Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199

Alt title: Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2199

OVA (26 eps x 26 min)
2012 - 2013
4.152 out of 5 from 2,600 votes
Rank #442
Star Blazers: Space Battleship Yamato 2199

In the year 2199, unrelenting attacks from the planet Gamilus have forced all life on Earth into underground dwellings and raised radiation levels to near-toxic levels. The only way to clean up all this harmful radiation is by using the Cosmo Cleaner, which the Queen of the planet Iscandar has generously offered to humanity. Unfortunately, Iscandar is 148,000 light years away, but Earth only has one year before rising radiation levels make it uninhabitable! The only vessel capable of making the journey is the Yamato - a spaceship equipped with advanced technology and modeled after the famous WWII battleship. Can the crew of the Yamato make it to Iscandar and back before the extinction of all life on Earth?

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OLD BUT NOT FORGOTTEN The original version of Space Battleship Yamato is legendary in Japan, not simply for being the first Japanese animated space opera, made in 1974. It is vibrating with ideals that were still very prominent at the time. Your opinion of them can greatly affect enjoyment, since most of it can be perceived as Japan trying to demonize the very fascism it was supporting in the Second World War by playing the victim card, while at the same time still presenting itself as a military power that fights for the good of humanity. Although the remake came out at a time when the war was a distant memory, Japan is still trying to increase its military strength for supposed self-defence purposes, without ever getting over its fascination with war and the navy. If it had gotten over it, stuff like Kantai Collection wouldn’t be so damn popular. EFFECT ON MODERN AUDIENCES I was curious to see what effects the new version would have on the anime fans of today, compared to the ones from the 70s. And turns out it had close to no effect, since very few cared about it and even fewer placed it in their favourites. An explanation is that the series is in OVA format, meaning that wasn’t airing weekly on television, and thus went unnoticed by most. It was also animated by a studio that not many care about, and it is based on a 70s series, thus it was very hard for new viewers to like its retro feel. Although these were big enough reasons, I believe it also had to do with the debunking of space exploration programs and the advent of online videogames. Anime fans of today care very little about the actual space; they are head over heels with cyber space, and anything that has to do with gamers, videogames, smart phones, and pretty much anything that is freaking Sword Art Online. We finally get a decent space opera and you damn otakus don’t give a crap about it, because you are busy fapping to light novel garbage about schools and incest. SURPASSING EXPECTATIONS But regardless of liking space operas or not having taste, nobody can deny the unexpected brilliance of this production. Going by the numbers, this show should have been a complete flop. It was animated by AIC and Xebec, both of which are notorious for their bad production values and below average shows. It was directed by the guy who made Rahxephon, an amazing concept with a completely dull presentation. And it is a remake, which means it will always be seen as inferior to the original for every little thing it changed. Despite all these elements working against it, the end result was amazing, from high production values, to staying close to the original, without losing the magic of what was making it good. VISUAL DIFFERENCES But if you want to bitch about differences you can easily do so, since it isn’t a simple paint job like Dragon Ball Kai. I mean, it obviously looks a hundred times more polished and detailed, and doesn’t have the various animation errors of the original, such as drawing most of the crew as blobs in order to save time, or messing up the skin color of the aliens. The biggest visual difference is that it doesn’t use the Leiji artstyle, which is a trademark of everything the original creator has produced over the decades. It can take awhile to get used to it if you are familiar with it, and expected the same. On the other hand, it is much easier for newer viewers to like the way the characters look now, since the older style looks quite eerie to appeal to the new generation. The new artstyle is far more generic, and boy does it look moe half the time, but it’s not that hard to get accustomed to it. The script and the characters are always the most important part. There was for example a short series called Ozma, that came out fairly close to Yamato. It was completely Leiji-styled but that didn’t save it from being a complete waste of time. SCRIPT DIFFERENCES So let’s not waste any more time on meaningless pretty colors, and move to the script, which is a rather simple alien invasion story, further simplified by making the enemies being essentially blue skinned space Nazis. And following the anime logic of the 70s, it doesn’t matter how many ships or giant robots the bad guys have, since the single ship or giant robot the good earth people use, can beat them all with its impenetrable plot armor that withstands explosions capable of wiping out galaxies. It is corny and silly, filled with naïve patriotism, honor, justice, and lots of other stuff that nowadays pass more like propaganda than theme exploration. To its defense, it bothers to flesh out the cast and the setting. There is a lot of downtime between major battles, and most of it is spent on getting to know the characters on both sides of the conflict. It’s nothing complicating but they all have a sad story that is not solely running on victimizing. And unlike what almost every anime is doing today, it doesn’t turn the females into horny sluts. There is still fan service but it’s mostly suggestive, based on camera angles and skin tight uniforms, rather than bumping on each other while being naked all the time. You can show these gals respect, even if they look like waifu material.Furthermore, many of them are dynamic and equally capable as the male characters. This is another major difference with the original, which was not showing many women because it was taking up a lot more time to draw, and the genderless blobs they had in the background could fool the audience to see them only as males. The few females that were left in the original were there for the sake of platonic romance, or deus ex machinas for rewarding the brave males who help them out. TONE DIFFERENCES A big difference in the story has to do with the aliens. In the original the only known planets which could support life, as of that time, were Earth and Gamilas. In the new version, there are hundreds of planets, and many of them are already colonized by humans, or have been taken over by the aliens. Although this makes the setting far more lively and complex, it also takes away the feeling of gloom from the original. Over there, Gamilas was a dying planet, forcing the aliens to wage war on Earth as their only means of survival. And the earth people were constantly bombarded by meteors and had to move underground, since the surface of the planet was poisoned by radiation. It was a kill or be killed situation that was making both sides tragic. In the new version, no such thing happens, since Earth is just a backwater planet, a minor conquest for the aliens, and just one of the many planets humans have colonized. It is not vital for anyone’s survival, thus making the whole conflict to feel like a skirmish instead of an all-out war that can only end with the complete destruction of one of the two civilizations. The reason this happened is because the new version took elements from the later seasons of the original, which magically had far more habitable planets and civilizations. As gloomy as the first season was, it had dry personalities and no variety in what it’s all about. The characters began having internal conflicts and acted more natural in later seasons, when the setting had gained the variety of Star Trek, and the theme was not simply survival but also freedom from oppressive alien overlords. By using all these elements right away, it feels like one season of the new version was more than enough to cover the material of all three seasons of the original. And this is why I am not gonna jump from joy in case they make a continuation. They might as well remake Blue Noah, which is a different series with the same plot. IN CONCLUSION Nevertheless, it is one of the best remakes ever made. Although the story is nothing much to look forward to, it is a great spectacle that respects the original, and improves it without ever turning into something completely different, like in the case of Gatchaman Crowds. It easily ranks as one of the best anime that came out in recent years, even if it went unnoticed by most because it wasn’t about a fat loser playing videogames in Accel World.


Hello jaded viewers! We've seen it all. There is a ton of anime out there. And there are so many layers of reference, nuances of genres, cynicism, intelligent playing around with themes in modern works that this show will leave you gobsmacked. The complete and utter origin of the space opera form, a throwback from the seventies, lacking any pretense other than telling a simple story. The characters, character models, soundtrack, story, and basically everything here is back to the very raw basics. Not that this should surprise anyone considering it is a remake of something from 1974. That's right, all those things are older than the viewers. My parents hadn't met in 1974. Rap music wasn't a thing in 1974. This was. And you know what? It's rather awesome. Is this perfection? Far from it. The character models are outdated and sometimes downright annoying. The characters themselves are stock characters - the fact that they are the originals on which the stock characters are built does not change that. The sound effects range from awesome to downright annoying. The soundtrack itself is beyond unimaginative, from the absolute cliche of the opening theme to the Star Wars inspired orchestral arangements. The story, well, it is the absolute standard space opera. The plot twists and turns are ones that have been done to death since. ... and yet. There is a reason these characters became stock characters. There is a reason that the soundtrack is basically one long cliche. There is a reason that this story has been done from every single angle. Somehow Space Battleship Yamato 2199 managed to worm through all my layers of jaded cynicism and overviewing of anime over the years, and I just viewed it and enjoyed the ride. And it is an enjoyable ride at that. Story: Formulaic is the first word that comes to mind when discussing the plot. Of course, this is one of the stories that set the formula - and that doesn't happen unless it is done very well. Nobody would talk about how *important* something is unless it was good enough to make the importance shine. There are the regular ups and downs. The battles grow grander and more desperate. There is the absolute standard romance plot. There is a core of determined and capable characters that show pride in the spirit of humanity. There are the standard darker bits to show that these are not just two-dimensional characters, and that the plot is not just a win after a win. And you know what? As much as this has been done to death, as much as how people can say "anime Star Wars" until their vioce is hoarse, as much as I personally am a cynic and a harsh critic of cliches... this just works. Don't expect it to reach new heights because it is definitely explored territory, and you'll find that it is just a fine story told in a fine way. Animation: I don't like space battles, but thank all heavens for the lack of mecha. The lovely naval themes are so refreshing compared to the rest of the landscape. The explosions are cool. The backgrounds are always atmospheric and not overly complicated. There is no direct flaw in anything, actually. But as I mentioned, the character models range from dated to downright insulting (the doctor specifically). The "humans with different color skins" bit is quite grating. And really, most of the show is about centered on the characters. In the end, this does a lot of things well, but unfortunately there is just one important part that it does not. Still, I have to say it is above average. Sound: Most people should love this. This is the mother of all mainstream soundtracks here. The effects of guns and explosions range from cliche to impressive. But really, this is one area where it really could have used a more modern take. Still, it is well done for what it is: the most standard possible soundtrack for science fiction. That being said, it is the most standard possible soundtrack for science fiction. Characters: These characters should immediately feel familiar. The hotheaded yet determined young man who grows into a mature and respectable soldier, the wily old sea captain whose actions are never wrong, the villain who is a monster that will commit all forms of evil (yet is just misguided)... yes, these are more than standard, they are the downright most basic tropes of the genre. Yet still, this cast grows on you. They aren't perfect, but they grow and change, and eventually you can't help but feel for them. This is an excellent cast of characters all around, and there is a very good reason that they have become cliches. You don't mess around too much with a winning formula, and this formula is a winner. As usual, some of the most interesting characters are in the supporting cast, but even they do not stray too much from the cliches that we are all used to. And, in this case, that is a good thing. Overall: This is an enjoyable ride. So just let go of your cynicism for a moment, stop being jaded for twenty-something minutes at a time, and have a blast. My score reflects that higher than any part of it, this is simply just an enjoyable view despite (or perhaps because) of its flaws.

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