Last updated October 12, 2006.

April 07, 2003:

Mikaze Winamp skin
Mikaze Stratos 4 Winamp skin

I made a Winamp skin featuring Mikaze from the vastly underrated Stratos4. Basic template stolen from Scott808, again.

August 11, 2004:

Stratos4 DVD, box, and pencilboards: side one
Stratos4 DVD, box, and pencilboards: side one

Bandai's first region one Stratos 4 DVD and its accompanying limited edition artbox are now available. It's a nice looking red box adorned with pictures of the female Meteor Sweepers team: Mikaze, Ayamo, Shizuha, and Karin. It comes with two reversible pencilboards.

Stratos4 DVD, box, and pencilboards: side two
Stratos4 DVD, box, and pencilboards: side two

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, Stratos 4 is an amusing 13-episode series that follows the adventures of this young team of pilots. The planet is under constant threat of being bombarded by meteors. As a safeguard, space-based teams of Comet Blasters intercept the meteors before they enter the atmosphere, and teams of airborne Meteor Sweepers (including our aforementioned heroes) destroy the debris as it streams down towards the surface.

There is quite a bit of fan service in Stratos 4. When it first aired, Stratos 4 became famous for having one of the best ass shots in all of 2003:

Mikaze ass shot
Mikaze ass shot in Stratos 4 episode one

It is also famous for having a nearly-identical voice cast as VanDread. Just for starters, Mikaze shares the same voice actress as Dita, and Karin has the same voice actress as Meia (the always welcome Orikasa Fumiko). I believe the two shows also have the same director. They come from different production studios, though.

One of the English dub actresses is '80s pop singer, Stacy Q. (She plays Karin, the character that almost never talks). However, there does not appear to be any mention of Stacy Q either on the collector's box or on the DVD case itself.

Stratos 4 does not take itself too seriously. For example, one of the episodes focuses almost entirely around the point of view of the girls' pet cat. The show also often cuts away at the last minute from scenes of extreme peril, returning to the story with everyone safe and sound, after performing what was undoubtedly a miraculous escape (much like in the episode of Cowboy Bebop featuring the Space Shuttle Columbia). Everyone knows that the lead character isn't going to die this early in the show, so it's sometimes better to just have fun with it.

The collector's box hold four DVDs. There are four episodes on the first disc. That fourth disc better also contain the two OAV specials, because spreading a 13-episode show onto four discs would be pure horseshit, even for a show as fun to watch as Stratos 4.

Lo-res scans: Box 1, Box 2, DVD front, DVD back, Pencilboard one front, Pencilboard one back, Pencilboard two front, Pencilboard two back.

January 26, 2005:

Anime New Network reports that there will be new episodes of Stratos 4 airing in March.

March 18, 2005:

BREAKING NEWS: The Sentou Yousei Shoujo Tasukete! Mave-chan OAV is wonderful. It very obviously shares the same voice cast as Stratos 4 and VanDread and appears to be loosely based on 2chan's mecha/airplane-girls meme.

I'll let you make up your own jokes.

Translated, the title means "Battle Fairy Girl Help! Mave-chan" which sort of makes it a spin-off of Sentou Yousei Yukikaze. I'm not going to pretend it makes a whole lot of sense, but any excuse to reassemble this voice cast again is a good one by me. And if it happens to involve flying girls, so much the better.