Getting into major legacies in any form of media can be quite daunting, whether its a long running TV show or a classic film franchise. As an anime fan, there have been plenty of times where I’ve wanted to get into shows like Gundam or Gatchaman, but there becomes this issue with where does one dive in. Do I start with the complete original or do I jump into a modern remake or retelling of the original? With something like Space Battleship Yamato, which has had a long lasting impact on anime for years, not only is it hard to get into, but I don’t even think there’s any way to see the original series, on either physical media or streaming, until now. While many anime to live action adaptations have been pretty terrible, Space Battleship Yamato is not only a breath of fresh air, but a perfect entry point in seeing how this legacy has lasted over the years.
Set in the year of 2199, the Earth has been decimated by the Gamilas, an alien race that is bent on destroying all of humanity. Humans find that their final hope rests in going across the galaxy, in order to get to Iskandar, a planet similar to Earth. The mission is entrusted to the Yamato, an older space cruiser, with a worm hole drive and a wave motion gun, that can defend against the Gamilian threat. Captain Okita (Tsutomu Yamazaki), along with Susumu Kodai (Takuya Kimura), a pilot that’s lost his way and Yuki Mori (Meisa Kuroki) an ace pilot, who has a death wish against the Gamilians. Together, along with the rest of the crew of the Yamato, embark on a journey across the galaxy, on a one way mission in order to save mankind.
Space Battleship Yamato has all of the great elements that make up a great space opera. You’ve got a dangerous threat against humanity, a pilot who must battle his past demons, in order to prove himself to both the crew and his captain and a mission that all of humanity relies on, to continue its existence. The sense of urgency and immediacy are felt from the very beginning of the film, that give a great sense of tone and as well as the stakes for the entire crew of the Yamato. While we don’t get to learn about all of them, the few characters that we do get, are pretty solid archetypes, that make for some worthwhile entertainment. While Japan’s use of CGI can be pretty terrible, Space Battleship Yamato does a fantastic job, both during the space battles and other elements used around the ship, that provide some solid eye candy. I was reminded of frantic action sequences of Battlestar Galactica, during some of the dog fights and the use of the Yamato’s Wave Motion Gun, so if you love that kind of sci-fi action, Yamato certainly fits the bill.
There are plenty of other elements that I could divulge into, but Yamato is so much fun and has such a strong story and ending, that I think people should just watch it. If you like classic science fiction, have always wanted to get into the series, or you’ve grown up watching Star Blazers (the U.S. translated title) as a kid, you should give Space Battleship Yamato a viewing, because its most certainly worth your time. Highly Recommended!