Blue Comet SPT Layzner (蒼き流星SPTレイズナー Aoki Ryūsei Esu Pī Tī Reizunā?), sometimes translated as Blue Meteor SPT Layzner, is an anime series produced by Sunrise between 1985 and 1986. Its original creator was Ryousuke Takahashi of Armored Trooper Votoms fame who served as the writer and wrote the scripts for such shows as Panzer World Galient, Tetsuwan Atom, Zero Testor, Fang of the Sun Dougram, Cyborg 009, Gasaraki and Blue Gender.
The Story takes place in the year 1996, where humanity is advanced enough to develop long-range space travel, as well as bases on both the Moon and Mars. However, the Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union have not ended; rather, they've escalated as both sides build military facilities in space, and the shadow of nuclear conflict looms over humanity, both on and off Earth.
Meanwhile, on Mars, an exchange program created by the United Nations to promote peace and understanding is about to begin; the "Cosmic Culture Club", consisting of 16 boys and girls, as well as their instructor Elizabeth, arrives at the UN Mars base, and are being welcomed by the staff. Among the passengers is Anna a 14 year old girl who serves as the narrator for the story.
Suddenly, four unidentified humanoid robots classified as Super Powered Tracers are detected, engaged in fierce combat with each other. The UN base is caught in the crossfire and quickly destroyed, killing all but six members of the "Cosmic Culture Club"--Elizabeth, Arthur, Roan, David, Simone and Anna, and leaving them stranded on an inhospitable planet that has suddenly become a battlefield. As the battle ends, the lone SPT standing lands next to the terrified group and opens up revealing a pilot, who simply announces to them, "The Earth has been targeted".
The robots who destroyed the UN base were the creation of the Grados, an alien race, from the Udoria system, who came to the Sol system for the purpose of conquest, seeing an easy victory as the two superpowers raged against each other to exhaustion—however, this could also be described as an act of pre-emptive self-defense; the Gradosian supercomputers have determined that humanity will eventually cease its infighting and become powerful enough to spread through the galaxy, posing a destructive threat to even the far off Grados.
However, there were two Grados opposed to the plan: human astronaut Ken Asuka, assumed lost during a deep space mission but discovered by the Grados, and his son Null Albatro (his "human" name being Eiji). As the Grados prepared their invasion fleet, Eiji stows away on board one of the ships and steals their most powerful and advanced weapon, the SPT-LZ-00X Layzner before fleeing, seeking to warn humanity of its impending invasion. It was here where he was attacked. Aside from the Layzner, the surviving humans have now become very important to the Grados; as the only human eyewitnesses to the aliens and their power, the six are the only ones who can convince the warring powers to stand down from destroying each other, and focus on the greater threat.
- Original concept: Hajime Yadate
- Original work: Tsunehisa Itoh, Ryousuke Takahashi
- Director: Ryousuke Takahashi
- Screenplay: Hiroyuki Hoshiyama, Fuyushi Gobu, Yasushi Hirano, Tsunehisa Itoh, Mieko Endoh, Ryōsuke Takahashi
- Character design: Moriyasu Taniguchi
- Mechanical design: Kunio Okawara
- Animation directors: Moriyasu Taniguchi, Hiromi Muranaka, Fumiko Kishi, Makoto Itoh, Michiyo Sakurai, Hideyuki Motohashi, Chiharu Satoh, Satoru Nakamura, Masato Sawada
- Mechanical animation directors: Tohru Yoshida, Hiroyuki Okiura
- Music: Hiroki Inui
- Producer: Masuo Ueda
Opening: Melos no Yōni Lonely Way (Like Melos, Lonely Way)
- Lyrics: Yasushi Akimoto
- Composer: Hideya Nakazaki
- Arranging: Megumi Wakakusa
- Performed By: Airmail from Nagasaki
Ending (Episodes 1-25): Go-fun Dake no Wagamama (Just 5 Minutes of Selfishness)
- Lyrics: Yasushi Akimoto
- Composer: Hideya Nakazaki
- Arranging: Megumi Wakakusa
- Performed By: Seiko Tomizawa & Airmail from Nagasaki
Ending (Episode 26-38): La Rose Rouge (The Red Rose)
- Lyrics: Misono Kawana
- Composer: Tetsuji Hayashi
- Arranging: Eiji Kawamura
- Performed By: Seiko Tomizawa
- Eiji Asuka/Albatro Null (Kazuhiko Inoue): Eiji is a hybrid with a human astronaut for a father and a Gradosian noblewoman for a mother. He grew up as a low-ranking Gradosian SPT pilot on the Empire's homeworld. A pacifist by nature, he still decides to take a more direct hand when he learns of the invasion of Earth. Unfortunately he is torn between his beliefs and his loyalties towards the comrades of his homeworld, many whom he considers to be his kindred. This forces Eiji to go to extreme lengths to not kill his opponents: an ideal made vastly difficult by the amoral AI aboard the Layzner.
- Anna Stephanie (Hiroko Emori): The youngest member of the Cosmic Culture Club at age 14, she is a quiet and reserved girl who is highly intuitive and empathetic, allowing her to see the good nature inside of all people. This allows her to be the first to befriend and trust Eiji in spite of his Gradosian heritage.
- David Rutherford (Hideyuki Umezu): The American member of the CCC, David is reckless, emotional and headstrong: making him a very hot-blooded 17 year-old. However, this also makes him unable to deal with loss and fear. At first, had an intense hatred and distrust of Eiji stemming from the fact that he blamed the rebel for the death of his best friend Juno during Grados' initial raid on the CCC. Eventually he 'warms up' to Eiji through many trials and trusts him enough to become his wingman with the SPT-BB-02U Babel.
- Roanne Demitrich (Katsumi Toriumi): Aged 15 years and a native of Switzerland, Roanne is a genius and is by far the most mature member of the group: often displaying a calm, observant level-headedness usually attributed to people well beyond his years. Usually the strategist of the CCC, he was found constantly evaluating the situations they found themselves in determining the best possible solutions from whatever options they had. The best friend of Arthur Cummings Jr., his intelligent maturity quickly endeared him to Eiji as well. Also eventually acted as Eiji's second wingman with the SPT-BD-03U Baldy.
- Simone Reflann (Fumi Hirano): At 16, Simone is the daughter of aristocracy being born of wealthy French and English parents. Initially appearing to be stubborn, cynical and selfish she was-at first-opposed to engaging in guerrilla warfare against the Gradosian Empire. However, she eventually developed romantic feelings for Eiji and these allowed her to assist the rest of the CCC against Grados.
- Arthur Cummings Jr. (Yuji Kanomata): Tied with David at 17 to be the oldest surviving member of the CCC, Arthur was well-liked among the CCC and a chief confidant of Roanne despite his tendencies of weakness, cowardice and a weak will that made him prone to emotional outbursts and ramblings. Since he harbours a deep crush on Simone she uses this to her advantage in order to get him to do whatever he wants, exploiting his "eager to please" nature.
- Dr. Elizabeth Clabery (Keiko Toda): The 24 year-old adult instructor and mentor of the Cosmic Culture Club, her controlled level-headedness allowed her to calm the frightened children during the first attack of the Super Powered Tracers. Her main goal was to help Eiji and the surviving CCC members escape to the Earth in an attempt to warn its major superpowers about the impending Gradosian invasion.
- Julia Asuka/Albatro Mill (Mari Yokoo): The older sister of Eiji, she was engaged to his best friend Gale and the two were to wed in a matter of months. Julia refused to listen to her parent's pleas to help Earth and ran away from her family's home to live with Gale.
- Ru Kain (Kaneto Shiozawa): Admiral Gresco's son, introduced in the second arc, Eiji's rival, and the main villain of the series. Appointed to Supreme Commander of Earth, he is ruthless and arrogant, believing in the ethnic superiority of the Gradosians. Although he tries to execute Julia for treason, he finds himself unable as he is strangely attracted to her spiritual force. He is determined to rule Earth and crush all resistance, but refuses to fight unfairly since he considers himself nobility.
- 'Rei' (Eriko Hara): The AI aboard the SPT-LZ-00X Layzner, its intelligence was so advanced that it developed an actual personality of its own which was nicknamed "Rei" by Eiji. Despite having feminine characteristics and the nature of a sweet child, Rei had no notion of morality and would usually recommend destroying the cockpit of an enemy SPT-instantly killing its pilot-rather than disabling its limbs as she believes that this is the most effective way to defeat an enemy. Often, she would seize controls of the Layzner herself in order to protect Eiji and the SPT from damage.
- Gosterro (Tadashi Hirose): A senior officer and ace pilot of the Gradosian militia who considered himself a rival of both Eiji & Gale. Once having romantic interests in Julia, she immediately rebuffed him. A sadistic psychopath, Gosterro delights in killing to the extent where his lust for blood overpowers all needs and reason, forcing him to take the lives of his own wingmen. Deeply wishing to kill Eiji, he personally takes the assignment of stopping the rebel with his own SPT-BG-91U Bullgrenn.
- 'Fouron' (): A hidden, recessive program deep within the SPT-LZ-00X Layzner capable of overriding Rei, this AI had the persona of an adult male yet still kept the amorality of its predecessor. Programmed by Ken Asuka as a way of conveying information about Grados to the Earthlings, Fouron would only ever surface when the Layzner was critically damaged or Eiji was in serious danger of dying: its trademark purple eyes marking its complete control over the SPT, even its V-MAX system.
- Admiral Gresco (Takeshi Watabe):
- 2nd Lieutenant Karla Egiel (Run Sasaki): A Gradosian ace pilot who flew in Gale's squadron with her SPT-DM-20C Dimarge, she secretly harboured feelings for her leader despite his own feelings for Julia.
- Manjuro (Kouzou Shioya):
- Getey (Masaharu Sato):
- Bohn (Koichi Hashimoto):
- Lieutenant Ahmos Gale (Hideyuki Hori): Gale is not only Eiji's friend but also his future brother-in-law after he is engaged to Julia. A senior officer of the Gradosian militia aged 25, he is assigned to track down and stop the "traitor" Eiji after he turns against his own squadron and seeks to warn the Earth of its impending invasion. He pilots the SPT-GK-10U Greimkaiser.
- Commander Gueler (Yūji Mitsuya):
- Mash (Kazue Ikura):
Super Powered Tracers
- SPT-LZ-00X Layzner
- SPT-BB-02U Baybull
- SPT-BD-03U Buldy
- E-SPT-DL-X Doll
- E-SPT-LZ-00X-B New Layzner
- SPT-GK-10U Greimkaiser
- SPT-BK-10U "Bloodykaiser"
- SPT-BG-91U Bullgrenn
- SPT-DM-20C Dimarge
- SPT-BV-15C Braver
- SPT-DT-25C Dotole
- SPT-ZK-53U Zakarl
Terror Striker (TS)
- TS-SG-50C Skullgunner
- TS-TP-50D Terminator Police
Multiple Form (MF)
- MF-SL-52C Slomco
- MF-GS-54C Gunstade
- MF-DJ-91U Daljan
- MF-GL-73U Gasshalan
- MF-ED-52U Eldarl
- MF-DF-61U Dankof
- GTC-DN-03 Grados Tripod Carrier
- E-MF-LZ-00X-2 Layzner Mark II
Designed to replace the Original Layzner this SPT was shelved as the series was cut short and never received any air time
History of the SPT
The SPT or Super Powered Tracer is the premier weapon of the Gradosian military and was developed over a century before their invasion of Earth. The beginning of the SPT development started as small pods with manipulators that were used for construction purposes. Later scientist delved into the idea of using these constructs as weaponry for the military. As development progressed the SPT took on a humanoid form and size consideration for storage consumption was taken into account. The result was a Unit large enough for construction purposes but small enough to be transported en masse inside the invasion force fleet. Although these armoured giants are primarily used for combat they are capable of performing exploration function as they are equipped with sophisticated sensors. SPTs are designed to function in space, atmospheric and ground terrain conditions. Although they can function under water this was not a consideration taken into their design specs. In order to catalogue the effective performance of each unit, a designation is assigned at the end of each units number. The designations fall into three categories which are: "C", "U" and "X".
The "C" stands for Common, meaning that the suit is mass-produced. The "U" stands for Unique stating that these are suits reserved for ace pilots or officers. Finally, the "X" stands for Experimental, the classification in which the SPT-LZ-00X falls into. The middle letters in the SPT designation are merely abbreviations of the model's name, for example, SPT-LZ-00X would stand for Super Powered Tracer Layzner 00 Experimental. Similarly the designation SPT-GK-10U would stand for Super Powered Tracer Greimkaiser 10 Unique.
The layout of the SPT is a bipedal locomotive vehicle equipped with multiple vernier thrusters located throughout to aid in high speed combat maneuvers. The cockpit is located in the head and is covered in a hardened armoured acrylic glass canopy. The power systems laid out in the SPT run similar in design to the nervous systems of the humans and Gradosians with multiple overlapping backup systems. Electrical wiring and lubricant cables run throughout the body with locomotion produced by a combination of high power actuators for slow movements and low power pulse motors for quick motions.
Computer and sensor arrays: Since the SPT was designed with the capability for space and planetary exploration every unit is equipped with highly sensitive sensors capable of analyzing and processing any situation. Some of these arrays include both active and passive radar, infrared, laser radar, electronic, photoelectric and atmospheric analysis, sound, sonar and a variety of others (There are well over 20 systems built into each unit). Sensors are measured in negative decibels for detection of vibrations and other movements in the vacuum of space. The collation of data is the responsibility of the SPTs' built-in computer and relays information to the pilot by using a synthesized voice. Much of the controls of the SPT are handled by the computer, which has a built-in artificial intelligence capable of handling or even taking control of a situation should its pilot become injured or incapacitated. The computer constantly maintains unit integrity, handles repairs and controls damage whilst also providing tactical advice. All manual control can be transferred via voice command. The hierarchy of the computers objectives are:
- Carry out the pilots instructions.
- Protect the pilot's life.
- Self-preservation of the SPT.
Much of the computer's data is directly relayed into the right eyepiece transferred on the visor of the pilots helmet or a visual monocle.
Lasered Rifle: The SPT's primary weapon is a proton laser cannon called a Lasered Rifle. Much like a human the SPT carries the Rifle in its arms and the Rifle can be stored on its back. In a non-atmospheric condition the Rifle can easily rip through 100 mm of standard armour, with the power being drawn from either a power clip or directly from the Tracer's main generator. Power output on the rifle can be adjusted from seven different levels including rapid to scattering fire.
Knuckle Shot: The most common secondary weapon of the SPT. The Knuckle Shot destroys targets by utilizing a powerful electromagnetic field which-when combined with a high impact-can bypass the SPT's armour and directly attacks the internal mechanisms. Thus the high electrical output wreaks havoc among an enemy's internal circuitry system. Originally designed to remove obstacles the Knuckle Shot is potent weapon when used by an experienced pilot.
Calf Missile: A supporting weapon of some SPTs, the Calf Missiles are stored on the back of an SPT's legs and are fired directly upwards before locking-on and homing in on their target. These powerful missiles have a limited range of three to five kilometers and are primarily used for wide scale destruction.
Armour: SPT armour is composited from specially treated titanium alloy designed to disperse heat from laser blasts. The most vulnerable spots are covered with magnetic-repulsion active armour, electromagnetically polarized to harden its surface and increase resistance to impact-based attacks. To counter this weapons with high electron penetration assaults have been developed called the "Knuckle Shot"
The V-MAX System: The V-MAX system is an exclusive experimental device associated with the SPT-LZ-00X Layzner and later with the SPT-ZK-53U Zakarl. The MF-GL-73U Gasshalan also equips a V-MAX unit.
Once V-MAX is activated it switches on its thrusters and activates the afterburner, it operates the field generator which covers the units entire body with a blue magnetic wave and exhausts all inactive gases via the vent in the chest region to strengthen the barrier effect of the field. The speed is then increased making the Layzner an impenetrable "Blue Meteor" impervious to laser attacks. Once the process has begun it is impossible to shut down until the effect is exhausted: this will happen once the computer has 'cleared' the area by eliminating all threats, expending all of the SPT's Once the fuel has been expended or if the SPT overheats then the V-MAX is discharged: outer ports will then open to discharge excess heat and the battery is then recharged via the escaping gases.
Onboard Computer: The majority of the SPTs have their own on-board computer which assists its pilot in monitoring both external and internal conditions as well as assisting the pilot's control of their SPT. The onboard computer can analyze the pilot’s combat skill level and can set itself to match it accordingly. Circuitry inside the pilot’s helmet can also access the onboard computer remotely and can even warn the pilot of incoming enemies. Effectively, it serves as the on-board personality and voice response system.
The AI of the SPT-LZ-00X Layzner is so advanced that it has even developed an intelligent personality of its own. When combat conditions become overwhelming and the Layzner is in danger of being destroyed Rei will advise the pilot to either flee the area or eject. Should the pilot ignore the orders or become incapacitated the secondary on-board computer known as Fouron takes complete control of the SPT and initiates V-MAX. At this point the actions of the pilot no longer apply as the Layzner is under Fouron's complete control and even Rei is pushed down by its domineering personality.
Bandai had plans to release the series in the US in Summer 2001 (along with Giant Gorg) but never did. The official story is that they got damaged, blue-tinted video masters from Sunrise and were unable to acquire replacements. In 2005 Bandai's license to SPT Layzner and Giant Gorg expired.
Blue Comet SPT Layzner in other media
This series was recently included in Super Robot Wars Judgement for the Game Boy Advance and Super Robot Wars GC for the Nintendo GameCube. It was also featured in Neo Super Robot Wars (its debut) and Super Robot Wars 64 with a primary storyline role of all the Super Robot Wars it has appeared in. In its recent appearances, the unused Layzner Mk-II design that briefly appears in the credits sequences of the "1999" arc has been an unlockable Unit. Characters such as Gale and Julia have also been able to join your side after convincing processes. Ru Kain and his Demon Death Platoon are frequent adversaries, as are most of the mass-produced SPTs.
The series also appears in the Another Century's Episode games, with the Layzner & Zakarl being playable in the first game and also the Greimkaiser & Bloodykaiser make appearances as CPU-only units. The sequel, Another Century's Episode 2, follows the basic plot of the series but adapts it to the setting produced by the combined plots of the anime involved. For example, Eiji's first appearance is just after the resolution of Martian Successor Nadesico, and the SDF-1 Macross's fold removes the heroes from Earth long enough for Grados to establish control over Manhattan. The heroes return in time to aid the resistance, and Eiji finally joins the team officially along with Domon Kasshu after they (and the player's current character) fight off the Demon Death Platoon and several Gundam Heads.
The series also appear in Harobots, because they are from the Sunrise series, this series' units can be act as 'wild' units, or player's units.
The Scouters in the manga and anime series Dragon Ball Z were heavily inspired by the "targeting eyepieces" of the SPTs; however, Eiji does not use a targeting eyepiece in the series until some episodes later (originally, he wears a full-face helmet).