Oct 19, 2018
owarida6 (All reviews)
Whenever I watch a show that was made before the 90s, I try to make sure that I am viewing it through the lens of the era it was created in. Uchuu no Senshi is a decent production for 1988. That being said, I'm still a little indecisive about how I felt about the anime adaptation of Starship Troopers.

I will preface this by saying that I have read the beginning of the original Heinlein novel but I didn't finish it. That said, the anime is certainly more faithful to the source material than Paul Verhooven's excellent film adaptation we got in the late 90s.

For the things I enjoyed; while watching I really got the feeling that the creators were passionate for the original book and wanted to bring that to film, while taking a few creative liberties. The art direction on all the mecha scenes is really enjoyable, and the design of the mobile armor looks surprisingly like Halo's Master Chief, who of course would not be created for another fifteen years. The action scenes are great, though I would have liked to see more of the Bugs.

The artists did a really good job making all the main characters distinct, easily identifiable, and memorable. Johnny Rico is your typical "All-American" look (though he's from Buenos Aires, Argentina), but his squadmates represent a range of ethnicities/nationalities and are drawn as such. It is really nice to see an anime where the characters dont suffer from "sameface", as many modern shows do, with having the same style of eyes and facial features and shape across the cast.

I also thought the show was, on an episode by episode basis, paced really well. While it is a sci-fi show, it spends a lot of time on the characters and their struggle to become graduated members of the mobile infantry. So the action is balanced by downtime at bars, the dormitory, and with family.

But, there are some shortcomings. While all the male characters look great, they reeeeally struggled with the female characters. Carmencita, Johnny's love interest and his motivation to join the military, even at her most attractive as a cheerleader looks androgynous. I think they knew she didn't look very female, so I think they just made her eyes really huge to compensate. The other female characters essentially look like clones of her, and for me with the rest of the show looking so reasonably well executed, it's strange to see how much they struggled to draw female characters.

At only 6 episodes, it feels like it ends right as it starts to stretch its legs and run. The final episode is an action-packed climax, but it doesn't really resolve anything. When the end credits roll I felt myself thinking, "Oh, that's all?" It even ends on a pregnant pause. I'm left wondering what they were trying to say with this adaptation, or if they had planned on more episodes but they were cut short.

Overall I certainly liked it more than I didn't, and if you are a fan of Starship Troopers it is definitely worth a watch. I just wish it had a few more episodes to really see out the conflict and let the characters develop a bit more.