I very much enjoyed this series but before I move onto the review I want to give you one very important warning DO NOT watch it unless you are prepared to sit through until the very end because even when I was on episode 25 of 26 I was still debating what kind of series was it. Chances are, anyone who is interested in this product knows a great deal about the series; how good Irresponsible Captain Tylor is, and how legendary it has become as one of the defining series in anime. Irresponsible Captain Tylor captures the best elements of classic science fiction humor with some unusual twists. The traditional elements include the crew of misfits in a battered old destroyer, who (in spite of the odds) survive and frequently triumph over the alien forces and their own somewhat unscrupulous military high command. Irresponsible Captain Tylor provides its unique spin on this sub-genre in the form of Captain Tylor — young (age 20) with his entire military background consisting of a short stint in the military pension office. The surprisingly well developed and generally sympathetic elf-like aliens wonder whether Tylor is a genius or an idiot.
The music is pleasing, with a mix of cheery pop and light jazz. One later episode contains a lengthy space battle choreographed to classical music that is a tour de force. I also loved the animation style, its definitely old-school, none of that CGI crap. Not that I’m against it but I have seen some CGI stuff terribly gone wrong, or wasted on crappy subject matter. The ships and the characters are very well designed. The Soyokaze, Captain Tylors ship, looks like a WWII u-boat, has that nostalgic look. The graphics are a bit dated but still fairly good considering it is over a decade old and the music is also a bit old and possibly out of tune but still fun. All in all if you have the patience to watch the series, to just sit back and enjoy and to get over that urge to say “what the?” every few seconds and just let the series take you for a bit of a ride I have to say this is the series for you!
What makes the show interesting is partly the space opera comedy mishmash that works perfectly. But the other half of the equation is the characters. Every character, from the smart and sassy Yuiko Star, to the stoic and cool pilot Harold Katori, to the random minor character marine Jason. As a big fan of Leiji Matsumoto, I picked up on many subtle homages to his genius in this show; one of the characters is even drawn in a similar style as his. However, “Captain Tylor” is definitely its own show. The fun thing is that while some elements of the plot were very predictable (How will Tylor get out of THIS one?) the major storyline was not, and there are definitely some interesting plot twists! By the end of the show, I was in love with it, and you will be too! Yeah, so the titular character gets by through the whole series – war, political conflicts, terrorist attacks, assassination plots – on dumb luck, charm, and an easy-going attitude; yet, there is also something a bit deceptive about his way of being that other characters note as well: he just might be fooling everyone and he actually does have a plan of action! Either way, it makes for a funny and memorable series.
If you just can’t stand older anime, anime from the 90’s, and anything sci-fi, then this is not the show for you, and that is really too bad because this is just such a fun anime. The greatest part of the series is the character interactions, from the XO who constantly takes tranquilizers and stress tank treatments to put up with Tylor, to the ships doctor who measures his time sober with a 24 hour hourglass, the characters manage to create some decent laughs and push the story forward. Despite being a little low key on the action, what does occur is always apropos to the episode overall. And the main character will keep you, just like every other member of his crew and his enemies, wondering if he is a genius or a lucky moron. The misfit crew of the Soyokaze are among the most memorable characters ever to grace Japanese animation. One of those shows that you just don’t want to see come to an end.