Starbirds (1982)

Article 5319 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 12-10-2016
Directed by Michael Part
Voice cast unknown
Country: Japan / USA
What it is: Japanese TV anime series converted into feature

Winged aliens known as Valerians invade the Earth in order that their own population can move there. Can the earthlings use the super-robot Dynamo to defeat them?

This feature was edited from the anime TV series “Tosho Daimos”; it looks like roughly four episodes were plundered for it. IMDB lists the running time as eighty minutes. The copy I found on YouTube runs only 55 minutes. Usually, I would interpret this as meaning that a good 25 minutes were missing from the print I saw; however, other than a bit from the beginning and a bit from the end, I think I saw the whole thing. How is that possible? Well, to me it appears that YouTube video made a mess of its source, and it appears that the footage is being shown at an heightened pace; for those who remember vinyl, it’s like playing a 33 1/3 record at 45. Furthermore, it looks like the visual presentation is not only slightly cropped at the top and bottom, but it appears to be showing a movie at 4:3 ratio in Cinerama format. The end result? It sounds like it was dubbed by the Chipmunks and everyone is short and extra-wide. However, you can’t say the pace is slow.

No, this is far from the best way to experience a movie, but this one is rare enough that I made the best of it I could. It’s a bit confusing, but given what it is, it could have been far worse. However, the story never really impresses me; it seems like typical anime space opera, and I’m not really a huge fan of that sort of thing unless it finds something really interesting to do with the form. A better presentation might give it more visual appeal, but c’est la vie. However, I did discover one thing – annoying comic-relief robots just get worse when you speed them up. Fortunately, the one here is used sparingly.


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