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DVD Review

DVD cover

Starship Operators
Volume 2


Starring (voice): Akeno Watanabe, Masumi Asano and Shizuka Itou
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 13 October 2008

Returning home from a training mission the 73rd class of the Defense University of the Planet Kibi finds that their planet has been invaded by the Henrietta Alliance of Planetary Nations. When the main crew acquiesce to the conquerors demands, that they abandon their ship, the trainees decide to take the ship and continue fighting. In order to pay for the venture they enter into an agreement with the Galaxy Network who will provide them with funds in return for turning their ship into a reality program…

Starship Operators is a 2005 anime science fiction show - with an original story by Ryo Mizuno, based Ryu Naitou's mangas and directed by Takashi Watanabe - which ran for thirteen episodes. The disc contains episodes five through eight of the show and like most space based animes contains a lot of CG effects, especially with the ships and some of the internal technology. The print is good, which should be expected as the show isn’t that old, with a bright colour palette.  Audio is the same as the first volume with only a Dolby 2.0 English dub or the original Japanese track with subtitles

So we left the crew, at the close of episode four, having established themselves as an independent state - albeit a state consisting of a single ship - funding their war through their television appearance in what must be one of the strangest reality shows ever. The disc has two two-parter stories which sets the story up for the final DVD.

Episodes five and six: Great Escape: Part One and Two: The crew of the Amaterasu’s celebrity status gets them an invitation to Shu where the show has it highest ratings. The problem is that the television company owns their image and is putting out racy adverts with CGI’d version of the crew.  Their popularity on Shu brings them into conflict with the Kingdom, who declares war on the planet. The crew discover that the threat is not only external but internal with a rebel army, backed by the Kingdom ready to stage a coup d’etat - leaving the girls trapped on the ground and the ship vulnerable.

Episodes seven and eight: Stardust Memory: Part One and Two: Having secured the planet of Shu against the Kingdom's incursion leaves little time for the crew to mourn their dead and reflect on what had happened when the Kingdom sends four battleships against the Amaterasu. With a threat of this magnitude the crew do what they can to prepare for the onslaught, hampered by a network which cares more about ratings than the safety of the crew.

Once established the role of the network in the ship's fate takes a bit of a back seat in these two stories. Although not wholly gone it feels that this element of the show has become a much more integrated part of the story with the result that it interferes less with the action.

For extras you get a TVCM Collection which is a collection of  five television trailers which range from five to thirty second a piece; and a promo video for live events, which consists of shot from the show under the title track. Lastly is a bunch of trailers for other shows. The show is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1

Honestly I wasn’t sure about this show, but the various elements now gel better with the focus shifting to the fate of the Amaterasu. Tight narrative pacing makes this an exciting addition to the space opera genre.


Charles Packer

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