Based on a set of Japanese novels this series is easily one of the best of the underrated shows out there.
Justy Ueki Tylor wants an easy life, so after seeing an advertisement he joins the military: the United Planets Space Force! Despite having seemingly no aptitude for anything requiring discipline or responsibility he is accepted because the war with the alien Ralgon race starts during his aptitude tests (during which he also unwittingly manages to do the Raalgon a favour). And so, through accidents and his carefree outlook he somehow manages to get promoted to Captain of the Soyokaze. A battleship with the name Ďgentle breezeí on which the dregs of the military life have been dumped. Naturally they all hate him for one reason or another, whether they already know him or not (Commander Star and Lieutenant Yamamoto watched him bungle their way out of a high profile kidnapping). And so the crew of misfits head off (without orders!) to face the Raalgon, who are under the leadership of their new teenage empress.
This is for the most part a light hearted comedy about military misfits in space. The comedy is often silly but not to the extreme that can appear in other such shows and while not constantly hilarious there are plenty of smiles and chuckles throughout. The main cast are instantly memorable through their personalities if not their design and as a whole it seems more down to earth for a silly comedy than many are. This works in its favour because when they want to do more serious things they can without breaking style. The parodic nature of the way the tackle military life extends to the serious side because these actions that Tylor take do have consequences for him and his crew, and those consequences bring about some great plot material. The plot twists and turns as the UPSF and the Raalgon go through their political and military situations. The comedy is backed up by serious and believable plot, and visa versa. There are one or two cliche moments, such as important conversation being cut off by a ship taking off, but it was just another chuckle for me.
A mention should be made to the music. Aside from a great into theme the musical collection in this so is quite eclectic, ranging from traditional slapstick bounciness to synthesised drama to proper classical. Their use of classical music is both unexpected and very well selected, giving a lot of depth to the scenes it appears in.
Aside from the political deviousness the fact that itís set during a space borne war there is practically nothing to worry about here. A little mild nudity is about as far as it goes, and Iíd recommend this for older children and up, but there will be material they just donít get.
Animation wise this isnít a particularly polished looking show but the character and ship designs are very nice. It doesnít require much fluid animation dues to the fact itís more about character comedy and situation rather than action, but the few action sequences there are are given the budget they need to make them work.
This dub is another mixed bag. Some characters work while others donít quite manage it. The main cast is huge so I wonít go through them all except to say that the most central characters like Tylor and Yuriko Star come out of it well. Also another musical note; they dubbed the songs as well which was a nice surprise as they are actually done rather well. The intro theme in particular worked very well in both languages.
It doesnít seem to stand out at first glance, and the first few episodes are among the weakest of the series since the Soyokaze and most of the cast donít make their appearance until episode three, but if you give it a chance youíll find a very enjoyable and interesting show that hits most of itís marks spot on. There is a method in Tylorís madness, you just have to wait and find it!