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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 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.
Star Fleet provides examples of:
- Ace Pilot: The crew were chosen because they came top at the academy.
- 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.
- 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
- Combining Mecha
- Cool Starship
- Derelict Graveyard
- The Empire
- 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
- 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!
- I Surrender, Suckers
- Last Stand
- Matte Shot
- Mysterious Protector
- Mysterious Waif
- Orphan's Plot Trinket
- Parental Bonus
- People in Rubber Suits: The giant robots and the Big Bad.
- Power Trio
- Recap Episode
- Redemption Equals Death: An unusual version of this where it's a villain trying to redeem themselves in the eyes of their superior.
- The Red Planet
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale
- Space Is an Ocean
- Space Sailing
- Stock Footage
- Story Arc: Almost every episode contributes to the arc.
- The Symbiote: Commander Makara and her unnamed eyepatch... thing.
- Title Theme Tune: The French version.
- Transformation Sequence
- Two of Your Earth Minutes
- Unreliable Narrator: The second recap episode has the crew remember things differently from how they happened.
- Wave Motion Gun
- We Only Have One Chance
- 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.