Starship Operators Volume 02: Memories
Arriving home from a routine flight for the Defense University’s 73rd class of cadets before graduation, the returning cadets are greeted with bad news – the Kingdom of Henrietta has declared war on their home planet, Kibi. Finding this unacceptable, the cadets decide to rebel against this state of affairs and liberate the ship Amaterasu for their purpose. However in order to stay supplied they strike a deal with the Galaxy News Network (GNN), turning their battles into a reality show. Is that exploitive? Sure it is. Is it fun to watch? I’d say definitely so. The series follows the Amaterasu in their battles- personal, professional, and with the governments of the galaxy. In this volume, we have a double dose of two-part episodes in which secrets are revealed and another main character is lost. That said, if you haven’t picked up Volume 1, you may want to – it is far too easy to get lost with Starship Operators if you aren’t paying attention.
In the first episode, the kingdom has declared war on the renegades, and the ladies are off to a ceremony on Shu. It turns out GNN’s show is very popular on Shu and the resulting publicity (such as CG representations of the ladies endorsing products they have never even tried) amuses some of the crew and horrifies others. War is also declared on Shu while they are there by the Kibi government, and the resulting chaos turns into a coup de etat. It is up to the planet bound members of the crew (Sinon, Alley, Miyuri, Renna, and Akiho) to find their way back to the Amaterasu.
In the second two-parter, a big emphasis is made on the Amaterasu being outnumbered, with the action changing back and forth rapidly between combatants in the first half as each side attempts to figure out how best to battle the other. The kingdom is clearly desperate having suffered a handful of losses against “those kids”, as they are often referred to. Strangely, the cadets refer to themselves as amateurs as well through the volume; it is easy to see there is true skill present in this group and it would only be to their benefit to start to acknowledge that element. Galaxy News Network’s Dita Mirkov is there covering the action live as allied ships Shenlong and Amaterasu battle the kingdom’s ships. The battle is a harsh one and the episode concludes this volume with a mostly thoughtful note.
While generally it’s easy to get lost on technical details, Starship Operators also has an artistic style that is enjoyable to the eyes. If you’ve picked up Volume 1, there are no surprises here – the same great quality awaits you. If not, go ahead and pick Volume 1 up as well.
Not as lighthearted as the first volume, this follows the first volume nicely by giving the viewer some more substance to the characters, as revealed secrets shift and change the way characters look at each other. The best part about continuing Starship Operators from Volume 1 is watching the way the series slips into a smooth transition from scattershot introductions across the ship into a little bit character depth and development without anyone feeling all that left out. This time I figured out who everyone was with no problem. That said, I’m pretty sure there are still too many characters, but I can actually see why they’re necessary where they are this time.
With political intrigue, personal drama, a few clever twists here and there, Starship Operators is a class act to follow that is much more interesting than its generic grocery store style title would reveal on a quick skim of titles. If you like politics in your sci-fi go ahead and pick this one up.
Overall Rating: 8
Features: TCVM Collection, Promo video for Live Events, Geneon Previews, DVD Credits
Episodes: 5- The Great Escape, Part I, 6- The Great Escape, Part 2, 7- Stardust Memory, Part 1, 8- Stardust Memory, Part 2
Extras: Mini Poster (Sinon, Alley, Miyuri)