Uchuu Kaizoku Mito no Daibouken is an anime from the very late 90s. The first series aired in the beginning of ’99 and the second aired mid to late ’99. For the moment, we’re just looking at the first. I might watch the second at another time if you guys really want to see me review it or if I really want to see it. It was brought to us by Triangle Staff, That’s right, the studio behind Serial Experiments Lain, and Genco, A company best known for working on the more administrative production side of things. It’s an original work too, not one based of of a manga,game or anything like that. Let’s see how it turned out.
Mitsukuni Aoi is an ordinary teenage boy. He goes to school, hangs out with friends, has a crusty sock in his closet. That’s not hygienic, Aoi. He’s ordinary save for a couple minor details. The first is that he lives alone. The second is that his mother is an alien pirate. Yes, he finds out during a respectful visit to his father’s grave, when his mother makes an excuse to get rid of him and he finds her fighting with aliens. He quickly learns that the person he thought was his mother was actually a mechanical suit and inside that suit is an alien who looks a bit like a young girl. Here’s what I’m curious about, how did she squeeze out that baby? It would be like a Chihuahua birthing a Labrador puppy. Setting that aside to fester in your minds, he has to come to terms with the truth about his mother all while she’s trying to protect him and herself from the Galactic Patrol. Hijinks happen.
The biggest issue with the series is that it’s not all that funny, and this isn’t a series that remotely works in any kind of serious capacity. Its more serious moments aren’t bad, per se, but they’re pretty weak and the series has to quickly retreat back to something absurd whenever they have one which ultimately cheapens any gravity it might have had. It relies pretty heavily on the comedic aspect and that involves a lot of mediocre gags like Mutsuki breaking out in mushrooms or Aoi having an awkward moment with his mother when she’s outside of her adult suit.
That being said, there are times when the comedy works. Their teacher going full ninja, some of the crazier action sequences and Mito’s crazier interactions with her crew are where the series absolutely shines. If it maintained that level of humour throughout instead of only having it sometimes and filling in the gaps with mediocrity, it would be a great series.
As a whole, the characters aren’t that interesting. The series tries to do compelling things with some of them. Like Aoi and the whole incident in his past that haunts him or Mutsuki and her wavering. But they tend to be executed in suck lacklustre ways that the ultimate effect on their characters is minimal. The one exception is Mito with her whole situation of trying to mend things with her son after lying to him for so long. Even speaking as a non-parent, it’s pretty relatable. I think we’ve all had relationships hit rocky patches and had the challenge of mending them. Unless you’re someone who only has close relationships with two-dimensional characters. Maybe try getting just a little sunlight sometimes? The characters can be enjoyable in those comedic sequences that work, but in general the jokes that revolve around their interactions don’t tend to be among the strong ones.
The series doesn’t look bad. It looks decent enough. The crazier action sequences are outright great looking. One thing that’s a bit disappointing is the alien design. You have aliens like Mito or Mutsuki who just look like humans. You’ve also got a lot of aliens who just look like the animal people from Dragonball. There’s not a lot of interesting or unique design going on. I think the 1960s Lost in Space had more unique designs. And sure, it ran for three years but they were also designing their alien costumes with cardboard and bits of string. You should be able to do more with animation. There’s also the questionable nature of Sabu’s design to consider. She’s a cyborg who looks a bit less than racially sensitive. That’s the polite way to say it.
There are some good actors in this. Kawakami Tomoko, Asakawa Yuu & Hoshi Soichiro among them. And I will say their performances are pretty good, Kawakami’s in particular. Itou Masumi handles the composition and it’s damn good. Maybe not as good as what she did for Galaxy Angel but it’s close, at the very least.
There’s a bit towards the end. I don’t want to go into too much detail since it’s a factor in the big ending sequence, but it’s there.
Uchuu Kaizoku Mito no Daibouken has comedy that ranges from mundane to actually pretty great and some more serious scenes that chronically don’t work particularly well. It has decent animation, overall and art that’s perfectly functional. Along with some really good acting and music. Ultimately, that doesn’t add up to a brilliant series, nor even a good one but it’s a decent enough one. Thus, my final rating is going to stand at a 6/10. Next week, Renkin San-kyuu Magical? Pokaan.