf's latest release will definitely want to pick this one up. This sequel animation comes just a year after the show's original airing in 1993 and features ten more episodes cataloging the exploits of Tylor and the Soyokaze.
As is the case with most OVA releases there are some slight differences between this one and the original. For starters the tone is a bit more serious in nature, though there are some goofy moments and plenty of laughs; just not quite as many as we saw in the first series. Basically what's up this time around is the Raalgon Empire has returned with a badass new weapon and naturally it's up to Tylor and his ragtag crew to stop them, save humanity, and look like idiots while doing it.
One thing that sets this release apart from the main series is the fact that there's not quite as much Tylor in it as you'd think. The secondary cast is given more of a chance to step into the light for better or worse. I thought the producers did a fine job showing off the other characters in the show, but throughout the first season we grew to know Tylor the most. This is a show with his name attached to it after all and it's just a shame that he wasn't more of a focus. With that being said the focus gets a little more balanced as the show progresses and ultimately it's still very entertaining, but it's not quite as enjoyable as the first series.
The difference in tone is really felt, and the fact that the majority of all ten episodes here is episodic doesn't help either. Because of that the pacing feels off, and it drags for a little bit. Then again, towards the end of this series there's a bit of buildup for the big send-off and some multi-episode adventures that feel more fleshed out. I liked the way they brought the franchise to a close and felt it closed the doors on an appropriate note. Basically everything that has happened before culminates into an explosive ending that leaves the door open for a lot of interpretation. I typically don't buy into endings such as this, but the crew behind The Irresponsible Captain Tylor actually pulled it off well.
At the end of the day The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA is really something that's just for fans of the original series. It's a direct sequel in every sense and it's a solid continuation of the story and franchise. While the ten episodes aren't all successful and the focus of the series wanes a bit, it's ultimately entertaining and a worthy successor to the original's crown. Consider this release strongly recommended if you enjoyed the first series, but just know that it's not quite as good as the original.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA is presented on DVD with a fullframe 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Considering the show was originally released in 1994 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 are 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 15 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. Ultimately it's nice to note that the sequel series holds up to the quality of the first one.
Being a show from almost two decades ago, it's really no surprise that The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA 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 release of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA are rather meager, but what's here is better than nothing. There are some trailers, specifications on "The Undefeated Soyokaze", liner notes, and music videos included with the four discs here. The liner notes are easily the shining star here, as they were on the first release, and there's plenty information and background detail for the series offered up.
The Irresponsible Captain Tylor OVA is a worthy successor to the original series and it's a highly entertaining follow up. While the shift in character focus, episodic nature, and more serious tone don't necessarily gel quite as much as one would hope, there are still plenty of moments where things absolutely shine. If you were a fan of the original series then consider the OVA strongly recommended. However, if you haven't seen the show check out the original series first, then give this one a spin. This is oen of the better science fiction franchises around and it's worth a watch by any fan of the genre.
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!