Friday, October 18, 2002

Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko

Genre: Sci-Fi
Parental Guidance Recommended, contains some delicate scenes
© 2001 Taku Shouji / Takashi Akaishizawa / Yamamoto Yoko / Seisakuiinkai / Kadohawa Shoten

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Kyubi Kitsune's Description:
A thousand years into the future warfare has become a refined contest between the galactic powers. Instead of massing fleets and armies, the powers engage in bloodless duels between teams of spaceships to their differences. Between the two major powers, Terra and Ness, the Terra teams have been a losing streak, but an engineer from Terra has come up with a new idea, have high school girls from twentieth century pilot the new and powerful ships he just designed. It might just work.

(6 episodes)

Mediocrity worth watching. >>> by Kyubi Kitsune

There's not much particularly anything too original to Yamamoto Yohko. Most of its elements are borrowed from other anime, but if there is one thing the Japanese can do, it would be their uncanny ability to make something that would be otherwise trite and cliché seem interesting.

The plot is very simple, and little gets developed in the six episodes. Yamamoto Yohko and her friends are hired by Terra to fight for them in their duels with Ness, and most of the episodes deal with Yohko's team confronting the Red Snappers, an elite Ness team consisting of, you guessed it, girls. In the second half of the OAV there is an ongoing storyline dealing with a disgruntled ex-Terra pilot who tries to get rid of Yohko.

The characters are probably what carries this anime through, in particular the title character. Yohko is an interesting blend of your typical super talented character with an amusing blend of cocky and devil may care attitudes, though some people may not like this. The rest of her teammates are stock characters that really don't detract from anything and, in fact, complement her presence quite nicely. There is Madoka, the irate and butt of Yohko's jokes type of character, the tomboyish Momiji, and the demure Ayano. The engineer and the team's manager Lawson comes off as a typical romantically doomed dorky kind a guy, but is always able to carry his scenes. Their opponents are also of stock quality but are fleshed out and never really detract from the anime much like Lawson.

Animation, character and mechanical designs are competently done yet never really standout or are memorable. Most importantly, the space battles are nicely done.

Music falls into the same category as the animation, competent yet unremarkable. The first ending song, "Shake it", is pretty catchy though.

Voice acting is good on both sides and the viewer cannot really go wrong with either language track. Megumi Hayashibara fans will happily note that she has a role in this as Madoka.

Yamamoto Yohko is one of those titles where if you want something fun and light in between more serious anime, you really can't go wrong with it as long as you are willing put aside its limitations or are just a rabid Megumi Hayashibara fanboy (or girl).

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 7; Characters 7; Sounds 7

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