Irresponsible Captain Tylor

Genre: Sci fi comedy
Length: 26 episodes
Score: Good

Tylor is easy-going, genial and carefree. He joins the United Planets Space Force ‘for an easy life’, but when he accidentally saves an admiral he winds up assigned as captain of the destroyer Soyokaze – the oldest, most worn out rust bucket in the galaxy. It’s crewed by the unwashed dregs of the fleet: brawling marines, a drunk doctor, underage pilots and a first officer whose strict military ideals are offended by the idea of serving under an irresponsible man like Tylor. Through a series of incredibly lucky encounters – and tactics that include running away, getting captured, smiling a lot, failing to keep discipline among his crew, and fraternising with an enemy spy – he becomes an unlikely hero.

His non-military style instantly gains him the hatred of some of the admiralty, who try to have him demoted, relegated, imprisoned and eventually killed. Dom, an admiral of the enemy Raalgon Empire, gains a grudging respect and fascination for Tylor, and even the Raalgon Empress takes an interest. Despite commanding the least powerful ship, he ends up having an important role in the passage and resolution of the war.

The question running through the story is whether Tylor really is as clueless as he seems and just incredibly lucky, or whether he has a staggering genius for getting hidden plans to work. On one occasion, the entire ship is persuaded to behave themselves for 24 hours, Tylor included – and during this time he acts like a true and noble officer. But when the time runs out, not only does he instantly slip into his old self, but his actions turn out to have had unexpected consequences.

This is an old series now, but the writing is still good. What at first appears to be a one-trick pony turns out to have legs. The comedy stays true to its characters, and they’re pretty well developed, both in the UPSF and the Empire.