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Anime / Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko

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"It's time you learned who you picked a fight with!"
Yamamoto Yohko

Based on novels by Shoji Takashi, Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko is a sci-fi anime series featuring female characters. Set in the future, wars are fought differently, unlike how war originally was, which is people killing people for territory. These kinds of wars are competitive wars in which no one dies. The main protagonist of the series is Yohko Yamamoto, a girl from the 20th century who is what you call a Gamer Chick.

The show lasted on two OVA's and a 26 episode TV series which has never seen an English release of any form in North America, and the light novels were rereleased as of 2010.


  • Apologetic Attacker: Erytron of the Redsnappers cries "I'm sorry" every time she presses the trigger in her ship.
  • Alternate Universe: The Chronos system, while often treated as a conventional time travel device, actually links alternate universes.
  • Always Someone Better: Madoka strives to be beat Yohko, but always end up as second to her. Whether in studies, sports, even as a pilot.
  • Audible Gleam: Whenever Madoka's giant forehead rears itself, it's accompanied by one of these.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: In the finale old master Hakuhoin (Ayano's grandfather) barges onto Zenga's ship, engages him in combat and not only stops but braks Zenga's katana with his bare hands. That's just how badass he is.
  • Big Bad: Emperor Zenga gets a hold of the Old-Timer's inheritance abut halfway through the series and attempts to reboot the universe using it.
  • Bland-Name Product: Yohko and Ayano use "Oasio"note  cellphones.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Tensa in his Humongous Mecha on Sakura Taurus announces every attack out loud to emphasize how macho he is.
    • Later Madoka does the same when the protagonist group gets a hold of the Mecha and blasts their way towards Sakura Taurus' core.
  • Catchphrase: Each pilot has one consisting of "(Ship Name/Model Number), (Character Name), (Personal Phrase)!". Yohko's, for example, is "Super Strike TA-29, Yamamoto Yohko, Get ready! Go!"
  • Childhood Friends: According to the flashbacks Ayano and Yohko were already pretty close as kindergarteners.
  • Colourful Theme Naming: The four sisters of the Red Snappers have names that mean red in different languages.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Yohko has the opening theme's chorus as a ringtone.
    • Then in penultimate episode the opening song plays in the empty cafe on rematerialized planet Beilief.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Galaxy Boss who really is Yousuke driven by the will of Old-Timer destroys planet Beilief by impaling it with an immense shard out of nowhere just for the kicks of it. Although he's considerate enough to let all of its inhabitants evacuate beforehand.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The series is particularly fond of these:
    • "Boiled Egg" is a piece of so-called "Old-timer's Inheritance" which literally hatches an immense energetic bird-like being.
    • The "Sara Dredd" which comes after Lawson in her TA-21 is actually a materialized manifestation of her grudge turned up to extreme. The fighter ship is capable fo regeneration, transforms into a hideous beast and completely NoSells the Everblack Cannon.
    • The planet Sakura Taurus houses another piece of Olt-timer's Inheritance which absorbed the real Sara Dredd along with her fighter ship and now manifests Sara's thoughts into real objects. Several times we are treated to the view of the ship being entangled in an eerily bilogically looking web of cables and tentacles.
  • Eldritch Location: The instances of so-called Old-timer's Inheritance are various anomalous objects strewn across the galaxy. One of them is so-called "Boiled Egg" a seemingly planet-shaped object with an eggshell shaped aureola. On the surface the "planet" looks mostly like Earth and manifests random pieces of Earthly architecture and locations, probably in relation with the visitors' subconscious. Then it hatches an Eldritch Abomination.
    • Another one is Sakura Taurus which absorbed Sara Dredd and has become Genius Loci. It manifests her memories in form of cherry blossom trees.
  • Electronic Speech Impediment: The TA ships suffer this in episode 11 when fighting in an anomalous ocean. They're flooded and the voice interface stutteringly announces the failre of the emergency teleport evacuation system.
  • Exty Years from Publication: For the TV series, at least; released in 1999, set in 1999 and 2999.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Estrantech and other capital class ships are capable of "surfing" which is basically something between hyper jump and warp drive.
  • Forehead of Doom: Madoka's sizable forehead frequently reflects light, complete with sound effects.
  • Forgot the Call: The first episode of the TV series has Yohko suffering from this and believing herself to be an ordinary high school girl. She gets better.
  • Gamer Chick: Yohko. Her skill at video games was one of the main reasons why she ended up being suited to spaceship battles.
  • Genius Loci:
    • Sakura Taurus after absorbing Sara Dredd manifests her memories in the form of cherry blossom trees. When Tensa destroys them, the planet literally comes alive and attempts to commit suicide by crashing into a comet.
    • The "Boiled Egg" is a faux planet which connecs to its visitors' subconscious and manifests their experience in form of familiar objects and locations.
  • Grail in the Garbage: The second OVA episode features a crane game in the resort the characters visit. One of the prizes is a planetary system, and a particularly valuable one at that. The rest of the episode features the main characters fighting the Red Snappers for the right to claim the prize. Eventually a random kid wins it.
  • Humongous Mecha: The entire idea of the genre is played with in episode 15 when Tensa blasts away the cherry blossom trees on Sakura Taurus in his giant robot. Than the protagonist group captures it and uses it to blast their way to the planet's core.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: When Estrantech is ambushed by fake Sara Dredd, the crew opts to flee using so-called "surfing" since Estrantech is unarmed and the launching dock was damaged, so the fighter ships are unable to launch.
  • Look Both Ways: The post-credits scene of ep. 6 when Ayano is on her way to reconcile with Yohko on the other side of the street. Ayano cheerfully runs on the crosswalk disregarding the traffic lights and is hit by an incoming car. She gets better.
  • Mile-Long Ship
    • One might think that the ships are just small fighters, given that they have a single pilot and engage is space dogfights. But they're actually huge; the TA series Terra uses are easily more then ten times the length of a Boeing 747.
    • The Estanatrech is the size of a city, essentially being a mobile starbase. It doesn't count as The Battlestar because it doesn't have its own weaponry.
  • Mood Whiplash: Finale of episode 6 - after an argument Ayano and Yohko are about to reconcile. Yohko apologizes to Ayano, waving at her from across the street, Ayano cheerfully runs towards her ... and promptly meets a business end of a speeding car.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Think about this. If Lawson never built the Chronos, none of the events in the series would've ever happened. Yohko would never even learn about the future space battles, much less participate in them, thus never give the Old-Timer a reason to counteract her influence. "Boiled Egg" would never hatch and Sakura Taurus would never awaken nor release the Old-Timer's inheritance, Zenga wouldn't get his hands on it and never be able to attempt rewriting history by traveling back to the Old-Timers' era.
    • In greater scope it was actually caused by a book from 20th century about Yohko saving the universe which actually inspired Lawson to scout Yohko. Oh and who has written the book? If you bother to pause the video, you discover it was Madoka!!
  • No-Sell: Everblack Cannon is probably the most powerful weapon in the setting. It doesn't even scratch the core which spawns the space ocean and drives the Chronos nuts. It also doesn't do sh...tuff against the Sara Dredd abomination. Nor to Tensa-controlled Old-Timer's inheritance in the finale.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: All girls do battle with their spaceships. When defeated, they get teleported out of the spaceship without getting killed.
  • Old Master: The old guy Hakuhoin, Ayano's grandfather is a master of the family dojo. He's often seen lecturing and training his grandfather and in the finale he even takes on the Big Bad himself.
  • Old-School Dogfight: The way the fights are conducted between pilots, complete with what looks like atmospheric braking despite being in space. Even odder considering the actual scale of the ships.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Yohko's male clone, Yohsuke. Yohsuke is actually a Bifauxnen at first, but after a the will of the Old-Timer leaves him, Yohsuke did indeed turn into a male. Madoka being smitten by "him" wasn't amused by the revelation that Yohsuke's a she.
  • Planet Spaceship:
    • The third episode of the first OVA has a huge ship that's thousands of kilometers long. It's powered by a miniature black hole that has become unstable and is threatening to destroy Earth if the ship reaches it.
    • After Sakura Taurus awakens it literally uses the embedded Ta-21 ship to propel itself and even perform a hyperjump.
  • Pseudo-Romantic Friendship: Yohko seems to be quite close to Ayano to the point of coming to her rescue in episode 17, when she mistakenly assumes, Ayano is in peril. It was an act for the Sea God festival and afterwards one of the organisers even remarks, there is a legend that a hero will come to the priestess' rescue but they didn't expect the hero to be female. Yohko's subsequent blushing only reinforce the implications that she and Ayano are more than Just Friends.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: Probably the closest trope to what the so called Old-Timer(s) is - an intangible interdimensional consciousness, probably of the Hive Mind variety, born of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens which have Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence 10 000 years prior to the happenings of the series. They run on Blue-and-Orange Morality and disapprove of the influence on the universe by people from alternate timelines and intervene to prevent/undo the changes.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the attendees at the Sakura Taurus costume party is dressed up as Batman.
    • In the penulimate episode of the series Madoka relates herself to Wile E Coyote because she is always chasing after Yohko just like the Coyote is chasing after the Road Runner..
  • Smitten Teenage Girl: Towards the final third of the series Madoka falls head over heels for Yousuke. It doesn't last long.
  • Space Fighter: The starships of the title. Their scale is deceptive, though; while they may look like small fighters, in the first episode of the second OVA, the TA ships are sent back to 1999, and we see that they're hundreds of meters long. Yohko's TA-29 is nearly the size of an entire airport.
  • Stab the Scorpion: At the top of the watchtower Rouge suddenly pulls her gun on Yohko. The latter briefly pauses in confusion and a gunfire is heard. The next scene reveals Rouge actually shot a scorpion which was about to sting Yohko.
  • Stable Time Loop: How was Yohko actually scouted for the space war games? Lawson read a book originating in 20th century about Yohko saving the universe by fighting in space battleship competitions. This led him to built the Chronos and travel to 1999 to recruit her.
  • Teleportation Misfire: About halfway through the series, when the heroines are being Chrono-ed back home, due to an unknown interference they wind up in the middle of a desert to their utter shock. Fortunately Lawson realizes it in time and brings them back safely but this is the first signal that the series is going to have a darker turn.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Yohko goes through one in the TV series after her team battles the Red Snappers for the first time and loses. She quits and declares she'll never go back to the future again, but after seeing Ayano get hurt both emotionally and physically because of her actions and Ayano's drive to continue being a pilot, she decides to return.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: Momiji has her hair tied samurai-style which emphasizes her energetic personality.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Yohko and Pocky; Yohsuke and beef sausages.
  • Years Too Early: In the first OVA, after Rouge describes how she'll crush the new TERRA pilot, Yohko enters proclaiming that she's 5,670,000,000 years too early to say that. During the match Rouge says that TERRA are 100,000 years too early to catch them.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Much like her namesakenote , Yohko's Super Strike has one, called the Ever Black cannon. In the TV series it's shown that Rouge's Red Snappers Superior has one too, called the Ultimate Impulse Cannon, and is of comparable or possibly equal power.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Arguably Zenga might be this with his reasoning that humankind has stopped evolving when it decided to de-lethalize all wars and power struggles.
  • Wham Shot:
    • While she's also had her down moments, Yohko is generally upbeat and confident. Cue her mortified face in Ep 13, when she encounters an Eldritch Abomination in the form of Sara Dredd, which damn well knows, who it picked a fight with and to the heroine's sheer horror completely NoSells the Everblack Cannon. Yohko promptly turns her ship around and flees in terror.
    • A smaller one but still seroius occurs at the end of Ep. 6 when Ayano is hit by car on her way to reconcile with Yohko.