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Anime / Ginga Hyouryuu Vifam

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Wipe away
All your tears
Together we will
Conquer fear

Galactic Drifter Vifam or Round Vernian Vifam or Space Castaway Vifam (Ginga Hyōryū Vifam) is a Sunrise mecha anime that first aired in 1983, conceived by Yoshiyuki Tomino (Vifam is, in fact, the reworking of a very early concept for Mobile Suit Gundam which involved a cast of children) and directed by Takeyuki Kanda. It included mechanical designs by artists Kunio Okawara and Mamoru Nagano, as well as character designs by Toyoo Ashida. A remake, Galactic Drifter Vifam 13 was created 15 years later.

During the year A.D. 2058, hostile forces (collectively known as the "Astrogaters") attack the human colony at Clayad, the third planet of the Ypserlon system, which is located 43 light years away from Earth. Because of this, the colonists on Clayad are evacuated from the planet by the human military. During the confusion, some of the human children become stranded from their parents and escape in the training combat space ship, the Janous. With the help of the ship's defense systems, they manage to arrive at Belwick, the fourth planet of the system, where other humans supposedly live. However, upon arriving they discover that the colony at Belwick had already been destroyed by the enemies too. Learning to pilot the Round Vernians, the 13 children decide to escape to Earth by themselves.

This series contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: Roddy proves to be pretty skilled as the main pilot of Vifam unit 7.
  • Adults Are Useless: In the first arc we have a bunch of children holed up in an abandoned military installation with some weapons, and elsewhere on the same planet we have the Terran military in a state-of-the-art underground facility. The children manage to beat back several enemy attacks, while the military base gets wiped out along with all personnel after just one. On the other hand, the attacks against children installation were just scouting by small groups, which weren't exactly even sure that there are anyone here, while attack on military base was full-scale strike with large force involved. Not to mention that the Terran military subverts this at the end of the series, when their fleet successfully manages to aid the children when they're overwhelmed by a large enemy force.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: Round Vernians. While Earthlings use the term to classify all mechs, the aliens actually refer to them as "machines".
  • Big Brother Worship: Kents' obsession with military protocol stems from looking up to his older brother, who is in the army himself.
  • Child Soldiers: Type 1.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Who knew that the shy and reserved Jimmy would turn out to be so precise at aiming with a turret?
  • Dwindling Party: In episode two, the crew of the Janous plus passengers numbers somewhere around 50-100 people. By the end of episode 12 this number has been cut down to fourteen.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Both justified and handled fairly realistically; Bart already learned how to pilot Round Vernians sometime before the events of the show start, and his knowledge of VR training allows Roddy and Maki to take it up before going out in the battlefield. When Sharon does try to invoke the trope, she welds custom-made foot pedals so that she, Fred and Kents can pilot Round Vernians despite their shorter heights. Since they had no training whatsoever, it goes about as disastrously as one would expect, so while Fred and Kents later get better piloting experiences, Sharon got so discouraged by the incident that she sticks to manning one of the Janous' turrets.
  • Foreign Language Theme: "Hello, Vifam," the opening theme, is in English.
  • Manly Man and Sensitive Guy: Roddy and Fred.
  • Military Brat: Kents.
  • No Social Skills: Sharon is rather blunt, haughty and boyish, owing to her single mother not being around much to take care of her due to a dancing career (which may possibly be exotic strip dancing).
  • Real Robot: The Round Vernians have just their rifles as armament, and the Vifam model isn't particularly different spec-wise from the Neofams, Torunfams and Dillfams the kids occasionally pilot.
  • Sergeant Rock: Bart at times, although he insists that he is a Nice Guy. Kents also tries to be one (towards the kids younger than him, at least), but tends to come off more as a Drill Sergeant Nasty and Butt-Monkey.
  • The Spook: The Astrogaters strike hard, fast and are rarely even seen outside of their mechs before the second half of the series. This makes them genuinely unsettling.
  • Tagalong Kid: All of the children on the Janous technically start as these, until the majority of the ship's crew and civilians gets wiped out by the Astrogaters. Marlo and Luchina both fit this role afterwards, while Jimmy turns out to be pretty skilled in his own right.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: The children on the Janous, after Katue, Jimmy and Bart join them.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: To Jules Verne's Two Years' Vacation/Adrift in the Pacific.