Thunder Jet / Ginga Sengoku Gunyuuden Rai

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Most of the time, I see this title referred to as “Thunder Jet” or “Galaxy Warrior Rai”, but the Japanese, Ginga Sengoku Gunyūden Rai, is more like…“Galactic Warring States’ Era: The Heroic Legend of Rai” or “Tale of Rai: Hero of the Galaxy Wars”. Anyway, it’s a 52 episode TV series from 1994, based on a manga series by Johji Manabe (See pages here).

The Imperial Family’s 270 years of galactic rule has come to an end, it is now the era of "Galactic Warring States". The Warlords of the North, Danjo, a “Nikki Danjo” or Kunikuzushi type; and South, Masamune, a “Date Masamune” clone (except she’s female… shower scenes, anyone?); are fighting for total domination of the Galaxy (So, Galactic Outer Space doesn’t always have a North and South; it doesn’t have Earth-normal gravity or a breathable atmosphere either -- just go with it!).

We meet our hero, Rai, as a grunt soldier trying to make a name for himself in Danjo’s army. In a raid, he takes the head of Aso (the last opposition to Danjo’s total control of the “Northern” region of the Galaxy) and takes Aso’s daughter (the last remaining descendant of the imperial bloodline), Princess Shimon, as a guest/hostage for Danjo. Despite this great achievement, Danjo doesn’t reward Rai’s raiding party for their deeds. Offended by this insult, Rai barges into Danjo’s castle, where he meets and is restrained by Danjo’s four main generals, The Four Generals of Heaven (a reference to Chinese Mythology’s Four Gods of Heaven: Tortoise, Phoenix, Dragon, and Tiger). Rouha (Dragon of Danjo’s Four Generals) takes notice of Rai’s spirit and promotes him to command of the 4077th regiment, captain of the battleship Kongo and vanguard for the next battle with Masamune. This is the beginning of Rai’s journey to become the supreme Northern Warlord who will ultimately engage the Southern Warlord, Rakou (who usurps control of the South from Masamune) in battle for complete control of the Galaxy.

Here is your only chance to see characters in samurai (or modified medieval Chinese) armor, without spacesuits, standing next to giant WWII style naval cannon on the outsides of spaceships, engaged in swordfights and trash talk! The show is GREAT. It’s impossible not to get caught up in the cheesy fun. Especially in Rai, as he enthusiastically hacks his way through every obstacle, from the neck of his future wife’s father, to the woman who was his own mother in all but name (ok, that does get him a little down), that stands between him and his goal of achieving lasting peace… by killing all opponents and Ruling the Galaxy!(YEAH!)

Filled with top voice talent ranging from Nobuyuki Hiyama ("Yu Yu Hakusho’s" Hiei), to Kotono Mitsuishi ("Sailor Moon’s" Usagi), to Kappei Yamaguchi ("Inuyasha" and "Ranma ½’s" title characters); with a stirring militaristic score from Kaoru Wada ("Ninja Scroll", "Tekkaman Blade", "Inuyasha"); and with good looking, brightly colored backgrounds and character designs (Art Director Mitsuki Nakamura, of the original “Gatchaman”, “Casshan”, “Polymar”, “Speed Racer”, “Gundam”, “Crusher Joe”, “Area 88”, “Crying Freeman”, as well as “ Nausicaä” and “Nazca”!); this was obviously meant to be a well made kids’ action cartoon. But cultural differences in acceptable “child levels” of character death, nudity, and sexual innuendo doom any chance that American children will ever see this on TV. And the moral stance would be kinda an eye-opener when, in true Bushido fashion, backstabbing, treachery, and lies, are shown as tactics, and honorable actions; when necessary for one’s own Warlord’s ambitions.


 Galaxy Warrior Rai 01

 Galaxy Warrior Rai 02

 Galaxy Warrior Rai 03

 Galaxy Warrior Rai 04
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Curator: guyvariii
Gallery Created: 1/21/2004

Presentation 8.60/10   Collection 9.09/10   Overall 8.66/10   Votes 63 votes
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