Review

by Chris Shepard, Apr 12th 2002

Yamamoto Yohko, Starship Girl

DVD

Synopsis:
Yamamoto Yohko, Starship Girl DVD 1-3
In a thousand years from now, the great battles between civilizations have been reduced to the shoulders of a handful of chosen champions. When a war is waged, each side picks its representatives, gives them spaceships, and the fight is on! Of course, if their champion looses, they must admit defeat and give in to the wishes of the other. Very handy, very civilized ... unless you don't happen to have any good fighters...

Terra team has had it tough lately: Ness' "Red Snappers" team has had things their way. Even with technically superior ships, things are looking bleak for Terra...

To make matters worse, they only have three pilots. Despite a concerted effort to recruit girls from the past, the team simply keeps losing! Now they desperately need someone special...someone powerful, capable, and someone who possess a killer instinct. A pilot of extraordinary skill to fly the new model ship. They need ... Yamamoto Yohko!

Now if they can just convince her that a better life awaits her in the future, with new friends, new videogames and some very powerful hypertechnology, Terra might be able to defeat the Red Snappers for a change!
Review:
There was a lot of potential for this title. Being a spoof, it could have been great. What could be better than an exciting space romp with great characters, crazy situations, and almost non-stop humor? After all, it is a formula that worked so well in the past. But unfortunately, Yamamoto never quite recognizes the great potential behind her.

Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko is one of Right Stuf's few DVD releases and they managed to do a pretty good job on this one. During the last couple episodes there were about three different spots with mass pixilation, yet beyond that, the video and audio quality looked great. The menus work well, function properly, and were a pleasure to navigate. In regards to the packaging, the cover sports a lovely design of Yamamoto Yohko as the backside gives a well written, easy to read synopsis of the storyline. All of the design errors of the VHS packaging were fixed, as the synopsis on it was impossible to read due to colors of the font and background clashing with each other. An overall nice job.

Right Stuf included only a few extras in this latest release. Just a tiny slideshow as well as a few bloopers made during the dubbing process. Most weren't very funny though, with only a few still shots of the animated characters and the dub actors messing up their lines, occasionally resulting in some swearing. Nothing too exciting.

With it's grand potential, the content Yamamoto Yohko churned out was less than stellar. It managed to be exceedingly average in nearly all ways.

When Yamamoto Yohko, the starship pilot, was first introduced she seems like quite an intriguing character. They're about to bring some videogaming girl from the past back into the future to fly a spaceship in some big war. With her mysteriousness, kick-butt yet reserved attitude, and even nice character design, you'd think she was about to become a hit. Unfortunately, she's not. Her attitude becomes annoying, she doesn't really do much, and she's never developed beyond her stereotypical features. And the same goes for the rest of the cast, except they're even worse off. By the end of the disc I realized I didn't even know who two of the four “good-guy” pilots were. Everyone was so generic and underdeveloped that I felt I had gotten no-where. It's hard to truly enjoy an anime when you barely know anything about the characters you're watching.

Starship Girl Yamamoto is actually two different OVA series, one produced a little bit ahead of the other. There are a few minute differences between the two as well. Though the character personalities in both match the above description, the production values did seem a little heightened. Neither have truly breathtaking animation though it is improved during the second series.

The final blow, which ultimately condemned Yamamoto Yohko forever into the land of averageness, has to be the plot. It is clichéd ridden and has all been done before. This would have been fine if Yamamoto Yohko went for the all-out spoof approach but that's not the case. It's not taking itself to seriously either; it just seems to go on. All of the episodes were played out with the same formula as well. Each episode begins with the Terra Girls going on some sort of an unoriginal adventure and then inevitably getting into some big spaceship fight towards the end. If this sounds exciting, it's really not. Very little emphasis is put into the space battles so don't expect the action to be this title's saving grace either. And did we really need yet another clichéd hot-springs episode? And even despite that, there's not even any fanservice!

As Yamamto Yohko chugs along into its second half, which is essentially the second series, the plot does improve a slight bit. The episodes are still stand-alones and while there seems to be a few more attempts at developing the characters, it doesn't help much. All of the same problems still plague this title.

With all that's available on DVD today, recommending Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko would be a tough call. It's not horrendous and there are a few amusing scenes but nothing to really bring the series up to par with the rest of the competition. If you want a comedy scifi with female leads, why not just get Battle Athletes or Iria? As for shows with male leads, even Tenchi's better than this. There's just not enough umpft packed into this one to make it worth it. If you've already bought everything else out there and need something average to help keep you going, maybe you could consider this. But unless average is your thing, don't even both.
Grade:
Production Info:

+ Provides somewhat of a fun adventure.
The great potential for comedy goes to waste.

Director:Akiyuki Shinbo
Script:
Yuji Kawahara
Danji Matsubara
Mayori Sekijima
Storyboard:
Shoichi Nakayama
Yoshimitsu Ohashi
Akiyuki Shinbo
Episode Director:
Yoshimitsu Ohashi
Masami Shimoda
Akiyuki Shinbo
Original creator:Takashi Shouji
Original Character Design:Takashi Akaishizawa
Character Design:Kazuto Nakazawa
Animation Director:
Masashi Ishihama
Kanta Kamei
Kyūichi Sotoyama
Yoshinobu Yamakawa
Mechanical design:
Masahiro Ando
Kenichi Hamasaki

Full encyclopedia details about
Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko (OAV)

Release information about
Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko (DVD 1-3)

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