The Irresponsible Captain Tylor (無責任艦長タイラー Musekinin Kanchō Tairā?) is an anime series based on The Most Irresponsible Man in Space (宇宙一の無責任男 Uchū Ichi no Musekinin Otoko?) light novel series by Hitoshi Yoshioka. It was produced by some of Japan's larger studios, including Big West, Tatsunoko Production, King Records and VAP.
Tylor consists of a 26-episodes TV series created by Kōichi Mashimo, and a sequel OVA series of 10 episodes directed by Mashimo and Naoyuki Yoshinaga. The TV show premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo between January 25, 1993 and July 19, 1993, and was broadcast across Latin America by the television network, Magic Kids. Both series were broadcast across the United States by AZN Television. Tylor is distributed across North America by The Right Stuf International.
In a distant, highly technological future, Tylor, the title character, is a mysterious young man without a real purpose in life, a state of mind that is very hard to determine, and a knack for accidentally getting out of near-death situations with a childishly cavalier attitude. He sometimes does not even seem to realize when he is in danger, which is actually an asset to him on many occasions.
Tylor stumbles his way into the United Planets Space Force, and soon gains command of a destroyer, after resolving a hostage dispute and saving a retired admiral. Despite being given a decrepit and underpowered ship (the Soyokaze), thanks to brilliant strokes of luck, Tylor manages to destroy a patrol group. This is quickly followed by a sneak attack on another patrol group, performed while Tylor was playing the role of a consummate, professional soldier. The admiralty, attempting to kill Tylor, present him with a medal modified with a device to trick the Raalgon fleet into believing the Soyokaze is an entire fleet. Tylor loses the medal in UPSF HQ, and the Raalgons destroy the admiraliy's superweapon instead. The Soyokaze is then sent to a demotion sector, despite the fervent hopes of its crew. There, Tylor and Yamamoto encounter the ghost of the former Captain, who vanishes due to depression after seeing Tylor's behavior. The Admiral of the Fleet, who actually murdered the prior Captain, rescinds Tylor's demotion after seeing Tylor with the former captains pipe, thinking he is now aware of the admiral's crime. Tylor is then captured by the Raalgon fleet, who plan to execute him to boost morale. After escaping his cell, Tylor encounters the Empress in plain dress, and spends the day entertaining her. Rather than have him executed, she has him brainwashed to be her personal pet/servant. Stripped of his personality, he becomes very observant, and quickly deduces that Prime Minister Wang orchestrated the murder of the previous Emperor and the war with the UPSF.
The two major powers in the story are the UPSF (United Planets Space Force, or the humans, possibly a reference to the Earth Federation Space Force of Mobile Suit Gundam, or the United Federation of Planets of Star Trek, or perhaps both) and the Raalgon Empire (the extraterrestrials), who with their pointy ears share a resemblance to either elves or possibly Romulans.
One of the largest points of dispute within the story is the actual competence of Tylor. Several characters say of Tylor, "I can't decide if he's an idiot or a genius." Whether he is a genius or an idiot is up to each individual viewer.
Lt. Commander Justy Ueki Tylor (ジャスティ・ウエキ・タイラー少佐 Jasuti Ueki Taira-shōsa?) is a mysterious, irresponsible man. Tylor, age 20, joined the United Planets Space Force for, what he hoped would be, an easy life. Originally assigned to the Pension department, he unwittingly foiled a terrorist plot to kidnap and kill a retired UPSF admiral when he tried to deliver a late check by hand. For saving the war hero's life, Tylor was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and placed in command of the destroyer Soyokaze (the UPSF dumping ground for trouble makers and the unwanted). Tylor has, as his superiors have put it, 'The Devil's own luck' and usually can get out of any situation relatively unscathed, avoiding multiple assassination attempts and defeating enemy groups of vastly superior numbers. He is very laid back and does not really care for the rules, using his authority as captain to change whatever regulations seem too uptight for him. He is also easily led by his crew, who are able to convince him to allow them to wear comfortable clothes on watch, hold a swimsuit competition, and let the surgeon drink while on duty. The UPSF and the Raalgon Empire are constantly debating whether Tylor possesses the most brilliant military mind or whether he is just a lucky moron.
Voiced by: Kouji Tsujitani (Japanese), Crispin Freeman (English)
Lt. Commander Yuriko Star (ユリコ・スター少佐 Yuriko Sutā-shōsa?) is a very straight-laced, by-the-book officer. Yuriko joined the UPSF to give her life structure and attempts to obey the rules in almost every situation. However, she, unlike Yamamoto, has no problem telling Tylor that he has done something wrong and will even resort to slapping him when he gets too far out of line. Yuriko also tries to downplay her gender, making herself a soldier first, and then a woman. This is a sore subject for her when someone comments about Tylor's obvious attraction to her looks, pointing out that she has never used her appearance to get ahead; an equally sore point for her is her budding attraction to him. Yuriko is one of the most rational and level-headed officers on the Soyokaze. While she is senior to Yamamoto, her speciality as an intelligence officer places her outside the chain of command.
Voiced by: Yuri Amano (Japanese), Rachael Lillis (English)
Lieutenant Makoto Yamamoto (マコト・ヤマモト大尉 Makoto Yamamoto-taī?) is another very strait-laced, by-the-books military man. Yamamoto is the first officer on the Soyokaze and tried mightily to interject an air of professionalism to the outfit. Constantly enraged by Tylor's lack of discipline and his loose command of the troops, Yamamoto spends much of his free time in the medic's office taking tranquilizers and making use of the neuro-cleanser. Yamamoto sees Tylor for what he is, a bumbling fool, but is torn between the unwritten soldier's code of supporting and obeying your superior officer, and telling the UPSF brass what is REALLY going on. He is always on the lookout for a chance to get some form of command, hoping to get a ship of his own one day.
Voiced by: Sho Hayami (Japanese), J. David Brimmer (English)
Azalyn (アザリン Azarin?) is the 16 year old empress of the Holy Raalgon Empire. Azalyn is a child, forced into the unenviable situation of having to assume power of the empire once her parents are murdered. Prompted by her advisors, she gives the command to attack the UPSF (under the assumption that they were behind the assassination plot). Having not had a chance to be a child, Azalyn must now be strong for the entire empire, and it's a task that she is afraid of taking, but even more afraid of failing in.
Voiced by: Hiroko Kasahara (Japanese), Lisa Ortiz (English)
Captain Ru Baraba Dom (ル・バラバ・ドム Ru Baraba Domu?) is the commander of one of the Raalgon fleets. He speaks candidly with the Empress, in stark contrast to the bowing and scraping and lying of the rest of her court. Dom gains Azalyn's trust and becomes one of her more valued advisors. Dom is also very interested in Tylor, feeling that Tylor would be not only a worthy adversary, but also a challenge for anyone to decipher and defeat. It is Dom who assigned Harumi to spy on the Soyokaze's enigmatic captain, but even with the constant data coming in from his valued spy, Dom is still unsure whether Tylor really knows what he is doing or if he is just a fool.
Voiced by: Toshihiko Seki (Japanese), Josh Mosby (English)
The manga Love & War after a story of Hitoshi Yoshioka and with the artwork of Kotaro Mori that was 2001-2002 published by Enterbrain, is set years after the OVA. Tylor is now a Viceadmiral and Captain of the battleship Omi. This time he gets with his fiancée and political officer Lt.Cmdr. Yuriko Star and his staff officer and adjutant Cmdr. Makoto Yamamoto in a timetravel adventure back into the past of Raalgon at the time of the reign of Guze XV.
Many believe that Tylor is meant to be viewed as a Taoist hero - one who exemplifies the principle of "wei wu wei" or action without action. Instead of imposing his will against the flow or "tao" of events, he becomes one with what is and completely and naturally fulfills the role he is meant to according to the greater blueprint of fate, yielding harmonious results, while those who struggle for war, peace, good or evil have less success and less happiness.
Notes and references
- The Irresponsible Captain Tylor official English site
- The Irresponsible Captain Tylor at the Internet Movie Database
- The Irresponsible Captain Tylor (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
- J-pop.com review
- Animerica review of OVAko:무책임 함장 테일러