Title: Chi ni Kaeru ~on the Earth~ | Artist: Kotoko | Show: Starship Operators

Yes, I’m cheating again; posting both the OP and ED for a series. My pick for the day though is the ED: Chi ni Kaeru ~on the Earth~. It serves as the ending for the series Starship Operators, a surprisingly semi-hard Sci-Fi show that I personally consider significantly ahead of its time, and still one of the better depictions of what warfare in space may look like, given certain constraints. As an aside, it was written by the man behind Record of Lodoss War; the Japanese D&D/Lord of the Rings: Ryo Mizuno. To those who may know the name that’s probably reason enough to give it a look.

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Whilst on its shakedown cruise, the cadet crew of the spacecraft Amaterasu discover that their planet has fallen to the threat of military action from another polity; their government has surrendered and the crews of all space vessels ordered to stand down and evacuate their ships. The regular crew of the Amaterasu has already departed, with one exception, leaving the cadets to follow. Except instead, they decide to take command of the ship and position themselves as a Government-in-Exile, seeking to raise support against the aggression shown towards their home.

Lacking logistical support, the cadets strike a deal with the Galaxy Network’s Starship Channel to receive funding in return for allowing their battles and shipboard life to be streamed, thus making their fight into a peculiar type of Reality Show. And it goes from there, through well-considered space-set combats, political machinations and a prescient example of how controlling the media provides military advantage, or not. I’m not sure many anime have shown such media manipulation for military applications so deliberately before, especially as the original light novels started their run in 2001, two years before the 2003 Iraq War which really lead to the full aspects of war being in the average person’s living room becoming common knowledge.

Title: Radiance | Artist: Mami Kawada | Show: Starship Operators

Contrasting with the ED, which is slow and reflective, the OP is fast, punchy and relentless; evocative of the idea of tense space combat in a way that it isn’t. The contrast between the two also serves as a good paradigm for the overall run of the how, but saying more than that would be too much, heh. I do intend to write a full article about Starship Operators in the near-to-mid future however, so if you find yourself interested keep an eye out for that.

Oh, karaoke version of the actual ED below.