05 September 2014

gung-ho humor - irresponsible captain tylor

In honor of the military-themed Kantaicon and my own upbringing - whom I have mentioned earlier, in my Edge of Tomorrow / All You Need Is Kill review - I wanted to talk about an older military-themed animation.

Irresponsible Captain Tylor.

This series was one of the series that my officer father would actually condescend to watch with me. He put up with my rambling about Gundam Wing (mentioning, casually, that the emphasis on political maneuvering would make it hard to follow if someone missed an episode or two), but when I put in the first VHS tape of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, he heard the scene of a surprised recruiter asking our bumbling protagonist Justy Ueki Tylor "how would life in the military be easy for you?" and started snickering.

"In the military, all your food is freeeeee!" - which isn't incorrect.
Tylor's comment about free food isn't incorrect: in future series, we will see other characters (such as Sasha from Attack on Titan) join military organizations in hopes of at least being able to better survive. In real life militaries, food and housing allowances are often given as benefits to serving members, scaled based on where the member is assigned and that area's cost of living averages. In the case of things like healthcare and the GI Bill for educational opportunities, it's not ridiculous that someone would want to join the military in hopes of a better life.

 Yes, this is fiction, though, and of course the story in Tylor gets ridiculous: Justy Ueki Tylor's name even sounds similar to "just [barely] awake", and throughout the series, nobody is exactly certain whether Tylor is a genius, or gifted with the universe's best/worst luck. He gets in to the military, rescues an admiral, defuses a bomb - all within the first two episodes, and no one is sure what to make of him - not even his crew (which, in fine anime and movie tradition, are cast-offs, nerds, eccentrics, probable criminals, and just plain weirdos). Crispin Freeman, in an early role of his, gives an amazing and gung-ho performance as Justy Ueki Tylor, and sounds like he's having fun with the role - an unexpected hero, but a hero nonetheless! The blend of humor balanced with galactic scale plots really make it fun and easy to watch, though it is very much 1980s-in-style, starting from the opening sequence onward.

But for someone used to seeing dark, grim stories about war, or the military (think - again - Attack on Titan, or Fullmetal Alchemist, or pick a Gundam series to your liking) - Irresponsible Captain Tylor was refreshing.

The North American release originally was a Central Park Media production, but Nozomi Entertainment has now picked it up, and so the first two episodes are available to watch on Youtube (dub only) and the boxset available via RightStuf.

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