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VINE VOICEon November 28, 2008
"Starship Operators" is the story of the starship Amaterasu. On the maiden voyage, the military that the corps serves is dissolved when the ship's home world surrenders to the Henrietta Alliance. The brave crew members find themselves on a state of the art military craft without a sovereign planet to serve. The series shows how a crew of cadets presses on. In this respect, the premise calls to mind "Star Blazers" meets Star Trek's Red Squad. The series is a curious combination of two schools of storytelling. On one hand, this is a serious science-fiction drama. "Starship Operators" employs politics, military strategy, science and the psychology of combat. The series gives a compelling prediction of how the media may come to dominate interstellar life. The show offers a fascinating look at how technology may be advanced yet simultaneously familiar. On the other hand, this show is very teen friendly. Many of the character strands deal with gushy romances and interpersonal female relationships that will greatly appeal to high school girls. The voyeuristic shots of the female cadet's legs will appeal to the guys. While there are great combat scenes, much of the story is character driven. "Starship Operators" is in many respects a coming of age story. Some viewers will embrace one of these schools of storytelling and reject the other. To fully appreciate "Starship Operators," the viewer will have to reconcile the teeny-bopper and sci-fi geek forces. While I personally lean towards the geek end of this spectrum, I am ultimately able to make peace with the dual ingredients. Every now and then, my skin will briefly crawl from one of the girly scenes, but as a whole, I appreciate both influences. The show takes time to appreciate. The episodes on the first disc introduce the setting, central conflict and characters. The brief second disc is filled with epic space battles. The third disc is packed with intrigue, betrayal and last moment plot twists. It wasn't until the final episode that I realized just how invested I had become in the characters and their cause. As I watched the tear-jerking finale, I couldn't believe that the all-too short series was actually at an end. When all is said and done, "Starship Operators" stands as one of the less appreciated yet more compelling anime experiences.
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on May 8, 2006
I have to admit that I wasn't very impressed with the first volume of this series. It seemed formulaic what with the battleship duel of the week format and also the contrived filming of a reality show as these young men and women strove to stick it out against a powerful enemy, and outnumbered and alone, tried to gain back some dignity for their humiliated nation. But there was something about it, just a gleam that made me reluctantly try the second volume. I am very happy that I made that decision because this second volume which plays less episodic and gets the characters involved in life or death decisions hits the mark. That was another thing I had against the first disk: These kids didn't really have much empathy for their enemy and would just blow them away, killing hundreds or even thousands with hardly a bat of an eye. In the second volume we actually see some remorse and reluctance to take another's life, which makes all the difference in how you feel about these characters.

The Amaterasu has finally found a friend, at least what "seems" like a friend on the Planetary Nation of Shu. Not everyone in the galaxy supports the right of the Kingdom to invade and annex another state. Some of the highest ranking officers of the battleship are split up attending various functions on the planet which doesn't make for a very safe situation. The situation worsens as civil unrest, stoked by the Kingdom and its agents in the Shu government, breaks out among the populace, with some supporting the Starship Operators and others deadset against them. The crew must make some deadly choices if they all want to make it back to the Amaterasu in one piece. Even if they do make it back, they will have to face a contingent of Kingdom starships, one of which is equipped with an unknown weapon.

The personalities of the crew members really come across so much clearer in this volume. For example, Renna and Akiho go looking for supplies, and when hostilities break they are put into a situation where Renna gives Akiho a gun to take out some soldiers but Akiho can't handle it and breaks down. Renna comforts her and goes out into the open to take them on by herself. It was a really nice touch to show that not all these young adults are prepared to kill, even if their lives are on the line. Shinon is also a pretty cool character who is really the brains behind the ship, most of the time telling the figurehead captain what to do (although he is getting better at making his own decisions). Meanwhile, the backer for the reality show is surely a villain you hope gets his own medicine by the end of the series. This is turning out to be quite an entertaining anime about sacrifice and a willingness to fight for one's country, even against impossible odds.
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on October 10, 2013
Definitely a good storyline and art work as well. Not into giving spoiler but do recommend it as a buy on the low end if possible.
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