Remember when I said I wouldn’t be making episodic reviews again? Yeah, don’t pay attention to that. I am a big fat liar. In this case though, I don’t mind being a liar. Having the dubbed version of this show appear on Funimation and the subbed version on Crunchyroll is a surprise that cannot be anticipated. I can finally watch this show in a clear and legal manner. How can I not be happy about that? I watched this show years ago in a not so legal manner, like so many other things I watched when I was a college student, so it’s time for a redemption arc.
Before I get into this show, I feel like sharing my history with this franchise. Before I ever watched this new and revamped version of this amazing series, I watched the original series in subtitled form. not when I was a kid. Each season, I do feel a little older and detached from anime fans, but I am not that old. I watched the first and second season in its subbed as an undergrad along with a lot of its movies. I am a science fiction fan, so that was only the beginning of what drew me to this franchise. This series has so many interesting space concepts and just some of the best villains that exist in anime. To this day, the theme of the comet empire is stuck in my head. Here it is. Isn’t it beautiful yet horrifying? They are such amazing villains that really deserve this fantastic theme. Also, you all know that I love Leiji Matsumoto too right? I’ve blogged about a few of his works in the past, so this shouldn’t be a shock. It all started with my watching of Space Battleship Yamato.
Ok, on to the material that you are all more interested in.
*Insert spoiler warning here*
I consider both of these episodes as a prologue. Why? Because the Yamato finally takes off for space at the end of episode two. These two episodes give us the context and introduce us to the characters. The first thing we see in this series is the battle between Earth and Gamilas fleets at the rim of our solar system. We see two important characters in this battle. Captain Okita and Lt. Commander Mamoru Kodai. Of course, as expected, the Earth fleet is no match for the alien forces. The Gamilas fleets have lasers that cut right through the Earth ships, but the Earth cannot even penetrate the armor of these ships. The result of the mission was the destruction of every Earth ship, except Captain Okita’s. Mamoru was on another ship and sacrificed his life so Okita could get away safely. I am reminded about how Japanese this series is when Mamoru and his crew sang as they were headed toward their untimely death.
Fortunately, or Unfortunately depending on your point of view, the battle was a distraction. The real mission was to rescue an object on mars. This is where we meet Susumu Kodai, Mamoru’s younger brother, and his best friend Daisuke Shima. After finding an attractive, but unfortunately dead, woman who was carrying a capsule, the two our picked up and immediately taken to Earth. This is where we see how bad Earth is for the first time. It’s dark brown and poisonous from the Gamila’s planet bombs, which forced the whole human race to live underground. Humanity only has one year to live, which leaves them all completely desperate.
Back at base, Susumu and Daisuke make their way to the medical bay to see Captain Okita. They both meet a woman, Yuki, that they both think looks a lot like the body the two found on mars. Kind of suspicious, don’t you think? After making it to the medical bay, they meet up with Captain Okita and two medical figures that will become more important later. Those two are the classic drunk doctor and an adorable nurse. Okita gave the two unfortunate news, which is Mamoru died during the last mission. Susumu takes it pride rather than anger. After apologizing for barging in, the two go to a flight deck where they see a new fighter. The enemy attacks with a few fighters, the two fly off, and they are shot down after they findi out midflight that the fighter doesn’t have any ammo. The last shot of episode one is Daisuke and Susumu looking down at the rusted remains of the Yamato from a hill.
Ok, I’m going to quickly go through Episode two’s plot because it’s relatively simple. With the combination of the Yamato and the earth jets attacking, the Gamilas carrier and fighters are taken care of. Before Susumu and Shima die from radiation, they are both spotted and taken to the medical bay where they are examined. Due to the unfortunate alien bombing of the Yamato, a lot of the crew ends up dead (though Okita lies about this), so some crew reassignments are necessary. The rest of the episode are crew assignments, Shim and Susumu getting important roles for some reason, a lot of crew members say goodbye to their loved ones, the new wave motion engine is installed (this is from the alien from the first episode, who are from Iscander. Yes, there is more than one Iscander citizen.), the necessary energy to start the earth is gathered from all over Earth, and the ship launches. The launch literally starts off with a bang, because the Gamilas tried to drop a planet bomb and the Yamato destroyed it. End Episode two.
I loved these first two episodes. Even for a set up episode, how this show started just perfect. They just felt right for some reason. I like how all the important characters are developed enough that we can feel a lot for them and how the usually invincible captain figure is weaker then we think he is. The comparison between Okita and his friend (whose name I forgot for some reason) and Susumu and Shima’s friendship with the whole “beginning of friendship and end of friendship” thing was incredibly interesting. The graphics were great too. All the character designs and mechanical designs were from the original and the ships were obvious cg, but they were done so well. Each fighter and ship felt like they had a lot of weight to them instead of flying around with no reason at all. I realize that the ships were in space, but each engine burst had weight behind them and so did each laser shot. I could go on and on about this, but please watch it. This is how you reboot a franchise. Paying respect to the original series, but also updating it with respect.
For those of you who don’t know, DerekL and I are doing a group watch of this show. If you want to join in, here’s a link with all the rules that I am not following. Just watch the show, start writing, and get some posts up by noon on Friday. Thank you all for reading and hopefully you had some fun.