Space Travellers: The Animation
Sometimes you do wonder at the history of stuff. This title proudly has "the animation" tacked on the end, which probably means it's from a long-running TV series or a video game. Given the large number of two dimensional characters I'd guess this is the anime version of a video game.
They came, they saw, the conquered. Yep, once again the earth has been attacked by vastly superior forces. And this time it appears there were no giant mecha to save us. As a result the earth is a wasteland of rubble with a huge space fortress surrounding it. Meanwhile the human space fleet is now space junk and the various colonies are isolated and conquered. Things have definitely been better for humanity.
Naturally enough this means there's a brave rebel army with an ambitious plan to balance the score. But to do that they need materials that can only be found on the colonies. The only way to get around this problem being to hire the `space travellers', brave pilots in high tech craft, who are the only ones willing to cross the defences that now imprison the earth. However the aliens aren't stupid, and it might well be that they're already making moves to counter this possible threat. Which is likely to leave our hero's squarely in the middle....but hey, they're not afraid of danger.
And that's because they're video game characters and can always just play again. While this might not be true it is certain that their attitude to danger goes way beyond brave, passes reckless and goes straight into suicidal territory. There's numerous messy combats, some in spaceships and some in person, where the air seems full of high energy death but these guys just don't seem to care. Of course the fact that they've got personal shields that always seem to save them probably has a lot to do with that as well.
The cast is surprisingly large for a short movie, but then they're all inherited from elsewhere I assume. Effectively there's three craft each with two pilots barring one anti-social type who flies by himself. There's two `techies' and two `business' types, notable for cowardice under fire and a bunch of incidentals. They've all got strong but simple personalities and signature weapons. The antisocial one has a katana, one guy has huge gatling guns, another a boomerang...you get the idea. In a similar vein the ships all have visual and mechanical differences although the exact details are never clear.
The plot, and incidental writing, is pretty simplistic. Some might accuse it of having a very `star-wars' feel, but actually it's stealing idea's from the whole genre. Brave resistance, desperate plan, the awesome robotic might of the enemy, the one fatal flaw in their defences...it's all really familiar. Likewise they're seemingly very casual in how they go about their business. Even when they start to get hints that something is going wrong they tend to rely on being able to recover at the last moment. Possibly because the enemy, while mighty, doesn't seem that clever....or accurate for that matter.
In essence it has very little to recommend it. If you know these characters from elsewhere then go ahead. But if you don't then there's little gain in making the time to do so. Simplistic characters, simplistic story and some strangely dodgy production. It's not too bad, but it's not that good either.
And then there's the production style which is oddly unpleasant. The character design, and mechanical design, is extremely simple with low detail and very flat color. Indeed the color is so flat that I suspect computer animation. Some bad `scrolling' and computer backgrounds confirming this. And, to be honest, it just doesn't work very well. The objects don't blend together, the movement seems to hurt the eye, the computer graphics itself is unimpressive and the combats lack energy or interest. It really feels like budget animation aimed at a pretty young audience. The voices are strongly characterised, but there's precious little dialog for them to work with. The music is generally stirring classical stuff which makes it feel even more star wars derived.
At this point in time none of my regular sources has a review for this title. I don't personally feel it would be a great loss if this continues to be the case.