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No information Disney Project Stalled

Word has it that Disney has purchased enough rights from Voyager to produce a live-action Star Blazers movie in America. However, there are rumours that the project is on indefinite hold.

In any event, I am told that the Disney project will/was-to do the following:

   Rename the ship the "Arizona" -- yeah, not "Argo" and not "Yamato".
   Do away with the original music (I suspect it will be replaced by highly forgettable Gen-X stuff).
   Do away with the classic Star Blazers character names.
   Compress the entire journey to Iscandar into 2 hours or less.

If I am wrong on any of these counts, please let me know.

I've heard nothing more about this. Fans of Star Blazers are both enthusiastic and concerned. Any publicity that Star Blazers gets is good, but they want to see an accurate character portrayal and a lack of commercialization. Star Blazers itself had its own style and character, and it was hoped that Disney would not replace this and borrow too many themes from other American sci-fi productions. Yamato 2520 Project Dead

Nishizaki's video tape series, Yamato 2520, ran out of steam after a few releases in the late 1990s and is now cancelled. There were supposed to be 9 volumes, and they got to about the third one before cancellation. Now that the rights to Yamato have been transferred to Reiji Matsumoto, there are no plans to resurrect the Yamato 2520 project. 2520 was not well received by fans, and most are happy to see it go. The Japanese animation film, Rebirth Yamato (宇宙戦艦ヤマト 復活篇 Uchū Senkan Yamato: Fukkatsu Hen), is the first part of a planned series of films which are the latest addition to the Space Battleship Yamato saga. It is set in the year 2220, when Earth is in danger of being swallowed by a cascade black hole. Earth must move its entire population 27,000 light years away to planet Amahr, in the Sairam star system, across space controlled by the hostile SUS Empire.[1] [2] [3] Contents [hide]

   1 Production
   2 Plot
   3 Technology
   4 Characters
       4.1 Veteran
       4.2 New
           4.2.1 Earth
           4.2.2 Aliens
   5 Reception
   6 References
   7 External links
ProductionEdit Production sectionEdit
Images5

Steven Sandor

In March 2002, a Tokyo court ruled that Yoshinobu Nishizaki legally owned the Yamato copyrights. Nishizaki and Matsumoto eventually settled, and Nishizaki began work on a new movie titled Yamato: Rebirth (宇宙戦艦ヤマト 復活篇 Uchū Senkan Yamato: Fukkatsu hen) (set after the original series), while Matsumoto planned a new Yamato series. However, additional legal conflicts stalled both projects until August, 2008, when Nishizaki announced plans for the release of his film on December 12, 2009.[4] [5]

Trailers for this film (which can be found on YouTube) indicate that the production makes ample use of CGI for the space battle scenes. It is not certain whether computer graphics are used for the character animations. Out of the 1,860 cuts (shots) in the new film, 700 are being produced with computer graphics. In particular, the battle scenes will composite 3D sequences and computer graphics. Nishizaki established a new studio called Enagio last year just to produce this film. PlotEdit Plot sectionEdit

Rebirth is set in the year 2220, 21 years after the first Yamato story and 17 years after the story of the last film, "Final Yamato". A wandering, cascade black hole is approaching the Solar system, and will surely destroy all life on Earth. The decision has been made to evacuate Earth's entire population.

According to the official website for the film [6], the planet to which Earth's population is being moved is called Amahr, ruled by Queen Iriya, some 27,000 light years away in the Sairam star system. When the film opens, that task is already under way.

Amahr is part of an interstellar alliance. Other primary member nations are Etos, Frihde, Beldel, and the powerful and mysterious SUS. The SUS are opposed to Earth's emigration, for reasons of their own. Unknown to the rest of the Alliance, the first two Earth emigration fleets are attacked and destroyed by SUS forces. Yuki (Mori) Kodai was the captain of one of the battleship escorts, and is presumed lost.

The SUS deceive the rest of the Alliance security council into thinking that the Earth fleets have attacked Alliance ships without provocation. The council therefore votes to authorize attacks on Earth vessels. Back at Earth, news of the attacks are received, and the Yamato is resurrected from the Aquarian ice field to lead the escort for the third emigration fleet. It is captained by Yuki's husband, Susumu Kodai.

Aboard the newly rebuilt Yamato is an almost entirely new crew. The old crew members are assigned to other posts. Shiro Sanada, the Yamato's old Science and Technology Group leader, is now the Commander of the Earth Defense Force (EDF). Daisuke Shima's younger brother, Jiro Shima (age 27) is Sanada's adjultant. The other familiar characters -- Aihara, Ota, Nambu, and Kato -- are not mentioned. Dr. Sado and robot Analyzer remain on Earth to assist with operations there. Old enemy-turned-friend, Leader Deslar, and his Gamilas Empire, do not appear.[7]

The drama centers around the Yamato saving the emigration fleet from Alliance attacks, and the tension between the SUS and the other Alliance members (such as planet Etos). The SUS's deception is exposed, and Yamato steps in to protect Amahr and the other friendly nations of the Alliance. Ultimately, as the Yamato returns to Earth to assist with the last of the emigration fleets, the cascade black hole tears into the Solar system, and the true nature of the SUS is revealed.

When the film ends, a caption reads, "The End (of Part 1)". TechnologyEdit Technology sectionEdit

The Yamato's size will be mostly unchanged at 263 metres in length and 62,000 tons in mass. The Yamato's signature wave-motion gun, which can take out an entire fleet, but which then leaves the ship drained of power — and vulnerable, has been improved to optionally fire six smaller shots in succession.[8]

This film sees the reappearance of the Yamato's counter-attack missiles, not otherwise seen since the mission to Iscandar (first TV season). The defensive shield which they form upon detonation is now energy-based.

Among the new technological items is a gravity-assisted warp process called a "long warp". The visual special effects for the Yamato undergoing warp have been improved, and now resemble something akin to Farscape's starburst. The Yamato's new multistage Wave Motion Gun can now fire a spectacular spray of tachyon-based energy in a succession of six bursts. Yamato's infamous third bridge is now painted blue, and houses more expensive gadgets to get blown up such as a 3-dimensional navigational cartography room.

As far as other ships go, a new model Earth battleship, Super Andromeda, appears, a well as the Earth flagship, Blue Noah. CharactersEdit Characters sectionEdit VeteranEdit Veteran sectionEdit

   Susumu Kodai (CV: Kōichi Yamadera), Captain of the Yamato, former Battle Commander.
   Yuki (Mori) Kodai (CV: Noriko Yume)
   Tasuke Tokugawa (CV: Tōru Furuya), Former Engineer of the Yamato, leaves his position as a commanding officer at the Earth Defense Force's Moonbase to become Chief Engineer of the Yamato.
   Shiro Sanada (CV: Takeshi Aono), Secretary of Science for the Earth Federation, former Science Officer of the Yamato.
   Jiro Shima (CV: Ryōtarō Okiayu), younger brother of Daisuke Shima, head of the Earth Federation's Migration Fleet.
   Dr. Sakezou Sado (CV: Ichirō Nagai) and Analyzer (CV: Kenichi Ogata), remain on Earth to watch over Dr. Sado's Safari Park.

NewEdit New sectionEdit Earth Edit Earth sectionEdit

   Miyuki Kodai (CV: Ayumi Fujimura) daughter of Kodai and Yuki, assistant to Dr. Sado.
   Kosaku Omura (CV: Chafūrin), Vice Captain of the Yamato.
   Minoru Goda (CV: Akimitsu Takase), Artillery Specialist of the Yamato, replacing Nanbu.
   Atsushi Kobayashi (CV: Daisuke Namikawa), Chief Pilot of the Yamato's Cosmo Pulser Squad, replacing Katou.
   Miharu Sasaki (CV: Fuyuka Ōura), Cosmo Pulser Pilot.
   Ryohei Nakanishi (CV: Kappei Yamaguchi), Communication Specialist of the Yamato, replaces Aihara.
   Yoichi Sakurai (CV: Kenji Nojima), Radar Specialist of the Yamato, replaces Ohta.
   Ryo Kamijo (CV: Kentarō Itō), New Battle Commander of the Yamato.
   Saburo Kinoshita (CV: Kōsuke Toriumi), New Science Officer of the Yamato.
   Maho Orihara (CV: Ryōka Yuzuki), Chief Navigator of the Yamato, replaces the late Daisuke Shima.
   Sho and So Tenma (CV: Daisuke Sakaguchi), twin brothers, Engineers under Tasuke on the Yamato.
   Blue Noah Captain (CV: Osamu Kobayashi), captain of the Space Carrier Blue Noah

Aliens Edit Aliens sectionEdit

   Queen Iriya (CV: Atsuko Tanaka) and General Pascal (CV: Kazuhiko Inoue) of Planet Amahr.
   Admiral Metzlar (CV: Hiroshi Yanaka) and Commander-in-Chief Balzman (CV: Shōzō Iizuka) of the SUS Empire.
   Admiral Gorui (CV: Masatō Ibu) and Captain Shihgal (CV: Takehito Koyasu) of Planet Etos.[9]

ReceptionEdit Reception sectionEdit

The film debuted #7 at the japanese box office but fell off the charts a week later.[10][11] ReferencesEdit References sectionEdit

   ↑ "The return of Yoshinobu Nishizaki and Space Battleship Yamato: Report 1". StarBlazers.com. http://www.starblazers.com/html.php?page_id=263. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
   ↑ "New Yamato Report 2: Roots of Rebirth". StarBlazers.com. http://www.starblazers.com/html.php?page_id=300. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
   ↑ "New Yamato Report 3". StarBlazers.com. http://www.starblazers.com/html.php?page_id=379. Retrieved 2009-09-01.
   ↑ "New Attempt at Yamato Anime Project Announced". Anime News Network. 2008-08-01. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2008-08-01/new-attempt-at-yamato-anime-project-announced. Retrieved 2008-08-31.
   ↑ "Brand New Day". StarBlazers.com. http://www.starblazers.com/html.php?page_id=263. Retrieved 2008-10-02.
   ↑ "Yamato: Rebirth". yamato2009.jp. http://www.yamato2009.jp. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
   ↑ "Yamato: Rebirth". yamato2009.jp. http://www.yamato2009.jp. Retrieved 2009-11-02.
   ↑ "December's Yamato Film Detailed by Director Nishizaki". Anime News Network. 2009-05-18. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-05-18/december-yamato-film-detailed-by-director-nishizaki. Retrieved 2009-07-21.
   ↑ "Uchuu Senkan Yamato Fukkatsu-hen (movie)". Anime News Network. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=3923. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
   ↑ "Japanese Box Office, December 12-13". Anime News Network. 2009-12-16. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-12-16/japanese-box-office-december-12-13. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
   ↑ "Japanese Box Office, December 19-20". Anime News Network. 2009-12-26. http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2009-12-26/japanese-box-office-december-19-20. Retrieved 2010-01-25.

External linksEdit External links sectionEdit

   Official site (Japanese)
   Yamato Movie.com (Japanese)
   Uchuu Senkan Yamato Fukkatsu-hen (anime) at Anime News Network's Encyclopedia
   Uchuu Senkan Yamato Fukkatsu-hen at the Internet Movie Database
   Toho (Japanese)
   Yahoo! Promotional Site (Japanese)


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   Space Battleship Yamato (also rendered as Space Cruiser Yamato) is the first theatrical movie based
   Space Battleship Yamato (film)
   (also rendered as Bon Voyage Yamato) was a television movie that was first broadcast on Fuji TV. Thi
   Yamato: The New Voyage
   (also rendered as Arrivederci Yamato) is the second theatrical film based on the classic anime serie
   Farewell to Space Battleship Yamato

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   Movie: Space Battleship Yamato Resurrection / Space Battleship Yamato Rebirth
   Romaji: Uchu Senkan Yamato: Fukkatsu hen
   Japanese: 宇宙戦艦ヤマト 復活篇
   Director: Yoshinobu Nishizaki
   Writer: Shintaro Ishihara
   Producer:
   Cinematographer:
   Release Date: December 12, 2009
   Runtime: 135 min.
   Distributor: Toho
   Language: Japanese
   Country: Japan

Cast

   Koichi Yamadera - Susumu Kodai
   Takeshi Aono - Shiro Sanada
   Furin Cha - Kosaku Ohmura
   Ayumi Fujimura - Miyuki Kodai
   Toru Furuya - Tasuke Tokugawa
   Masato Ibu - Admiral Gorui
   Kazuhiko Inoue - Admiral Pascal
   Kentaro Ito - Ryo Kamijo
   Shozo Izuka - Admiral Barthman
   Takehito Koyasu - Captain Seagull
   Ichiro Nagai - Sakezo Sado
   Daisuke Namikawa - Atsushi Kobayashi
   Kenji Nojima - Yoichi Sakurai
   Kenichi Ogata - Analyzer
   Ryotaro Okiayu - Jiro Shima
   Fuyuka Oura - Miharu Sasaki
   Daisuke Sakaguchi - Sho Tenma / So Tenma
   Akimitsu Takase - Minoru Goda
   Atsuko Tanaka - Queen Iliya
   Kosuke Toriumi - Saburo Kinoshita
   Kappei Yamaguchi - Ryohei Nakanishi
   Hiroshi Yanaka - Admiral Metzler
   Noriko Yume - Yuki Kodai
   Ryoka Yuzuki - Maho Orihara

Producer David Ellison and his Skydance Productions, the financing outfit behind True Grit and the forthcoming Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol, is negotiating to bring the 1970s anime classic Star Blazers to the silver screen and have set Oscar winner Christopher McQuarrie to pen the screenplay. http://www.starblazers.com/html.php?page_id=465 Star Blazers was the Americanized name for the original Japanese series Space Battleship Yamato; IGN recently named the series among our Top 50 sci-fi TV shows of all time. A Japanese live-action feature film version of Space Battleship Yamato was released overseas at the end of 2010 to box office success. That version hasn't received a stateside distributor or release date yet. The space opera toon was set in the late 22nd century where the earth is devastated by radioactive bombs dropped by the invading alien race, the Gamilons. Humanity's only hope lies on the distant planet of Iscandar, which possesses the technology to restore the earth. The Defense Force of Earth refits an old World War II battleship (the Yamato in the Japanese series, the Arizona in the U.S. version) into the spaceship Argo and sets out on the perilous, year-long journey to Iscandar and back.

Hollywood has long tried to make a Star Blazers feature film, with Disney failing to get a live-action pic off the ground in the '90sAfter years of drifting around Hollywood seeking salvation, a live-action STAR BLAZERS is finally picking up some heat.

Deadline says that Skydance Productions (who co-financed TRUE GRIT) is angling for the rights to the animated property, with the intention of getting Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, THE WOLVERINE, WAY OF THE GUN) to adapt.

But wait -- maybe not so fast. AICN says they've heard the rights are actually still up for grabs, and that Lucasfilm (among others) is also currently feeling nostalgic and chasing the Argo.

The series has already come to life in its home country of Japan as the recently released SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO (get a glimpse of the eye-scorching FX and massive space battles below).

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In keeping with his promise that the dream will never die, Reiji Matsumoto, the man who is regarded as the conceptual father of the Space Cruiser Yamato legend, plans to bring Yamato fans a new film in 2001!

Originally, there were plans to produce a film called Yamato: Rebirth, which would continue the saga from the point where Final Yamato left off. The Yamato was to be raised from the ice fields left behind by planet Aquarius. However, as some fans may know, Matsumoto was never quite pleased with the way in which the Yamato saga had played out. And, the decision was made to, instead, bring us a new version of the mission to Iscandar. The prospect of re-producing the story of the first TV season, only with better and more modern animation effects, has been on the wish list of many Yamato fans even as early as two decades ago.

Great Yamato, as the new film is called, starts the Yamato saga over again from scratch. This time, we begin not in the year 2199, but in the year 3199. The story is to follow more closely the original Yamato manga comic novel in which Matsumoto has Mamoru Kodai (Alex Wildstar, Derek's older brother who was presumed to be dead) turn up as the phantom pirate captian, Harlock. This new project apparently and officially brings the Yamato universe and those of Captain Harlock, Galaxy Express, and Queen Millenia, into continuity (at least in the sense that these last three have been linked). The Captain Harlock saga, as readers may know, takes place roughly in the late 2900s, and, so, moving the date of the Yamato story up by 1000 years brings the timelines to within about 200 years of one another.

So, "What do the people look like?" you may ask. The character designs seem to be consistent with those seen in the initial designs for the original first TV season. That is to say, they resemble the style seen in Matsumoto's manga comics and also seen in the Space Pirate Captain Harlock films. Susumu Kodai's (Derek Wildstar's) hair is a bit bushier that we fans may remember, as is Admiral Okita's (Captain Avatar's) beard.

"And, what does the Yamato look like?" you ask. As you can see in the still above (scanned from the cover of the first new soundtrack album), the Yamato appears to be basically of the same design as in the original series... except that it features an additional main gun turret both in the fore and aft top-side sections, as well as turrets mounted on the bottom side (finally!). It seems that the third bridge is still retained, perhaps in order to serve its traditional function of drawing enemy fire away from more critical areas of the ship!

I do not have much additional information about the film. It seems, however, to be destined to happen. In Nippon Columbia's latest release of Yamato soundtrack albums, the first album is devoted to preliminary music for the Great Yamato film. We expect that a more formal soundtrack will follow. The film review Chris McQuarrie likely to write Star Blazers film adaptation

— Written by Chris Tosan On 22nd February 2011

Pew! Pew pew! What? Oh, right, sorry. Star Blazers, the TV adaptation of the Space Battleship Yamato anime trilogy, is being turned into a film, and the writer’s gig looks likely to go to Chris McQuarrie The original epic 1970s "Star Blazers" animated show (a dubbed version of Japan's "Space Battleship Yamato") took place in the late 22nd century after a race of blue-skinned aliens called Gamilons dropped a whole bunch of radioactive bombs on our planet (their method of terraforming), forcing humanity's survivors into underground cities. The benevolent queen of distant world Iscandar offers mankind a device that can repair the damage to Earth... but no delivery options. So the remaining humans salvage an old battleship and make it spaceworthy, collect a diverse crew, and head off through the galaxy punching huge holes in things with the Wave Motion Gun. EXCLUSIVE: David Ellison's Skydance Productions is negotiating a rights deal to turn the 1970s animated science fiction TV series Star Blazers into a large scale live action feature. Ellison will hire Christopher McQuarrie to write the script, with Ellison and Josh C. Kline producing with McQuarrie. The series was based on the Japanese anime series Space Battleship Yamato. Both are described as "space opera," involving alien invasions, the near extinction of the human race, and a last dash journey through space to save the planet.Ellison started Skydance with hopes he could emulate the studio-aligned-producer-who-can-put-up-50% model that Thomas Tull's Legendary Pictures has succeeded with at Warner Bros. Ellison made a deal with Paramount Pictures in late 2009 to co-finance four to six pictures per year, and then raised a reported $350 million in debt and equity funding. His Paramount deal has gotten off to a flying start: Skydance funded half of True Grit, the $30 million Joel and Ethan Coen-directed Western that is up for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. More importantly to Ellison's investors, True Grit has so far grossed $165 million domestic, with foreign still rolling out.Ellison is the son of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and an accomplished acrobatic pilot who has a particular appetite for aviation projects (though his first foray as actor-producer, the Tony Bill-directed Flyboys, landed with a thud). Skydance headquarters are currently at the Santa Monica Airport, housed in a hangar that overlooks Ellison's array of stunt planes., but he will soon move to offices on the Paramount lot.

Skydance has fast become a key player for Paramount, a studio that has been funding its pictures piecemeal since its slate financing arrangement with Melrose 2 dried up, and Paramount walked away from a $450 million slate deal with Deutsche Bank in 2008 because the studio found the deal point onerous in an unstable credit market. Just like Tull did at Warner Bros, Ellison's slate is a mix of projects brought to him by Paramount, and others that he's taken the active hand in developing. Among the Paramount projects Skydance is co-financing is Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, the rebooted Jack Ryan franchise that is undergoing a Steve Zaillian rewrite, with Chris Pine starring and Jack Bender directing, My Mother's Curse, the Dan Fogelman-scripted comedy that has Ann Fletcher attached to direct and Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogen as potential stars, an untitled comic pitch being written by David Caspe that Charlize Theron will star in and produce, and the Shane Salerno-scripted License to Steal, about high end repo agents who reclaim play toys of the wealthy, including jets and speedboats. He separately is developing Strange Case of Hyde with Dark Horse comic, but hasn't yet set that at a studio.

Ellison has a Top Gun sequel percolating, which would potentially also be written by McQuarrie, a steady presence on Tom Cruise pictures. Cruise is currently starring in Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, which Skydance is co-financing.Not heard of him? Not impressed? He wrote The Usual Suspects. He also wrote Valkyrie. He’s a very talented man, and the fact he’s been given a gig with a lot of fan ire likely directed towards it, fury that’s more than just as a fanboy-rage offshoot of the Akira live-action adaptation, is a big compliment.

With adaptations like this, it’s important that everyone working on the film is a big, talented, reassuring name, and writers don’t come much better than McQuarrie, though he did also write the bomb-at-the-box-office, The Tourist. Not the best film to sit at the top of your CV, but the Yamato adaptation just might switch that around.

Star Blazers is the story of one crew’s journey across space, fighting the enemy, in a ship that is their world. It’s a cult favourite, and thus should see a fair amount of attention from anime lovers when it hits cinemas.

Of course, it’s nowhere near casting, but the possibility Hollywood might actually rebel and cast a ton of Asian actors is always something to wonder about, in hope. It’s also worth mentioning that this is likely to be a huge, 3D-esque sci-fi flick with all the manic, senseless melodrama and bizarre, over-the-top technology that characterises so much anime sci fi.

More on this as it comes, of course, but until then – Yamato, hurry to Iscandar!Oscar-winning writer Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) has teamed up with Skydance Productions to pen the script for a "Star Blazers" movie, based on the 1970s animated sci-fi TV series, which was itself based on the Japanese anime show called "Space Battleship Yamato."

The large scale, big-budget, live-action film is described as a "space opera," involving alien invasions, the near extinction of the human race, and a last dash journey through space to save the planet.

Skydance is owned by David Ellison, the son of Oracle founder/billionaire Larry Ellison. David recently raised $350 million to co-finance 4-6 films per year. Some of his investments have been in "True Grit," "Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol" and the upcoming "Top Gun" sequel. SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: RESURRECTION (Uchu Senkan Yamato: Fukkatsu Hen) Executive Producers: Shoji Nishizaki, Yoshinobu Nishizaki, Toshiaki Nakazawa Director: Yoshinobu Nishizaki Original Story: Yoshinobu Nishizaki Original Concept: Shintaro Ishihara Script: Buryu Ishihara, Atsuhiro Tomioka. Yoshinobu Nishizaki Music: Naoto Otomo, Hiroshi Miyagawa Theme Song: The Alfee

Cast Susumu Kodai: Koichi Yamadera Yuki Kodai: Noriko Yume Miyuki “Miho” Kodai: Ayumi Fujimura Gorui: Masatoh Ibu Shiro Sanada: Takeshi Aono Dr. Sakezou Sado: Ichiro Nagai Narrator: Michio Hazama

Distribution: Toho Co., Ltd., Emotion Released: December 12, 2009 (Japan) Running Time: 131 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains plot details for a new movie. Synopsis:

2220 A.D.: Seventeen years have passed since the space battleship Yamato was destroyed while saving Earth from the flood waters of Planet Aquarius. Earth has enjoyed a period of peace and prosperity, and the surviving crew of Yamato have gone their separate ways. Susumu Kodai and Yuki Mori married and had a daughter named Miho, who is now 15 years old and works as a nurse with Dr Sado in an animal shelter. Without warning, Earth’s peace is shattered as a seemingly impossible phenomenon threatens Earth… a black hole moving through space on a precise course for Earth. Despite all of its technology, the human race faces certain extinction. There is only one option… mass migration to another planet. The inhabitants of the Amare system offer humanity refuge on one of their home planet’s moons.

The central characters of the new film. © 2009 Space Battleship Yamato Film Partners

The first wave of civilian transports departs for the Amare system. With Kodai not yet back from a deep space cargo mission, Yuki volunteers as a commander in the military escort. Without warning, an unknown fleet of ships ambushes the fleet. Hopelessly unprepared for this battle, the fleet performs an emergency warp to escape. Yuki’s ship is dealt a near-death blow at the moment it jumps into hyperspace. When her ship emerges from warp, Yuki cannot be found.

Upon his return home, Kodai is met with a cold shoulder from Miho, who blames her father for abandoning his family. Before Kodai can say anything, he receives an urgent summons from Minister Sanada, former science officer of Yamato. A second fleet of civilian transports has also been massacred by unknown forces, so Sanada appeals to Kodai to escort the third fleet as captain of Yamato… the ship has been salvaged from the frozen remains of Aquarius and outfitted with new, advanced technology. Kodai accepts the mission, at the same time determined to discover his wife’s whereabouts and reconcile with Miho, who holds him responsible for her mother’s fate. A mere 3 months remains before the black hole reaches Earth.

As the third fleet attempts a tricky warp maneuver, the transports are again attacked, but with Yamato spearheading the defense, the fleet escapes to Amare. The attackers reveal themselves to be members of the Star Union, an alliance of many systems presided over by the ruthless SUS. Accusing the humans of violating their peace with an invasion, the SUS orders the Star Union to wipe out the intruders. As a member of the Star Union, Amare faces an untenable position… turn away the Earth people and ensure humanity’s extinction, or invite their own annihilation by defying the SUS. Likewise, if Kodai orders Yamato to attack the SUS, they will certainly launch an attack against Amare, but if Yamato does not act, 300 million Earth immigrants will have no place to go. And all the while, the cascading black hole relentlessly homes in on Earth and its huge remaining population. Review:

SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: RESURRECTION marks the return of the YAMATO saga to the big screen after nearly 30 years. Arguably the biggest animation franchise at the time that Japanese animation made its mark on the world, YAMATO has been conspicuous by its absence for all these years. Never mind that the ship was destroyed in FINAL YAMATO (Uchu Senkan Yamato Kanketsu Hen, 1983)… Yamato has been rebuilt before, and besides, no one and no thing is ever REALLY dead in science fiction. The lack of new YAMATO stories during this time was probably for the best– you just can’t keep threatening earth with calamity, then destroying and reviving the ship every year– not without eventually losing even the most devoted fans. After FINAL YAMATO, the series needed a break, and a long one.

The bridge of the Yamato. © 2009 Space Battleship Yamato Film Partners

With all the advancements in film technology that have occurred since Yamato last flew a mission, the idea of bringing it back to the big screen had fans of the original intrigued about the possibilities. The original films and TV series were made when technique was limited and the animation almost primitive by today’s standards. And, every bit as important, with passing of series composer Hiroshi Miyagawa, what would the producers do for a musical score? Miyagawa’s distinctive sounds are almost as completely identified with YAMATO as Akira Ifukube’s themes have been with Godzilla. How would YAMATO make the transition to the 21st century?

The answer… mostly with splendid results. From the viewpoint of the story, SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: RESURRECTION delivers more of the same elements which made the original series so attractive. Foregoing today’s tiring trend of reboots (which are just remakes, no matter what movie execs want to say), YAMATO: RESURRECTION dares to continue the original saga. Allowing 17 years to have elapsed since the events of FINAL YAMATO helps in that regard. It is enough time for almost everything to have changed, people and technology, so in effect you can have your cake and eat it too. You can keep whatever elements you want from the original series and still go off in almost any direction with new things.

Susumu Kodai is once again called into action to defend mankind. © 2009 Space Battleship Yamato Film Partners

YAMATO’s staples of apocalyptic scenarios, exciting battles, romance, and melodrama are back in full force. The menace of the cascading black hole is a superb idea, especially when its scientific impossibility is admitted early in the film. No hopelessly contrived explanations are offered. Known science cannot explain it, yet it is happening nonetheless. This offers absolutely Earth no hope to combat the menace and avert disaster, which is about as apocalyptic as you can get. When you are facing another race or super technology, there is always a weakness to be found, some advantage that can be identified and exploited. But something that shouldn’t exist… all the scientific data in existence, all the psychological evaluation of an enemy’s tactics or mindset, none of that will offer a solution. Doomsday seems inevitable.

The romantic aspect of YAMATO is actually toned down considerably in this film when compared to previous installments. The relationship between Kodai and Yuki is touched on only briefly, and it does give Kodai a personal mission to find out what really happened to his wife, but that is the extent of the romance. With all the other things packed into this story, it is probably for the best.

YAMATO’s brand of melodrama, with all its moral posturing and emphasis on honor and sacrifice, remains true to the original series, which may prove to be the biggest obstacle to acceptance by today’s audiences who are new to the saga. When Star Union members begin to revolt against the iron hand of the SUS, shamelessly invoking honor as a justification for sacrificing their lives, more than a few people in the audience snicker at such dialogue. But YAMATO: RESURRECTION remains true to it roots as a morality play in space, even if it leaves part of the audience behind in the process.

YAMATO: RESURRECTION introduces several characters such as Maho Orihara, new chief navigator of the Yamato. © 2009 Space Battleship Yamato Film Partners

Nevertheless, the script is not without its shortcomings. As a story point, the conflict between Miho and her father is barely developed, and it comes to a head in a rescue scene that screams of contrivance. Unfortunately, the script falls victim to the trap of the over-talkative villain who carelessly lets slip a key piece of information, a mistake that is compounded by the fact that there is no reason for him to even be talking to his adversaries in the first place (other than to spill the beans about things the Earth people could never find out on their own). And following the tired convention of ‘everything new has to be powered up’, the already impossibly powerful wave motion gun is made even more powerful, which of course is used at the climax (if this is a spoiler, then you probably didn’t know Anakin would become Darth Vader in REVENGE OF THE SITH either). It would be a welcome change if Yamato could avert a crisis without resorting to the wave motion gun every time.

The very last scene also seems problematic. When the credits start to roll, the film doesn’t feel properly concluded. It is just over abruptly. You think, ‘Ok, the action is finished,’ but the viewer is left with the nagging feeling that something more should happen. It is only after the credits are finished and the final title card comes on the screen that you understand why (SPOILER ALERT) “The End – Yamato Resurrection-Part 1″.

The marriage of YAMATO with modern CG-enhanced animation is a pleasure to behold. Wisely the producers stuck to the look of traditional 2D animation, but supplemented by all the bells and whistles that are available today. Character design is basically unchanged, offering much appreciated continuity with the original series. The slate of new crew members is a mixed bag, from an annoying pair of twins who are the new Engineering Room wizards, an offbeat female doctor who also fancies herself a fighter pilot, to new bridge personnel seemingly destined to be the next generation of main characters. Visually the only disappointment in character design is the new look uniforms for some of the crew, eschewing the classic arrow motif.

Modern animation and CG was used to create the new Yamato. © 2009 Space Battleship Yamato Film Partners

Not surprisingly, it is spaceship movement and battling that benefits the most from modern technology. Spaceships are rendered in much greater detail and their movement is much smoother than has been seen before. The Earth fleet sports some impressive new fighter craft in tandem with the more traditional battleship designs. The animators choose to minimize all the hyper editing that plagues so much of today’s filmmaking, actually allowing the audience to comprehend and enjoy what is happening on screen. They seem to understand that it’s more exciting to immerse viewers in the action rather than make them dizzy with 40 cuts per minute. Explosions and energy beams benefit tremendously from computer graphic enhancement, adding dynamic visuals while still allowing an animated feeling to be maintained. The animators resist taking CG enhancement into the 3D realm, although when Yamato breaks free from Aquarius, the ice shards flying off of the ship have too much of a 3D texture, shifting the image to a different kind of reality for a moment.

The weakest visual element in the film is the design of the enemy fleets. YAMATO history is populated with dozens of sleek and exciting spaceship designs, so these new ship designs are a rather jarring and unimaginative change of pace. Most of the enemy fleets are rife with blocky lines, more reminiscent of stone buildings rather than flying ships.

Computer enhancement works its greatest magic in scenes of outer space, especially those of black holes. The beauty and imagination of these scenes are nothing less than spectacular.

Japanese promotional art for SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: RESURRECTION. © 2009 Space Battleship Yamato Film Partners

The answer seems to be that they didn’t know what to do, so they tried a little of everything. The first 60% of the film is scored almost completely with stock themes from Miyagawa’s previous scores. And much like Ifukube’s music, it proves so appropriate and utilitarian that it fits the film like a glove. Hardly a note of music seems out of place, and the effect is wonderful. The exception is a new vocal recording of the YAMATO theme played when the ship takes off from Aquarius… an up tempo ‘modern’ pop version of the song is used. No doubt a nod to the younger crowd, but it sounds woefully out of place.

Once the Yamato arrives on Amare, the score shifts gears in a perplexing direction. Miyagawa’s themes are almost completely abandoned, but rather than using new music, instead Western classic music is used, such as a Beethoven piano sonata. Fine music in and of itself, but it seems totally out of place in the film, especially when it follows wall-to wall Miyagawa. It is a very perplexing choice for which the film suffers. If the producers were worried about using an old villain theme for the SUS that would cause confusion for the audience, a viable alternative still existed in the Miyagawa repertoire. The 2000 album SYMPHONIC SUITE GREAT YAMATO contained ‘Theme of Darqueen’, a suitably villainous piece that had not been used previously, and would have fit very well. The final act of the film plays like it was scored with a temp track instead, which is a huge letdown.

SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO: RESURRECTION brings the famed space battleship back to the big screen in all its former glory, setting the stage for a live action version which will hit screen in Japan later this year. 2010 promises to be a banner year for Yamato fans, new and old.Disney Project Stalled

Word has it that Disney has purchased enough rights from Voyager to produce a live-action Star Blazers movie in America. However, there are rumours that the project is on indefinite hold.

In any event, I am told that the Disney project will/was-to do the following:

   Rename the ship the "Arizona" -- yeah, not "Argo" and not "Yamato".
   Do away with the original music (I suspect it will be replaced by highly forgettable Gen-X stuff).
   Do away with the classic Star Blazers character names.
   Compress the entire journey to Iscandar into 2 hours or less.

If I am wrong on any of these counts, please let me know.

I've heard nothing more about this. Fans of Star Blazers are both enthusiastic and concerned. Any publicity that Star Blazers gets is good, but they want to see an accurate character portrayal and a lack of commercialization. Star Blazers itself had its own style and character, and it was hoped that Disney would not replace this and borrow too many themes from other American sci-fi productions. Yamato 2520 Project Dead

Nishizaki's video tape series, Yamato 2520, ran out of steam after a few releases in the late 1990s and is now cancelled. There were supposed to be 9 volumes, and they got to about the third one before cancellation. Now that the rights to Yamato have been transferred to Reiji Matsumoto, there are no plans to resurrect the Yamato 2520 project. 2520 was not well received by fans, and most are happy to see it go.

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