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Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

July 31, 2008 by  



“Years efore the 1999 26-episode TV series was a mid-90’s six episode OAV series based on the adventures of Starship pilot Yamamoto Yohko, all collected on one DVD for a great price!  Space  action, cool battles and a good dose of humor that will definitely keep you entertained!”

DVD INFORMATION:

DVD TITLE: Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko (aka Soreyuke! Uchū Senkan Yamamoto Yōko)

DURATION: (6 OAV episodes – 180 minutes)

DVD INFORMATION: English and Japanese Audio, English Subtitles, Dolby Digital 2.0

CATALOG #: RSDVD9010

COMPANY: The Right Stuf International

RATING: 13 and up

STAFF INFORMATION:

ORIGINAL CREATOR: Shouji Takashi

DIRECTOR: Akikyuki Shinbo

ORIGINAL CHARACTER & MECHA DESIGN: Akaishizawa Takashi

CHARACTER DESIGN: Nakazawa Kazuto

MECHANICAL DESIGN: Hamazaki Ken-ichi, Ando Masahiro, Ishihama Masashi

CHIEF SCREENWRITER: Sekijima Mayori

PRODUCED BY J.C. Staff and T-Up

CAST INFORMATION:

Yamamoto Yohko – Takayama Minami

Mido Madoka – Hayashibara Megumi

Kagariya Momiji – Niiyama Shiho

Hakuhon Ayano – Miyamura Yuko

Rote/Lotte – Kanai Mika

Rouge – Tamagawa Sakiko

Curtis Lawson – Matsumoto Yasunori

A thousand years from now, the great battles between civilizations have been reduced to the shoulders of a handful of chosen champions.

When a war is waged, each side picks its representatives, gives them spaceships and the fight is on! Of course, if their champion loses, they must admit defeat and give into the wishes of the other. Very handy, very civilized…unless you don’t happen to have any good fighters…

Terra team has it tough lately: Ness “Red Snappers” team had things their way. Even with technically superior ships, things are bleak for Terra…

To make matters worse, they only have three pilots. Despite a concerted effort to recruit girls from the past, the team simply keeps losing! Now they desperately need someone special…someone powerful, capable, and who possess a killer instinct. A pilot of extraordinary skill to crew the new model ship. They need… Yamamoto Yohko!

Now if they can just convince her that a better life awaits her in the future, with new friends, new video games and some very powerful hyper-technology (well some things just take less convincing than others!), Terra might be able to defeat the Red Snappers for a change!

I stumbled upon an older issue of “Animerica” magazine that I had and to keep things within budget, I like to purchase complete OAV or TV series and realized that a 2003 release of “Starship Girl, Yamamoto Yohko” featured both the 1996 3-episode OAV’s and the 1997 3-episode OAV’s on one DVD.

Going online and finding them so cheap, can’t beat the price and definitely wanted to see what this series was all about.

A lot of the staff working on the OAV series were quite new at the time with the exception of director Shinbo Akiyuki who worked on sereis such as “Devil Hunter Yohko”, “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha”, “Pani Poni Dash!” and many more.

But if anything, the price was the major consideration and the fact that you get all OAV series available. Also, who can resist “Ranma 1/2” alumni Hayashibara Megumi (Ranma and plays Terra pilot, Madoka) working together with Takayama Minami (Nabiki, and plays the main character Yamamoto Yohko) for this series.

The episodes are featured as a total of six episodes, the first three was released back in 1996 and “Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko II” featuring the remaining three was released back in 1997

FIRST OAV SERIES:

Episode 1– The first episode was an introduction to both the Terra and Ness teams. Terra featuring three pilots, constantly losing a battle and thus needs to find a special fourth pilot. Through the leadership of Lawson, the Terra team goes back a thousand years into the past (1996) to recruit video game shooting enthusiast Yohko.

A gamer that is confident about her video game playing abilities and Lawson and the girls of Terra do what it takes to recruit Yohko to the team.

The anime focuses on two teams: Terra and Ness and a big problem with this episode and future episodes is that there really is no strong character development. If anything, for the Terra team, you are familiar with mainly the Admiral Leon and Terra engineer Lawson, Yamamoto Yohko and pilot Midou Madoka because the two quarrel all the time. The other two members Kagariya Momiji and Hakuhouin Ayano are just there for team support and their characters aren’t fully explored in the OAV series.

The same can be said for the Ness team as you learn more about General Fluger, Ness leader Rouge (Yohko’s rival) and second sister Rote (known for being annoyingly cute and dumb). While third sister Lubrum and youngest sister Eryton are there, offer a few lines but similar to the Terra team, characters not fully explored in the OAV series.

Episode 2 – This episode features the ladies on vacation. The Terra team are now doing better with Yohko on their team and even during vacation, the two teams can’t relax as both Yohko and Rouge challenge each other in competitions.

Episode 3 – This episode focuses on team Ness as Rouge finds the remnants of starships and one that her mother worked on. Her mother was developing a system where plants and roses can survive in space. As the Ness team ventures into the laboratory, team Terra learns that a starship has an unstable nuclear reactor and is on a collision course for the planet Earth. Yohko makes her way to destroy the starship not knowing that team Ness is inside it.

SECOND OAV SERIES:

Episode 1 (or DVD episode 4) – An ancient legend in a distant planet states that four goddesses will one day descend from the skies and reawaken a goddess. What happens when the Terra team and Rote make an emergency landing on that planet and how will its inhabitants treat the pilots upon arrival?

Episode 2 (or DVD episode 5) – It’s rest time and Yohko is enjoying some rest and relaxation in her own time period. But suddenly , a skilled (and disgraced) pilot named Sara Dread from Terra’s past has stolen Ness technology and appears in Yohko’s timeline and wants her revenge against Terra by challenging their best pilot Yohko to a duel.

Episode 3 (or DVD episode 6) – It’s a time for celebration where command of Terra and a pilot gets to go to an extravagant ball to meet Ness command and Rouge. Rouge is in love with General Fluger and just wants one dance with him. But what happens when Yohko wearing a dashing outfit and a blonde wig gets that first dance instead? Also, a reappearance from a familiar face wanting a one-on-one duel against Yohko.

Overall, you get a good action-based anime OAV series which features space battles and some weird, crazy humor thanks to the character of Rote but all in all, the first episode didn’t win me over but after watching the remaining five OAV episodes, upon completion, I did enjoy it. It’s a fun series!

VIDEO:

For an older anime, even an OAV series, many made during the 90’s sometimes look washed out because of it’s age and this series is no different. There is a noticeable difference between part II which the colors look a bit more vibrant than the first. Things look a bit better animation-wise.

AUDIO:

Both audio is dolby digital 2.0. I watched the episodes primarily in Japanese with English subtitles and for me, to have a series with both Hayashibara and Takayama together again is a treat! As for the English dub, English dub was good but there were some mannerisms like the character Rote that voice actress Kanai Mika just nails! Job well done!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Surprisingly, this DVD does have a few special features such as a slide show (still images from the animation to music from the anime) and the outtakes for the goof-ups from the English dubbing.

I have a mild interest in watching the TV series now after watching the OAV (unfortunately, no one licensed the TV series in the US yet).

The first half of “Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko” gradually became better. Because the first episode of space competitions and racing around a planet was just not to my liking. But the story started to focus less on the competitions between Terra and Ness and focused more on the rivalry between the teams and storylines putting the two groups together. Mainly to flesh out some character development of certain members of the two teams.

Of course, the main thing that suffers with six OAV episodes is that although certain episodes did showcase some character development, with so many characters, despite having some speaking roles, a good number of them are just people I recognized as members of Terra or Ness and really didn’t care about them at all.

Granted, with its 26-episode TV series (which took place a few years after the OAV series), I would imagine that each character would have episodes that would feature more character driven storylines and more character development.

But with six episodes, not much you can do with character development with so many characters but the staff managed to make the episodes entertaining and keeping it focused on the primary characters Yohko, Rouge, showcasing the team rivalry and then Yohko’s battle between Sara Dread.

Overall, after watching episode 1, I really wasn’t expecting much from this anime OAV series but once the episodes progressed, I really started to enjoy it and for its price (especially since it was released back in 2003) and the fact that you get all six OAV episodes, it is quite a steal.

As for the viewing rating of 15+, I don’t recall nudity or fan service. If anything, it was primarily during the outtakes where the English dub voice actor for Lawson kept cussing when he messed up his lines.

I know many current anime fans have a disdain of watching older anime series but if you enjoy action series, especially featuring a near all-female cast, “Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko” may be for you!

+ A fun OAV series with fun characters

+ A good balance of space battles and humor!

+ Ranma 1/2 voice actresses Hayashibara Megumi and Takayama Minami together again!

+ Because it’s an older anime DVD, you can find it cheaper these days and the fact that all six OAV episodes are in one DVD is great!

– Older anime and the visuals maybe too washed out for picky anime fans

– With only six OAV episodes, not much character development for the many characters featured in the OAV series (Fortunately, there is a 26-episode TV series that can feature more character development. Unfortunately, no one in the US picked it up the license).






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