Thursday, May 12, 2011

Starship Operators: One of the Better Anime Space Operas

Sinon Kouzuki leads the crew on a wild ride in
Starship Operators. Credit: J. C. Staff

                      Starship Operators: One of the Better Anime Space Operas


                                                                   Jay Agan

      For the 73rd graduating class of the Kibi Defense University on the flagship Amaterasu, there is no ceremony or diploma. No honors or comissions. No careers, nor for that matter, a home to go back to. What they have:

      Seems while out on a training/shakedown cruise, the planetary nation of Kibi was sucker punched by the Henrietta Planetary Alliance & the peace inclined government folded like a wet towel. With the regular crew jumping ship without the cadets the "Class of 73" has only a mission to look forward to: Carry on the fight!

      This plot has been done in sci-fi before, but it comes with some interesting twists.

1.    As they need financing/support/supply they can't just go off privateering. They get it in an exchange deal with the Galaxy Network, a Hollywood based transgalactic TV net looking for a reality show. With correspondent Dita Markov & anti-grav cameras in tow, it's off to the war!

2.    No giant robots!

3.    Let's see. A ship named Amaterasu (The founding goddess of Japan.), the planet Kibi (A kingdom of 4th century Japan.), a neutral planet Shu (A province of China with a long history.), enemy ships named after battles involving east vs west some from the Second World War ..... I wonder what that's about.

4.    No giant robots!

5.    "Realism." Battles in space are at extreme distances with the enemy not seen with the naked eye. Cost/damage factored in. The ships don't "fly" in airless space so no banking, "soaring", etc.

6.    In case I didn't mention it before, NO GIANT ROBOTS!

      Through various strategies thought up by XO Sinon Kouzuki (The tactical brains of the outfit.) they prevail. In one ingenious ploy, using the ships' gravity generating system, the ship is "converted" in effect, to a highly maneuverable/fast swiveling "gun turret", taking out a multiple enemy (Brings The Last Starfighters' "death blossom" to mind.).

      Alas, toward the end, things get out of hand when the main Earth Federation/UN intervenes to take advantage of the situation in a power grab (Also violently shutting down Galaxy Network/the reality show & broadcasting BS propaganda. Sound familiar?), forcing the cadets to abandon ship in a bittersweet, open ended conclusion in episode 12.

      I recommend Starship Operators. It is one of the more intelligent/realistic of the sci-fi anime out there.

                                    Article copyright © 5-12-2011 Jay Agan

Interesting website on realism & space travel/sci-fi here. Be sure to see the Common Misconceptions section.

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1 comment:

  1. Have you ever seen Legend of the Galactic Heroes? It's an anime OVA series based off of Japanese sci-fi novels. The main OVA series ran from the 1988 to 1997, and was 110 episodes long.

    I think you might like it. It's rather slow-paced, though, so bare that in mind. But that's generally because it has a lot of ground to cover. (As a space opera, it goes pretty in-depth in exploring the setting and the worlds, which makes it quite interesting.)