Carl Macek (English-language version only)
Seeing how ALIENS (1986) was a huge hit in Japan, where it grossed over 1 billion yen, this anime heavily inspired by it (and released the following year) was pretty much a "money in the bank" no brainer. Sometime in the distant future, the multinational conglomerate Syncam Corporation has dispatched a variety of representatives from different countries to survey and study a distant planet in hopes of acquiring mining rights. The planet is located so far away that the crew has to go into "cryo-hibernation" (suspended deep sleep) for two decades, in which time they'll biologically age just one year. While they're under, their ship - The Saldes - collects a mysterious floating object that appears to be living organism and brings it on board. Once it hits water, it dissolves, turns into an acidic substance and burns through metal. The resultant gas manages to cloud a cat named Lily, who's been brought on board by Nancy, the teen daughter of the Syncam president who's also in charge of supervising the expedition despite being something of an immature, spoiled brat. Somehow Lily managed to escape her sleep pod a little bit early. Meaning, the rest of the crew assume someone had to be awake to let her out.
After the crew are revived, they're greeted by a message from a company personnel director back on Earth who informs them that there are two people on board who are impostors. They're not Syncam employees and entered the training program using false identification. Before they can hear the names and see photos of these two individuals, the transmission goes black. The impostors may have managed to set their sleep timers so they could get up a little earlier than the others to erase the incriminating parts of the message. For some reason, they still want the crew to know they are there though, or else they'd have erased the entire message. They may be "time jumpers;" criminals on the lam who sneak on board such ships to take advantage of the cryogenics technology. By the time the 40 year round trip is over, they'll have barely aged and can safely return to Earth as authorities would no longer still be looking for them four decades later. Or they may have other motives.
Despite knowing criminals are on board, Captain Mike Hamilton encourages the crew to just keep quiet about it as they're all trapped there anyway. Revealing what they know would only cause problems. Plus they have bigger problems to deal with, including a broken air conditioning duct that needs fixed and, soon after that, the death of U.S. representative Morgan W. Scott, who's found white-eyed and has so much bacteria in his lungs the ship's doctor has no real explanation except for Legionnaires' disease (severe pneumonia). And the doctor will provide no further explanation as he's the next one to be found dead. The two ship mechanics soon follow suit as the 13 members of the crew are quickly whittled down to 9. Even stranger, the bodies of those killed disappear. Did they somehow evaporate or were they resurrected?
Of course, the Typhoid Mary in this instance appears to be Lily Cat, who perhaps has been infected by the alien bacteria. However, someone on board has also made a slave of their central computer, which is impossible for the human crew to override and will now only respond to its "master." While there are a few OK twists and turns when it comes to the human and feline aspects of the story, the fast-moving, metamorphosing bacteria is the primary focus. It can change appearances, has tentacles, constantly grows thanks to the absorption of human tissue into the alien cell makeup and is referred to as "outer space chicken pox" by one of the characters trying to downplay the threat. It also takes on some slightly trippy / surreal forms that were clearly influenced by John Carpenter's 1982 version of THE THING, which must have been a bigger hit in Japan than it was in the U.S. at the time.
When it comes to the spate of ALIEN-inspired films that saturated the market in the 80s, this animated take is slightly above average. The characters are well-defined for the most part, with a great central character in the aged and slightly embittered ship's captain, who has missed out on a real life and family for his dedication to his work and has major regrets. Several other characters, including the initially quiet Jiro Takagi (Syncam's Japanese rep) and the somewhat mean but funny Dick Berry (the Aussie rep), have decent character arcs. In a quite interesting touch, the "tough guy" muscular U.S. rep, who's cocky, obnoxious and heavily-armed (likely a nod to the gung ho space marine stereotypes in Aliens), proves to be completely inefficient and is the first character to die. Had this been an American production he probably would have been the hero. On the down side, the bratty female lead is certainly no Ellen Ripley.
This also throws in some social commentary about how corporations don't really give a shit about their workers and chew them up and spit them out whenever they're done with them, plus how automation threatens to take human jobs, something that's even more timely now than when this was released. For the most part, the English dub is well-done and the voice actors are pretty good. This version was produced and directed by Carl Macek, who was responsible for "Americanizing" many other Japanese anime films and bringing them to the attention of U.S. audiences.
Here in America, there was a 1994 VHS release through the Macek-created Streamline Pictures / Video Comics, who distributed other Japanese anime like Neo Tokyo (1987), Twilight of the Cockroaches (1987) and Akira (1988). A cut version also aired on the SyFy Channel with a TV-PG rating, which has since been converted over to a TV-14. I'm not sure exactly what was cut out of the censored version though I assume a bit of the gore and some animated titties.