Friday, September 4, 2020

The Greatest Space Opera You've Never Hear Of ... Crusher Joe .. Blog Entry Update

 There is a space opera out there that came out back in the day that most of you had never heard of... A bit of background, on the weekends back in the 90s I would get into my car & go down to Wallingford,Ct for a weekend of Anime at a local comic shop. I would spend the weekend with friends & one of the things we saw was this

Crusher Joe was made into an animated film in 1983, and a pair of for-video animated episodes in 1989. The film version won the Animage Anime Grand Prix prize in 1983.

The plot:

Enter the tale of the Crusher Council, a group of rugged individuals known for assignments ranging from transportation to terraforming and everything in between. In the early days of space exploration the Crushers took on the job of destroying asteroids and defining space lanes. Because of their work, they were nicknamed "Crushers" which eventually became their business moniker.
Despite the rough and ready nature of the Crushers' work, they subscribe to a few steadfast rules. Unethical and illegal assignments are taboo, and any Crusher accepting one is barred from the Union. Of course, this presents problems for shady clients who try to trick the Crushers into accepting misleading assignments. They know that once the Union accepts a case the Crushers are honor-bound to follow it through. Among the various worlds, the Crusher Council has a stunning reputation, and among the Crushers, the most elite team is the one led by Crusher Dan and his successor, Crusher Joe.

The characters were sort of inline with those from Blake's 7 but with a lot more action & I mean action. The result was Crusher Joe, a group of anti-heroes who were not the typical self-sacrificing types but noble in their own rights nonetheless
If the name of Haruka Takachinho sounds familiar  well the man is a pillar in the science fiction anime department in his own right. He wrote not only Crusher Joe but Dirty Pair & Dirty Pair Flash as well. Read about him Haruka_Takachiho
Joe's universe is pretty cool & has a huge timeline not that it really matters because this film goes from on action sequence to an another at a break neck pace
Time Line 
Takachiho was not only the driving force behind Crusher Joe, he also penned the creation of the "Lovely Angels" series (or more commonly, the "Dirty Pair"). The following is a brief chronology of the future as seen by the author.
AD 2111 - Development of the first practical warp drive. Faster than light drive is now possible. However, arrival is uncertain due to the inability to calculate an accurate trajectory. A special computer is developed that used fixed star systems as a warp trajectory's general destination. The "Warp Navigational Principle" is established.
AD 2120 - The first steps to the stars. The first colonial ships travel towards the systems of Alpha Centauri, and planets in need of terraforming become a priority. Unfortunately, ships containing gravity and atmosphere equipment are lost due to collisions with asteroids and other debris. Enter group of rugged individuals, led by a man named Dan Kowashia, who take on the task of destroying asteroids, mapping out shipping lanes, and aiding in basic terraforming operations. Because of their work in "crushing" asteroids, they are nicknamed "Crushers", a moniker which eventually becomes their professional business name.
AD 2129 - Birth of the Planetary Union. The colonies of Earth, tired of being ruled by the Solar System governing body, call for independence. The first planet to break away is Planet Topulos. Rather than risking war, the Federation grants the colonies their freedom, and the age of the "Planetary Union" is formed.
AD 2130 - The formation of the 3WA and the New Crushers. After the creation of the Planetary Union, many illegal and criminal organizations arise, taking advantage of the fact that no unifying power existed to enforce the law. On the Planet Topulos the 3WA is created. This organization's function is to act as a sort of insurance/protection agency that offers its clients prevention from disaster or financial compensation if they failed. Later the 3WA would become known for hiring its most notorious consultants Kei and Yuri (AKA: "The Dirty Pair"). At the same time, Crusher Dan adds some prestige to his association by recruiting scientists, battle veterans, pilots etc... to make the group's assets higher to potential employers. In their spare time they raid pirate bases.
AD 2134 - Birth of the Galactic Federation. The problem of space piracy reaches an all time high. Up until now, the colonies wanted no help from Earth. But during the five years of the "Planetary Union" fiasco, they realize the need a centralized government to handle their problems. The result is the formation of the "Solar Union". The Federation flagship Cordoba is commissioned (outfitted with Crusher technology) and the Union creates the Federation Space Army to act as the peacekeepers.

AD 2142
 - The birth of Joe. After establishing a home on Planet Aramis, Dan and his wife Yuria welcome their son, Joe, into the world. Sadly, Yuria dies shortly after giving birth. Kei divorces Bard, who quits the Crusher organization to join the Federation Army Intelligence Division.AD 2142 - The marriage of Dan and Yuria. Romantic entanglements abound as Dan takes a woman named Yuria as his bride. Meanwhile Bard and Talos compete for the affections of a fiery redhead name Kei. Bard tricks both Talos and Kei into breaking off their relationship, and Bard then marries Kei. Heart broken, Talos volunteers for a suicide mission which results in a crippling accident, leaving him as a cyborg.
AD 2150 - The formation of The Crusher Council. Dan turns the Crushers into an elite core of troubleshooters. No longer are they at the mercy of public use. Now they only work for the highest bidders. Housed on the Planet Aramis, the Crusher base known as The Octagon is established as the de facto home to over 180,000 men and women including mechanics, engineers, scientists, warriors, etc...
AD 2156 - Dan's accident. During the salvage of the spaceship "Charley Chan", Dan becomes trapped aboard the abandoned ship. Joe singlehandly boards the ship and rescues his father. However, Dan is injured during the encounter and makes Joe his successor with Talos and Gambino as his advisors. Dan retires to administer the Crusher Council on Aramis. Meanwhile the main ship of the Crushers, the Atlas, is replaced with a newer model, the Minerva, with Joe as its commander.
AD 2158 - Ricky joins the group. Orphan gang member Ricky from the Planet Rhodes quits his gang to become a Crusher. His knowledge and intelligence quickly makes him a valuable asset.
AD 2160 - Crisis on the Solidarity Planet Pizanne. (The first Crusher Joe novel, Takachiho establishes the Crusher universe.) Joe's team rescues Princess Alfin from a takeover coup. During the battle Gambino is killed and Alfin abdicates to join the Crushers.
AD 2161 - The battle with the Murphy pirates: Setting for the Crusher Joe Movie.
Joe: Born November 8, 2142 Planet Aramis, The Canis Major Zone - Joe is the headstrong leader of his Crusher Team, Joe became a Crusher at the age of ten and replaced his father as the active head of the Crushers. Now nineteen, he maintains his Triple A rating. Joe has an intensive dislike for authority (other than his own) and refuses to take orders from anyone, including his father. However, he does have a lighter side, which enables him to take the balance of a situation and to act quickly and calmly. He and Alfin are romantically involved.
Alfin: Born January 12, 2144 Planet Pizanne, The Cygnus Zone - Alfin was the Princess of the Planet Pizanne who left her home and royal status to join the Crushers. After the Pizanne incident she sneaks aboard the Minerva and takes the late Gambino's place as navigator. Perky, bubbly and easily intoxicated, Alfin is also quick-witted and fearless. She and Joe are romantically involved.
Talos: Born 2109 Planet Terra, The Solar System - Talos served with Joe's father, Crusher Dan, in the early days of the Crusher Union. After 40 years of being a Crusher eighty percent of his body has been replaced with cybernetic implants. These artificial limbs often come in handy (His left arm contains a machine gun). Talos is gruff and reserved and possesses enormous strength, a trait that has saved his teammates from more than one occasion. He serves as the team's pilot.
Ricky: Born 2146 Planet Rhodes, The Capricorn Zone - At the age of fifteen,Ricky is the youngest member of the Joe Team but this in no way hinders his performance as the ship's engineer. Orphaned when gang members killed his parents Ricky stows away on board the Minerva. His sharp wits and instant reflexes soon establish him as a member of the team. Quick tempered and easily riled. His teammate Talos often finds himself restraining the young engineer. He also spars with Alfin like a younger sibling.
Dongo: Mabot. Made in Dorloy. Type: MAB 8945-GP-The Dongo Mabot served with both Talos and Crusher Dan in the early days of the Federation. A robot with a warped sense of humor (he is often seen reading porn magazines), he is completely loyal and is capable of operating the Minerva when the team is absent.
Crusher Joe & The OSR 

Like Star Wars & want a universe that your players don't know & the perfect excuse to put them together then look no further. Need the model of a balanced part in a science fiction space opera then check out the characters above. This is the perfect model for a party, the characters are even & have very cool concepts even based on such cookie cutter examples of tropes. 
  The action here is break necked & Dungeon masters can learn a thing or two about leaving logic behind & simply going with the adventure. 
The ecologies are weird, strange & utter alien here & those who love their worlds with interesting monsters & cool stuff are in for a treat. Take a page from this world. 
 This is also a perfect example of working a "good" party into a universe filled with sleaze bags & pay attention to the inter action between the Npcs & the crew. The little details really fill in as the story line movies forward.
The technology is huge & built on a scale that leaves the realm of the believable & enters into the sphere of the Krell from Forbidden Planet. Huge world wrecking space craft, stations, Etc. 
 The world, its characters, technology, time line can be lifted & used at will in your favorite campaign. Remember this is 80's Anime & it looks like it. For The White Star Rpg this is a perfect fit! The whole cloth  of the anime with its intergalatic private trouble shooters makes the perfect OSR intergalatic campaign. Heart of Varrul is a White Star: Galaxy Edition™ campaign setting book would be a perfect set up for a Crusher Joe style campaign. The factions, ideas,etc. all fit. The PC's could be an off shoot of the Joes within the Crusher Joe time line & history. 

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