Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection

宇宙戦艦ヤマト・復活篇/Uchuu Senkan Yamato Fukkatsu-hen Review

SPOILER Summary/Synopsis

A space phenomenon known as a cascade black whole is traveling towards Earth, thus prompting the government to make an agreement with the planet Amarl to use its moon to become the new residence for humanity.  The first evacuation fleet, is met by an unknown alien fleet some 17,000 light years from Earth and attacked, leaving few survivors.  During the attack, one of the escort battleships commanded by Captain KODAI Yuki manages to warp out but Yuki never shows up again.  A second evacuation fleet meets a similar fate.

Captain KODAI Susumu, of the cargo transport ship Yuki, learns of the attack on the first fleet first hand when the flagship Blue Noah arrives at a remote station, badly damaged and pursued by alien craft.  After dispatching the aliens, Susumu returns to Earth and to his daughter, who blames him for the disappearance of Yuki.  After reporting to Sanada, who’s in charge of the evacuation, Susumu agrees to lead the third evacuation fleet with the newly restored Yamato, which had been salvaged from the icy remains of Aquarius in orbit of Earth.  After meeting the crew, Yamato sets out along with over 150 warship escorts and the many civilian transports.

Upon reaching the area where the other two fleets had been ambushed, Susumu has probes dispatched and discovers a sensor network too large to simply pass through undetected and too large to warp through.  Thus, navigator Maho plots a path to use a nearby regular black hole’s gravity to slingshot the fleet in such a fashion as to make a warp long enough to get through the net.  As the fleet does this, the Alliance fleet arrives, having been informed by Alliance leading member SUS that the Earth is planning an invasion.  As Yamato and escorts defend the civilians, Admiral Gorui sees Yamato as the reason this third fleet has survived the attack.

After Gorui notes that the actions of Yamato and the fleet aren’t those of invaders, he calls off the Alliance attack, leading to an immediate angered response from an SUS leader who threatens Gorui’s people’s planet.  After Yamato and fleet safely arrive at Amarl and are united with the survivors of the other two fleets, Susumu sees the wreckage of Yuki’s ship and her hat but as no body was found, he remains hopeful to find her again one day.  Susumu also learns that this planet is also part of the Alliance and that the Alliance has decided to punish Amarl for harboring humans from Earth.

With that, the Alliance attacks and begins bombing the capital as Yamato sits in the nearby harbor, forced to do nothing.  Susumu decides to help the people of Amarl after all just as the queen of that planet decides to ask for their help.  Above, Admiral Gorui and his fleet rebel against the Alliance, forcing the SUS to retreat. With the punishment forces destroyed, Yamato is going to return to Earth with the military ships and a few now empty civilian transports.  During the trip back, they encounter a massive, SUS fortress that can travel interdimensionally and after a lengthy battle, supported by the Amarl fleet, they destroy it.

The trip back to Earth has them catch up with the cascade black hole, which is now only three days away from Earth. Upon returning to Earth, the last of the people leaving get to the ships but a rescue shuttle returning from Sado-sensei’s animal park crashes and it has Miyuki on board.  Susumu goes and rescues his daughter, bringing her on board Yamato, leaving people like Sado-sensei and Sanada behind by their choice.  Yamato is about to leave Earth for good when the alien who’d been part of SUS but revealed himself to be from another dimension returns.  This SUS alien gleefully states that Earth is about to become fuel for his dimension, so Susumu has Yamato attempt to destroy the cascade black hole.  While taking heavy damage, Yamato succeeds in saving Earth but not without casualties.

Thoughts/Review

Wow.  I actually managed to keep the summary part of a movie that is roughly two hours and fifteen minutes down to six paragraphs.  *lol*  That’s amazing or me.

Anyway, I never watched the 3rd Yamato TV series nor any of the other movies, so I don’t know the events that happened after the 2nd TV series and I decided not to research them before watching the anime.  My understanding is that Revival takes place some seventeen years after the movie Final Yamato.  While I’m sure that having seen that movie would have made the references to it and the flashback sequence have more meaning for me, it is the inclusion of that flashback sequence (which shows just how far we’ve progressed in animation technology) which tells me all I needed to know from the Final Yamato movie.

Interesting how many sci-fi anime titles over the years have the same space battle premise.  I remember seeing one back in the late 80’s in Japan were two massive fleets squared off much in the same way that they do in this movie. However, thanks to modern day technology, the CGI work looks much better and at least the Earth fleets managed to take some of the enemy with them.  Of course once Yamato gets into the action, everything changes but still looks visually awesome.  ^_^  Enagio did a great job with the CGI for this movie for sure, even if the character designs were pretty different.

Now, to the story.

Initially, I found the movie to be pretty interesting.  We had our action scene with the first fleet meeting the one alien fleet from the Alliance and Yuki somehow losing her clothing as her ship goes into warp.  I couldn’t help but recall the first TV series when warp technology was used for the first time and a byproduct of warping was that Yuki lost all of her clothing.  I’m guessing this similar moment in the new movie is a nod of sorts to that original time.  At least Yuki finally made it to captain though.  ^_^  She did every other job on Yamato and I remarked at the time that she should be captain, not Susumu or the original captain.

The stuff with Miyuki and her father over Yuki’s disappearance didn’t strike me as very real.  It is a cliched story element of the child who resents a parent for “X” or “Y” but it only works if one believes there is purpose behind the animosity.  Then again, there wasn’t any real animosity on the part of Miyuki, only simply a sense of frustration with her dad.  So later, when he rescues her (without caring about any other survivors of her crashed shuttle), it just didn’t have any impact with me.  Maybe the father-daughter aspects will grow with subsequent movies.

Anyway, I liked that Susumu had become a freighter captain but I wondered what he was running from.  Yuki apparently stayed in the service to become a battleship commander but while Susumu likely could have been given command of a command battleship like the Blue Noah, instead he was out on the fringes running cargo.  The story implies that Yuki was apparently understanding of all this, which kinda makes Miyuki’s attitude harder to swallow even if I understand what the writers are trying to accomplish.

The return of Yamato is what it is — pure fan service.  I rather enjoyed Susumu’s tour through the ship, brief though it was, and his meeting the new crew members.  The writers tried to recapture some of the character stuff from the original TV series with the new characters, but to me, it just seemed a very pale imitation and frankly, I couldn’t remember the names of most characters.  I did remember the twin engineer characters Shou and Sou, but that’s mainly because they were twins and while good, didn’t take things too seriously like most of the other characters.  That said, they served the role they needed to serve to help push the plot along.

One thing I didn’t understand was the character Miharu.  She comes aboard as the ship’s doctor, but apparently she’s also a fighter pilot.  I guess she’s a doctor whenever she’s bored but the moment there’s a call to action stations, she’s in a fighter.  Indeed, the writers addressed this dichotomy by having a character ask her about the possible wounded on Yamato.  Her response was to blow off the issue and state that the questioner could be a medic.  Thus the writers were telling the audience, “don’t worry about that because we aren’t going to have anyone injured on Yamato.”

The story, as it progressed through to the third fleet’s arrival at Amarl, worked for me on the whole.  I liked how Susumu actually felt like a real captain, unlike his presence in the second TV series.  The dispatching of probes to try to prevent an ambush combined with the risky slingshot maneuver using a black hole’s gravity to allow the fleet to make a long warp jump worked pretty well.  The battle that followed was interesting with Yamato getting shown to pull out all the stops.  Yamato even has three heavy bombers now, which can take out capital ships.

Once Yamato and fleet arrive on Amarl, the movie starts to slip.  The writers have the Alliance make a big deal of punishing (and destroying) Amarl but only send in a couple of squads of aircraft and two large ground vehicles.  So naturally when Susumu decides to have Yamato defend the people of Amarl, taking out the enemy forces planet side is rather easy.  Meanwhile up in space, we have an anti-climactic moment when Admiral Gorui and his forces rebel against the alliance and his ship rams the lead SUS ship, destroying both (but of course the SUS villain escapes).  That magically ends the battle and opens the door for Yamato to return to Earth.

The encounter with the SUS moving fortress comes off as the movie’s climax even though that’s NOT the movie’s climax as there are still thirty minutes remaining when the fortress is destroyed.  This battle is rather uninspired and I felt attempted to recapture the sense of desperation at how do defeat the White Comet in the second TV series.  To that end, Yamato now carries some sort of ship like a submarine with ICBM’s.  I just rolled my eyes at that one and even more so because the 2nd in command of Yamato (Ohmura/Oomura) takes it out and there’s no doubt that his missiles won’t be enough and he’ll have to do a kamikaze run.  *_*

The reveal that Yamato had to destroy a nearby sun came out of left field as did the explanation that destroying this sun would remove the source of power for the SUS.  I know that was already done in the first TV series, if I’m not mistaken (I don’t have time to look it up at the moment).  Either way, it was a “What?!” moment as was the reveal that the SUS were just aliens or even aliens from another dimension, but rather that the SUS people’s appearance in our dimension was fake too.  I guess the writers wanted the SUS to really look evil, but I just was not impressed.

So, the SUS fortress is destroyed, the Alliance is broken, and Yamato wins with only fairly minor damage.When I saw there were still thirty minutes left for this movie, I began to wonder just how far the writers would drag this thing out.  After all, we’d just experienced a climax with the Yamato‘s impossible win over the SUS fortress, so what else is there?  Oh yeah, that cascade comet which JUST so happens to only be three days away from Earth now.  Well, after going through a climax, the writers had to build things back up again, especially after basically ignoring the comet issue once the Alliance attacks started.

While it was nice to see Sado-sensei and Analyzer back on screen, their extended cameos were supposed to push the Miyuki thread along but because her story and her “my father is responsible for the loss of my mother” stuff didn’t work for me, Sado-sensei’s entire appearance fails and sadly could have been cut with no loss to the movie.  The only thing that was working for me was his and Analyzer’s decision to remain on Earth and die with the planet.  However, that was destroyed when the cascade black hole was destroyed.  More on that in a bit.

I’d mentioned earlier about Miyuki’s rescue by her father, but that was bad from the get go and was clearly designed to be a nod back to the days when hot headed Susumu would take his special fighter out.  So, an entire shuttle of evacuees crashes but the only ship dispatched for rescue and recovery is a two-man fighter?  What a crock!  I thought, “How convenient that Susumu gambled that everyone but his daughter would die in the crash.”  Heck, the other passengers aren’t even a consideration.  The wreckage only has one body and that of the living but trapped Miyuki for her father to rescue.  Ugh.  Terrible stuff there designed to provoke a touching moment but fails utterly as I’m thinking, “what about everyone else?”

Then, after the gallant rescue of Miyuki, time for Yamato to leave Earth.  Just as everyone is saying their goodbyes, why our weird, alien buddy from SUS appears and says, “Oh by the way, we are the ones responsible for the cascade black hole because we are using Earth for fuel along with everything in your dimension and here’s the vital clue you need to destroy our black hole.  BWAH!HA!HA!HA!”  Then the bozo disappears and suddenly, we have our new climax to have Yamato once again at risk to defend the Earth.  Aw, how touching. Too bad the character Maho paid the price for that, though knowing the series like I do, she can be brought back to life.

By the time the final climax was over, I was thankful because frankly, I had grown weary of the movie.  It had become rather tedious and dull.  However, once the movie ended, I remembered that we hadn’t resolved the issue of Yuki’s disappearance.  Doing a little bit of research, I guess this movie is to be the first of a series.  If so, I hope the writing goes better.  They need that because CGI and good animation alone don’t make a good anime movie.

From the standpoint of the movie’s themes, I have to say I was a bit surprised.  I’d been told that this would be some sort of environmentalist movie but that wasn’t the case at all.  Instead, it came off to me as an anti-globalization piece decrying the sacrificing of personal liberties and country’s sovereignty in favor of some massive collective that brings about forced peace and security but with tyrants in control of everyone’s lives.  Considering Japan’s love of the United Nations and a “one world” approach, this rejection of this notion on an interstellar level intrigued me.

The other theme of the movie is basically one that was in the first and second TV series, namely that even a peaceful country needs a strong military and sometimes getting involved in a war to stop a tyrant or stop some other threat is not a bad thing.  Considering Japan’s enforced pacifist emergence from World War II (due also in part to being weary of war, especially after being nuked twice), one wonders if the writers and director are also making a commentary on the Japanese Defense Force and saying, “we think it is OK for Japan to get involved in certain types of military actions beyond defending the homeland for a good cause.”

The change in seiyuu for Yuki and Susumu was disorienting at first, and that was not helped by the fact that most of the character designs are pretty different.  However, Susumu’s seiyuu TOMIYAMA Kei had long passed away and I’m not sure why ASAGAMI Youko didn’t return as Yuki.  However, AONO Takeshi returns as SANADA Shino, NAGAI Ichirou returns as Sado-sensei, and OGATA Kenichi as Analyzer.  Sadly, they all sound O-L-D.  ^_^;;;  It wasn’t a problem with Sado-sensei, who’s always been an older character.  However, for Sanada, it was a distraction hearing an old man’s voice come out of someone who’s supposed to be in his 40’s at worst?

Music wise, the Japanese make an interesting decision to go with several classical pieces (don’t ask me to ID them because my music literacy on this kind of thing vanished long ago and I’m pressed for time to research it) as incidental music for certain scenes.  It certainly made me notice the music.  Around the thirty-three minute mark, the original OP theme Uchuu Senkan Yamato is played but has been re-recorded for your listening pleasure.  I love that OP (the up-tempo version at least) so hearing it wasn’t a problem.  The lyrics are something else as the song is about Yamato‘s trip to Iscandar from the first TV series.  I guess that’s a toss to the fans, but one would think updated lyrics would be in order.

Finally, there’s the Engrish problem.  This is a frequent problem in Japanese productions and it seems to me that it wouldn’t take much for the production team to actually hire someone who’s literate in English to proof things like signs, screen displays, shirts, etc.  Heck, there are online English dictionaries for free if one doesn’t want to pay someone to proof the work.  Unfortunately, the Engrish often proves to be a distraction from the scene at hand, even if humorous sometimes. There were lots of Engrish moments in the movie, but this one looking at “Probe Source Results” comes out “Prove Sourse Results.”

So, while I was glad to see a new Space Battleship Yamato anime that looked very spiffy, the movie sorta collapses under the weight of trying to do too much and thus leaves us with mostly forgettable characters, situations that aren’t compelling even though they should be, and the stupidest enemy in the universe.  Should another anime be created, I’m guessing I’ll make an effort to watch that.  However, seeing this anime, my expectations for the forthcoming live-action movie have been lowered a great deal when it comes to the story.

Update: Now that FUNimation has licensed this, I’m going to go ahead and buy it, although the lack of Japanese honorifics in the subtitles will annoy me. ^_~

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12 Responses to “Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection”

  1. arimareiji says:

    Utterly random thought, sorry if this is just way out in left field, but…

    What are the odds that the “SUS” and the Alliance it pushes around are thinly-veiled stand-ins for the United States and the Iraq coalition? Especially with the whole idea of “We’re invading and destroying your country (I mean, planet) to get energy”?

    Not saying that such a metaphor would be true or that you should agree with it, just saying that the idea came to mind.

  2. AstroNerdBoy says:

    I had considering that possibility considering the oddity of using letters for this space nation. It is possible that the Japanese writers had this very much in mind because of the lie that the US invaded Iraq for the oil (notice how that’s not said any more, or at least not in a large venue). However, I never got an anti-US vibe from the movie and I did look for it.

    Targeting Earth and its solar system for energy does seem more than a bit random and it was only the aliens from the alternate universe that did it. The Alliance wasn’t in on the cascade wormhole thing but were simply fed the lie that Earth was invading Alliance territory.

    However, as I said in my piece, the bigger feeling I received was an anti-globalization one where nations sacrificed their sovereignty for peace and security. That’s at the heart of what the U.N. would love to be and what we see so many in power in our own nation push for — global governance over our own laws.

    The other thing was when Susumu decided to go on the offensive to help the people who’d helped them and defend someone from tyranny. So in that regard, if the writers were doing an anti-US/Iraq War statement, they’ve neutered it in my mind.

  3. arimareiji says:

    Thing is, though… that sounds very much like what a person on the other side of the political spectrum would say in terms of how things happened, but from what you’re saying it sounds as though you’ve either never heard it or only heard the straw-man version.

    It makes me despair to know that both (not “yours”, not “mine” – both) sides are so polarized that there’s no middle ground for discourse. There’s just Our Side Which Is Unquestionable Truth and Their Side Which Is Absolute Lies.

  4. Don says:

    However, as I said in my piece, the bigger feeling I received was an anti-globalization one where nations sacrificed their sovereignty for peace and security. That’s at the heart of what the U.N. would love to be and what we see so many in power in our own nation push for — global governance over our own laws.

    Where are you getting that from? If anything we’re pushing our laws on the rest of the world, not the other way around. Just look at the attempts to export the DMCA under ACTA and bully other countries who don’t blindly accept our anti-consumer copyright laws.

    Finally, there’s the Engrish problem. This is a frequent problem in Japanese productions and it seems to me that it wouldn’t take much for the production team to actually hire someone who’s literate in English to proof things like signs, screen displays, shirts, etc. Heck, there are online English dictionaries for free if one doesn’t want to pay someone to proof the work. Unfortunately, the Engrish often proves to be a distraction from the scene at hand, even if humorous sometimes. There were lots of Engrish moments in the movie, but this one looking at “Probe Source Results” comes out “Prove Sourse Results.”

    I’m bothered by this as well, but it’s not as if we don’t do the same thing here. I know some guys originally from the Middle East and they always facepalm over how in the Hollywood movies Arabic is often a total mess because most of the audience won’t know the difference or care as long as it sounds similar or is written Arabic letters. I doubt the Japanese audiences care about English accuracy any more than that, it’s just cooler to have something in supposed English. At least they have the excuse that this movie was made primarily for domestic consumption, whereas Hollywood always eyes the global market.

  5. AstroNerdBoy says:

    @arimareiji — Can one find middle ground with evil? Hitler had good reasons to do what he did in his mind but it didn’t make him any less evil in my mind.

    @Don —

    However, as I said in my piece, the bigger feeling I received was an anti-globalization one where nations sacrificed their sovereignty for peace and security. That’s at the heart of what the U.N. would love to be and what we see so many in power in our own nation push for — global governance over our own laws.

    Where are you getting that from? If anything we’re pushing our laws on the rest of the world, not the other way around. Just look at the attempts to export the DMCA under ACTA and bully other countries who don’t blindly accept our anti-consumer copyright laws.

    You’d be surprised to learn how many judges look to foreign law to see if something is constitutional in the U.S. You’d be surprised at how many corrupt law makers would enjoy seeing the U.S. taken down several pegs because “we deserve it.”

    The copyright issue is something other entirely and while I absolutely loathe the U.S. copyright laws and some things that have been done, that’s not what I was referring to. Copyright law is just a small thing compared to all of our other liberties. Right now, a state is being sued by 11 other countries over its immigration law. Whether you approve of that law or not, no foreign government should have ANY say in what happens in the U.S. yet we are allowing it. Why?

    I doubt the Japanese audiences care about English accuracy any more than that, it’s just cooler to have something in supposed English.

    True, but the Japanese often license these things to English speaking countries where that would matter to some degree. To me, I’d want to get it right if I were making an anime of any sort in Japan because I’d want any U.S. film/show/whatever to get the Japanese right.

  6. arimareiji says:

    @ANB: That’s exactly the type of rhetoric that scares me. Unless Obama unveils the secret part of his legislative agenda that puts 6 million Mexicans (the most recent group to kick around) in gas chambers, inferring that he’s as bad as Hitler is grossly disproportionate.

    Before you correctly assert that the other side made the same comparisons of Bush because of his propensity for declaring wars, please remember that I said BOTH sides are guilty of it.

    ~

    “Politics” these days reminds me of nothing so much as the old-time family feuds. Not the friendly kind where Richard Dawson does his best to kiss the cute girls, the kind where people kill each other for generations. The kind where each side has its own list of Their Evil Atrocities which make Our Justifiable Revenge okay. (Strangely enough, one side’s OJR list is usually the other side’s TEA list.)

    There’s just Our Side and Their Side. If you’re on Our Side, then cold-blooded murder is defensible. If you’re on Their Side, saving a baby from a burning house would prove you have some horrible secret agenda. And neither side ever sees that they’re both in the wrong.

  7. AstroNerdBoy says:

    arimareiji said…

    That’s exactly the type of rhetoric that scares me. Unless Obama unveils the secret part of his legislative agenda that puts 6 million Mexicans (the most recent group to kick around) in gas chambers, inferring that he’s as bad as Hitler is grossly disproportionate.

    I never said that President Obama was Hitler. He is certainly power hungry and determined to take this country down, but I don’t think he’s Hitler, Stalin, or Mao (though it is scary how many people close to him apparently love Mao).

    My point was that sometimes there isn’t a middle ground and sometimes one does not compromise. My old mentor used to say, “Pick your battles” and that’s very true. So one could say that it is a compromise to let “this” or “that” happen. However, at some point, the battle is worth fighting and not giving in on.

    Look at the history of the U.S. The revolution didn’t happen overnight. I think you’ll find that most of the Founding Fathers were not interested in making a new nation separate from Great Britain. They simply wanted the king to treat them fairly as any other British citizen. After years of failure to make any progress on resolving the differences with the motherland, war started and here we are today.

    Now, as to our own current political system, I agree that it has become VERY corrupt. I learned that lesson in 1994 when the Republicans finally took power from the Democrats in the House for the first time in 40-something years and controlled the Senate as well. They had promised to enact term limits legislation but amazingly, as soon as the R’s took power, they didn’t want to give it up any more than the D’s before them. That’s what made me a libertarian (though with strong feelings on national defense).

    Anyway, I’m blathering here, so I’ll get back on point by saying that I’m not advocating violence or anything of the kind. However, as Prime Minister Chamberlain discovered, you can’t trust power-mad people as they’ll say and do anything to achieve their ultimate goal and say it is for the collective good or for peace.

  8. Anonymous says:

    so you’re a tea party crackpot, wouldn’t have expected that
    you people are real good at blaming obama for everything
    don’t you see he’s trying to help average folks, not just the rich like bush?
    his only problem is that he’s not doing enough
    how can he work when you crackpots keep screaming like he’s the antichrist
    haters gonna hate

  9. AstroNerdBoy says:

    Well, you can believe whatever you want and hate me as much as you want. ^_^

    That said, I’ve left instructions for no further political posts to be approved. Thanks for understanding everyone. ^_^

  10. Anonymous says:

    i never said i hated you, wtf
    i said you hate obama without reason
    look in the mirror man, it wasn’t me who started talking politics here
    when you claimed obama was evil what did you expect?
    saying you’re a crackpot after that wasn’t even a real insult
    i don’t care if you approve my post or not but don’t put this on me
    if you bring it up expect people to bring it to you

  11. aulethesmith says:

    I think what Susumu was running from had been the PTSD he gained from the Five Years Of Fire. He was likely the homemaker raising Miyuki while supporting Yuki’s career, afterward deciding to play trucker for a living. He’d only be a warp away from home, so it’s not as if he was getting divorced.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      PTSD. Hmm, I hadn’t thought of that, but it works for me. ^_^

      Which reminds me, I thought there were supposed to be sequels to this movie. I never have looked.

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