After completing Super Robot Wars V a year or so ago, I decided I wanted to watch some of the anime series from that show, particularly before moving on to X (along with wanting to watch a couple of the shows from X as well to set up the story for comparison). That, combined with the fact that I’d been watching various anime series on weekends with my parents, and that my mother had watched the original first season of Space Battleship Yamato while growing up in Hawaii, lead me to bump the reboot of that series up on my list.
The concept of the series is a classic – Earth has been fighting a losing battle with an alien race called the Gamillans – they’ve been pushed back to Earth, and even there have been forced to move underground, as the planet’s surface has been actively bombarded with meteors launched by the Gamillans from a base on Pluto. In the original series radiation from the bombs was threatening the last settlements of humanity underground – while in this series it’s that combined with Gamillan plant life that has been seeded with the bombs to make the planet inhabitable to them.
However, humanity has one last hope – an alien race from the planet Iscandar provides mankind a chance survival – the plans for an FTL drive, along with a power source – the Wave Motion Core. Combined, they’re able to build a ship, modeled after the World War II battleship Yamato, to take a crew to the Planet Iscandar. There they can get the Cosmo Reverse System, bring it back to Earth, and reverse the damage to the planet. They just have to get through the entirety of the Gamillan armada in their way.
I can’t speak to a direct comparison to the writing from the original series to this one, but it feels – smartened up. The Gamillans are a clear fascist state modeled heavily after Nazi Germany (with a side of Zeon’s fashion sense), complete with a… less fascist reformist faction of the government attempting a coup d’tat.
On the other side, the crew of the Yamato are generally fairly well fleshed out (or at least as well as can be expected for a 26 episode series) – complete with varying motivations between crew members. Additionally, the series tries to address some of the gender disparity by introducing several more female characters – though only a handful of them get significant development.
The animation of the show is generally great – helped by the fact that the series is about 7-8 feature films adapted into 26 episodes, meaning the animation that the series is starting from has a general higher quality than you’d normally get from TV animation.
In all – I really dug this show, though the narrative here is complete enough that you could probably just stop after this season and be fine, without moving on to the second season.
Space Battleship Yamato 2199 is currently available for streaming on Funimation with both a dub and a sub, and has received a Blu-Ray release which is available through Amazon and RightStuf. Buying anything through those links helps to support the site.
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