宇宙戦艦ヤマト2199 (Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199)
Space Battleship Yamato 2199
♫銀がおはなれイスカンダルへ。(Going far from the galaxy towards Iskandar.)
♫はるばる望む。(A faint gleam of hope.)
♫宇宙戦艦ヤマト！ (The Space Battleship Yamato!)
Now, I am an avid fan of anything Sci-Fi, especially if that happens to also involve space a lot. I guess you could call me a space fanatic, because I frankly love space, and everything in it. In the whole Sci-Fi/Space genre, there is one thing I really love, and that is a Space Opera. No, not the fat lady singing on a space station, but a genre which basically could be better described as a combination of adventure, drama, political and military intrigue and drama, romance and the whole lot. It’s basically a show that details the life of a specific crew, much like the well-loved series like StarGate or Star Trek, as they traverse space, planets and battlefields, undergoing trials and tribulations. Sadly, there are not many of the, especially recent ones (as in in the last 6/7 years), and many of them are quite old, coming out in the 80’s and 90’s. So, I would like to take you on a journey, not through a mere solar system, or even the star systems in the general vicinity, but entire galaxies. (Well, mainly two, but I digress. That’s more than a big enough playing field.) A journey to the alien planet of Iskandar, 160 000 light years away, and a journey in which they have to get there and back to Earth within a year. I give you, Space Battleship Yamato 2199, a remake of the first season of the classic of the same name, dropping the 2199 of course, which aired all the way back in the mid 70’s. Let the journey begin.
This is a show that has gained a 10/10 rating from me, and is one of my favourites. As such, it will lack the general TL;DR and +/- section from my usual reviews, as well as the individual categories having no score, as 10/10 means everything is a 10. Instead, it will be replace by a simple, will you, or will you not like this show.
Will you like this show?
If you are in the mood for a great adventure through space, greatly executed CGI battles that look great, excellent animation and great character development, you will enjoy this. If you love Space Operas and Sci-Fi shows, you’ll love this even more. If you don’t like or want it, you may still enjoy it, and this is something I would recommend to a lot of people, if anything as a jump into the Space Opera genre. It isn’t called the Japanese Star Wars in its home country by the fans for nothing after all.
As the title implies, the story of Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199 is set in the year 2199, and a grim future it is. Earth is damaged, wrecked and ravaged by devastating planet bombs (asteroids propelled at the planet), and the remains of humanity have been forced underground. Their space fleets are fighting a losing battle against a technologically superior force of Aliens called the Gamilian’s, who have built a small battle settlement on the planet of Pluto. With Mars heavily damaged in the first few attacks, and their space fleets mostly destroyed, Earth is on its last breath. Then, salvation, as one year prior, a visitor from an alien world arrives, from the planet of Iskandar, with news of an object that can save and make the devastated Earth green again, along with plans for a journey to Iskandar, and their creation, the Wave Motion Engine, their version of a powerful hyperspace engine, which unlike the Gamilians, the Humans lack. In secret, the great, heavily fortified and advanced battleship Yamoto is built, the engine installed, as they head for the Magnetic Space Cloud, an area of space Iskandar is located in a galaxy close by. Thus their journey starts, as they are constantly chased by the relenting forces of the Gamilian fleets. Their journey has just began, as they leave with the hopes of Earth on their shoulders.
The story itself is well written, and is fairly gripping. My only annoyance is that they have yet to say if they plan on remaking season 2 and 3, but this series did come out in 2012/2013, so there is still hope. The story will make constantly think about the forces at play, the Gamilian’s, Humans and even the Iskandarian’s. The show in itself does not take a mantle of good versus evil. Sure, they are your bat-shit crazy villains, but you may even find yourself questioning our own heroes motives and actions, you will feel sympathetic towards the enemy, and you will see that in war, and in life, their truly is not really good and evil that’s usually at play, but rather the perspective we see things from.
Character development is one thing many shows seem to lack. Sure, they include a little, but at many times, they don’t really hit the mark. Yamato thankfully, dose this wonderfully. By the end, we see how much our characters have changed, and moved on with certain things. Whether it’s the awesome old, weary Captain Okita, his XO, Sanada, or our main hero and heroine, Kodai and Yuki, or his close friend Shima, and will come to enjoy their interactions, their actions and their thoughts, and even enjoy our neo-Nazi villain, Desler. The supporting cast is also really fleshed out, at least for the characters that play a decent part in the story. Nobody who the story specifically points out is really left without some semblance of change happening, with the exclusion of one or two characters of course. You will most likely connect with this characters.
It does not just focus on our heroes. You get a fairly decent view and ideas about not only Gamilian society and key players on their side, but you also get a little bit of joy out of the short stories or explanations behind several of their characters. In a way, it makes not only the villains more believable, but enriches the world, allowing you to see how terrible things can happen when a massive empire is in the hands of a dangerous person. At many times, Sci-Fi shows, mainly anime, seem to leave out the other side of the equation. We hear on and on about our heroes, they did this, they did that, and we never really get a chance to see the other side. It sometimes pains me that there is this massive world out there, and yet we see so little, only focusing solely on our main cast, our main heroes. It makes the world seem so much more believable, and that’s something a lot of these shows lack, and there are already so few of them. It’s refreshing, and it made me really love this show to see that.
Art and Sound:
The art for this show was simply spectacular. You can see they had a massive budget. Space battles felt alive, alien planets look different, the visuals were well done and the environments of the ships and planets were very well done. Movement and character animation was fluid, and each episode, especially the battles was really a charm to watch. Specifically, particular note has to be given to the CGI animation. All the spaceships, and much of the battles as in projectiles, shields and laser cannons are all done using CGI, and I’ve seen it terribly integrated before in other anime. Yamato 2199 pulls it off wonderfully. The CGI animation fits right in, the visuals are well done and of high quality. It is one of the few shows which CGI has been done really well. This is mainly also thanks not only to the artist’s skills, but the advances in technology as well. Props to the studio.
After watching this show, it immediately jumped onto my favourites list, and quite high up on it too. It was something I really enjoyed, so much that I marathoned it, all the 26 episodes in two days. So I would recommend you give it a go, no matter who you are. It really is a well put together show, and joy for any Space Opera fan like myself. They say it’s a standalone remake, and the story is slightly modified form the original, with several characters from the original season 2 and 3 being brought in, and several new characters. I only wait for them to re imagine season 2 or 3. Meanwhile, I have to go and watch it. My only regret is that it’ll be 70/80’s animation, and I’ll miss the modern feel. So come on, it’s only been about two years, so make a second season.