Japanese animated film (1983). Based on the novels by Haruka Takachiho. Studio Nue, Nippon Sunrise. Directed by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. Written by Haruka Takachiho and Yasuhiko Yoshikazu. Voice cast includes Reiko Mutō, Chikao Ohtsuka, Run Sasaki and Hiroshi Takemura. 132 minutes. Colour.
In 2161 Crusher Joe (Takemura) and his team of Crushers (basically, hardcore interstellar odd-jobbers) are hired to deliver a cryogenically frozen woman (see Cryonics); but her casket is stolen during their first warp jump, after which they are boarded by the United Space Force (USF), who treat them as pirates. Their Crusher license is suspended – so the team go to a disco, where Joe and girlfriend Alfin (Sasaki) get drunk and start a fight. Later they learn that the man who hired them, who had also disappeared, has fled to Lagol, a lawless planet still undergoing Terraforming: they pursue.
The frozen woman is Dr Matua (Mutō), a Scientist working on a new warp system that has fallen into the hands of a pirate, Big Murphy (Ohtsuka). The Technology is temperamental, but allows control of other ship's warp systems, which enables Murphy to send attacking USF ships crashing onto Lagol's surface; however, it is also liable to create a spacetime implosion (thus the need for Matua). Such an implosion is only prevented when Murphy is betrayed and Matua sacrifices her life. Crusher Joe finds he had been manipulated by a USF Intelligence agent to topple Murphy and Lagol's corrupt President, so hits him.
Crusher Joe is more cynical than most of its contemporaries; characterization is negligible, but the giant space fortress, Cyborgs, explosions, Monsters, Spaceship battles, vats of acid and a cane-bearing villain, who eschews the traditional pet cat for an Alien toad, all make this is a fun, action-packed Anime.
An 89-minute censored version was later released in the USA as Crushers (1988). There were two subsequent hour-long OVAs: Crusher Joe: The Ice Prison (1989; original title Kurasshā Jō: Hyouketsu Kangoku no Wana; vt A Trap of the Frozen Jail ) and Crusher Joe: The Ultimate Weapon: Ash (1989; original title Kurasshā Jō: Saishuu Heiki Asshu; vt The Final Weapon ASH). [SP]