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Tytania: Collection 1
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Through fear and conquest, the Empire of Valdana holds the future of most of human space within its the iron hands ... and for generations, those hands have belonged to the Landless Lords of the ruling Tytania dynasty. But now the foundation of the empire
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Oh, add in to that fact that there is in-fighting amongst the Tytanian Dukes, loyalties are as cheap as they are for the Borgia family of Renaissance Italy, and Tytania has no land. Yes, they rule the galaxy from a massive space fortress called Uraniborg, which also houses their immense fleet of starfighters and other spacecraft. The leading families of Tytania also act as emissaries, going on diplomatic missions to try and quell the uprisings before it turns into an all-out rebellion, but what are their own motives? Nothing in Tytania is what it seems...
As the title of this review implies, Tytania is a series that very much focuses on the politics of running an empire. While it is technically a space opera, the basic tenets of the story would apply with the administration of any large kingdom that is spread over a large territory. Minor spoiler: in the first episode, we see a young Duke of Tytania commanding an impressive fleet of fighter spacecraft. His ship, the Golden Sheep, is reminiscent of the starfighters in Star Wars (only it is a goldenrod color). Suddenly, a curtain opens in the Golden sheep, revealing a young man with long blond hair casually sipping tea in what appears to be a stage decorated like a Georgian parlor. He engages the fleet led by the unknown Admiral Fan Hyulick (whom they comment on as it being rude to send out an unknown to battle a Duke! The horror!), and after a few scenes, Admiral Hyulick unleashes a devastating attack, resulting in the Duke having to retreat in defeat, and losing most of the Tytanian Fleet.
From here Tytania takes off, each episode opening with the same operatic theme (sung by an alto voice, rather beautiful but not to my taste) and a narrator giving us a brief insight into the developing plot. A few things to note if you are curious about this anime:
1) There are a LOT of characters. While the focus is mainly on Admiral Fan Hyulick and the heads of the clans of Tytania (the Dukes), there are many other people who will appear in an episode (or maybe a few) and have a significant role. In some cases, they die. In others they disappear only to reappear at another time. Fortunately, the main characters are unique enough in their representation that you can probably keep track, but it will take a few episodes to completely set them straight.
2) While the overarching plot to Tytania is that of an empire trying to quash a rebellion, each episode has more cloak & dagger content than a pulp fiction from the 40s. You never really learn about the motives of each person. Well, maybe that is not a fair assessment. You can guess at the motives of each person, but the story is written in such a way that the TRUE intentions of each person is kept very close to the breast. Combine all of this with the first point above and you may want to develop a flow chart in order to keep everything straight.
3) This is a chess player's anime. This anime is rife with meetings between the Dukes (as well as the rebels) in order to discuss their failures, achievements, and general strategy to make their next move. These meetings take place nearly every episode, so if you are bored by discussions about moving troops and whom to attack, this one may not be for you.
4) The anime does a poor job of developing empathy for the characters. As mentioned, characters move in and out of the episodes, so that you never really get time to know them. Combine this with the fact that you never truly know what each person's intentions and motivations are, so you spend a good chunk of the story not really caring if someone dies. If this were real life, I could understand not divulging your plans to others. I can also understand suspense. But this anime drops details and hints so rarely that you never really find yourself caring about who wins or loses.
Animation and Sound
The music for Tytania is good, but nothing overly special. The opening is operatic in nature with a very robust male singer describing the glory of Tytania. The ending is a J-pop electronic song, completely at odds with the opening. Episodes have recurring themes, with specific music to suit an upcoming event. There is one song that plays anytime Fan Hyulick is in a bind. All-in-all the anime's music reminds me of 80's cartoons: there is nothing groundbreaking, and you will find yourself saying "oh, there's that tune... Hyulick much be coming up". It isn't bad, but it isn't very good, so I would say 3/5.
For the animation, Tytania is top-notch. The characters are very well drawn and have enough detail that each is unique. The heads of the Tytanian clans, for instance, are each represented by a different color outfit, and their facial and hair details are specific to them. In terms of character variety, there is quite a bit. Even minor characters who pop in-and-out of the series have their own look so that they do not necessarily blend into the crowd. That being said, due to the way the anime handles character development, you are more likely to remember how they looked versus what they did. It is truly a "hey, that guy! Uh... who was he again?" anime. A solid 5/5 for animation.
This is a very complicated anime to follow as it is, simply put, HUGE. The story is truly grandiose, covering both the developing rebellion, the in-fighting amongst the Tytanian Dukes, the reluctant hero Fan Hyulick, as well as episodes dedicated to the lives of various planets across the galaxy. The creators care very much about space battles and war tactics, but it lacks a bit in the character development department. I am hoping that by the end of the series (in Collection 2) that I will be able to root for a victor, but for now, I just need to keep updating my crib notes to make sure that I can remember who everyone is. If you want an animated Star Wars-esque story but with a LOT more detail about the day-to-day development of a rebellion as well as how the "Empire" lives, then I heartily recommend Tytania. If drawn-out plots with no strong characters is not your thing, then I would avoid Tytania at all costs. The endless meetings and veiled conversations amongst the parties are enough to make you go looney. So while Tytania doesn't really come high on my list of favorite animes, it is not bad, just not an anime I would choose if I had to pick my top ten. For strategists (you know who you are, RTS gameplayers!), this is your lucky day!
Simply put: I give Tytania a 4/5 for the epic story and artwork, subtracting a star because it really does not have either a strong protagonist or antagonist yet. I am hoping that it will come together soon, because by the end of this collection I still didn't care about any of the characters as much as I should. Here's hoping that there are more compassionate storytelling episodes in Collection 2!
For "Tytania", there has not been a novel released since 1991, but in 2008, an anime adaptation of the first three novels went into production and premiered on NHK's BS2 satellite channel.
With a new Yoshiki Tanaka anime series, what best than to have someone who is familiar with Tanaka's works direct this sci-fi epic and what best than one of the most well-known sci-fi anime directors of all-time, Noboru Ishiguro ("Legend of the Galactic Heroes", "Megazone 23', "Super Dimension Century Orguss", "Super Dimension Fortress Macross") to lead the project.
Others joining Ishiguro include composer Hiroshi Takaki ("Dragonaut-The Resonance", "Beet the Vandel Buster", "Sky Girls"), legendary character designer Haruhiko Mikimoto ("Super Dimension Fortress Macross", "Megazone 23', "Macross 7', "Gunbuster") who designed the original character designs and character designer Noboru Sugmitsu ("Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino", "Legend of Condor Hero") who based his work of Mikimoto's original character designs, art director Yasutoshi Kawai ("Suzuka", "Pokemon" movies) and legendary mechanical designer Kazutaka Miyatake ("Macross" series, "Gunbuster", "Dirty Pair Flash" OAV's) and Koji Ito ("Full Metal Panic!", "Cybuster").
A total of 26 episodes were aired on television and now the complete series will be released in two installments (13-episodes each) in the US courtesy of Sentai Filmworks.
"Tytania" takes place in a galaxy far, far away where a clan known as Tytania has ruled the empire of Valdana and uses its power and intimidation to put planets and countries in fear. No one likes to be ruled by Tytania but because of the power of the clan, no one dares fight them.
Ajman Tytania is the head of the Tytania Clan and one of the four dukes are expected to succeed him. The dukes are Jouslain Tytania (the strategist), Idris Tytania (who loves to instill fear into the galaxy), Ariabert Tytania (very good in battle but is disliked by Idris) and Zarlisch Tytania (who loves to go in battle).
One day, Tytania sends a large fleet to seize a new piece of technology from the city-state of Euriya. Led by Ariabert Tytania, the duke goes into a battle against a Admiral Fan Hyulick. And what was expected as an easy battle ends in a loss as Fan Hyulick uses a strategy that leads to the first loss of Tytania in 200 years.
This sends Tytania reeling but most of all, it has given hope to planets that Tytania can be beaten and hope that one day they can live a life without Tytania rule. But what people don't know is that Euriya chose Fan Hyulick because he had no experience and a group of normal people were chosen to confront Tytania for the purpose of losing and not winning.
Because Fan won, Euriya wants to distance themselves from them (feeling their will be retribution against them from Tytania) and now Fan Hyulick has become Tytania's #1 wanted man, meanwhile in other planets, Admiral Fan Hyulick has become a hero and known as the man who defeated Tytania.
"Tytania" is a space opera that features a story about power, corruption and also hope. Tytania is a clan that wants to rule by power and also putting fear into everyone across the universe but within the nobility is a power struggle as the duke's and other Tytania descendants want to be the replacement of Ajman Tytania. As for Fan Hyulick, he goes on the beat of his own drum but finds himself joining the resistance (against his will), while other states vye for the wealth and power that comes with defeating Tytania.
Will Tytania continue to control the galaxy? Will their ever be peace? And if Tytania is defeated, will that mean peace or another group who will want to abuse their power on the people of the galaxy?
"Tytania" is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic Widescreen. The animation is nicely done and for the most part, I felt that character designer Noboru Sugimitsu did a good job in bringing life into Haruhiko Mikimoto's original concept art and the artistic backgrounds are really well done as colors are vibrant and a good amount of shading and detail.
I will say though, that my feeling for the CG is somewhat split. Sometimes the CG looks great, especially during the space battles and combination of CG and animation works very well. But there are some scenes, in which vehicles look a bit dated for CG. In fact, the opening flag flying towards the screen during the opening theme looks as if it was created in early 2000 but not 2008. But overall, the animation and character designs for "Tytania" is well done.
I saw no major compression issues, nor did I see major edge enhancement issues with this release.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Tytania" is presented in Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. For a more immersive soundtrack, I chose to set my receiver on stereo on all channels. Overall, voice acting is well-done and sound is clear. The music by Hiroshi Takaki is well done, although I found it interesting to have the more operatic opening theme and then the more rockish theme by Psychic Lover playing at the end. I was expecting to see things a bit more consistent with the music. But overall, audio is clear, understandable and hear no hiss.
Subtitles are in English.
"Tytania - Collection 1' comes with the following special features:
* Clean Opening and Closing Animation
* Also Available from Sentai Filmworks - Trailers for currently released Sentai Filmworks titles.
* DVD Credits - Production credits
When it comes to space opera's and sci-fi epics, I absolutely love them. From the ongoing Macross series, to the different timelines of "Mobile Suit Gundam", "Space Battleship Yamato" to "Banner of the Stars", I typically enjoy films that focus on the underdogs of a planet versus the tyranny of another alien race and although some may find the banality of sci-fi anime series to tedious, for me, it's all about the characters and how well the storyline is conceived.
"Tytania" is a bit interesting. You have a series in which we can see the Tytania Empire having its own power struggles as people vie for the top position. We see how the Dukes almost have contempt on how each other reacts to various squabbles from other countries. Some who believe bloodshed is necessary to scare people and others who feel that negotiating is all you need.
But without getting to wrapped up in the power struggles of the tyranny of the Tytania clan, we have this other story about a underachiever named Fan Hyulick that does the impossible, he serves Tytania's first major defeat and that defeat sets up a chain reaction, giving hope to other countries/states who are against Tytania and their rule over their country and the galaxy. Hyulick, reminds of the inept hero Tylor from "Irresponsible Captain Tylor" (well, not that bad) but while not inept, he's more of a guy that walks on the beat of his own drum. Whatever he feels like, he does and people get the wrong idea about him. Call him lucky, call him cool, but really, it's that element of surprise because he is so aloof, that you wonder if this guy really cares about anything (aside from money and women).
But towards the end of this volume, you will see a change in Fan Hyulick when he is confronted with a significant tragedy.
If there is one thing that will appease any sci-fi anime fans is that you have an all-star creative team with those who worked on the original "Macross", "Megazone 23' and "Gunbuser" series" working on "Tytania", also it is based on the novel by Yoshiki Tanaka, who's previous works puts him on the upper echelon of sci-fi writing in Japan. So, you know you are getting quality. But at the same time, it's important to note that Tanaka hasn't completed "Tytania". In fact, his last novel was in 1991 and he hasn't come back to it since. So, unfortunately, "Tytania" is a story that has not received any type of closure and this series focuses on the first three novels and hoping that maybe one day, there will be some type of conclusion to the novel or more novels released, so there can be a continuation of this anime series.
But for now, we have the first anime series that will keep any sci-fi anime fan, let alone Mikimioto or Ishiguro fans salivating as the first collection has finally been released in the US. And as a fan, I'm always excited whenever these two are working together especially for the fact they are working together on a series based on a Yoshiki Tanaka novel. How awesome is that?
The first 13 episodes are fun and entertaining but I do expect the second half to become a bit more serious. I know there will be comparisons to "Banner of the Stars" but with that anime series, it was a love story among the opposition and you felt a sense of urgency when it came to the battles. With Tytania, it's different because although humanity is facing the tyranny of Tytania, these countries are not exactly being treated as slaves or anything less. So, the question is if people feel cozy enough while collaborating with Tytania. Do these people want a split and have their personal lives affected? Through this series, we will see a variety of those who have been affected by Tytania with different mindsets. One for rebuilding, one for wanting power, and others who are too scared to react and don't know what to do.
The DVD is a bit slim when it comes to special features and unfortunately, for those who are wanting an English dub, this DVD release is only in Japanese with English subtitles. Hopefully Sentai Filmworks considers this series for English dub sometime in the near future.
Overall, "Tytania" has been an entertaining series thus far. Again, the first half is not so serious and in someways, there is quite a bit of humor scattered within each episode. But if anything, these episodes are more or less introducing us to the characters and also giving us an idea of the difference in mindset between the four dukes of Tytania. By the end of this collection, things start to ramp up and become a bit more serious and hopefully this continues into the second half of the series.
I'm really enjoying "Tytania" thus far and I look forward to seeing what the writers do for the second half in "Tytania - Collection 2'. For now, if you are a sci-fi anime fan or any of the fans of the talent who had created this show, definitely give "Tytania - Collection 1' a chance!
The series was produced in 2008 and based off a manga which is still ongoing apparently. The manga was based off three novels written in the late 80s, which has not been concluded.
The premise and story sound interesting, but the anime producers seriously dropped the ball on what could have been a great series. The first and most egregious sin is the horrible CGI work for the space battles. It looks like animation from 2000 rather than 2008. I would have preferred hand drawn spaceships to go with the more nostalgic feel of the story. I mean, the novels were written in the 80s, I think it would have been neat to use classic late 80s early 90s animation techniques. Regardless, it looks cheesy with the CGI.
Also, the characters are rather stale and flat. Being a space opera, I expect that the characters would be a huge draw. Instead they seem rather archetypal and not realistic. It seems everyone just sticks to their character model no matter the situation.
I am still watching on Hulu, and if the series suddenly takes a turn for the better, I will certainly update this review. But as of now it fails to impress me. Also, the price vs episode quantity is a bit high for something being shown on a $7.95/mo streaming service.