In the mid-21st century, mankind has begun the exploration of space, and one company, Planet Catcher Corporation, has pioneered capturing asteroids and comets to mine the resources within them for use on Earth. On one such asteroid, Tortatis, lives 12-year-old Nanbu Ushiwaka - the only child ever to be born in space and survive.
But survival itself is no longer guaranteed - a military satellite triggers a disaster during a operation to capture Halley`s Comet, and Ushiwaka and his fellow colonists must find a way to survive when both their country and their company abandon them. Can they escape before the nuclear reactor on the asteroid melts down? Or are they doomed to die as they lived, among the stars?
Mighty Space Miners is a fun sci-fi space adventure that does just enough right to stay pretty entertaining from start to finish and laid simple ground work for other titles like Planetes or Stellvia. In some ways, it really reminds me of one of my favorite video games, Colony Wars, wherein some of the introductory missions involve cleaning space debris and various missions on training and refueling space crafts.
There isn't a lot of character development, but it's not too hard to look into what personalities are played. Nanbu, the protagonist, wants to ace his tests to be a space miner like his parents, though
the impending disaster puts lives in jeopardy and will be Nanbu's ultimate test. He's aided by his long time friend Fuko, and there's nothing wrong with her, but there's little else to say. The cast is small and not very complex or deep outside of their occupations, but they don't need to be and in certain aspects, watching them work to save lives aboard the damaged colony and pull together the will to survive in a time of crisis answers more questions about their character than a long-winded flashback or exposition could ever answer. I always miss that kind of character progression back in the mid 90's with anime. I feel you get more accomplished with a character or characters working and growing together in a current predicament and plot as opposed to trying to figure out the Rubix Cube of shattered emotions that an anti-hero lead is attempting to convey in the form of vague, cloudy backstory and clunky writing over the course of 26 episodes.
Space Miners' artwork is very good, and withstands the test of time by putting up a good fight. The animaion is very smooth and the quality is akin to Urusei Yatsura: The Beautiful Dreamer movie. It's pretty fluid and detailed, the character designs simplistic, yet effective. Well-drawn technology keeps you grounded into the belief that use of this machinery could be about 80 years from now.
The ADV english dub is pretty impressive, featuring voice talents of Rob Mungle, Amanda Winn-Lee, and Tiffany Grant. The BGM seems cropped out of Mega Man 3 in some of the action scenes, and the opening theme has some of the most comedically ridiculous lyrics I've read since Gravitation.
Probably the biggest problem with this title is it's not complete, and that really hurts the overall score I wanted to give it. The majority of the first episode is very much like a Metroid mission of escaping an exploding space station, and episode two is alot of whats really going on politically. I can only surmise that there was supposed to be more, but the project was scrapped and this 2 episode OVA is all there is. I won't go into detail about it, but if you've seen Pilot Candidate, you'll kinda know what I mean.
IN CLOSING: Mighty Space Miners is pretty enjoyable, and if you're looking for a classic space title that's pretty darn good, this one is worth checking. Ending aside, it holds very well over time and is a nice slice of retro-treasure I was fortunate enough to find again, even though I had to pay $35.00 for the VHS tape of it.
OVERALL: 7 out of 10
PROS: Nice attention to detail regarding interstellar physics, great english dub, that talking helmet is adorable
CONS: A little bare-bones, the damn end is a little upsetting
Excellently animated, absolutely love the art style, visual vibe and detail! Also believable with lots of realism and a great build-up for a masterpiece "space colony scifi-series", with a deep and thought provoking plot. A real shame that it was canceled (don't know the details) and thereby left unfinished, which lowers the score just a bit, storywise. Still managed to deliver I guess?
For some reason I've gotten this spark for space related animes and this one was well worth the trip, despite cutting so very short. Memorable and definitely worth recommending if there's any spark of interest for space related scifi (and you manage to
find this gem) with depth and believability somewhere in there.
This is one of my absolute favorite OVA's. If you're looking for a way to spend an hour don't pass this up!
The art is detailed, and nicely animated. I'm especially impressed with the realism to the machinery! The opening theme is so groovy! Not much of a chance is given for the characters to develop, but Ushiwaka is a determined, likeable kid with a can-do attitude. Super cute!!
The story and characters are so well written, and so much backstory is alluded to, but not in a way that overwhelms the viewer. Straightforward, yet the opposite of boring, and definitely an intriguing premise. I really really
really want more! So much to think about!
You don't see much hard science fiction in anime. It's really an awful shame Mighty Space Miners never got very far! I can hardly even find any information about it online, and I've searched for hours (however i am limited to english-only resources). All I know is supposedly there was meant to be 6 episodes total. Every now and then I get really passionate over this and go into
a mini-crisis that Mighty Space Miners wasn't completed.... I'd have been a HUGE fan, as well as a lot of other science fiction buffs I'm sure.
Will Ushiwaka save his home? It's been over 20 years, so it's pretty likely we'll never know, unfortunately :(