Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko (それゆけ!宇宙戦艦ヤマモト・ヨーコ Soreyuke! Uchū Senkan Yamamoto Yōko?) is a sci-fi anime series based on novels by Shoji Takashi. There have been two 3-episode OVAs from J.C.Staff. The series was released in the United States by The Right Stuf International on DVD in 2003. There also was a 26-episode television series which as of July 2008 has not been licensed in the US.
The series is set in 2999 AD, where two factions - TERRA and NESS - are engaged in a space war game to control planets. They fight with spaceships, which have been made to teleport their pilots back to the mother ship upon destruction. This results in the battles having no true casualties. Since the reflexes of people in the 30th century have greatly deteriorated, a TERRA engineer, Curtis Lawson, uses a time machine to go back 1000 years in time. There, he recruits the four protagonists of the story to fight for TERRA.
The following is from the back of the US DVD release:
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 in to the wishes of the other. Very handy, very civilized - unless you don't happen to have any good fighters.
Terra team has had it tough lately: Ness' "Red Snappers" team has 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 videogames and some very powerful hypertechnology (well some things just take less convincing than others!), Terra might be able to defeat the Red Snappers for a change!
TV Plot Summary
Yohko Yamamoto is an active girl who loves playing space flight video games. While playing at an arcade however, she feels frustrated and unsatisfied with the controls. Following a note she made in her organizer, she goes to a storeroom in her school, only to be met by Momiji Kagariya. Momiji is pleasantly surprised, and pushes Yohko into a starship. In the midst of battle, Yohko regains her lost memories and wins the battle.
To fulfill the standard of four-man teams, Yohko drafts her best friend, Ayano Elizabeth Hakuhouin into joining them in their space battles. Madoka Mido, who had been investigating Yohko, stumbled on their secret, and was also drafted in. Their four-man team begins a successful winning streak until they face the Red Snappers: NESS's pride, an all-female team made out of four sisters. Their loss to the Red Snappers demoralizes them, especially Yohko. Yohko finally agrees to return to starship battles after Ayano threatens to defect to NESS. They win their rematch with the Red Snappers.
Back in 1999 AD, a young girl resembling Yohko appears one Sunday, referring to Yohko as 'Mama'. The girls take her around Tokyo, searching for her grandfather's house. Yohko is forced to miss a battle while searching for the girl, whose grandfather's 'house' is later revealed to be the school.
The girls are later requested to save the Red Snappers, who were trapped in an Old Timer's Inheritance. There, Rouge finds an 'egg' and is absorbed into it, reliving the memories of Yohko Yamamoto since the accident that caused her to lose her memory. After the girls save the Red Snappers, Rouge challenges Yohko to a one-on-one starship battle with the stipulation that Yohko would return and remain in her true time.
In the midst of their duel, the space station they are fighting for begins to malfunction, and they are ordered to stop in order to help it. Displeased that their duel was interrupted, Rouge requests Yohko for a continuation of their duel. Yohko challenges Rouge to a race, which Yohko wins easily. Instead of making them greater opponents, this cements their relationship as rivals and friends.
After the battle, Yohko notices a small child drawing with crayons on the Estanatreich. Later, the Estanatreich is trapped floating on a sea of water, and is later immersed in it. The girls try to destroy the source of the water, however they end up almost drowning before the water and its source are mysteriously made to vanish. Before the Estanatreich could recover, they were attacked by a woman from Lawson's past, Sara Dread. The girls return to 1999 AD as their starships were damaged and unable to fight.
Lawson later comes to visit their time. However, the girls find out that Lawson's true intention was to cut them off from the future and manage to stop him in time. He brings them to the Estanatreich to reveal to them the extent of the damage. They decide to gamble on defeating Sara, betting the Estanatreich's continued existence. Yohko manages to defeat Sara, although Sara overwhelms Yohko with fear.
NESS and TERRA stop their war temporarily for the annual flower viewing on the planet Sakura Taurus. The girls are invited to the costume party. However, in the midst of the party, Tenzer appears in a robot and begins the destroy the sakura trees. This awakens the wrath of Sara , who was sleeping in the heart of Sakura Taurus, and she 'surfs' the planet into the path of a comet.
Yohko uses the robot left behind by Tanzer to enter the heart of Sakura Taurus, bringing along the rest of her friends, Lawson and Fluger. They penetrate into the heart of Sakura Taurus, and find Sara asleep inside the TA-21 held within. Lawson attempts to wake her, but Yohko provokes her to waken. Sara chooses to return to Zenga instead of Lawson.
Back in 1999 AD, a boy named Yamamoto Yohsuke joins Madoka's class on the last day before the summer break. In the future, a mysterious entity naming himself as Ginga Bancho makes off with the TA-29. They catch up to him, and he sends Yohko an invitation to the Zenga tournament. To provoke Yohko into joining, he destroys a planet.
After a practice run, Madoka's ship is unable to return to dock. Yohko returns to the past in response to Madoka's pleas for someone to explain why she's absent from a "date" with Yohsuke. There, she is ambushed by someone wearing a skull mask, who claims to be called "the Ghost Captain". At the same time in the future, Madoka is attacked by the Ghost Captain as well. Her loss in a starship battle meant that the Ghost Captain had the right to replace her in the Zenga tournament.
Ayano and the Ghost Captain win the first match easily. Yohko and Momiji later face of with Lion and Fluger. Fluger defeats Momiji quickly, and she teleports back to the Estanatreich just in time to avoid the explosion caused by the bomb hidden there. Due to the teleportation system not working, Yohko stalls the battle. Lion finally concedes after Yohko responds in kind to Lion's Everblack Cannon.
Before the semifinal match, Ayano meets up with Ghost Captain and requests that she be able to fight Yohko alone. Ghost Captain agrees to her request. Both of them are defeated by Yohko and Momiji. Ghost Captain later abducts Momiji, and threatens Yohko to take him instead of Momiji as her partner. Yohko manages to outwit the Ghost Captain and save Momiji.
Yohsuke, back in 1999 AD ponders upon Yohko's strength, and its relationship to friendship. He pursues this issue with Madoka, and later Ayano's grandfather. After their discussion, Yohsuke decides to confront Yohko and her friends with the truth: that Yohsuke is actually a girl. Undaunted, Yohko faces Yohsuke one-on-one in a starship battle. Yohko manages to overcome Yohsuke's assault by allowing Yohsuke to exhaust his ship's resources early in the battle.
Yohsuke's defeat causes the Old Timer's Inheritance to leave his body, as well as changing Yohsuke into a man. The Inheritance, undeterred, approaches Ayano. Ayano is granted power by the Old Timer's Inheritance, and assists Zenga in his plan to return to the beginning of time using the Old Timer's Chronos System. Ayano tells Yohko to kill her in order to stop the Old Timer's Inheritance, and thus the Old Timer's Chronos system from destroying the universe. Yohko, however, manages to defeat Ayano without killing her, causing the Old Timer's Inheritance to leave Ayano.
The Old Timer's Inheritance later possesses Madoka, however Yohko laughs at the futility of the Old Timer's Inheritance, and their unstable Chronos system when compared to Lawson's system.
Note that the personalities of the main characters of the series differ slightly between the TV series and the OVA. This is probably due to the more time allowed to flesh out the characters in the TV series. Please note that these character descriptions may pander more towards the TV series incarnations.
From 1999 AD
The four main characters are high school girls.
- Yohko Yamamoto (山本洋子 Yamamoto Yōko?), (Seiyū - Minami Takayama)
Yohko is an active, sporty but cocky girl. She is a hardcore gamer, preferring space fight simulations, and is occasionally bribed using games. She is usually seen eating Pocky. In the first episode of the TV series, it was revealed that she had lost her memories. However, by the end of the same episode, she regains her memory while participating in a space battle. She was the first pilot to be recruited by Lawson, happening to be the first person he met after travelling to 1999 AD. She considers Rouge of NESS's Red Snappers to be her rival, both in space battles and in love - they both are attracted to NESS's Fluger. She pilots the Super Strike TA-29, armed with the all-powerful Eva Black Cannon. Due to her obsession with games, she is required to put in an 100-yen coin into an arcade-like coin slot to start her starship.
Initially a mysterious figure, Momiji is the second of TERRA's pilots. She replaced Yohko while waiting for Yohko to regain her memories. A long-haired, somewhat masculine girl, she speaks in the kansai dialect. She's strong willed and a team player. She works part time at a mini-market. She has a crush on Lawson, and for a short period believed that Yohko was attracted to him. However, Yohko herself denied this, and later revealed indirectly that she was attracted to Fluger. She is the pilot of the Super Storm TA-23, armed with MRLs and Laser Arrays.
- Ayano Elizabeth Hakuhouin (白鳳院綾乃伊麗莎白 Hakuhōin Ayano Elizabeth?), (Seiyū - Yuko Miyamura)
A kind-hearted girl; also the third pilot. As Yohko's best friend, Yohko trusts her and believes that Ayano's abilities would outmatch her own in the right circumstances. She's generally quiet and she truly cares and admires Yohko since childhood. She lives with her grandfather, the Master of the Hakuhouin-Ryū Judo Family. Thus, Ayano seems to be his successor, and can be seen in several episodes practicing judo with her grandfather. She seems to lack confidence, but enjoys starship battles. In later episodes, she strives to be independent of Yohko, making her go against Yohko in a starship battle. Pilots the Super Struggle TA-27, which mainly fires grapple hooks to latch onto an opponent and throw them - an extension of her judo abilities.
- Madoka Midou (御堂まどか Midō Madoka?), (Seiyū - Megumi Hayashibara)
She is the main comic relief of the series. Her character is easily recognized due to her large, reflective forehead, which is often the object Yohko's insults. She considers herself Yohko's rival, and strives to beat Yohko in all aspects, such as in sports, studies, and even gaming. Her efforts can be observed when she aspires to become a starship pilot, and her diligence in overcoming vertigo. However, she is the least competent of the pilots. She is very poised but kind of spoiled and happy-go-lucky. She also believes in making an impact, as shown by her choice of dressing as a zombie for a costume party. She also comes off as a slight anime otaku. She also falls head over heels for Yamamoto Yohsuke when he appears in the series. Pilots the Super Sprint TA-25. Its specialty is its powerful Vapour Shield. Reflecting her impatient personality, she uses the shield as a battering ram rather than as a defensive device.
- Ayano's Grandfather
Although not involved directly in starship battles, he seems to understand that the girls have a more important role than what they seem to be and supports them, especially Ayano. Extremely intuitive about his surroundings, he is also somewhat eccentric. Although he is the master of the Hakuhouin-Ryū martial arts style, he is relatively weaker than Ayano. Later, he accepts Yamamoto Yohsuke as his apprentice, and they begin training in the wild.
- School Council President
A minor character, he is the successor to an udon shop. When Lawson visits the 20th century, Momiji goes to him to learn how to make udon (after having doubts about Yohko). He is the first person in 1999 AD to realize that Yohsuke was female when he saw the shape of Yohsuke's body in the rain. Although he has photographic evidence, he tries to force himself to believe that it was simply a delusion by making udon and then eating it.
- Admiral Zena Leon (Seiyū - Masako Katsuki)
The highest ranking officer on board the Estanatreich. She was once a TERRA pilot, but was promoted to command. She once fought in a battle with Fluger known as Little Big Horn. She pilots the Super Twister TA-21 in the Zenga tournament, partnered with Fluger. The TA-21 is also equipped with an Everblack Cannon. It is indicated that they had had a relationship. She was in charge of the TERRA and NESS joint-investigative team researching the Old Timer's Legacy, along with Sara.
- Curtis Lawson (Seiyū - Yasunori Matsumoto)
A genius engineer. He worked on the time travel machine that is used as the gateway between 1999 AD and 2999 AD. He also designed the TA-series of ships which are used by the girls. It is later revealed that the reason he chose to go back 1000 years in time back to 1999 AD was because he discovered the Yamamoto Yohko novels, and was intrigued by them. Following their premise, he created a gateway. When the gateway was completed, the first person he met was Yamamoto Yohko. He was surprised as he had thought of Yamamoto Yohko as only a fictional character in the novels.
- General Fluger von Meo-Toroll
The commander of Meo's 2nd Fleet, in charge of the Red Snappers - the aces of NESS. He is often represented riding on a white horse, which gives him the image of a knight. He is a capable leader, admired by Rouge and Yohko. Like Admiral Leon, he was also a former starship pilot who had been elevated in rank. In the Zenga tournament, he pairs up Admiral Leon. They name their team after one of their most memorable battles - Little Bighorn. Pilots the Torom 3 Skipjack. As a pilot, his skills are impressive, as shown in his ability to defeat Momiji in the Zenga tournament by directly attacking her control area, thus defeating her with minimal damage to her ship.
- Rouge (Seiyū - Sakiko Tamagawa)
The oldest sister, and leader of the Red Snappers. Blonde-haired, she is proud and strong. She and Yohko are rivals, both in starship battles and in love. Rouge admires Fluger, and seems to owe him a debt of gratitude for helping her family. Although she almost beat Yohko in their first space battle, she was stopped once Fluger realised she had removed her automatic teleportation module - the device that would teleport her out should her starship be destroyed. Yohko defeats Rouge in their next battle. While the Red Snappers were stranded on the 'Boiled Egg', Rouge is trapped and finds out that Yohko comes from the past. She challenges Yohko to a duel, hoping to keep Yohko in the past. However, due to an emergency, the fight is inconclusive. In the end, they race each other on foot, with Yohko winning. She pilots the Red Snapper Superior, which is equipped with the Ultimate Impulse Cannon, a weapon that is comparable to Yohko's Everblack Cannon. Like the other Red Snappers, her name is related to "red": in this case, rouge is the French word for "red".
- Rote (Seiyū - Mika Kanai)
The second sister, Rote is red-haired and often seen laughing. Her laughing usually annoys Madoka, and they seem to consider each other as rivals. She pilots the Red Snapper Spirits. Her name is the German word for "red".
- Lubrum (Seiyū - Yukana Nogami)
The third sister, and the most masculine, grey-haired Lubrum wears a spiked choker. Her ship is the Red Snapper Premier. The closest comparison to her would be Kagariya Momiji, however they do not come off as rivals. Rubrum, an alternate romanization of her name, is a form of rubor, Latin for "blush".
- Erytron (Seiyū - Masami Suzuki)
The youngest sister, she is very apologetic. In the first fight, she uses her ship's shield as a battering ram, not unlike Madoka's usage of shields. However, she is seen to be apologizing throughout the fight. She pilots the Red Snapper Extra. She is comparable to Ayano, however Ayano seems to be more proactive than Erytron. Like the other Red Snappers, her name is an allusion to the color red. Her name is probably a Japanization of erythron, an element of the blood-forming system involved in the production of red blood cells.
Leader of one of the first teams the girls face as a four-person group. A nice man, he believes in sportsmanship and guts to be the path to victory. He and his group seem to be military otakus, doing physical training before battle - though it is difficult to see a direct correlation between physical ability with starship control.
- Ghost Captain (Borei Kancyo)
A figure wearing a skull mask. Replaces Madoka in the Zenga tournament, and is paired up with Ayano. The Ghost Captain's ship is the Keroberos G-59 Gaigotsumaru, looking like a seafaring sailing ship with a large Jolly Roger on the prow giving it a resemblance to Captain Herlock's Arcadia.
NESS Zenga Faction
- Yohsuke Yamamoto (山本洋介 Yamamoto Yōsuke?)
A clone of Yohko, created by Zenga using the Old Timer's Inheritance. Although biologically a girl, Zenga seems to have brought Yohsuke up to be a man. She first appears in the series as a young child, to observe Yohko's life. Later Yohsuke appears in the series in the guise of a man, and joins Madoka's class on the last day of school. He also has an obsession for fish-paste sausages, possibly a Freudian expression of her desire for a phallus (or maybe just a masculine counterpart to Yohko's ever-present Pocky). Due to their similar, strong personalities, Yohko and Yohsuke do not get along with each other. Madoka has a crush on him, not realizing Yohsuke is a clone of Yohko. An accident later turns Yohsuke into a man biologically. He then becomes an apprentice to Ayano's grandfather. Yohsuke pilots a copy of the TA-29. However, Yohsuke's ship uses a 500-yen coin instead of the 100-yen coins Yohko uses in her TA-29.
- Ginga Bancyo (lit. Galaxy Boss)
A man whose face is wrapped in bandages. He is in charge of the Zenga tournament. He reveals himself to be Yamamoto Yohsuke to the girls before his fight with Yohko.
- Zenga von Meli-Su-Han
The old man who hosts the Zenga Tournament. He aims to rule the universe by controlling of all the Old Timer's Inheritances, and uses the Zenga Tournament as a means to this end. Although he 'created' Yohsuke as a tool, he ends up finding Yohsuke hard to deal with.
- Tenzer von Meli-Su-Hun
He is Yohko's first enemy in the TV series. After his loss, he is constantly seen requesting Zenga for a starship so he could face Yohko again. Although he is related to Zenga, Zenga does not seem to think much of him. Tenzer has a crush on Ayano, and believes that he will win her heart by showing her his strength in starship battles. However, he loses to her in the Zenga tournament.
- Sara Dread
A biological engineering researcher who was intimate with Lawson. After having her confession rejected by Lawson, she used the TA-21 to enter the heart of the Old Timer's Legacy she was researching. Entering an eternal sleep, she created the planet Sakura Taurus. Due to damage done to Sakura Taurus, Sara regains some consciousness. An extension of her hatred towards Lawson manifests itself and begins attacking the Estanatreich. Later, the girls and Lawson enter into the heart of Sakura Taurus into the Old Timer's Legacy to awaken her. Zenga used her feelings of hatred against Lawson to bring her to his side.
|Episode||English Title||Japanese Title||Original|
|01||The Girl with Blue Eyes||青い瞳の少女||Aoi Hitomi no Shōjo||4 April 1999|
|02||Let's Fly! A New Pair of Wings||はばたせ!新しい翼||Habatase! Atarashii Tsubasa||11 April 1999|
|03||Shining! Madoka's Youth||光れ!まどかの青春||Hikare! Madoka no Seishun||18 April 1999|
|04||Quartet Formation! The First Battle||四重奏結成!はじめての戦い||Karutetto Kessei! Hajimari no Tatakai||25 April 1999|
|05||Threat! Challenge of the Red Snappers||脅威!レッドスナッパーズの挑戦||Kyoui! REDDO SUNAPPOZU no chousen||2 May 1999|
|06||Goodbye Future||さよなら未来||Sayonara Mirai||9 May 1999|
|07||Phoenix Rising||不死蝶起つ||Fushichoutatsu||16 May 1999|
|08||Like a Child without a Mother||時には母のない子のように||Toki ni ha Haha no Nai Ko no Youni||23 May 1999|
|09||Huge Labyrinth||大迷宮||Dai Meikyuu||30 May 1999|
|10||I Want to Fly Higher!||高く翔びたい!||Takaku Tobitai!||6 June 1999|
|11||The Great Sea Space Battle||宇宙大海戦||Uchū Daikaisen||13 June 1999|
|12||Udon of Separation||別れのうどん||Wakare no Udon||20 June 1999|
|13||Beautiful Demon||美しき鬼||Utsukushiki Oni||27 June 1999|
|14||Love after Death||死後の恋||Shigo no Koi||4 July 1999|
|15||The Sleeping Bride||眠れる花嫁||Nemuru Hanayome||4 April 1999|
|16||The Transfer Student with Blue Eyes||碧い瞳の転校生||Aoi hitomi no tenkousei||18 July 1999|
|17||The Dual-Faced Dancing Princess||双面の舞姫||Soumen no Mai Hime||25 July 1999|
|18||Masquerade Ball||仮面舞踏会||Kamen Butoukai||1 August 1999|
|19||Rival Leaders||群雄割拠||Gunyuu Kakkyo||8 August 1999|
|20||Blue and Red||青と赤||Ao to Aka||15 August 1999|
|21||The Four Sisters of Crimson||紅四姉妹||Kurenai Yonshimai||22 August 1999|
|22||Black Angel||黒の天使||Kuro no Tenshi||29 August 1999|
|23||After-image||残像||Zanzou||5 September 1999|
|24||Farewell, Planet||さよならの惑星||Sayonara no Wakusei||12 September 1999|
|25||Red Murderous Intent||赤い殺意||Akai Satsui||19 September 1999|
|26||Confession of the Mask||仮面の告白||Kamen no Kokuhaku||26 September 1999|
- TV Series Opening Theme
- Tenshi no kyuusoku (天使の休息) by Okui Masami
- TV Series Ending Theme
- Ru Ru Ru (ルルル) by Okui Masami