Anime Meta-Review


Yamamoto Yohko, Starship Girl, TV Series


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Title Info

  • seen: 1-11 of 26
  • type: TV
  • grade: watchable
  • Series state: Can't find any more to watch.
  • form: sub
  • source: fansub
  • made: unknown
  • Review created: Sat Mar 10 03:17:00 EST 2001
  • mod: none

This series actually has an impressive heritage, with not one but two OAV series preceeding it. Although this title doesn't seem to have made much of a splash in anime fandom. And, unless the idea of a racing anime excites you, there definitely are some limits to this show.

We begin by meeting the lead character, the young schoolgirl Yamamoto Yohko. she's aggressive, tomboyish and highly competitive. Perhaps because of this, and some impressive innate talent, she very, very rarely loses. And, to keep her game playing addiction fed, she'll join a team and guide them to victory for nothing more thant a few computer games. There are a couple of other weird things though. There's a strange haunted room in the school and Yohko keeps having strange flashbacks of battling starships. When she finds an evening appointment in the haunted room she can't help but investigate.

And, in no time at all, it is revealed that she had been living a double life until an accident stripped her memory. In one life she's an ordinary (sort of) high school student, in the other she races starships. And not just any starship. It turns out that 1000 years in the future conflict over territory is solved through team starship battles. And while the weapons are lethal pilots are beamed out before any harm comes to them. As such it is like the ultimate space game for potentially huge rewards, and Yamamoto Yoko is always happy to master a new game. And while she needs some team-mates there's lots more school-girls back where she comes from.

The first thing you've simply got to accept is that, even given the resources of a galactic power, the best possible pilots are four school-girls. It's sort of hand-waved away by saying that people of the past had superior skills, but that's fairly bogus. And since the whole team comes from a single school they didn't have to search too hard. Of course this is anime, and in anime every task is best handled by a group of teenage girls. And, on the plus side, these girls are pretty good fun. In addition to Yohko there's a tough country girl, a quiet super-traditional girl (which includes mastery of martial arts, don't Japanese traditions rock?) and finally a loud, obnoxious, grudge-holder who becomes a member of the team while trying to discover yohko's secret. Later on we get to meet an opposing group, called the red snappers, who also have four female pilots who echo the main group. So at least there's a good number of quirky personalities to spice up the show.

And to be honest, the show certainly needs it. The fact of the matter is that, in general, spaceship combat is sort of boring. It's not as much fun as watching people fight because a spaceship is a lot less expressive, even compared to a mecha. Likewise because the fights happen in the depths of space there's little interest in the environment, limited strategy and no connection to the 'normal' world. They try and get over this through the conflict of personalities, but these elements are largely independant and so don't support one another. There's also an attempt to fix the problem by attaching giant holograms to the top so that the spaceships become like 'skateboards' to the holographic girls. It looks interesting, but it doesn't make much sense. Then again, a lot of the technology design is sort of lazy and illogical.

The characters are interesting and pretty good fun. But they're all pretty familiar character types. Likewise the endless, but limited in depth, verbal sparring between some of the members can irritate as often as it entertains. There's some crisis moments, especially when Yohko actually loses and goes into shock about it, but they also lack a certain something. Possibly because we know they're going to end up playing with starships again. It could also be because, well, Yohko's not really that expressive. Or, even more seriously, it could simply be that the writing isn't quite as tight and skilled as it could be. It certainly entertaining, but I don't know that many will treasure this material.

The animation itself is quite interesting. The girls themselves are quite attractive and there's some excellent use of dramatic camera angles and environment effects to spice things up. The starship combat is, as mentioned, fairly dull and the ships themselves just look sort of like darts. There's also way too much use of repeated animation, especially of them getting into and launching the starships, which really starts to grate. It's quite reasonable production, especially for a TV series, but not really anything special. The voices are very good value, but the dialogue is often quite restricted. The music was forgettable and the ambient sounds unimpressive.

Other Reviews

  • THEM review While them admit it's got no shortage of cute and interesting girls they're much less certain about the writing and direction. This leads to a fairly cautious review of this titles charms (3/5).


Words by Andrew Shelton, Web by Ticti, Last Compile: Wed Aug 5 12:39:25 WST 2009