Crusher Joe (クラッシャージョウ Kurasshā Jō?) is a series of science fiction light novels by Haruka Takachiho and released by Asahi Sonorama from 1979 to 1983. During the late 1970s one of the founding fathers of Studio Nue, Takachiho decided that besides being a designer he would try his hand at penning novels. The result was Crusher Joe, a group of anti-heroes who were not the typical self-sacrificing types but noble in their own rights nonetheless.
Crusher Joe was made into an animated film in 1983, and a pair of for-video animated episodes in 1989. The film version won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1983.
Enter the tale of the Crusher Conference, a group of rugged individuals known for assignments ranging from transportation to terraforming and everything in between. In the early days of space exploration the Crushers took on the job of destroying asteroids and defining space lanes. Because of their work, they were nicknamed "Crushers" which eventually became their business moniker.
Despite the rough and ready nature of the Crushers' work, they subscribe to a few steadfast rules. Unethical and illegal assignments are taboo, and any Crusher accepting one is barred from the Union. Of course, this presents problems for shady clients who try to trick the Crushers into accepting misleading assignments. They know that once the Union accepts a case the Crushers are honor-bound to follow it through. Among the various worlds, the Crusher Conference has a stunning reputation, and among the Crushers, the most elite team is the one led by Crusher Dan and his successor, Crusher Joe.
Takachiho was not only the driving force behind Crusher Joe, he also penned the creation of the "Lovely Angels" series (or more commonly, the "Dirty Pair"). The following is a brief chronology of the future as seen by the author.
AD 2111 - Development of the first practical warp drive. Faster than light drive is now possible. However, arrival is uncertain due to the inability to calculate an accurate trajectory. A special computer is developed that used fixed star systems as a warp trajectory's general destination. The "Warp Navigational Principle" is established.
AD 2120 - The first steps to the stars. The first colonial ships travel towards the systems of Alpha Centauri, and planets in need of terraforming become a priority. Unfortunately, ships containing gravity and atmosphere equipment are lost due to collisions with asteroids and other debris. Enter group of rugged individuals, led by a man named Dan Kowashia, who take on the task of destroying asteroids, mapping out shipping lanes, and aiding in basic terraforming operations. Because of their work in "crushing" asteroids, they are nicknamed "Crushers", a moniker which eventually becomes their professional business name.
AD 2129 - Birth of the Planetary Union. The colonies of Earth, tired of being ruled by the Solar System governing body, call for independence. The first planet to break away is Planet Topulos. Rather than risking war, the Federation grants the colonies their freedom, and the age of the "Planetary Union" is formed.
AD 2130 - The formation of the 3WA and the New Crushers. After the creation of the Planetary Union, many illegal and criminal organizations arise, taking advantage of the fact that no unifying power existed to enforce the law. On the Planet Topulos the 3WA is created. This organization's function is to act as a sort of insurance/protection agency that offers its clients prevention from disaster or financial compensation if they failed. Later the 3WA would become known for hiring its most notorious consultants Kei and Yuri (AKA: "The Dirty Pair"). At the same time, Crusher Dan adds some prestige to his association by recruiting scientists, battle veterans, pilots etc... to make the group's assets higher to potential employers. In their spare time they raid pirate bases.
AD 2134 - Birth of the Galactic Federation. The problem of space piracy reaches an all time high. Up until now, the colonies wanted no help from Earth. But during the five years of the "Planetary Union" fiasco, they realize the need a centralized government to handle their problems. The result is the formation of the "Solar Union". The Federation flagship Cordoba is commissioned (outfitted with Crusher technology) and the Union creates the Federation Space Army to act as the peacekeepers.
AD 2142 - The marriage of Dan and Yuria. Romantic entanglements abound as Dan takes a woman named Yuria as his bride. Meanwhile Bard and Talos compete for the affections of a fiery redhead name Kei. Bard tricks both Talos and Kei into breaking off their relationship, and Bard then marries Kei. Heart broken, Talos volunteers for a suicide mission which results in a crippling accident, leaving him as a cyborg.
AD 2142 - The birth of Joe. After establishing a home on Planet Aramis, Dan and his wife Yuria welcome their son, Joe, into the world. Sadly, Yuria dies shortly after giving birth. Kei divorces Bard, who quits the Crusher organization to join the Federation Army Intelligence Division.
AD 2150 - The formation of The Crusher Conference. Dan turns the Crushers into an elite core of troubleshooters. No longer are they at the mercy of public use. Now they only work for the highest bidders. Housed on the Planet Aramis, the Crusher base known as The Octagon is established as the de facto home to over 180,000 men and women including mechanics, engineers, scientists, warriors, etc...
AD 2156 - Dan's accident. During the salvage of the spaceship "Charley Chan", Dan becomes trapped aboard the abandoned ship. Joe singlehandly boards the ship and rescues his father. However, Dan is injured during the encounter and makes Joe his successor with Talos and Gambino as his advisors. Dan retires to administer the Crusher Conference on Aramis. Meanwhile the main ship of the Crushers, the Atlas, is replaced with a newer model, the Minerva, with Joe as its commander.
AD 2158 - Ricky joins the group. Orphan gang member Ricky from the Planet Rhodes quits his gang to become a Crusher. His knowledge and intelligence quickly makes him a valuable asset.
AD 2160 - Crisis on the Solidarity Planet Pizanne. (The first Crusher Joe novel, Takachiho establishes the Crusher universe.) Joe's team rescues Princess Alfin from a takeover coup. During the battle Gambino is killed and Alfin abdicates to join the Crushers.
AD 2161 - The battle with the Murphy pirates: Setting for the Crusher Joe Movie.
Joe: Born November 8, 2142 Planet Aramis, The Canis Major Zone - Joe is the headstrong leader of his Crusher Team, Joe became a Crusher at the age of ten and replaced his father as the active head of the Crushers. Now nineteen, he maintains his Triple A rating. Joe has an intensive dislike for authority (other than his own) and refuses to take orders from anyone, including his father. However, he does have a lighter side, which enables him to take the balance of a situation and to act quickly and calmly. He and Alfin are romantically involved.
Alfin: Born January 12, 2144 Planet Pizanne, The Cygnus Zone - Alfin was the Princess of the Planet Pizanne who left her home and royal status to join the Crushers. After the Pizanne incident she sneaks aboard the Minerva and takes the late Gambino's place as navigator. Perky, bubbly and easily intoxicated, Alfin is also quick-witted and fearless. She and Joe are romantically involved.
Talos: Born 2109 Planet Terra, The Solar System - Talos served with Joe's father, Crusher Dan, in the early days of the Crusher Union. After 40 years of being a Crusher eighty percent of his body has been replaced with cybernetic implants. These artificial limbs often come in handy (His left arm contains a machine gun). Talos is gruff and reserved and possesses enormous strength, a trait that has saved his teammates from more than one occasion. He serves as the team's pilot.
Ricky: Born 2146 Planet Rhodes, The Capricorn Zone - At the age of fifteen, Ricky is the youngest member of the Joe Team but this in no way hinders his performance as the ship's engineer. Orphaned when gang members killed his parents Ricky stows away on board the Minerva. His sharp wits and instant reflexes soon establish him as a member of the team. Quick tempered and easily riled. His teammate Talos often finds himself restraining the young engineer. He also spars with Alfin like a younger sibling.
Dongo: Mabot. Made in Dorloy. Type: MAB 8945-GP-The Dongo Mabot served with both Talos and Crusher Dan in the early days of the Federation. A robot with a warped sense of humor (he is often seen reading porn magazines), he is completely loyal and is capable of operating the Minerva when the team is absent.
- Crusher Joe 1: Crisis on Solidarity Planet Pizanne (クラッシャージョウ 1 連帯惑星ピザンの危機 Kurasshā Jō 1: Rentai Wakusei Pizan no Kiki?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257760931 (November 1977), ISBN 4257769203 (November 2000)
- Crusher Joe 2: Extermination! The Space Pirates Trap (クラッシャージョウ 2 撃滅!宇宙海賊の罠 Kurasshā Jō 2: Gekimetsu! Uchū Kaizoku no Wana?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257760982 (January 1978), ISBN 4257769254 (April 2001)
- Crusher Joe 3: The Final Secret of the Milky Way (クラッシャージョウ 3 銀河系最後の秘宝 Kurasshā Jō 3: Gingakei Saigō no Hihō?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257761032 (January 1978), ISBN 4257769394 (July 2001)
- Crusher Joe 4: Cave of the Cult of the Dark God (クラッシャージョウ 4 暗黒邪神教の洞窟 Kurasshā Jō 4: Ankoku Jashinkyō no Dōkutsu?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257761091 (January 1978), ISBN 4257769513 (November 2001)
- Crusher Joe 5: Treachery Toward the Galactic Empire (クラッシャージョウ 5 銀河帝国への野望 Kurasshā Jō 5: Ginga Teikoku e no Yabō?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257761180 (January 1978), ISBN 4257769580 (February 2002)
- Crusher Joe 6: Challenge of the Human-faced Demon Beasts (クラッシャージョウ 6 人面魔獣の挑戦 Kurasshā Jō 6: Jinmen Majū no Chōsen?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257761326 (June 1979), ISBN 425776967X (May 2002)
- Crusher Joe 7: The Beautiful Demon King (クラッシャージョウ 7 美しき魔王 Kurasshā Jō 7: Utsukushiki Maō?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257761768 (1983), ISBN 4257769785 (August 2002)
- Crusher Joe 8: Kukuru, the Haunted City (クラッシャージョウ 8 悪霊都市ククル Kurasshā Jō 8: Akuryō Toshi Kukuru?)
- Part 1: Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257765011 (November 1989), ISBN 4257769815 (October 2002)
- Part 2: Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257765089 (March 1990), ISBN 425776984X (November 2002)
- Crusher Joe 9: The Phantom Beast Wormwood (クラッシャージョウ 9 ワームウッドの幻獣 Kurasshā Jō 9: Wāmuūddo no Genjū?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257770171 (October 2003)
- Crusher Joe 10: The Holy Virgin Dairon (クラッシャージョウ 10 ダイロンの聖少女 Kurasshā Jō 10: Dairon no Seishōjo?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257770473 (26 May 2005)
- Crusher Joe Extra 1: Rainbow Hell (クラッシャージョウ 別巻1 虹色の地獄 Kurasshā Jō Bekkan 1: Nijiiro no Jigoku?)
- Novelization of the movie, Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257762330 (January 1983), ISBN 4257769998 (February 2003)
- Crusher Joe Extra 2: The Doruroi Storm (クラッシャージョウ 別巻2 ドルロイの嵐 Kurasshā Jō Bekkan 2: Doruroi no Arashi?)
- Asahi Sonorama, ISBN 4257770473 (26 May 2005)
The 1983 film version was released on laserdisc in 1996 with English subtitles. It was released on VHS in the United States by Animeigo Inc. on 27 June 2000 in both dubbed and subtitled versions. A DVD released by Animeigo on 23 September 2003 contained the original film and both OVA versions. All are now out of print.
Nitto: 1/1400 Missile Ship
1/5000 Large Battleship (pirate ship) (lt brown or dk brown)
1/800 ele Frigate (the parasite ships frm the Cordoba)
1/5000 Cordoba (lt grey or dk grey)
1/800 Minerva (white or grey)
1/144 Fighter 1
1/144 Fighter 2
1/48 Galeon APC
1/35 Powered Suit (brown or grey)
1/60 aircar (Benz)
1/60 aircar (BMW)
Takara: 1/100 Harpy
1/100 Fighter 1(2)
1/48 Galion APC
1/16 Powered Suit
FM Collection of white metal figures:
- Crusher Joe (manga) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Crusher Joe: The Movie (OVA) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- Crusher Joe: The OVA's (OVA) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- A feature on "Crushers" a kids edited version of the Crusher Joe movie