Anime – Space Battleship Yamato 2199
Although I ended up liking the recent live action Space Battleship Yamato movie many long suffering fans took an opposing view that it did not live up to expectations. Regardless, I don’t expect there to be another live action movie anytime soon yet Yamato fans should still be happy to know that 2012 will see the release of another anime series this time named Space Battleship Yamato 2199. However, don’t expect this to be a mythical season 4 continuation of the original show as the new series is essentially an updated re-telling of season 1 featuring the now famous journey to Iscandar and the main antagonists being the Gamelons.
Looking at the various previews the animation certainly looks top-notch and far above the level seen in the original show yet what makes me smile widely is that this new show seems to be basically copying many shot setups from the original albeit with much 3D CG integration. Thus what we have here appears to be a totally verbatim retelling of the first season albeit done with current technology as well as a spiffy character redesign that captures the overall style and feeling of the original. Admittedly, the almost exact shot compositions might change as the episodes go by but so far I have to say that the new series crew seems to be showing massive reverence to the original show.
My inner geek is certainly impressed that nearly everything with the exception of the characters looks nearly exactly the same as the original including all the spaceship designs. However, as much as I love the original first season a simple retelling of it without any new material seems to me like a bit of a lost opportunity and though some fans might not see it this way I am of the opinion that there should at least be some new elements that add intrigue to the overall narrative.
I have seen Star Blazers so many times, especially the Iscandar arc, that watching spiffy new animation can only entertain me for so long and all the “big” reveals won’t exactly be very impactful if they remain totally aligned to the original show. It doesn’t mean that the new crew should rip apart the narrative and shamelessly bolt on unneeded elements but one would expect that some modern sensibilities can be successfully integrated. For instance, Nova (Yuki in the Japanese version) is basically incredibly passive the entire first season and certainly a modern take on her character should warrant a much more active role. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as the live action film where Nova/Yuki, played by Meisa Kuroki, morphs into a clone of the rebooted Battlestar Galactica’s Starbuck but admittedly some of the supporting cast needs more screentime in order to flesh out their characters.
Looking at the footage from the first ten minutes showcasing the now famous last stand at Pluto battle it certainly appears as if the new crew know exactly what they are doing by adding extra dialogue and expanding certain segments to provide more insight to what is essentially Earth’s last stand. If anything, the new ten minute sequence amps up the drama and firmly accentuates the show’s space opera atmosphere. Seriously, after playing through Mass Effect 3 this new footage from Space Battleship Yamato 2199 certainly gives me hope that space opera themed shows no matter their country or origin can still resonate in a way that mere action sci-fi cannot.
The new show will clock in at 26 half-hour episodes and hopefully some diehard fans will get to work a.s.a.p. when it premieres to provide some much needed fansubs. Obviously, it shouldn’t take long for a domestic distributor to license it and hopefully release it on Blu-Ray.
2012, Produced by Xebec, AIC
Directed by Yutaka Izubuchi
Music by Akira Miyagawa
Character Design by Nobuteri Yuuki
Susumu Kodai (Derek Wildstar in Star Blazers): Daisuke Ono
Yuki Mori (Nova in Star Blazers): Houko Kuwashima
Captain Okita (Captain Avatar in Star Blazers): Takayuki Sugou
Daisuke Shima (Mark Venture in Star Blazers): Kenichi Suzumura
© 2012 The Galactic Pillow
Note: In case no one remembers the original show and how it looked well here’s the same battle of Pluto sequence from the first episode of the Americanized version (Star Blazers):