Anime Review: Starship Operators

Written by Fellistowe

Whilst on its maiden training flight, the small planetary nation of Kibi’s new technologically advanced warship, the Amaterasu, receives word that the much larger planetary alliance, referred to as “The Kingdom”, has invaded their space. Kibi’s government surrenders immediately, and all the senior officers aboard the Amaterasu are ordered off ship, leaving the crew of trainee cadets in charge of the ship…

Starship Operators 

Full series Available on DVD Region 1 from Geneon Entertainment

Starship Operators

Whilst on its maiden training flight, the small planetary nation of Kibi’s new technologically advanced warship, the Amaterasu, receives word that the much larger planetary alliance, referred to as “The Kingdom”, has invaded their space. Kibi’s government surrenders immediately, and all the senior officers aboard the Amaterasu are ordered off ship, leaving the crew of trainee cadets in charge of the ship.

The cadets, feeling helpless and angry over their governments quick supplication to the Kingdom, work out a method to “buy” their warship, and strike a deal with the Galaxy Network TV station for sponsorship. The TV station provides the cash and supplies; in return they get the rites to sole coverage of the actions of the Amaterasu and her crew as they fight the Kingdom.

Dropped into a war they never expected
Reality TV gone mad you ask? “Big Brother” in space? Thankfully not.
Whilst this basic plot line sounds almost like its setting itself up for a comedy space adventure, don’t be fooled. Starship Operators is a serious series, following the trials and hardships of the crew of cadets as they face their first real combat against a much larger and aggressive force, with no hope of support.
The TV coverage of the ship takes second stage to the story of the ship and her crew; this series is story driven rather than by its characters, and it caries itself well.The lead role is taken by the ships tactical commander, Sinon Kouzuki, an average cadet but a brilliant military tactician. It’s through her keen insight that the Amaterasu is able to succeed against its overwhelming odds, and the responsibility of this is not lost on her. Whilst initially against the idea to take the ship and fight the Kingdom, she stays with the people she trusts, and does everything she can do to ensure they stay safe. She is supported in this task by a variety of characters in the crew, all of them just as determined as she is to see they get out of the situation alive. None of the characters are over the top; all play believable roles in the serious drama they find themselves in.
At only 13 episodes long the series can never really focus on any of the characters for too long, the story takes centre stage, so it misses out slightly in not being able to explore the crew in more depth. Sometimes it has to pass over quickly some circumstances that almost feel to be made trivial by their coverage; but then in war personal tragedy often has to be pushed aside in the fight to stay alive.The story is the real star of the show though. It is well paced; none of the episodes loose their momentum and the tension builds up wonderfully towards the final few episodes, never letting up and always drawing you along expectantly towards the well orchestrated closure. The combat sequences are more realistic than flashy, and never dominate the show, instead adding the required tension and action where the story requires. No one character dominates, all add to a well balanced and absorbing story.

The animation is above par as well, clear crisp character designs with liberal sprinklings of CG work, and no loss of quality throughout any of the episodes.

In short, you like your space combat realistic, and your action stories more serious than comedic, then this is a show worth picking up.

Note: All images remain the property of Geneon entertainment and are used for review purposes only, they will be removed if officially requested.

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