A Happy Day for Space Battleship Yamato Fans
I’m a happy anime blogger today, because sitting on my desk is the gorgeous new Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Blu-ray boxed set (aka Star Blazers), which just came out. This the re-make of the classic 1974 space opera made by Matsumoto Leiji, done with such loving care by directors Yutaka Izubuchi (Patlabor, Evangelion) Akihiro Enomoto (Mobile Suit Gundam 00, To Love-Ru) plus many others, including the son of Hiroshi Miwagawa, who scored the original. And best of all, the Blu-rays have full English subtitles for international fans. And of course they’re region free (all Blu-rays are).
The Blu-ray set includes all 26 episodes with cool features like audio commentary by the staff, on-camera interviews with director Yutaka Izubuchi and Mobile Suit Gundam creator Yasuhiko Yoshikazu, and so on. You also get a nice artbook.
The view of both sides of the Blu-ray box.
The story is 100% faithful to the original. If you don’t know the original story, in the year 2199, Earth is being bombed into submission by aliens called the Gamilas (Gamilons in Star Blazers), who totally do not represent Americans dropping radioactive bombs on Japan or anything. We’re about to die out as a species, but there’s a ray of hope: if we can get to the distant planet of Iscandar and back within a year, we can fix the radiation and make the Earth green again. Along the way, the Yamato will fight many WWII-esque battles, and many valiant fighters on both sides of the war will die bravely.
Happily, every single episode of the original 1974 series has been lovingly remade for the new series. There are even one or two episodes that were cut from the original due to the money constraints which we get to enjoy now.
All our old friends are back: Captain Okita (Avatar), Yuki Mori (Nova), Kodai and his brother Mamoru (Derek and Alex Wildstar), plus good old Analyzer (IQ-9, who was sort of the inspiration for R2-D2). The story is quite a bit darker than the original, filled with high quality war drama. The Japanese even sing space war songs as they die, now!
In addition, they tweaked the story nicely, in ways I won’t go into here, because I don’t want to give away spoilers. Let’s just say things are much tighter and more mysterious, and Yuki is no longer the most boring female in anime. There’s a whole mystery surrounding her in the new series!
There are a ton of other tweaks to the universe. The Yamato crew now have Gundam-style normal suits (space suits) they wear, because you’re doing battle in a spaceship. The Gamilas have a proper language, Zentraedi style. They even explain why there are some “white” Gamilas, a very subtle nod to the first episode of the 1974 series, when Deslar was white. (They changed him to blue soon after to avoid making political statements.) Basically, the white Gamilas are a separate race that was subjugated and pressed into service by the true Gamilas.
The new Space Battleship Yamato series is also, ah, sexed up a bit. This is because we live in the age of moe, and it’s fine and proper that this be done. To make a profit, modern anime needs to resonate with fans and catch the hearts of doujinshi artists, and also be something fans will buy figures of. In addition to (very small bits of ) fanservice in the show itself, several characters that were male have been converted to female, like the Gamilas pilot who gets captured, above. This is because females are soft and smell nice.
To recap, the universe has given old-school anime fans a great gift in the form of this limited Blu-ray boxed set, with a totally rebooted Space Battleship Yamato that is not only the best re-make we could have ever asked for, but proper English subtitles and cool bonus material are provided, too. Since the U.S. license of “Star Blazers 2199” (bleah) failed, this is the only way to get this perfect edition. Make sure you order your set now, because they will only be available for a short time!
Your parting gif. Thanks for reading, and make sure to order the Blu-rays now!