"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.
Don't let the preview or promotion fool you. This is not a usual space show with cute girls running around. This is a comlex story about a war (how it is fought), politics, (how to sink a ship without using any ship) and character develoment ( how the people in the story react and interact with all these). The animation is good. If you are looking for a war show only (fighting for justice with endless ammo and supplies or go on an adventure to see the universe and meet aliens, nice or evil), it will probably bore you. If you want to know more about "real" war or just a drama with complicated strategy, you are in for a treat.
When I first picked up 'Starship Operators', everything about it looked like another, 'female teens fight a war comedy' that has come to predominate the genre. The cover art, the name, the synopsis.
Boy was I wrong. The story is that a ship full of cadets on a training cruise is abandonded by their officers when their planet surrenders to an alliance of planets known as the Kingdom. The crew which is mainly female decides to purchase the ship and fight the Kingdom. The only way they can afford to purchase their ship the Amaterasu and the supplies is to be sponsored by a televison network which wants to do a reality show.
One can see why I thought it was another 'female teens fight a war comedy'. However, I was suprised, this anime was filled with space battles, political intrigue, love, death, and so much more. You watch as the crew overcomes issues such fear and desperation while battling the ships of the Kingdom with limited supplies, and the whole galaxy watching. This isn't you everyday anime. This one's a keeper.
If you like Honor Harrington books by David Weber, you'll most likely enjoy this show quite a bit. The show is a bit plot-driven, as such characters sometimes suffer as a result, but the winning mix of spaceship combat, submarine style (think Hunt for Red October as opposed to your usual Star Wars style dogfights) and some dirty politics going on in the background is a winner (politics become more prominent towards the end of the show). Overall a very underrated series that, perhaps, will be more appreciated by straight sci-fi fans as opposed to anime fans.