For those who don't know me, another one of my great loves is Japanese animation or "anime". Recently I watched Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection. It's a continuation of a series that was started in the 1970's and is about the crew of a retrofitted World War 2 battleship named Yamato that has been turned into a spaceship. The series could be cheezy and the disco music in the background sometimes lent an air of comedy where there shouldn't have been one. Overall though I was impressed with the show. The plot was fairly well thought out and the characters were far more mature than I would have expected from such an early anime. The final Yamato movie was released in 1985 and most of us thought that was it, but in 2009 a new movie was released with the subtitle Resurrection.
Space Battleship Yamato: Resurrection takes place 17 years after the series ended. With the Yamato destroyed the crew has gone their separate ways. When a new threat appears to destroy the earth - this time a black hole - its decided to evacuate humanity. This time we have a second danger though as fleet of refuge ships are consistently attacked by some marauders. The Yamato now rebuilt is sent in with many of the old crew members to protect the next wave of refugees and in so doing they get caught up in plots of galactic importance.
I thought that the movie had some really good points. The animation was nice and crisp while still paying homage to those character designs of yesteryear. Space battles have improved considerably and it was a real treat to watch those as well as the black hole effect. I did think that they kind of overdid the subspace submersible idea. Its not supposed to look like actually coming out of water. The submersible part is a metaphor but that's only a minor nit. The things that you expect from Yamato are there - a cosmic being, although in this case an evil one, a threat to the entire Earth, and Yamato facing down something that should be physically impossible to defeat and taking insane amounts of damage with out exploding. It was also nice to see old friends again like Kodai, Sanada, Dr Sado, Analyzer, and Shima.
Yet the list of characters also leads me to one of the things that I didn't like about the movie. Why the heck isn't Aihara there? He was the other member of the original crew who survived and I always liked the fact that like Star Wars' Wedge that Aihara was always in all the major events but was never really recognized for anything. I was also very saddened that Dessler didn't make an appearance. I get that the final movie has them go to his new homeworld and there's no life but they assume that he died rather than escaped and without a body I don't buy that Dessler is dead. His appearance I think would have given me my much needed catharsis and put a nice coda on the Yamato saga. There are other people that I'd have liked to see but they were minor characters and in the grand scheme of things I understand why they were cut.
Many of our new faces on the Yamato are very annoying. We've got the twins in engineering who finish each others' sentences for one thing. Then our new doctor on the ship is also a fighter pilot. Whose brilliant idea was that? It makes no sense from a story perspective to send your one doctor out on such dangers while as someone else pointed out it leaves no one to tend to the wounded during any battle where the fighters are let out. We've also got the standard super cocky ace pilot character™ and your standard super genius girl. I really wish that they'd spent a little more time fleshing out the new characters and making them a little less annoying.
Then there's the story, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, honestly. The fact that Yuki's fate isn't resolved at the end makes it even more annoying. I've heard that there were planned to be more movies so it's not their fault that they didn't get continued but it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I also don't understand if only one of the aliens was a cosmic being or if the whole of the SUS were supposed to be of this group. Why does the Earth assume that this is a normal black hole when it seems to be steerable and has none of the high gravitational properties of that kind of object? Why does There are just a lot of unanswered questions on this movie at the end.
Whenever I hear the Yamato theme my heart stirs. There's just something about the idea of the unstoppable ship that survives through the ages with the hope of humanity born within that just seems so cool. So I loved this movie for continuing my love of Yamato and giving me some nice nostalgia for a series that's gone. But honestly, this movie wasn't all that good and mainly relied on the nostalgia to keep me going. Some nice space battles aren't enough to overcome a skimped plot. I'd only recommend this for people who are already fans of the Yamato series.