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Animation and Anime

An Early Look at the Upcoming Space Battleship Yamato Remake, Yamato 2199



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Column by Scott Green



Before there was Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto, Sailor Moon or even Robotech, American's great glimpse at anime was the Star Blazers. Here was an animated sci-fi saga with real scope and consequence. Set after an alienate race irradiated Earth, the crew of its Space Battleship Yamato had one year to make a desperate journey into the reaches to space to find a solution to humanities impending extinction.

Star Blazers is certainly well remembered in America, but that's nothing to compared to the enduring Space Battleship Yamato phenomenon in Japan. Not even a legal battle between producer Yoshinobu Nishizaki and designer Leiji Matsumoto could keep it down, as it spawned to follow-up anime series (1978 and 1979), anime movies (a 1977 compilation, 1978 original movie - which outperformed Star wars in the Japanese box office, 1979,1980 1983 and following a Nishizaki / Matsumoto court decision 2009), direct to videos series (1995's Yamato 2520, with design by Syd Mead - put on hiatus due to law suit, and 2004's Dai Yamato Zero-go) and finally a live action 2010.


The next big Yamoto project, the first since the 2010 death of the franchise's driving force, Yoshinobu Nishizaki, is Space Battleship Yamato 2199, a remake from director Yutaka Izubuchi (RahXephon) with character design by obuteru Yuki (Escaflowne, Record of Lodoss War), an opening by Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno, and animation from XEBEC and AIC.

The first two episodes will screen in Japenese theaters April 7, 2012 before the series commences on TV later that month.

Cast includes
Susumu Kodai (20) Voice actor: Daisuke Ono (Melancholy of Haruhi-chan Suzumiya)

Shima Daisuke (20) Voice actor: Kenichi Suzumara (Gundam SEED Destiny)

Yuki Mori (19) Voice actor: Houko Kuwashima (InuYasha)

Captain Juuzo Okita (57) Voice actor: Takayuki Sugo (Birdy the Mighty: Decode)

A four minute preview can be seen here.



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Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 20, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST

    The live action movie was an abomination.

    by KilliK

  • They showed a trailer of the animated movie 2 years ago but since then there were no more news.what happened? is it still in production? google only gives results about the trailer and nothing else.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Live action movie

    by Clio

    Yep, the movie was pretty bad, but it was actually funny, unintended of course. I will only watch a live action movie if there is a remake---no anime movies for me---just don't like'm.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 5:59 p.m. CST

    I suppose it's too much to ask

    by skydemon

    For an English dubbed version, using voice actors that either are, or are a close match to the original series one and two voice actors. I could get really excited about that, but yea, too much to hope for I guess.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 6:04 p.m. CST

    The character design is a tiny bit off the early 70s anime look

    by Ricardo

    And the CG animation is fucking distracting. But still, nice to see it coming up. The soundtrack still has that warm funky feel into it. THIS is why Japan is LIGHT YEARS ahead of the US in quality pop culture producing. I'll be in Japan in July, I guess I have more stuff to look for in Akihabara!

  • I'm curious, though, as to whether the series will be a simple update with newer tech or if it'll be a rework to modern sensibilities? I mean, is this like taking Battlestar Galactica and re-doing it, or more like giving it the Ron Moore makeover? Either way, it sure does look like a great title to import. Here's hoping Amazon gets the series on Blu in a year, in the original Japanese with English subs. Imo, that's the ONLY way to watch.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Re: "America's First Glimpse At Anime ..."

    by ArmageddonProductions

    While I realize I'm severely dating myself here, both "Kimba The White Lion" and "Marine Boy" were around at least a few years before "Yamamoto", not to mention a little-seen show called "Speed Racer".</p><p> That said, "Yamamoto" was a pretty awesome show and served as a gateway drug for "Robotech", "Tranzor-Z" (to name two opposite extremes) and the deluge of great and crappy American-ized anime that followed.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Nova made me feel tingly in the pants...

    by Billyeveryteen

    Apparently she still does.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 6:40 p.m. CST

    I was about 7 years old when I first saw "Star Blazers"

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    It wasn't until years later I realized what greatness I was witnessing at the time.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Sorry, but why the hate of the live action movie? I loved it!!

    by marineboy

    For a Nippon financed flick it was really good - sure it could've use another couple of mill in effects, but they did really well I thought. Good enough to inspire a U.S remake hopefully! :) I'd like to see a CGI version next...

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Cheesy disco needs replacing with...

    by marineboy


  • Feb. 20, 2012, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Another remake? Sigh...

    by Jay

    Oh, wait. I forgot the hypocritical views here don't reach across the ocean. In that case...bring it on! It's in a different language, so it's already better than everything else!

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 7:06 p.m. CST

    Farewell, Alex Wildstar!

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 7:08 p.m. CST

    And no, in fact Cheesy Disco is fine right where it is...

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 7:27 p.m. CST


    by The E

    No Desslok in the previews has me worried. That's what really tarnished the live remake, the clusterf on how they handled the Gamilons. Desslok was just as key in the greatness of the original as the Yamato, Wildstar and Captain Avatar. He was such a nuanced villain compared to cartoon villains we grew up with in the 80's... which is why he's so revered.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 7:41 p.m. CST

    That video

    by maelstrom_ZERO

    makes me want to shout "Yamoto. . .hasshin!!!" at the top of my lungs. Captains of spaceships are always totally cool. In any case, it's nice to see an anime being produced that's outside the typical fanservice/harem/moe genre. Of course, they had to dig how many decades into the past to do it, but at least I don't have to subject myself to watching animated girls' panties again. Ugh.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 7:42 p.m. CST

    the e: And don't forget General Lysis! "LY-SIS, LYSIS, LYSIS, LY-SIS!"

    by obijuanmartinez

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 8:22 p.m. CST

    This stuff is so ingrained into my brain

    by grendel69

    Watched the series on old Phildelphia channel 29 WTAF every day. They played Star Blazers in rotation for years. Some time later, I had ordered the films from Books Nippon in California. I was put onto Books Nippon after a article in Comics Collector Magazine went through the whole Yamato story and mentioned BN as a spot to pick up rare stuff. Paid a fortune for movies and books and this was before subtitled versions were available. BTW, my first exposure to anime was Battle of the Planets which harkened back to 1978/9, a few years before Star Blazers hit TV.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 8:22 p.m. CST

    Nope. Don't do it. Fail.

    by NeonFrisbee

    Nothing beats the original. All of those Matsumoto 70s, early 80s shows/ movies are great. All the modern iterations? Not so much. I mean, they might manage to be okayish, but they all lack the poetry and feel of the originals. Nothing can beat the original Yamato, GE999 and Harlock. Nothing.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 8:37 p.m. CST

    It was only time before they remade it.

    by elgato73

    Japan is just as remake crazy as Hollywood. Hell, even more so. Original Yamato is a masterpiece--poetic, somber and ultimately a testament to humanity at its best. Just don't see them even coming near the brilliance of the original. Sorry. I will give it a try once it hits.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 8:46 p.m. CST

    re: Captain Harlock CG Movie

    by ScottGreen

    Toei was promoting it at Anncey last June with the promise that it'll be out in 2013. I wouldn't be surprise to see them deliver and I wouldn't be surprised to see the project quietly go away. Seems like their trying to engineer an international hit (Japan and Europe at least) on that one

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 8:51 p.m. CST


    by SuperLoserFish

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 9:01 p.m. CST

    re robotech

    by shane calhoun

    speaking of live action whatever happened to the live action robotech movie.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 9:25 p.m. CST

    Leelee Sobieski as Nova in the inevitable American live-action production

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Sean Connery as Capt. Avatar.

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 9:41 p.m. CST

    Fuck yes!

    by veritasses

    I like the updated character designs and everything else I see. Is that the Captain from the 2nd season around ~2:00 and ~2:44?

  • Feb. 20, 2012, 11:59 p.m. CST

    Jeff Bridges as Capt Avatar!

    by thethedew

    Connery would have been great ten years ago. He'd never do it now.

  • Re: the forthcoming CAPTAIN HARLOCK project: IMO, that just looks too crazy-ass and definitely un-Matsumoto. Redesigning the Arcadia (I also prefer the old Arcadia) is also a big non-no. There was a HARLOCK RETURNS DVD, released in 2004, with a traditional/CG mix and it also sucked. Hopefully TOEI will give any new HARLOCK production the proper reverence, like the YAMATO project above.

  • Feb. 21, 2012, 12:54 a.m. CST

    Kinda reminds me of the blu-ray Star Trek...

    by DarkHawke that it doesn't look largely different than the original, just spiffed up for the current generation. Love to see that on disc with an English dub. In related news, where the hell is the American version of the live-action Yamato? I'll settle for even a subtitled blu-ray of that effort if it'll kick some idiot in Holly-weird into gear into making a GREAT version of it!

  • Feb. 21, 2012, 1:06 a.m. CST

    The live action film had its problems....

    by unit1421

    I wouldn't call it an abomination, though. For just a $20 million budget, they did very well. My gripes were: They rushed the emergence of the Yamato from the ground. They didn't keep the same sound f/x for the main turret guns from the original. They unveiled the Wave Motion Gun too soon. The romance scenes were too long and a distraction, but were not terrible. I thought the plugging of the WMG barrel was a bit of a cheese, a good original idea, but they could have outmaneuvered it. I know it's impossible to make something that's going to satisfy everyone, especially given the huge level of sentiment and passion over the Yamato series. It's about hope and redemption, taking an instrument of war that brought shame and giving it a chance at salvation. They got the spirit of it right, which is fine by me.

  • Was launched from a carrier plane...

  • I just love Netflix streaming. Right now my favorite Anime is Gai-Rei Zero. The perfect fall to the Dark Side story. I'll have to look up to see if Netflix has Star Blazers in it's list.

  • Feb. 21, 2012, 7:58 a.m. CST

    by Pain_Clinic

    Maybe they can dub this new version and then the SyFy Channel show the whole series not just the first 12 episodes and then discontinue it like they did last year.

  • Feb. 21, 2012, 9:20 a.m. CST

    If this was an American production

    by GhostofCicero

    you bitches would be complaining about Hollywood being out of ideas.

  • Feb. 21, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Battle of the planets film

    by CoolerKing72

    What happened to the CGI film which the trailer is out on youtube. The original jap series Gatchaman was really dark then was bastardised with Casey Casum doing 7-sark-7... Still the trailer looks fantastic...