Stratos 4

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Stratos 4
Stratos4 OP Title.jpg
Title screen
ストラトス・フォー
(Stratos4)
Genre Science fiction, Slice of life
Anime television series
Directed by Takeshi Mori
Studio Studio Fantasia
Licensed by Bandai Entertainment
Network TVS, CTC, Kids Station, tvk, SUN
English network
Original run January 5, 2003March 30, 2003
Episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Directed by Takeshi Mori
Studio Studio Fantasia
Licensed by Bandai Entertainment
Released May 28, 2004August 27, 2004
Episodes 2 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Stratos 4: Advance
Directed by Takeshi Mori
Studio Studio Fantasia
Released March 25, 2005January 27, 2006
Episodes 6 (List of episodes)
Original video animation
Stratos 4: Advance Final
Directed by Takeshi Mori
Studio Studio Fantasia
Released September 09, 2006October 27, 2006
Episodes 2 (List of episodes)
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal
Top: TELAR/ZELL/RATO
Bottom: Pressure Suits
Top row: TSR-2MS, Two Yak-28MSTs
Middle row: Raytheon Hawker 800, Four TSR-2MSs
Bottom row: Orbital Station #7, Two SAC-1Bs
Top row: Trident Missile (Space)
Middle & bottom rows: Trident Missile (Air)

Stratos 4 (ストラトス・フォー Sutoratosu Fō?) is an anime series by Studio Fantasia and Bandai Visual, and directed by Takeshi Mori. Originally spanning a 13-episode anime TV series, which premiered across Japan between January 5, 2003 to March 30, 2003, the series was continued onto three OVA-series sequels, the first of which was released on 28 May 2004 and spanned 2-episodes, followed by Stratos 4: Advance, which spanned 6 episodes and was released on 25 March 2005, and Stratos 4: Advance Final, which was released on 22 September 2006 and spanned 2-episodes, respectively.

The series has been broadcast by the anime satellite television network, Animax, across its respective networks worldwide, including East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Latin America, and other regions. The original 13-episode television series and its first subsequent two-episode OVA series were licensed for North American distribution by Bandai's distributive unit across the region, Bandai Entertainment.

Story[edit]

Fifty years before the series begins, scientists learn that a group of comets will enter the Solar System on a collision course with Earth. The United Nations set up a two-tiered global defense system against the threat: the primary one being a space-based Comet Blaster group and the secondary being a ground-based Meteor Sweeper group. Most of the series takes place on an airbase on Shimoji Island in 2024, where Mikaze and her friends are tasked to defend the Earth from large fragments left over after a failed attempt by the Comet Blasters, who are based on one of seven space stations, to annihilate a comet. All is going well until a large meteorite crashes into a lightly populated island leading the girls on a run to find out the truth about the comets.

Background[edit]

Locations[edit]

  • Shimoji Island
    • Shimoji airbase
      • Control tower
      • Hangars
      • Runway
      • Classrooms
      • Simulator rooms
      • Gym
    • Kouchin Restaurant
      • Boarding house
  • Okinawa Island
    • Agency building
  • Guam Island
  • Tanegashima Island
  • Outer space
    • Orbital Station No. 7
    • Orbital Station No. 8

Technology[edit]

Some of the technological devices and systems used in Stratos 4:

Vehicles and weapons[edit]

The aircraft used in the anime span from the 1950s to the present day. All spacecraft are fictional.

Most aircraft are from the Cold War era, retrofitted with modern powerplants, avionics and flight control systems. The anime demonstrates well a hypothetical joint-use of American, European, Soviet and Japanese technologies for the common goal of shooting down meteor debris and protecting the Earth.

Stratos 4[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

Name Image Type Number Description
BAC TSR-2MS Very-high altitude interceptor 8 Shimoji Island's main interceptor aircraft. Based on the cancelled BAC TSR2.
Yakovlev Yak-28MST Trainer aircraft 4+ Fictional aircraft, based on the Yakovlev Yak-28. It is Shimoji Island's main trainer aircraft. The Yak-28MST is not used for weapons training, but only for basic flight lessons, navigation training and air show displays.
Raytheon Hawker 800 Business jet 1 Shimoji Island's main shuttle aircraft between the island and mainland Japan.
CH-47 Chinook Large transport helicopter 1 Shuttles the airbase staff between Shimoji Island and "some hot springs".
C-17 Globemaster III Four-engined jet transport 1 Makes an unannounced landing at Shimoji airbase, carrying armed government troops as well as CEMA agents.
SAC-0
"Stratos 0/4"
Prototype interceptor spaceplane 1 A proposed spaceplane, based on the (unbuilt) North American XF-108 Rapier Mach 3 interceptor, with nose design from the XB-70 Valkyrie.
Sud Aviation Caravelle Jet airliner 1 The airliner flown by Mikaze's father. Carries the friends and families of the airbase's staff to the festival in episode 08.
??? aircraft
(Magenta-colored)
Personal jet 1 The jet flown by Mikaze's older sister. Has a canard configuration.

Spacecraft[edit]

Name Image Type Number Description
Orbital Station No. 7 Space station 1 Home of the Comet Blasters. Governed by Commander Miharu Ohzara.
SAC-1B Anti-comet space interceptor 3+ Carries a Trident Missile in the nose, which is launched along with the main body at an incoming comet. The ship's crew separates from the weapon module in an escape pod (the cockpit, basically), which is used to fly back to the space station.

Land vehicles[edit]

Name Image Type Number Description
TELAR Mobile launch platform for interceptor aircraft 8+ 8×8 mobile launch platform truck, for Zero-Length Launch (ZLL) takeoffs. They carry the interceptors from the hangars to the launch area.
Small motorbike Motorcycle 4 Kouchin Restaurant's delivery bikes, used by the 4 protagonists to deliver takeout orders. Also used to travel from the boarding house to the Shimoji Airbase when they wake up late.

Stratos 4: Advance[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

Name Image Type Number Description
Mikoyan MiG-31MS Very-high altitude interceptor 2 Shimoji Island's new interceptor aircraft. Has increased payload and max speed over the TSR-2MS. Launched from the same TELARs.
C-130 Hercules Four-engined turboprop transport 1 Carries support equipment and spare parts for the two MiG-31MSes, as well as the simulators for those planes. Is also Lud's transport.
Vickers-Supermarine Type-559MS Experimental interceptor aircraft 1 An experimental interceptor aircraft air-dropped from the YB-60 at medium altitude. Equipped with an ultra-long-range radar, a very advanced flight computer and a simulation missile ("dummy missile") without warhead. Has two rocket engines. Has poor maneuverability.
Convair YB-60 Carrier aircraft 1 Converted jet bomber. Carries the Type-559MS experimental aircraft on the starboard wing between the fuselage and inboard starboard engine pod.

Spacecraft[edit]

Name Image Type Number Description
Orbital Station No. 8 Space station 1 The new home of the Comet Blasters. Built after the destruction of Orbital Station No. 7. Governed by Commander Earheart.
Ilyushin Il-SX1 Unmanned interceptor spacecraft 2+ Remote-controlled interceptor drone ship. Was supposedly used to avoid risking human lives in comet interception missions.

Weapons[edit]

Firearms[edit]

  • Howa Type 64: This rifle was used by Mikaze and others at the shooting range in episode 4.
  • QBZ-95: This rifle was used by the security forces deployed from a C-17 landed at Shimoji airbase in episode 12.
  • HK MP5 submachine-gun: The research institute guards shot at the black sedan with this SMG during the car chase scene in episode 11.
  • Glock 17: Mikaze was shot by Miharu with this pistol in episode 6 of Advance.

Missiles[edit]

5 different missiles have been known to be used in the 4 anime and OVA series.

Name Image Type Number Description
Trident Missile
(Air, Regular)
Air-to-air anti-meteor missile Abundant The main missile used throughout the Stratos 4 franchise by the ground-based interceptors, TSR-2MS and MiG-31MS.
Trident Missile
(Air, Powerful)
Air-to-air anti-meteor missile Scarce Two of these missiles were used to shoot down Orbital Station No. 7 in Stratos 4: Return to Base.
Trident Missile
(Air, Dummy)
Air-to-air anti-meteor missile
(inert warhead)
Abundant These missiles are used during practice missions against "virtual" meteors. Also carried by the Type-559MS, which shot one against an actual meteor.
Trident Missile
(Space, Regular)
Space-to-space anti-comet missile Abundant The main missile used by the space-based interceptors. Its 3 warheads produce 3 rings of plasma, which intersect and projects a powerful, hot beam at the target comet and pulverizes it into smaller pieces, some of which are then picked up by the Meteor Sweepers if the pieces fall into the Earth's atmosphere.
Trident Missile
(Special, Stratos 4)
Space-to-space anti-comet missile Scarce The missile used by the SAC-0 "Stratos 4" in OVA ??. It is buried in a protective sheath, which is jettisoned at launch.

Flight profile[edit]

Flight profile of the TSR-2MS

In the event a comet approaches the Earth with a high collision probability, all Meteor Sweeper (MS) bases are put on Standby. In the case where the Comet Blasters fail to shatter completely the comet, allowing one or more fragments to fall into the Earth's atmosphere, the Meteor Sweepers in the expected impact zones are dispatched to intercept those fragments.

Stratos 4 focuses on one such MS team, located on the island of Shimoji in Japan. The Shimoji MS squadron operates a fleet of TSR-2MS interceptors, each armed with one Trident anti-meteor hi-explosive missile, and equipped with an internal booster (named "Third Engine") and two booster packs (RATOs).

The aircraft take off in a rocket-like manner where it is launched at an angle from a truck-mounted railed launchpad rather than taking off conventionally by runway (except in episode 10 and OVA 5 of Advance). For redundancy reasons, always two aircraft are launched together per dispatch. The pilots fly the aircraft in a prone position. This is never explained; it is assumed to be used to counteract G-force. At mid altitude (30,000-40,000 ft), the boosters burn out and are dropped.

The TSR-2MSs rise swiftly into the stratosphere, where they fly in an inverted position like the space shuttle before delivering their payload. The "Third Engine" is ignited while inverted. At high altitude (80,000-100,000 ft), jet throttle is reduced, then, at very high altitude (120,000-150,000 ft), "Third Engine" throttle is also reduced. Both aircraft return to an upright attitude, lock onto the target and fire the Trident missile one after another (within approximately 5 seconds apart).

The TSR-2MS is depicted in episode CODE 103: Decision Height as being able to fly high enough to reach low Earth orbit before it runs out of fuel and stalls. The TSR-2MS has no braking chute, but has an arresting hook for emergency landings. The aircraft that "gets the kill" is later painted with a red comet icon on the fuselage side.

With the meteor destroyed, the base returns to Standby.

Episode listing[edit]

Stratos 4 (2003-2004)[edit]

CODE Title Original air date
101 "Initial Point"   January 5, 2003
The pros show the rookies how it's done. 
102 "Fox One"   January 12, 2003
The rookies have a chance to show off. 
103 "Decision Height"   January 19, 2003
Mikaze breaks previous height record, but is short on fuel on the return trip so she ends up landing in Guam. 
104 "Tally Ho!"   January 26, 2003
The comet fragment that Mikaze's team is intercepting suddenly changes course inexplicably, resulting in a small disaster. 
105 "Go Around"   February 2, 2003
Mikaze, and later Shizuha and Ayamo are summoned to the mainland for an inquiry into the previous incident by some shady politicians with ulterior motives. 
106 "Checking Six"   February 9, 2003
The cat Admiral sneaks into the base, and hilarity ensues. 
107 "High Speed"   February 16, 2003
Mikaze and the gang chip in to help Mr. Sako rebuild the vintage space vehicle Stratos 0. 
108 "Go Gate"   February 23, 2003
The Shimoji Island base holds its 38th festival. Mikaze, Shizuha, and Ayamo's families all come visit for a fun-filled day. However, since Karin's parents have passed away when she was younger, she has no family members to visit her. She feels lonely and stays away from the festivities but her friends find her and cheer her up. 
109 "Vapor Trail"   March 2, 2003
It's time for a vacation to the hot springs resort, hence fanservice a-plenty. 
110 "Mission Abort"   March 9, 2003
Communication with Orbital Station 7 has been cut off and an emergency has been declared on Shimoji Island base. Karin collapses just when a comet was destroyed, and she was taken away by the shady politician to an unknown destination. 
111 "Target Merge"   March 16, 2003
Mikaze and Shizuha request time off from work in order to track down and help Karin, but their investigation reveals that mysterious alien lifeforms (referred to as "Star Seeds") have arrived on Earth via the comets. They can control human minds, and those under control have taken over most of Orbital Station 7, where Karin has been sent. 
112 "Engage!"   March 23, 2003
The Shimoji Island base comes under lockdown by some government military unit. Mikaze, Shizuha, and Ayamo's sneak onto a transport rocket bound for Orbital Station 7 in order to save Karin. 
113 "Final Approach"   March 30, 2003
With Mikaze, Shizuha, and Ayamo's help Orbital Station 7 is back under control. Together with Karin they pilot 2 comet blaster spacecraft (SAC-1B) and successfully intercept a giant comet heading for Earth. 
X-1 "Return To Base"   May 28, 2004
Annette and Chizuru visit Shimoji Island base carrying video recordings of Miharu's deteriorating condition in the days and weeks after alien infection. In the meantime Orbital Station 7 is hit by space debris which sets it on a collision course with Earth. 
X-2 "Dispersion"   August 27, 2004
Annette and Chizuru return to Orbital Station 7 aboard a cargo vessel to rescue injured and stranded crewmembers as well as retrieve some secret data for the shady government bureaucrat. The station is then destroyed mid-air by Mikaze's team. 

Stratos 4 Advance (2005-2006)[edit]

CODE Title Original air date
201 "Wave Off"   March 25, 2005
202 "Roll Out"   May 27, 2005
203 "Angle of Attack"   July 22, 2005
204 "Clear Air Turbulence"   September 23, 2005
205 "Dash One"   November 25, 2005
206 "Lost Position"   January 27, 2006

Stratos 4 Advance Final (2006)[edit]

CODE Title Original air date
207 "Cross-Wind Take Off"   September 09, 2006
208 "Piper on the Target"   October 27, 2006
As the three giant meteors descent, causing mass panic, the CEMA takes a stand against them. Commander Reynolds then secured permission to use Stratos 4 craft confiscated earlier, and summons Mikaze, Shizuha, Ayamo, and Karin to pilot them alongside other Comet Blasters and Meteor Sweeper pilots taking care of the last two meteors while Mikaze and the rest destroy the first due to a slight change in misison plan. The mission is completed and the extraterrestrial threat is eliminated. End credits shows the reunion between Sako and Miharu in an abandoned research facility and integration of Rei into the society, as well as fates for other main characters. 

Music[edit]

The music for Stratos 4 was composed by Masamichi Amano.

Theme music[edit]

Opening theme
1st Priority by Melocure (Ritsuko Okazaki & Megumi Hinata)
Ending themes
Himawari by Melocure (eps. 01-12)
So Far, So Near by Melocure (ep. 13)
Rainbow Kind of Feeling by Melocure (first OVA series)
Chiisa na Uta by Megumi Hinata (second OVA series: Stratos 4: Advance)

Original soundtrack[edit]

  • 01 - S.S. Keikaku
  • 02 - 1st Priority (TV size)
  • 03 - Mikaze no Theme
  • 04 - Uturo
  • 05 - Suisei Sekkin
  • 06 - Hijyou Keikai Taisei
  • 07 - Kunren
  • 08 - Kunrensei no Nichijyou
  • 09 - Ashita wo Yume Mite
  • 10 - Nigiyaka na Nakama-Tachi
  • 11 - Akogare
  • 12 - So Far, So Near (TV size)
  • 13 - Kinkyuu Hasshin
  • 14 - Geigeki Kaishi!!
  • 15 - Kyodai Suisei no Kyoui
  • 16 - Semarikuru Kiki
  • 17 - Hisho! Stratos4
  • 18 - Yujyo
  • 19 - Madoromi
  • 20 - Heiwa Heno Inori
  • 21 - Himawari

Character song album[edit]

  • 01 - 1st Priority
  • 02 - Tokei Jikake no Tsubasa
  • 03 - Mabushii Kara
  • 04 - Doko ni Ite mo
  • 05 - Sabishii Mama de
  • 06 - So Far, So Near (Acoustic version)
  • 07 - Himawari (TV size)
  • 08 - Unnamed BGM 1
  • 09 - Unnamed BGM 2
  • 10 - Unnamed BGM 3
  • 11 - Unnamed BGM 4
  • 12 - Unnamed BGM 5
  • 13 - Unnamed BGM 6
  • 14 - Unnamed BGM 7
  • 15 - Himawari (Original karaoke)

Further reading[edit]

  • Beveridge, Chris (October 25, 2004). "Stratos 4 Vol. #3". Mania. Retrieved October 18, 2013. 
  • Johnston, Chris (August 2005). "Stratos 4: Return to Base". Newtype USA 4 (8): p. 146. ISSN 1541-4817. 

External links[edit]