Space Battleship Yamato: The Movie (Mania.com)

By:Mark McPherson
Review Date: Saturday, February 01, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, September 24, 2002



The Review!
Leiji Matsumoto, one of the most unique anime directors out there, got his first big break with the highly underrated TV series Space Battleship Yamato. However, thanks to the support of many fans, the series spawned into a movie. Thus, Leiji continues his work today.

Audio: The audio is in mono, but the wasn't a surprise since the film was made in the early 1970's. No complaints.

Video: Voyager Entertainment really blew it when it came to the video quality. First, their are hard-matted subtitles for the entire film. What really bothered me was that they don't make a seperate space above the screen to translate the onscreen kanji and there is a lot in this film. All they do is flash it quickly and go back to the dialouge. Also, this movie is a direct rip from the Voyager Entertainment VHS copy that was released in 1995 which explains that fuzz at the top of the screen.

Packaging: Well, it doesn't really say much, but it does look good.Inside is a white insert of the Yamato ship in color. Nothing much more to say about that.

Menus: Very odd choice of menus. It's basically just video from the movie with the Yamato symbol as the icons. However, they moved fairly fast and didn't feel so indimidating.

Extras: This is where this DVD really excels. First off, we have a short filmography of the Yamato series with specific facts on the shows history. The original program booklet was quite fun to read, even though it didn't really reveal much. The promotion art was the most fun to look at since it has specs on the Yamato and even the original Japanese Navy Yamato. But the real keeper here is the alternative animation footage. This was used to speed up the Yamato's visit on Iscandar for the TV version, due to the fact that the movie was too long.

Content: I've heard that fans of the original English version of SBY called Starblazers found this movie not that thrilling. The most recognized fact was that the editing was done improperly. As a non-Starblazers fan, I decided it would be good to see the movie than the series first.

The film starts out with Captain Okita engaged in battle with a Gamil fleet. We soon learn that Earth is dying, but when rookie soldiers Kodai and Shima discover an unidentified craft crash on Mars, they discover that a planet 148,000 light years away from Earth has the power to heal the Earth. The planet is Iscandar located right next to Planet Gamilus. So, the Earth decides to ressurect the old sunken battleship, Yamato, to make the journey to Iscandar. However, Planet Gamilus won't stand for it, as they are in a similar situation.

Even without having seen the original series, I could spot how they edited together some segments. The only place in the movie I found to be the most poorly edited were the scenes of the Yamato fighting off the Gamilons in the Milky Way. It feels like they just skipped through it quickly. Also, it is unexplained why Yuki is suddenly wearing an arm brace in a scene on Iscandar. Other than that, the show is well done. However, it did confuse me a few times since some characters didn't really get a good introduction. The one who suffers the most is the quirky robot Analyze who is only used once in the film and only has about 3 or so lines.

The age of this movie definetely shows. There are several instances where you'll see dirty cells, inproportioned objects and even some scenes where the characters mouths don't move even though they're speaking. Given the age and budget of this show, I can forgive it for these little faults. I've seen worse.

Overall, despite all it's flaws, Space Battleship Yamato had an effect on me and I personally think it's a great way to introduce anyone into the world of Leiji Matsumoto. I look forward to seeing the other Space Battleship Yamato movies.



Review Equipment
DVD-Rom



Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B
Video Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B
Menus Rating: B-
Extras Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: Voyager
MSRP: 29.95
Running time: 135
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Starblazers / Yamato