This brings us to Toho's attempt at bringing the hugely popular anime "Space Battleship Yamato" (1974-) to the big screen in in live action form with modern technology. "Yamato" was so popular back in the '70s that it was one of many that got licensed and dubbed into English for US morning children's television under the tile "Starblazers". Of course the last time I saw the Battleship Yamato was during Daiei's mind-liquefying epic SPACE MONSTER GAMERA: SUPER MONSTER (1977). Again, I feel this makes me the perfect person to talk about the Toho live action film. No prejudice, I take it on its own terms. I just wish those terms were more enjoyable. Do you like how I justified my ignorance of the source material?
Starting off with the obligatory JEDI-inspired dogfight, except here it's cranked up to the level heretofore unseen in anything other than a game of "Ikaruga". If only more pew-pews equaled something more interesting. By contrast, SPACE CAPTAIN HARLOCK (2013) took the space battle and moved it in to the realm of THE ROAD WARRIOR (1982) with massive spectacles of twisting metal and vehicular debris.
|I think we've played this game before.|
After hearing that the EDF is looking for suckers - err, I mean volunteers, Kodai signs up with the EDF again. This puts him face to face with Captain Okita who was the only survivor of the last battle with the Gamilas, and who Kodai believes is responsible for his brother's dead. Oooooh, some drama comin'! Not only that, but Kodai's ex-subordinates, the Black Tiger squad, are a little cranky that he quit on them. Some more than others as far-too-pretty-to-be-such-a-badass, Yuki (Meisa Kuroki), slugs down both shots and men with equal enthusiasm. Oooooh, more drama comin'!
|Yep, played it too.|
I think this illustrates the mindset of Toho vs. Toei. Toei has always been a bit of a risk taker. Retooling the beloved HARLOCK took balls, giving audiences exactly what Toei thought they wanted and then gambling on a darker, more adult vision of the amine. Sometimes a gamble doesn't pay off, but Toei is willing to take the risk and hope that baby gets a new pair of shoes. Toho gives exactly what they think audiences want and not a penny more. That said YAMATO was only just released this year in the US on DVD and blu-ray and it seems to have made a lot of American fans of STARBLAZER ecstatic. So if you grew up watching the show or just like emotional character dramas in space, there's a good chance it will fit you like a pair of well-worn space boots. All others take heed.