During a supposedly simple escort mission, Joe and his crew experience a failure during their warp travel. They wake up just to find out that the passengers are missing. To make things worse, the United Space Force accuses them of committing space piracy and Crusher HQ suspends their licenses for six months. To clear their names, they head out to the dangerous planet of Lagol to find the person who hired them for that particular mission.
Directed by: Yoshikazu Yasuhiko
, Jim Terry
. Starring: Hiraku Takemura
, Run Sasaki
, Noriko Ohara
, Kiyoshi Kobayashi
, Issei Futamata
, Gorô Naya
, Osamu Kobayashi
, Akira Kume
, Reiko Mutô
, Kazuyuki Sogabe
, Takeshi Watabe
, Daisuke Gôri
, Kazuko Yanaga
. Music by: Norio Maeda
Crusher Joe, though loved by many, is sadly overlooked as one of the premier animated movies out of Japan. Takachiho Haruka created Crusher Joe after Star Wars became such a huge hit around the world. Going back to old stories he had written in high school, he was able to pull together what would eventually become this movie. Combining action, suspense, sci-fi, and a bit of romance, Crusher Joe pleases on many different levels.
Some call these kinds of movies `Space Operas' and I suppose the title fits well. Many ideas and techniques created in this anime, would be later used in more well known releases. The story centers on a group of `Crushers' a group of space mercenaries, who make up one of four major groups. You have the Crushers, who charge very high amounts of money to do odd jobs that require their near illegal, and often wild techniques. You have Pirates who are out to take what they want at any cost. The third group is the military known as the `United Space Force' which policies the galaxy of all wrong doing, especially Pirate activities. The fourth group comprises varies governments and organizations necessary in any civilized world, or universe.
The main character, a Crusher by the name of Joe, leads a team of 4 and one robot, who seems to be only present to remind people of the droids from Star Wars, into a situation that results in them loosing their Crusher's license. In an attempt to redeem themselves, they must infiltrate Pirate activity, and in the process uncover conspiracies that could eventual lead to the destruction of all life, everywhere.
Crusher Joe is extremely well animated for a movie from 1983. Much of the quick chase and actions scenes have fluid and well done motion. Violence falls in the PG category only because it is animated, and would be closer to PG-13 if live action. Hardly a moment goes by when some gun is not being fired, or a fightchase explodes on screen. Still, even with so much action the movie manages to win you over with the well developed and very intrusting story, and strong voice work by the actors. While none of the characters are fleshed out to a great extent, there are many moments when you can see something much deeper then you would find in even the best live action movies.
I highly recommend Crusher Joe. If you can find it to buy, jump on it quickly. If you have any interest in anime, or sci-fi action movies, this will please you on many levels.
Review by Dwight from the Internet Movie Database.