Type: OVA x 2
Episode Count: 3 / 3
Vintage: 1996 / 1998
Version reviewed: Japanese Subtitled
Date of Review: 12 Jun 2006
Cute girls piloting spaceships… what more do you need? This is pretty much my favorite obscure series.
OVA The First: In the future, interplanetary conflicts and disputes have been abolished in favor of a new system… economic matters are decided by non-lethal space battles – well, competitions may be a more accurate description – between teams representing each planet. Team Terra hasn’t been doing too well, so they’ve gone back in time one thousand years to 1990s Japan and hired a new secret weapon, video game ace Yohko Yamamoto, to pilot the tricky TA-29 space fighter and lead the team to victory.
OVA The Second: Back in 1998 Japan, the girls of Terra have just started summer break from school when Yohko is challenged to a duel in space by someone she’s never seen before. Being 1998, this is just a little bit weird. It turns out that before Yohko was chosen to pilot the TA-29, there was another who was supposed to lead Team Terra with that ship, but failed to make the cut, and now this pilot has sworn to defeat Yohko and prove just who is the better pilot.
This review covers both OVAs. They’re both on the same DVD, so it makes sense to review them at the same time.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear… These OVAs are pure fluff. However, they happen to be the kind of pure fluff that pushes all the right buttons for me, so Yamamoto Yohko has become my favorite series that nobody has ever heard of! Relatively speaking, of course. It gets a little fan-servicey at times, but I can forgive it because I have so much fun watching the show. Let us examine why a little series nobody has ever heard of can be one of my favorites…
Yohko is a feisty cat-eyed girl (that happens to wear a hairband) who is addicted to video games and Pocky. I mention the hairband only because I have a thing for those. To me, Yohko is about as cool a girl as there can be. (So I’m having a fanboy moment. I’m allowed to have those every once in a while too.) I don’t need anything else really; Yohko alone makes the show for me. A couple of Masami Okui theme songs is a welcome bonus!
Now as far as the stories themselves go, they are pretty entertaining. The first OVA is a set of three standalone stories, with the final one being the best of them. In the first episode, we are introduced to Team Terra as well as the Red Snappers from Ness, Terra’s main rival. Each team is made up of four girls who all have their own distinct personalities. Being that the focus of the series is the girls, it’s a good thing to know who they all are from the start. Episode two is a side excursion to a hot springs planet (yup), where Terra and Ness unexpectedly bump into each other. In the last episode, the focus shifts to the Red Snappers as they investigate an abandoned spaceship. With the first two episodes being mainly comedic, this more dramatic third episode was a nice change of pace, and concludes the first OVA nicely.
The second OVA, which is unrelated to the first, has a bit more of what resembles an overall story arc. In the first episode we get to watch the girls of Team Terra just having fun on Earth doing the things that 15 year old girls do on summer break. Their fun is interrupted by a challenge from Yohko’s new rival, and all of a sudden Yohko finds herself piloting the TA-29 in her own time. The second episode, despite a very brief scene that ties it to the overall story, is a standalone haunted house type episode that takes place on a planet where the pilots from Terra along with one of the Red Snappers crash land. The final episode (again the best of the bunch) caps everything off with the final challenge from Yohko’s rival, who can’t seem to get over her grudge.
So in all, Yamamoto Yohko gets a B because I like it. I guess you’d call it a ‘guilty pleasure’, except that I enjoy every minute of it and am not ashamed of it being in my collection. If this kind of show isn’t your thing, you’ll probably find it quite average or maybe not even like it. But if you’ve got a thing for Pocky-eating video-game-playing girls who pilot spaceships, Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko is a fun little series you’ll likely enjoy.
There was also a 26 episode TV series made around 1999 that has yet to make it to American shores… My collection requires it! But nobody has licensed it… yet. Here’s hoping!