Anime Spotlight: The Irresponsible Captain Tylor

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is based on a light novel series by Hitoshi Yoshioka called, The Most Irresponsible Man in Space. The 26-episode television anime series was produced by Tatsunoko Production and was directed by Koichi Mashimo. The episodes aired on Japanese television from January 25-July 19, 1993. 10 OVA episodes were also released for the series between October 1, 1994 and August 1, 1996. Studio Deen and Yume produced the OVA episodes. The first two episodes were directed by Koichi Mashimo, while the remaining eight were directed by Naoyuki Yoshinaga. As of this writing, Right Stuf, Inc. and Nozomi Entertainment holds the North American distribution license for both the anime series and the OVA episodes.

The series is set in a very technological future, and features a young man named Justy Ueki Tylor. At the beginning of the series, he sees an advertisement for the United Planets Space Force, and he goes to the recruitment office to join. When he’s asked why he wants to join, Tylor says he wants the easy life. When he goes to be examined by a computer with a female personality, Tylor manages to get it so excited that it causes the higher-ups to believe they’re under attack by the Raalgons. Since they now consider themselves at war, the UPSF decides not to worry about screening people, and Tylor makes it in.

He starts out with a desk job at the pension office. Tylor finds himself in the middle of a hostage situation when he goes to deliver the pension for a retired admiral. He manages to resolve the situation and save the admiral, so Tylor is given command of a decrepit ship called the Soyokaze. Over the course of the series, Tylor doesn’t tend to follow regulations and manages to bumble his way into situations and still come out unscathed.

Tylor’s crew includes Lieutenant Commander Yuriko Star, Lieutenant Makoto Yamamoto, First Lieutenant Kyon-Hwa Kim, First Lieutenant Harold Katori, Kojiro, Emi and Yumi Hanner, Dr. Hidezaburo Kitaguchi, and the Marines. Later, a Raalgon spy named Harumi comes on board to serve as a nurse on the Soyokaze.

The antagonist in the series is the Raalgon Empire. Azalyn is the 16-year-old empress of the empire, and she had to attain this power at such a young age after the death of her parents. She becomes rather important to the story after she has an opportunity to meet Tylor in person. Wang is Azalyn’s chief advisor, and he wants greater power; he’s able to twist the opinions of the court and force Azalyn to take his suggestions. Captain Dom becomes one of Azalyn’s trusted advisors, and it is Dom who sends Harumi as a spy.

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a comedic series, and there were times when I found myself laughing very hard at Tylor and his antics. Not only is this series a comedy, it also seems to be a kind of tribute to space operas such as Space Battleship Yamato and to popular sci-fi like Star Wars.

Some the humor goes beyond the situational, though. For example, one of the Marines wears a hockey mask, wields a chainsaw, and is named Jason. Also, the Combat Suit used by the Marines is “Combat Suit Type-95 M.C. Hammer.” It’s also revealed in the liner notes that when the translators went to translate the title for episode 15, it was decided to base it off the classic R.E.M. song, “Shiny Happy People.” Considering that the series was originally produced and aired in Japan in 1993, the early 1990s references make a lot of sense.

Unfortunately, the animation in The Irresponsible Captain Tylor looks dated. When you see it, you can obviously tell that it was originally produced in the early 1990s. Fortunately, since I enjoy older anime, the obviously dated animation style doesn’t bother me too much. However, younger anime fans may have a harder time getting into this series due to how dated the animation looks.

I have to say that overall, I enjoy the original 26-episode anime series over most of the OVA episodes. I really didn’t like the change in character design, animation style, and storytelling tone used in the final eight OVAs. At this point, I’d be more than happy to rewatch the 26-episode series and the “Tylor’s War” OVAs, but I really have no desire to rewatch the remaining eight OVA episodes.

If you enjoy comedic sci-fi and don’t mind the look of anime produced in the early 1990s, then you will probably enjoy the 26 episodes of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor television anime series.

When it comes to the OVA episodes, I can only truly recommend it to fans of The Irresponsible Captain Tylor who want to see everything that was produced for the franchise. In my opinion, more casual viewers of the series really aren’t going to be missing much if they don’t see the OVA episodes.

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