Posted by psgels on 4 August 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews

So yeah, they made a Space Battleship Yamato movie last year. It’s the brainchild of the actual producer of the TV-series, along with most of the movies and it seems that more than 35 years after the start of the series, he still wanted to give the franchise one more chance to shine. Apparently, this movie was due to be scheduled way earlier but got cancelled due to licensing issues with Matsumoto Leiji. That seems all cleared up now however, and this movie sure as heck doesn’t show any signs of this.

I’m always interested in these remakes, as their creators tend to put in a ton of effort to really do justice to the shows they’re based on, which often stand as cult classics. Yamato Resurrection went for the homage: it really wanted to create the feeling of the original Yamato tv-series, and put a modern coat on it.

Unlike the remakes that take the ancient mecha series in general, this movie really is a homage to Space Battleship Yamato, and nothing more. This makes it quite a bit different from the other mecha remakes, because for its time, Space Battleship Yamato was incredibly different from the likes of Mazinger and all of the other giant robot shows. Its atmosphere was dark, lonely and melancholic, and that was exactly what this the creators did here: epic space battles with a dark atmosphere that instead with its energy tries to captivate the audience with just this atmosphere.

The plot is typically something that you can expect from the Yamato franchise: the earth is in danger, the Yamato ends up playing a key role in saving humanity. It’s stupid, of course. But that’s the point: the original Yamato also had some of the most ridiculous plot twists, especially near the end. The plot really is just there as a vehicle for the atmosphere and the epic space battles. Although I did like how this movie aged all of the characters more than twenty years here. I mean, the movie hardly uses this character-development, but it certainly does contribute to this movie.

The graphics… well, the money shots really are a visual orgasm here. The creators got some amazing CG artists for this movie, and they really went all out here. The CG looks absolutely beautiful, and at the same time the 2D characters really tried to stay true to the original style of character-designs from Yamato (so yes, don’t even expect Matsumoto Leiji’s trademark characters here: Yamato aired before the days of Captain Harlock). The 2D characters may look a bit plain, but they’re actually animated really well: whenever they move, they do this smootly and nearly without any cut corners. The problems with this is of course that the two styles don’t really combine together: there is always a very clear border between the 2D and 3D in this movie. The worst though was when the creators actually copied and pasted some of the footage of the Yamato TV-series and movies. Yeah, those who were animated in the seventies and eighties. Needless to say… it looks incredibly out of place. Though I have to give props for this movie being the first to be stupid enough to actually do this.

Of the Yamato franchise I have only seen the first TV-series, but I enjoyed this movie for what it is. However, I’m not sure whether you can enjoy this movie if you haven’t seen anything from the Yamato franchise: you’ll miss some of the references and homages it makes. Still, if anything you can watch this movie for the soundtrack, which for some reason is filled with compositions from FREAKING BEETHOVEN. Now if that isn’t awesome then I don’t know anymore.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Pretty good atmosphere. If you’re a Yamato-fan at least.
Characters: 7/10 – Um, yeah. The characters are there, the development is awesome, but that’s about everything there is to them.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Ah, the visuals! Gorgeous graphics that don’t mesh well. But Beethoven makes up for everything.
Setting: 7/10 – It’s stupid. It’s Yamato. Who cares?

Night on the Galactic Railroad – Fantasy Railroad in the Stars (don’t expect a mecha epic for this one, though; it’s actually the entire opposite)
Space Fantasia: 2001 Nights
Cobra The Animation

2 Responses

  1. Avatar Umm says:

    Sorry to break this to you, but Space Battleship Yamato isn’t mecha. Unless your standard for a mecha show is that it has machines in it, it is in no way mecha.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    I indeed meant machines by that. It’s just that this mecha doesn’t have a bunch of arms and legs.

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