I have frequently remarked about my 40-year flirtation with anime before I finally settled down back in 2004 to accept it. It was during my Third Permutation that I ran into (what it was called then) “Star Blazers”. I had two problems with the show. The first was trying to wrap my head around the concept of a sea-worthy battleship in space (I would later discover that the Japanese flung all kinds of things into space for their animes). The second was the battleship seemed to fire its main weapon, have it break down and take two or three episodes to repair it, fire it again and repeat the cycle. Since I felt the show was going nowhere (and this was at a time when it showed once a week), I abandoned it and thus ended that trial.
Well, I come to learn that the show was/is actually called “Space Battleship Yamato” and that they did a reboot of it, of sorts, so it’s “Space Battleship Yamoto 2199”. Since I now ‘understand’ things better, I decided to not only give the reboot a chance, but finally see the show from stem to stern (so to speak).
It is an interesting show in that they tried to do ‘modern retro’ with it. They wanted to freshen up the look, but do keep the basic design of the main characters. Oh, the plot. Plot first.
Earth is under siege in the year 2199. The Gamilons have unleashed radioactive bombs and destroy the surface of the planet, forcing people underground. Despite how deep humans go, the radioactivity seeps down and they have about a year to live. There is one, completely desperate attempt to turn the tide of battle. The recovery of a downed spaceship on Mars brings plans of a faster-than-light engine and a promise of help, hope and salvation from Queen Starsha of the planet Iscandar, conveniently located in the Large Magellanic Cloud (just a mere 160,000 light-years away, give or take a Kessel Run).
You see, she has a special device that is able to completely eradicate the radiation that threatens Earth. But, to show that humanity are worthy of help, they must make the trip out and back in 360 or so days or it is all for naught. The show details that trip.
You see, the Gamilions (who are rather Germanic in nature) aren’t taking any chances and try to destroy the ship, but a lot of their underlings are so consumed by their own self-arrogance, they punt things time and again, like, worse than the Houston Texans, and the Yamoto continues onward. We also learn all of the back stories of everyone on the ship and how they all have these goals to achieve and attain.
You see, I had problems with this show. The ending was never in doubt. Yes, I have the advantage of decades of understanding how this show turned out, but it honestly was never in doubt, save for how badly the Nazis the Gamilions were going to get defeated. Yes, the ship took damage and many brave souls perished on the journey to and fro, but we knew that they would make it. Yes, they were challenged every metre of the way, but their new hope was there and so would be the genuine aid. Yes, they spent 80% of the show getting there, but, fear not, as the cavalry will crest the ridge just as sunrise appears and blind the enemy. (Ooops. Sorry. Wrong film.)
This would be a partial binge at best. It’s just a lot of episodes out there and I do not know if you desire to wipe it all out in a day. It would help with the pacing, the hares-and-hounds approach, in that they are pursued to the very ends of the galaxy, but it might feel more of the same, with the Nazis the Gamilions and how they drop the baton.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (The hybrid doesn’t work all that well)
Plot 7 (It is a standard story)
Pacing 7 (Moves along consistently)
Effectiveness 8 (Good use of flashbacks)
Conclusion 7 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 2 (A similar show would be “Okamisan”)
Bingeability 7 (It could help and it could hurt)
Overall 7 (Got a lot too soap opera for me)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. We must succeed!