Starship Troopers 01

Uchu no Senshi Episode 01 (OVA)
宇宙の戦士 Ep. 01 (Anime)

SPOILER Summary: On a distant planet, a group of troops in mecha-suits go into a combat zone with an unknown force and are being wiped out.

On Earth, Johnnie Rico from Daniel High is playing the championship against Barons High. His team is down by 5 points in the 4th quarter with 15-seconds on the clock. Johnnie looks at the cheerleader Carmencita and promises himself that if they win, he’ll tell her something. The quarterback throws Johnnie a pass, which he catches, but gets stopped just short of the goal line. At the party after the game, Johnnie begins drinking a lot and his friend Carl comes over. Knowing Johnnie has the hots for Carmencita, he pushes Johnnie over to where she’s being flirted with by another guy, where we learn she’s going to attempt to be a pilot in the military. Before much of a conversation can begin, a group of people decide to head to the ocean and Carmencita asks him to come as well.

Johnnie is lying in the back of Carl’s convertible as they make the trip. They talk of the future with Carl joining the Army to put try his computer skills to use. Johnnie hasn’t thought much about the future since it is assumed he’ll just inherit his father’s business. He falls asleep and as the others enjoy a night at the beach. The sun rises the next morning and he feels something stir within him upon seeing the sunrise. He discovers Carmencita is sitting on the car and they talk briefly of her plans to become a pilot. With that, he does the unthinkable and heads to the military recruiting office to join the military, something he hasn’t even consulted with his parents about.

When he comes home later, his mother is horrified that her son has done such a dastardly deed and wants him to withdraw his application. He cannot because it is already in the system. Johnnie’s father takes him out for a drive where they discuss things. To Johnnie’s surprise, he sees his father smoke for the first time, something that his father has access to as head of the Rico Foods Company, and he asks Johnnie not to tell his mama. Johnnie’s father suspects that war is about to break out considering the orders for foodstuffs the military has put in with his company. While he won’t stand in his son’s way, he asks Johnnie to consider there are other ways to help humanity other than being in the military and to also consider his mama’s feelings. After their talk, Johnnie decides to walk home to think about things. He finds his mother still seated at the table with her head on her hands and he proceeds up to his room.

The following day, Carl comes by with some military footage that he managed to acquire online and which apparently had accidentally not been encrypted. It is the footage of the mecha-suited troopers battling the unknown force from the beginning of the episode. Seeing it, Johnnie is determined to proceed with joining the military. As such, Carl is comforted about his own decision to join the military. With rumors now spreading, more so since the luxury liner Queen Alexandria made an unexpected return to Earth, the Federation military admitted that there had been some attacks by an unknown enemy on a few outer planets but that they would have the situation under control soon.

Johnnie sees his father and tells him his mind is made up to join the military. As such, his father gives him the acceptance letter. Johnnie takes off on his motorcycle but finds his mother looking depressed by a tree overlooking a lake. He stops to see her, but she slaps her son and basically tells him goodbye before walking off. Johnnie enters the military and is transfered to the Mobile Infantry branch where those who’d been there longer were now training with the mecha-suits.

Thoughts: First, I’d like to thank Stretch for pointing this title out to me. I had no clue the Japanese had done an adaptation of the Robert A. Heinlein novel back in 1988. It is a 6-episode OVA which has never been released on DVD (apparently) and so I’m going to try to see if I can score and watch the whole thing. I’ve never read the original novel, but I’m told that this OVA is the most accurate visual adaptation of it. My only point of reference is the live-action movie that came out in 1997.

As to the first episode, it moves faster than it would seem to for basically establishing characters and other table-setting events. I can’t say much beyond that other than I look forward to watching the 2nd episode (whenever that happens to be).

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