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DVD Review

DVD cover

Starship Operators
Volume 3


Starring (voice): Akeno Watanabe, Masumi Asano and Shizuka Itou
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 12
Available 01 December 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 is acquiescent 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 News 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 on the Ryu Naitou Manga’s and directed by Takashi Watanabe. Volume Three holds the last shows of the series, containing episodes nine through thirteen: Turning Point, Sudden Death, Return March, War Cry and Moment of Truth.

Although the show started as a take it or leave it proposition, it really has engaged me through its run - partly due to the good CGI effects. I’m always a sucker easy to impress, but more than this the show eschews the usual gung-ho ethos of space opera, where actions appear to have little or no consequences on its protagonists.

The last five episodes, which make up one continuing story, shows the Amaterasu, having apparently found a safe harbour, being attacked by five Kingdom Battleships. Although at great cost to their own ship, they are able to destroy four of the ships. Eventually they come face to face with the Conquistador when an Earth Alliance fleet turn up. But whose side will they be on?

Extras are a little different this time. As well as the textless ending sequence you get a couple of music videos, Bravery Wings (1 min, 52) which is one of the title tracks with shots from the show and Blue Star (1 min, 45 sec) which is pretty much the same thing with a ballad this time. Rounding the whole thing off is a bunch of trailers. The show is presented in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1. 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 disc with only a Dolby 2.0 English dub or the original Japanese track with subtitles.

In the end the show was a lot more impressive than I thought it would be, this is mostly down to good writing and character development. Oddly enough I found myself actually caring what happened to the crew of the Amaterasu. A powerful ending and consistent tight narrative pacing, with a good mix of political intrigue and battle scenes makes this a must watch for fans of space based anime. That said at only thirteen episodes long this would have been better as a box set.


Charles Packer

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