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Star Fleet
Star Fleet is an early '80s Japanese Sci-Fi show with character and mecha designs from Go Nagai. Known in Japan as X-Bomber, the show is notable for using miniatures and marionettes rather than cel animation, giving it a very unique look. Also diffused in France and Spain under the title Bomber X.

The year is 2999, and Earth is at peace after a long stellar war. This peace is shattered by the arrival of Commander Makara and her giant Imperial Alliance battlecruiser. After making light work of the Earth Defence Force, they approach Earth and threaten to destroy it unless the Earthlings hand over F-01. The people of Earth have no idea what this even is.

In order to counter the attack the EDF launch the experimental X-Project, consisting of the prototype battlecruiser X-Bomber and three fighter craft that can combine to form the robot Dai-X.

With the attack repelled, the crew of the X-Bomber set out to discover the secret of F-01, a secret they must discover before the Imperial Alliance do, or the universe is doomed.

Not hugely successful in its native Japan, the show was very popular in the UK. The combination of being superficially similar to the much loved Thunderbirds, and the fact that the show didn't shy away from many tropes that were mostly unknown in kids programming in Britain at the time made it a Gateway Series for British kids of a certain age.

Lots more information about the series can be found at the SFXB homepage.

Oh, and this has nothing to do with The Federation Starfleet or the Star fleet.

Star Fleet provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Ace Pilot: The crew were chosen because they came top at the academy.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Orion, who spent much of the series as the most cowardly and reluctant of the villains, shows considerable bravery and determination in his suicide mission. His demise was certainly a lot more dignified than the panicky deaths of Makara and Caliban (And he almost managed to bring down the X Bomber, to boot.) It's hard not to feel sorry for him.
  • Anyone Can Die: Very unusual in kids shows shown in the UK at the time, probably not so much of a big deal in its native Japan.
  • The Battlestar: Makara's ship is both armed to the teeth with guns and loaded with transport ships that carry fighters to battle. X-Bomber is a lesser version, since it has an arsenal of weapons and also houses the three Dai-X fighters inside itself.
  • Bittersweet Ending: By the end of the series:The good guy wins, the Big Bad is defeated, but Lamia, one of the main characters, has to sacrifice her life in order to restore the peace in the universe.
  • Bug War: The Termoids
  • Combining Mecha: Dai-X. It is composed of three fighters: Braincom, Mainbody and Legtrax. No points for guessing which part of Dai-X each of those forms.
  • Compilation Movie: Two Compilation movies were edited (poorly) for VHS release in the UK in 1983.
    • The Thalian Space Wars
    • Space Quest for F-01
  • Cool Starship: The X-Bomber
  • Derelict Graveyard: X-Bomber is trapped in one during Episode 7.
  • Dub Name Change: A majority of the names were changed for the English dub. The only ones retaining their original names in the main cast were Dr. Benn and Lamia.
  • The Empire: The Imperial Alliance
  • Expository Theme Tune: The end credits, although not composed by Brian May as is usually thought, he did do a Cover Version of it though.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Makara and Orion's symbiotes.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Captain Carter
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: While there's no gore in the series, Makara's death at the hands of giant robot Dai-X, literally, is pretty grim for a kids show. Of course, compared with the other works of Go Nagai...
  • Fighter Launching Sequence: Launch Imperial fighters!
  • Getting Crap Pastthe Radar: Although not necessarily unusual for a Japanese series; the English dub had at least two occasions of "Hell" and "Damn" being spoken during the series run. This is quite unusual for a childrens show broadcast in the UK at the time.
  • I Surrender, Suckers
  • Last Stand: The Final encounters with Orion, Makara, Caliban and the Imperial Master at the series end.
  • Mars
  • Matte Shot: Makara and Orion when they are in the same shots with the Imperial Master puppet.
  • Mysterious Protector: Halley
  • Mysterious Waif: Lamia
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Shiro's name is mispronounced as "Shy-Row" in the English dub (it is properly pronounced "She-Ro")
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Shiro
  • People in Rubber Suits: The giant robots and the Big Bad.
  • Planet Spaceship: The Imperial Planet in the last episodes. Despite not resembling a planet at all, it gets referred to as such in the show. Planet is a pretty good description, given the size it has to be to accommodate the gigantic Imperial Master.
  • Power Trio: Shiro, Hercules and Lee
  • Recap Episode: There were 3 recap episodes - in a series that spanned only 25 episodes! It became so repetitive the English dubbers decided to get rid of the third one all together.
  • Redemption Equals Death: An unusual version of this where it's a villain trying to redeem themselves in the eyes of their superior.
  • Remember the New Guy: Caliban appears seemingly out of nowhere toward the end of the series as Makara's tech-guy.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: X-Bomber is lost in deep space toward the middle of the series, but are roughly able to make it home from deep uncharted space in a rough 1 month.
  • Space Is an Ocean
  • Space Sailing: The Skull
  • Stock Footage: Most every battle scene and launch scene contained stock footage from earlier episodes.
  • Story Arc: Almost every episode contributes to the arc.
  • Suicide by Cop: After getting free from alien control, Captain Carter can't accept living after all the terrible things they have done and requests Shiro to kill them. When he refuses, they attack him to force his hand.
  • Supermarionation
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Professor Hagen, who appears after the death of Dr. Benn in Episode 19.
  • The Symbiote: Makara has some sort of living eyepatch... thing where her left eye would normally be.
  • Title Theme Tune: The French version.
  • Transformation Sequence: Dai-X. Surprisingly for the time, all of Dai-X's transformation sequences during the series are made without Stock Footage.
  • Two of Your Earth Minutes: Makara makes it abundantly clear that it's THEIR time measurements she's counting.
  • Unreliable Narrator: The second recap episode has the crew remember things differently from how they happened.
  • Wave Motion Gun: X-Impulse
  • We Only Have One Chance: Used in many episodes.
  • When the Planets Align: Happens at the climax of the final episode.
  • X Meets Y: Thunderbirds meets Star Blazers. With a hint of Getter Robo.

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alternative title(s): Bomber X
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