Mike wonders aloud which anime would be a good fit for the prestigious Criterion Collection.
Irresponsible Captain Tylor
VHS 1 (new dub)
Tylor is (from what we can tell) a bum on the street when he sees an ad on the TV to join the millitary featuring a cute girl. The next day, he's in the recruitment office sucking up to everyone that can give him access to the "easy life" -- that is, millitary pension, free clothes and food, etc... Among them is the AI testing program (which he names Betty) and when he seduces her, she blows the computer! The rest of the United Planets Space Force (UPSF) thinks they're under attack, and Tylor is in!
After saving a retired admiral, his twin daughters Emi and Yumi, and family friend and fellow officer Yuriko Star from a terrorist threat (by accident), loose cannon Tylor is given command of the perverbial armpit of the UPSF fleet: the Soyokaze - a ship where no captain has lasted more than three days, due mostly to the fact that all of the crew are delinquents! During a mutiny attempt, the ship accidentally warps right into a Raalgon (enemy) fleet! Rather than go out heroically, Tylor instantly surrenders (to everyone's dismay) but then does something that lets everyone know just how irresponsible -- and lucky -- he really is.
A long time fan favorite, Irresponsible Captain Tylor finally gets its newbie-friendly release this month as a dubbed version. If you haven't seen Tylor before, this dub is actually good enough to serve as an introduction for even the most discriminating anime fan.
The interplay between the characters here is great, and for once we have a comedy that doesn't rely so much on super-deformed slapstick humor (not that there's anything wrong with that) but is still just as funny and interesting as any of them. Only Maison Ikkoku even comes close to Tylor in terms of low-key fun. Why hit someone over the head with a mallet when you can have a character be so absurd and weird that everyone is just left with their mouth hanging open, wondering what to say next?
The new dubbed version is produced by Taj Productions, the studio famous (or infamous, depending on who you ask) for the English version of Pokémon as well as Software Sculptors releases like Slayers, Revolutionary Girl Utena, and the upcoming Record of Lodoss War TV series. TAJ dubs often sound marginal at best, due mostly to their regular practice of handing the actors a script and slapping them in a studio with no practice, no idea what their character is like, and hardly a concept of what the anime is even about. (I'm not sure whether to blame TAJ or Central Park Media for that practice, but either way the result is the same.) The finished products speak for themselves... listen to their dubs and then listen to an ADV produced dub. (ADV shows the actors the subtitled version, has practice readings, etc...) It's fairly easy to tell the difference.
...Which is why this new dub of Tylor is such a surprise. It's not just good -- like the later dubs of Utena -- it's polished, well-directed, and well-acted. Crispin Freeman makes a perfect Tylor (I was SURE he'd be too flowery in his speech patterns), and fan favorite Lisa Oritz (AKA Linna Inverse) shines as the young Queen Azalyn. (She does triple duty here, as she also plays twins Emi and Yumi Hanner!) One surprise is Joe Dopico as Lt. Andressen, who delivers probably one of the most well-acted and well-cast performances in dubbing history.
Oh, sure, like any dub it has its weak points. Some of the lesser bit parts sound terrible, and Rachel Lills as Yuriko tends to drone when her character is being preachy (she's great the rest of the time). Some lines aren't rewritten long enough, causing the actors to have to speak too slowly. Overall, however, there's very little here to be desired, and these little flaws are sure to improve with time. In fact, there's only one bone I have to pick with this dub: the English dubbed opening and ending themes.
It's not very often an American release has a dubbed OP/ED, but when they do, it often turns out pretty good. This is one BIG exception. Whoever sings it is uncredited, but this woman has a gutteral, abrasive voice that simply doesn't suit the opening at all. (Well, she's also occasionally off-key, which doesn't help.) The songs aren't even properly recorded, as they are fairly distorted, poorly mixed and suffers from the microphone not having a spit-guard. Heath Stegemann's English lyrics just don't flow at all, and some lines aren't even enough syllables, forcing the singer to stretch. The result sounds like a tape recording at some karaoke bar, but at least the originals are reproduced at the end of the tape.
Just like in the subtitled version, the post-production is top-knotch. This is a perfect compliment to the sub, and so I'm dying to have 'em both! Hopefully, the release of this new dubbed version means a DVD release is on the way.
Overall (dub) : A-
+ Great anime, good dub.
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