Starship Operators Volume 3
In 2005 a series based upon science fiction novels of Ryo Mizuno was created. The series was animated by J.C.Staff and aired on TV Tokyo in Japan. This anime had no manga to base its story around, and the sci-fi novels of Mizuno were just the basic concept for the plot. For this reason, Starship Operators at the time didn’t seem to have a lot of press or hype around it.
There is a long and extensive backstory involved with Starship Operators. As a sci-fi anime, the series takes place in space and is about the 73rd class of the Defence University of the Planet Kibi. After returning home from their maiden voyage on the Amaterasu, they find that their home planet has been invaded and is now being governed by the upper powers of the Henrietta Alliance of Planetary Nations. On the demands of the new rulers, the original crew of the ship disembark; however, the student cadets decide that they will battle against the tyranny of the Henrietta Alliance.
As such they immediately leave their home planet and declare the Amaterasu a self-governed nation in exile. To make sure that the entire universe is aware of what is happening, they allow the Galaxy Network to fund the operation and are filmed with their every move being broadcast universe wide. With the former Prime Minister of Kibi, Minister Tatsuma Marmiya on board the ship has to protect itself and the exiled leader of their former world.
Naturally Henrietta are not happy with this and automatically declare war on the Amaterasu, who are forced to warp to a neutral location outside of the control of the various Alliances and Federations of the universe. During their stay in the neutral area they are challenged to a battle, downgraded to a pirate ship, face civil wars on the planets they land on and have ever-longer battles with Henrietta and the Earth Alliance.
The volume starts off with our heroes just appearing after they warped away from their last battle to try and survive. At this point the Prime Minister is no longer on board and is using every trick in the book to make the universe aware that the various corrupt Alliances and Federations in the Universe are unfairly attacking them. Unfortunately when the Amaterasu warps away they take a ship with them and are forced to continue battling.
The finale is stung with elation and desperation from the crew as they try to unravel the complex political battles that make various battleships that appear to aid them turn up. There are a lot of emotions between the cast, and along with the rapport that’s built between the crew of the Amaterasu there’s also a lot of sorrow for the amount of deaths that occurred on the ship.
Strangely for a series of this type, it’s not particularly fast paced, which is a welcome change. Of course there are a lot of young, attractive people on board from both genders, although there are far more women around than men. Starship Operators has a lot of tactical and technical discussion throughout, and it attempts to try and make the viewer connect with the show. This has been done successfully and it’s easy to get sucked into the show and think along the same lines as the crew on board the ship.
Along with the strong and slightly unusual storyline, the animation quality is pretty good. At all times the characters are distinct, with decent tones and do not appear entirely out of proportion like many other shows in this genre. The animation is smooth, and is all in the same style as the rest of the show. There are no random CGI moments that look out of place from the rest of the animation, and this could easily have happened as it occurs on many sci-fi shows from anime to live action.
The voice-acting cast have done a solid job as well. A few questionable voice actors have been cast, such as the Prime Minister, who sounds not only forced, but also disinterested. Aside from the few odd choices, the English cast have done a stellar job. They emulate the Japanese voice cast in a similar style, and the emotions and names of the characters have all remained intact. Fortunately the subtitles appear to be of a decent quality. There are no dubtitles in this show, which could have happened owing to the age of the show now.
Disappointingly both the English and Japanese tracks are only in 2.0 Sound, not 5.1 that is commonplace along many shows of this type. However, the extras such as the opening and closing tracks with no text, music videos, trailers and a few other little things more than make up for this.
A strong conclusion to a well-written show, it leaves itself open for a sequel as very little is concluded. It’s an essential for any sci-fi lover, especially those who want a little depth with their space-fighter action.