Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is another retelling of an old classic anime from the 70s of the same name. Created by Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Leiji Matsumoto (which also created the recent series Ozuma). It has been influential for Anime fans from both the west (Where it was called Star Blazers) and as well as to the Japanese market. It is a 26-episode series that is oddly aired – screened – across Japan throughout 2012.
The first episode aired on April 2012 and the succeeding episodes are shown in sets on cinemas in Japan. On April 2013, Family Gekijo started airing the entire series and will include final episodes that will start airing on September. The last set of Blu-Ray will ship on October 2013.
The story follows a crew aboard the spaceship Yamato that is set to travel to Iscandar; a planet that is 160,000 light years away, to restore planet earth from the destruction brought by an alien race called Gamilas. While Earth can defend itself from the Gamilas’ forces, it is only a matter of time for humanity to suffocate on a planet that died at the cost of liberty from the extra-terrestrial forces. With the help of another alien race Iscandar, humanity was able to create the spaceship Yamato, that is capable of long-distance space travel using FTL (Faster than Light) speeds; with the promise of a technology that will help Earth rebuild itself.
I have never felt the excitement of watching a series such as this. That feeling of wanting to watch the next episode as soon as possible. There is a lot to like about this series. It manage to flush the people aboard the Yamato and has well-established the bond and quirks each character had. Their interests and aspiration on why they joined the fleet in the first place.
They never segmented the series into small arcs and tells the story of the crew and journey as a whole. The balance of characters and plot is also commendable, because story felt in a scale of epic proportions. Sort of in a sense of how Attack on Titan is delivered as a massive feat a la God of War of scale. While Titan is more attributed on its action, Yamato is more taken in a personal level. Since the strong point in the series has little to do with the plot of getting into Iscandar. But more on the hardship and the emotional impact the event had with the crew. The ship Yamato really feels like a lone-vessel in the middle of nowhere, with a scene where Yamato battle hard on destroying an army of Gamilias that cost hundreds of men – whom we shared a moment with – died in battle. The scene where they hold a space funeral is quite surreal and is somewhat memorable to me.
I also like the mash of old and new artwork and the remake’s effort in updating the story in the context of the new technology since its first run. Personally, I haven’t watched the first season, but I can imagine the technology it has then. I bet they don’t have the concept of tablets and touch devices that is eerily similar to our smartphones. Then the remake did stay true to the original character design, given that the major characters looked like 70’s hippies but somehow manage to fit modern fashion to the mix. Amusing indeed.
Lastly, I also like the blatant depiction of Gamilias as space Nazis. Since a lot of their art and mindset is clearly based on the Nazi’s philosophy. Place together their racial discrimination and Aryan superiority for other races, other than blue skin. While they don’t burn planets unless rebellion broke out. The discrimination is simply visible. Not only that, even if humans and Gamlias were to set foot in the same mindset, the wounds of war between the two is simply deep to warrant cooperation. Then obviously, a lot of the spaceship designs are pattered on existing warships. Though I am not sure, since I am not a military buff if they are updated to current ships we have today.
Overall, Space Battleship Yamato 2199 was able to show me why it has delivered a massive appeal by fans since it inception. Although I can’t find sources, I remember or read that Yamato also pushed Anime as a medium of telling mature stories.
Well above a tool to entertain kids; it manage to build characters that are very human, who is gambling all they got for humanities hope, creating a lush vibrant galaxy that you can relate with in a sense – a story revived and renewed to appeal to new generations of fans to experience the classic story again.
Series Rating: 5/5