Review

by Bamboo Dong, Nov 18th 2001

Irresponsible Captain Tylor (TV)

Bilingual DVD Boxset

Synopsis:
Irresponsible Captain Tylor TV DVD set
When I first heard about a series called The Irresponsible Captain Tylor, my first reaction was: "a series about an irresponsible captain named Tylor? Wow, those producers really have run out of ideas." At the time, I couldn't fathom how boring a series must be to warrant such a name. Reluctantly, I gingerly took the DVD boxset that a friend made me watch, saying that it would quickly become a fast favorite of mine. He was right. Much to my surprise, Captain Tylor is not only an exciting series, but also one with emotional drive, and I went through the four discs supplied in the box with amazing speed. Thank goodness DVDs don't have to be rewinded!

The Irresponsible Captain Tylor is about a man named Justin Ueki Tylor. To describe his nature as blunt as possible: a senile sloth that has been dead for two months would call Tylor a slacker. Hoping to rack up an impressive pension plan by joining the military, Tylor accidentally saves the life of a celebrated war hero when he tries to deliver a pension check. Inadvertently, he is promoted to the rank of captain of a ship, the Soyokaze, where the military dumps all the screw-ups it wants to get rid of. The entire series after that deals with the trials and challenges that the Soyokaze crew encounters, such as a rebellions on board, fights amongst the crewmembers, and worst of all, a dangerously irresponsible captain. To make matters worse, a war is erupting, and all the enemy ships seem to have their radars set on Tylor.

Review:
For fans of the Captain Tylor TV series, the DVD boxset, released by the Right Stuf, is definitely a great bargain. Even if you've never heard of the series before, this boxset makes any excuse you can think of voidable by default, as it's a wonderful way to turn anyone into a fan of the series. The entire 26 episode series is crammed into four DVD discs, and doesn't cost nearly as much as many of the other boxsets on the market. And, because the whole series is already conveniently at your fingertips, it's no longer necessary to wait tedious months between each volume. (Back in my day, we used to have to wait up to half a year for new volumes of a series to be released-if they were, at all.) If that itself isn't worth the set, then you're a tough fan to please. Fortunately, there are plenty of other reasons why this series and boxset are great.


The Japanese track was very well translated, even catching all the euphemisms that most subs leave out. The timing was superb, and the subtitles were easy to read at all times. The Japanese cast was especially commendable, throwing their emotions and passion into their lines. Not too surprisingly, the English dub track was also of some value, as many noted voice actors have parts in the series. Personally, I wasn't too fond of the casting, as I felt some of the characters' natures were skewered by the voices, but the cast members themselves deserve applause. As a harsh critic of English dubs, I found that this one was bearable, and even if the characters were tweaked a bit, the acting was rather good.


Although the music in the series was pleasant, it didn't quite make me rush online to import the soundtrack. Displaying a wide array of styles, the instrumental tracks ranged from blasé tunes, to perky ditties, to sweeping ensembles of grandiose nature. The music was average for the most part; however it had a penchant for reaching perfect climaxes when absolutely necessary, climbing the emotional peaks of the Soyokaze crew's successes and inducing a joy-saturated finale before dying off into the relaxed denouement of one of the less impressive instrumentals.
The vocal tracks in the series, on the other hand, are highly enjoyable. The opening theme is a bouncy song, featuring the characters forming a conga line across the screen in a scene slightly reminiscent of part of the opening to the television sitcom, "The Nanny." The ending theme is a personal favorite of mine. Although it's similar to the songs featured in a vast majority of other anime soundtracks upon the first listening, the song leaves behind a nostalgic air after a certain, touching scene near the end of the series when the song is sung by the captain himself. One interesting about the opening and ending themes on the DVD is this: multilingual tracks. The songs are available in the original Japanese, as well as English and Spanish dubs. On first thought, this sounds as though it might be cool. It's really not. After the first wave of amusement passed, I recoiled in horror as I forced myself to listen to the dubbed songs. I remember telling myself after watching the Rurouni Kenshin DVDs that I would never again in my life listen to an anime song in any language but the original. The alternate language tracks on the Captain Tylor DVDs reaffirmed this belief with a fiery resolve. Even though the singers hit the right notes, their performance leaves viewers with a chalky taste in their mouths and a bland note of pain in their ears. I'm not criticizing the artists though. They were fine, but the North American producers should have known better than to even consider dubbing the songs. It never works. Never.


Despite these trivial matters, the DVD box is still a wonderful buy. If there is one thing that is a bit lacking, it's the virtually nonexistent DVD extras, but with an entire TV series crammed into four discs, it's hardly a matter worth mentioning. All in all, Captain Tylor's still one of the most enjoyable series I've had the pleasure of watching. So, with the holidays coming up, this boxset is something you might want to consider adding to your wish list. It'd be a great addition to any anime fan's shelves. In the rare circumstance that you end up not liking the series, though, hey, don't panic, I'll gladly take it off your hands. However, don't even try to blame it on me if you don't like it; I'm not responsible for your unfortunate decision. Responsibility is overrated.

Grade:
Production Info:
Overall (dub) : C
Overall (sub) : A-
Animation : A
Art : A
Music : B

+ Fun, light-hearted story
Please don't make me listen to the dub songs again...

Director:Koichi Mashimo
Series Composition:
Hiroyuki Kawasaki
Koichi Mashimo
Screenplay:
Kenichi Kanemaki
Hiroyuki Kawasaki
Nato Kimura
Masami Watanabe
Storyboard:
Daisuke Chiba
Tetsuya Kobayashi
Koichi Mashimo
Takeshi Mori
Koji Sawai
Akira Takamura
Music:
Kaoru Ishijima
Mitsuko Kasahara
Kenji Kawai
Megumi Maruo
Hiroaki Nakamura
Erina Shima
Yoshiki Yamaura
Original creator:Hitoshi Yoshioka
Character Design:Tomohiro Hirata
Art Director:Masaru Sato
Animation Director:
Tomohiro Hirata
Chuuichi Iguchi
Satoru Isono
Kazuchika Kise
Toshiharu Murata
Toshikazu Suzuki
Hiroshi Takaki
Mecha design:
Koji Ito
Shoichi Masuo
Sound Director:Takashi Matsukawa
Director of Photography:
Harutoshi Ikegami
Motoaki Ikegami
Producer:
Makoto Kubo
Chiyo Okazaki
Tomoyuki Taguchi
Masatoshi Yui

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Irresponsible Captain Tylor (TV)

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