Space Battleship Yamato 01

Uchuu Senkan Yamato Episode 01
宇宙戦艦ヤマト Ep. 01 (TV, Anime)

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis: It is 2199 and Earth has been under attack from a planet known as Gamilus, who’ve made the surface of Earth uninhabitable (and contain no surface water) due to their radioactive meteor bombs. Earth Defense Force Fleet is patrolling the solar system when they are attacked at Pluto by they forces from Gamilus. Meanwhile, the Earth Defense Force HQ detects an object heading for Mars. Two trainee pilots, KODAI Susumu and SHIMA Daisuke, are currently on Mars and sent to investigate this crashed ship. They find the ship and discover its female humanoid occupant out of the ship and dead. However, they also find a message container and retrieve it.

In space, the Earth fleet is being wiped out by the superior weapons of Gamilus fleet. Only two ships remain — a battleship headed by Captain Okita and a missile cruiser headed by Captain Kodai (older brother to Susumu). Because they are the only two ships in the fleet, Okita orders a retreat, but Kodai refuses to do so, saying he cannot bear the shame of retreating when so many gave their lives. As such, Kodai makes a suicide run on the enemy forces and is destroyed while Okida’s ship gets back to Earth safely after picking up Susumu and Daisuke.

On Earth, humanity now lives deep underground but with the constant meteor bombardment, the radiation will reach the settlements and humanity will die in a year. Susumu sees Captain Okita and wants to know why Okita didn’t bring his brother home. Okita has no answer. Sumumu and Daisuke bring the message capsule to HQ. After leaving, they see a girl in the hall who looks just like the alien female they found on Mars. Before they can consider it further, the encounter SADO Sakezo, a “daisensei” (a great doctor, specifically a vet) in a losing encounter with a large hog. A robot arrives to explain and praise the doctor, but Sado emerges to say he failed. The robot remarks that this is the doctor’s fifth failure of the day.

In the hospital, Captain Okita gets a report from HQ in his room while in the waiting room, the nurse, MORI Yuki, wonders what is wrong with Susumu. Daisuke is explaining when the robot returns and basically insults Yuki. She leaves but the robot has news for the two young men. The message capsule has been decoded. A woman named Starsha from the planet Iscandar has sent her little sister Sarsha to Earth with an offer of assistance. They have a device that will clean up Earth, known as the Cosmo Cleaner-D. Since there’s only a year for humanity to survive, they will need to send a ship to Iscandar (some 140,000 light years away) to pick up the device and return in that time. The capsule also contained a new engine design.

An enemy scout craft is spotted and the base goes on alert. Susumu and Daisuke decide to take out a fighter to take out this scout, which is flying over what used to by Kyushu and near where the WWII battleship Yamato sank. However, before they can engage, their fighter’s engine overheats and they crash. Susumu is dejected because he wasn’t able to take out a single scout to help avenge his brother’s death. However, that is soon forgotten as the two see what the scout was investigating — the conning tower of the Yamato protruding out of the Earth in what had been the ocean floor.

Thoughts/Review: In order to continue my anime education, I felt it was time to watch another classic, this time going WAY back to Space Battleship Yamato. I vaguely remember seeing bits and pieces of the Americanized version of this, known as Star Blazers, but to see the original is what I want and that’s what I’m doing.

Because this anime is from 1974, things look old and that’s not a problem. The episode starts off a bit confusing because the audience doesn’t have a clue what’s going on, but fortunately, the writers do work in an explanation with the announcer so no problem there.

Since the first episode is a table-setting episode, there’s not much to go on. Still, why did the Gamilons attack Earth for? Why would they be interested in a WWII Japanese battleship that’s been either under the ocean (when that existed) or buried for 254-years? Then again, how historically accurate is this going to be since the Yamato exploded before sinking and is in two pieces on the bottom of the ocean? Why would people from Iscandar want to help Earth?

One side note. I couldn’t help but think of Neon Genesis Evangelion when the underground city was shown. Maybe this classic anime is where the inspiration for the underground city in EVA came from.

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