Space Battleship Yamato is one of the most revered space operas of Japanese animation and has manged to leave a long lasting legacy in sci-fi anime. I never really had a proper way to enter the series, due to it coming out in the mid-70's, even though I could recognize the Yamato ship from a mile away. Back in 2010, a live action version was created, that would recreate the elements of the first two seasons of the original series, which would also be the first time that Yamato had been recreated in live action. Finally after a few years, Space Battleship Yamato is coming here to both the US and Canada, to make both existing Yamato fans and news ones extremely happy.
Taking place in the year 2199, the Earth has become a radioactive wasteland, due to attacks from an alien race, called Gamilan's. After a major battle, ending in millions of losses, mankind only has one more plan to execute in order to stop the Gamilian threat. With a map guiding them to a far out place in the Milky Way, the mission falls upon the Yamato, a battleship that hasn't seen active duty in years. With its crew of 114, Captain Okita (Tsutomu Yamazaki) sets out in the Yamato, with a new array of weapons and a warp drive, in order to carry out the mission successfully. Full of great characters and space action, Space Battleship Yamato is one of the best live action adaptations of an anime I've ever seen.The film starts out with an intense action sequence, setting the stage for many of the battles to come. Shortly after, we're introduced to all of the major players, conflict and universe of Yamato, that was both easy and interesting to follow. While at points it felt like the film was drawing upon things like Ronald Moore's iteration of Battlestar Galactica, Star Wars and other famous sci-fi films and TV shows, the fact that Yamato came out in the 70's, certainly made me wonder if these other sci-fi properties had borrowed from what Leiji Matsumoto's classic series had to offer.Since I had never seen any iteration of the TV series, its OVA spin offs and other versions, I can say that I didn't know what to expect. Takuya Kimura's performance as Susumu Kodai, the hot shot pilot who must learn to cooperate, is a very strong one. His transformation from the loner to the charismatic leader is a believable and engaging plot line that made me fall in love with the film. Other supporting characters, like Yuki Mori (Meisa Kuroki) Kosai's love interest and Hajime Saito (Hiroyuki Ikeuchi), as a rambunctious gunner, provide a great balance to the crew of the Yamoto. While the film is certainly lengthy, I found that Space Battleship Yamato to be well constructed, action packed and entertaining enough that even a first comer to the series.