Review: Tytania

Here is another end-of-season review, and this time it’s for the space opera Tytania. It’s the first time I’ve watched a slow-paced space opera anime, and Tytania didn’t turn out too badly.

Tytania is a space opera anime series based on novels from Yoshiki Tanaka (Legend of Galactic Heroes) and animated by Artland. The story takes place humans have spread themselves among the stars where the Tytania clan is the most dominant force in the galaxy for the last 200 years. One day, an easy-going military commander named Fan Hyulick leads the Eurian forces to victory over a Tytania task force in a battle that Euria was supposed to lose, and from that moment on the galaxy enters a period of conflict and unrest.

I started watching Tytania mainly because I read from other blogs that the LOGH anime was good. I haven’t watched LOGH, so I wasn’t sure what to expect from Tytania at first, but it was apparent from the first few episodes that Tytania is a show that takes things at leisurely pace, and the focus is on the characters and plot rather than the action. There were a good number of action sequences in the series but they were nothing spectacular. The space battles were mostly just capital ships shooting beams at each other, and the fights between troops were similar. It’s good that Tytania has focused its efforts on the plot and characters, but I wished it could have spent a little more time spicing up the action sequences so that it doesn’t like people (or ships) playing laser tag with each other. This is not a glaring problem though as Tytania is mostly about the story and characters, and it is these aspects that makes Tytania an entertaining show despite its leisurely pacing.

The story of Tytania mainly deals with two groups of people. On one hand we have Fan and his friends who are trying to stay out of Tytania’s clutches and mount an offense from time to time, while on the other hand we have the four Tytania dukes who are vying to become the next Landless Lord and rule over the galaxy. Basically, Tytania is a show about scheming, with Fan scheming to stay out of jail and hit Tytania where it hurts while the four dukes (mostly Jouslain and Idris) scheme against each other. Between the two groups, I find that the scheming between the four dukes to be more entertaining because it’s more believable. Both Idris and Jouslain are trying to position themselves as the prime candidate to be the next leader of Tytania, and it is fun to see Jouslain using his reasoning skills and niceness to disrupt Idris’ schemes. This is not to say that Fan’s adventures aren’t entertaining, and on many occasions it was Fan’s smarts and the incompetence of the local Tytania forces that allowed him to prevail. However, there were several situations in the show where Fan and company pulled tricks out of thin air to win (ex Dr. Lee’s mad hacking skills, and the Old Man ship downing Zalisch’s Typhoon). It is true that in that in small rogue group vs. giant empire scenarios, the rogue group must have some element of luck in order to have a chance, but there were a couple of feats by Fan and allies that just seemed a little too convenient.

The main strength of Tytania is its cast of primary characters. The protagonist Fan is quite the charmer: a laid-back and easy going guy who possesses the smarts and will to win when the situation calls for it. Basically, Fan is the type of hero who is easy to like and hard to hate. As for the opposition, one thing I like the most about Tytania is there isn’t a stereotypical villain among the important characters. It’s clear that Fan is “the good guy”, but Ajman and the four Tytania dukes aren’t evil and each has an interesting back story and distinctive character traits. Idris is perhaps the least likable of the four dukes because of his tendency to use underhanded tactics, but his actions stem from his love for his family and responsibility to protect their future. Zalisch is an accomplished military commander who nonetheless has to bow to the will of his mother; Jouslain is the level-headed tactician who appears to be nice on the surface but is more than capable of being sly in certain situations; and Ajman is the leader who is afraid of losing his power (and has a questionable interest in a 10-year-old princess). The only exception may be Ariabert, who more or less is just Jouslain’s follower and doesn’t have a personality of his own, but at least he’ll always have the dubious distinction of being the first Tytania duke to be defeated in battle in 200 years. The interesting cast of characters and lack of a stereotypical villain makes the story a little less predictable and therefore more entertaining.

Tytania turned out to be a decent series that, despite its lack of good sci-fi action and slow pace, possesses some unique charms. I found myself enjoying the series, but that could be because I’m a fan of space fiction in general. Since I haven’t watched LOGH, I can’t really make a comparison between LOGH and Tytania, although the consensus online seems to be that LOGH is better. I’m hoping there will be a second season, but I wonder if there is enough material in the novels, which remain unfinished with the most recent volume having been released in 1991. Hopefully Tanaka-sensei will finish the novels after all these years, or Artland will come up with an anime-original ending, but what I don’t want to see is the anime being abandoned in the middle, so lets cross our fingers and hope for the best.

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