CAPTAIN YAJIMA is a computer-animated online short by Ian "Worthikids" Worthington (who also made BIGTOP BURGER) in association with Japanese voice-acting group RASH A1M, released on April 30, 2021. It is an Affectionate Parody of 1960s Japanese shows and Stop Motion films—and notably, is entirely in Japanese with English subtitles.
The short is structured like an episode of a TV series, with the episode being titled "Astronaut". It follows space explorer Captain Yajima and her assistant Professor Genius finding a stranded astronaut. The astronaut turns out to be Yajima's Arch-Nemesis, the Wicked Zoga, in disguise, who had been kicked off course by a rude alien on a motorcycle. The three set off to find the rude alien and get revenge.
The short contains examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: Of not only campy Japanese TV series of the 1960s, but also Tad Mochinaga's "Animagic" stop-motion style pioneered by Rankin/Bass TV specials. This is best seen in how only characters' bottom lips move when they talk.
- Ambiguously Human: Zoga has a humanlike structure, unlike the expressly "alien" characters such as Genius, but her multicolored head, yellow pupils, and a red seemingly-bionic eye make her appear less human than Yajima herself.
- Captain Space, Defender of Earth!: One aspect of the short's parody angle is Captain Yajima herself, an overly-righteous hero of space. In fact, when she hears of the rude motorcycle alien, she immediately declares him her new "arch-rival".
- Cliffhanger: As is tradition for '60s shows, the episode ends on Yajima, Genius, Zoga, and another stranded astronaut heading towards an interdimensional vortex due to a massive kick from the motorcycle alien, along with a To Be Continued monologue from the Narrator.
- Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: The short's end credits theme, "Wizard - Hexilate!", is the same "space metal" song that plays in the bar that Captain Yajima and her friends visit.
- Enemy Mine: Captain Yajima and Zoga are mortal enemies, but agree to team up just this once to find the rude alien who kicked Zoga and take him down.
- Friendly Enemy: Yajima has a framed photograph of her supposed "arch-enemy" Zoga hanging in her ship, while Zoga becomes enraged when Yajima claims she's done with her. They have little trouble teaming up to pursue the rude alien who kicked Zoga.
- Fun with Subtitles: Zoga's shrill voice is represented in the subtitles by having her always speak in ALL CAPS.
- Harmless Villain: We never see Zoga do anything evil—in fact, we never really see her do anything at all other than be annoying. It is strongly implied that this is the only reason Captain Yajima and the people of the space bar hate her.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: The short has a theme song, and aside from a Narrator introducing the show's title, it has no lyrics.
- Jerkass: The motorcycle alien rudely kicks anyone who happens to be in his way, not caring as to where they end up. He has done so to Zoga—in her astronaut disguise—and a real astronaut, and does so to Captain Yajima, Professor Genius, Zoga, and the same astronaut in the present.Captain Yajima: He seems like a real PIECE OF SHIT.
Zoga: HE WAS INCREDIBLY RUDE.
- The Magnificent: Zoga is most commonly known as "the Wicked Zoga".
- Mundane Object Amazement: When Professor Genius hears that the delirious astronaut (actually Zoga) comes from Earth, he is amazed at the fact that they have cars—despite being the co-pilot of a spaceship.
- Named After Somebody Famous: Yajima and Zoga are named after iconic '60s and '70s Japanese actors whose roles also serve as inspirations for the characters — Yajima after Masaaki Yajima, voice actor for Captain Kirk in the Japanese dub of Star Trek: The Original Series, and Zoga after Machiko Soga, most famous for her role as Bandora/Rita Repulsa in the Kyōryū Sentai Zyuranger/Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers series.
- Noodle Incident: We never learn why Zoga was disguised as an astronaut when the rude alien kicked her. She claims she was "doing a different thing" when it happened after Captain Yajima thinks the whole thing was a ruse Zoga pulled.
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: This is Zoga's attitude towards Captain Yajima, considering herself her only real enemy. When Yajima declares the motorcycle alien her "arch-rival" to replace Zoga, she becomes so enraged that she breaks out of her astronaut disguise and reveals herself.
- Our Wormholes Are Different: The motorcycle alien kicks the protagonists into the path of a "mysterious vortex" that will take them to another dimension.
- Retraux: The short is presented as if it were a lost '60s TV series: it sports a blurry picture with film grain and dirt, a 4:3 aspect ratio, and a mono soundtrack with poor audio quality. The subtitles are baked-in and presented in yellow, like an early anime Fan Sub.
- Shout-Out: According to Word of God on a series of tweets:
- Captain Yajima's design is partly based on Barbarella and the costumes worn by the '70s-'80s Japanese pop duo PINK LADY, for their single "UFO".
- Professor Genius' design is inspired by a Jabba the Hutt figurine, which Worthikids thought was adorable.
- Yajima and Zoga are Named After Somebody Famous — Japanese actors Masaaki Yajima and Machiko Soga — and they are somewhat modeled after the actors' famous roles as Captain Kirk and Bandora/Rita Repulsa, respectively.
- Space "X": While searching for the motorcycle alien, the protagonists come across a "space bar" with a "space metal" alien band performing—a show that Genius enjoys.
- Stealth Pun: Two for one: a "space bar" called the Bell Pepper is described as "seedy".
- Stylistic Suck: While the short is animated in Blender, it uses techniques to look like stop-motion. When the characters are flying towards the vortex, strings are added to the scene holding them up, and there are also strings holding the spaceship when it flies.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The astronaut who tells the story of a rude alien kicking him onto a remote planet turns out to be Zoga, having magically shapeshifted into one. She assures Yajima and Genius that she really was kicked by a rude alien, however.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: The space bar sequence has no real bearing on the main plot.