So what is a five-team (or as TV Tropes would have it a Five Man Band) anyway?
The definition over on TV Tropes is “a group of characters whose members fall into archetypes which all complement one another. They are a very specific team with skills that contribute to the group in a unique way.” [Aside: you can tell how little I’ve noticed this trope over the years].
I get the distinct impression that the classic early five-teams were the Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and Voltron, but neither of these really made much of an impression on me. However they’re enough for me to demonstrate the key players (again using the TV Tropes terms). Each team had:
a) The Hero who is in charge (or at least he thinks so)
b) The Lancer who is his #2 (but may not be happy in that slot). Cue intrateam conflict particularly if there is a real odd couple effect between the first two.
c) The Smart Guy who holds the brain cell
d) The Big Guy with the heavy artillery. Sometimes…not too bright.
e) The Chick (or for BtVS fans, the Xander) who is the balancer/emotional heart of the group. May, occasionally and with luck, be useful in his/her own right. [Aside: according to the wikipedia link Jun/Princess had the C4 in the original Gatchaman so a certain level of courtesy might be applicable here…]
So. Now that I more or less know what I’m supposed to be talking about, are there any five-teams that stand out from the anime that I like?
Turns out: mostly not. Bubblegum Crisis has 4 (Please, Mackie does not count), Magic Knights Rayearth has 3, the Suzaku Seishi from Fushigi Yuugi are more of a Magnificent Seven. In general the Gatchaman or Voltron pattern appears to be fairly rare in the anime that I tend to enjoy.
About the only one that does stand out are the AMPD in Silent Mobius. Even then I have to sort of shove Rally Cheyenne off to one side as a mentor rather than a core member of the team, and ignore the bonus characters who pop up later.
Having done that it works well enough although with a few adjustments to the character roles. Katsumi Liquer is the hero, but not in charge. Kiddy Phenil pulls double duty as the lancer and the big girl. Lebia Maverick is clearly the smart girl (anyone who makes her own AIs…), Saiko Yuki is the chick*, and the final adjustment is Yamigumo Nami as more of a Team Mom than anything else (since Kiddy snaffled two of the other roles).
*Having said that, Yuki is more than that. Much more than that (and make sure you reach minimum safe distance when you find out…).
Looking back on Silent Mobius I think it was the third action based anime I encountered where most of the major characters were female. Granted that there is some fanservice in indoor scenes but for the most part the characters are found in full, and practical, uniforms [Aside: living in a fairly trashed world with constant acid rain will encourage that I suppose].
I think I can trace my general intolerance of gratuitous fanservice to this point. Because after Silent Mobius I expected female characters to be characters. I expected them to have personalities, to be doing things other than flashing.
So as a general guideline if you want to recommend a five team anime in the comments: make sure that any female characters are there for a reason other than as a decoration.
Day 1 – Very first anime: Robotech, Gall Force, Vampire Princess Miyu
Day 2 – Favourite TV series: Card Captor Sakura
Day 3 – Your anime crush: Oh grow UP already.
Day 4 – Favourite Film: My Neighbour Totoro
Day 5 – Anime character you feel you are most like (or wish you were): Kinoshita (Rocket Girls)
Day 6 – Most annoying anime character: Lynn Minmei
Day 7 – Character you’d most like to slap: Hiyama Hikaru
Day 8 – Most epic scene ever: Launch day – Wings of Honneamise
Day 9 – Saddest anime scene: The passing of the Fortune Twins – Nariya and Eriya
Day 10 – Favourite slice of life anime: ARIA
Day 11 – Favourite mecha series: Patlabor: The Mobile Police
Day 12 – Best instalment of a franchise you don’t like: Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: The War In The Pocket
Day 13 – Worst instalment of a franchise you do like: WXIII: Patlabor the Movie 3
Day 14 – Current (or most recent) anime wallpaper: I think I had a Silent Mobius wallpaper once.
Day 15 – A reality check for a genre you like: Romantic/Heroic Space Pirates
Day 16 – An anime classic that simply doesn’t work for you: Ghost in the Shell (film)
Day 17 – Best Background Music: Silent Mobius 2: The Motion Picture
Day 18 – Best Five-team: Silent Mobius
Day 19 – Change you’d like to make to any one anime
Day 20 – Most ambiguous anime character
Day 21 – Favourite OAV Series
Day 22 – Animation studio you’d most like to slap.
Day 23 – Anime you think had the best, or most intriguing art
Day 24 – Favorite anime hero or heroine
Day 25 – Best anime villain
Day 26 – Your favorite harem anime
Day 27 – Favorite anime opening theme song
Day 28 – Favorite anime companion/summoned creature
Day 29 – Best Anime Music Video
Day 30 – Favorite anime ending theme