Space Travelers: The Animation

Space Travelers: The Animation is an anime movie
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Plucky hero Hayabusa Jetter, his ingenue sidekick Irene Bear, muscle-mountain Crush Bomber, slimy Chinese trader Hoi, slinky femme fatale Gold Papillon, boomerang-throwing kid Black Cat, unstoppable space samurai Dragon Attack, mechanic Electric Sunny, and funky cyberhipster Karl Hendrix fight to restore the honor of planet Earth after an apocalyptic interstellar incident. A parody of the giant-robot space operas of the 1980s, with homages to Star Wars and Star Trek thrown in, ST is cheap and derivative, though the producers would argue that this was at least part of the plan.

It began as a throwaway gag in Katsu-yuki Motohiro's popular live-action movie Space Travelers (2000) in which a Tokyo bank robbery goes disastrously wrong. As the police surround the building, the staff and hostages volunteer to help the robbers bluff their way out; each is given a code name based on a character from the robbers' favorite cartoon, a nonexistent show called Space Travelers-hence the ridiculously large cast of anime archetypes. Scraps of animation were made as inserts for the original movie and are reused here-hence the strange pacing of the overlong opening credits that were not originally intended to be shown in this manner. The plot is a tired succession of fight scenes, a ludicrous transformation sequence, and an in-joke as the crew flies past the ruins of the Fuji TV building. An afterthought following the movie's success, ST was reputedly inspired by Motohiro's love of Star Blazers, Gundam, and Evangelion, though in execution it is a pale imitation of the 1970s hacksploitation of Cowboy Bebop and all too obviously a product of the terminally low budgets of many 1990s anime. Ironically, it was Motohiro's previous film Bayside Shakedown (1999) that was said to have sounded the death knell for anime-not understanding its appeal to the teen audience, certain producers backed away from making shows for that age group, only to discover that Motohiro's follow-up was just that.

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Original US Poster Art

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Name: Space Travelers: The Animation
Release Date: Jan. 1, 2000
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Rating: None
Runtime: 60 (mins)
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