Starblazers Movie 2: Farewell Space Battleship Yamato - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Audio Rating: A
  • Video Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Menus Rating: B
  • Extras Rating: B
  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: 1 - North America
  • Released By: Voyager
  • MSRP: 29.99
  • Running time: 150
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Square of the Moon

Starblazers Movie 2: Farewell Space Battleship Yamato

    January 04, 2003


Starblazers Movie 2: Farewell Space Battleship Yamato
© Voyager


What They Say
The darkest chapter in the Yamato saga!

Earth has been revived from its near-destruction at the hands of Gamillon, but now a new danger appears at the edge of the Milky Way, and the crew of the Space Battleship Yamato must reunite to confort it! Mysterious signals from the distant planet Telezart warn them of interstellar terror. An enormous dreadnaught, diguised as a massive white comet, is on a rampage of conquest. The power-hungry Emperor Zordar enslaves entire planets and destroys others... and Earth is his next target!

This is the second feature film in the now-legendary Space Battleship Yamato series, known in America as the fan-favorite Star Blazers. This breathtaking movie not only shattered all previous Japanese box office records, it also set a new standard for every anime production that came after it and delivered more twists and turns than anyone could predict, following the crew of Yamato to the very edge of existence - and beyond!

The Review!
Here's a movie with an interesting history on both sides of the Pacific. Originally intended to be both the sequel to and ending of the Yamato saga, it ended up extending it by two more series and three movies. And it's first appearance on these shores was less than stellar, having both a heavily altered dub (one example - Kodai saying in the dub "I'm my own sacrifice" while in the original he said, "Yamato take off."), and over thirty minutes of footage cut to bring the running time in at under two hours. This version, thankfully, is the uncut subtitled edition released by VEI a few years back.

Video
I'll say it once, then I'll drop it. VEI has gone with hard subs once again.

This time out, the video is a bit softer than it was in the original compilation movie. There's a bit of pixilization going on, most noticeably during a couple of the last fast dogfights. It's not because I'm now watching on a significantly larger TV, I watched the movie the first time through on my old setup and noticed it as well. There's also a couple of glitches, but these were on my VHS copy as well. As this is a direct port of VEI's VHS masters, this is to be expected.

Going beyond the graininess of the authoring, the picture itself is the same caliber as the first movie. The colors are solid, separation is good, and things are nicely smooth and vivid. If the authoring were slightly better, we'd have a winner on the video aspect.


Audio
No bizarreness in the audio department this time out. There is only one monaural 2.0 track. As the movie is from 1978, there's not a whole heck of a lot more you can expect. Solid, good for its time. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Packaging
Like the first movie, VEI used the Mikimoto artwork from the Japanese LD release. This time out, we've got a shot of Kodai and Yuki hand-in-hand, with the Yamato and Teresa (aka Trelena for you Star Blazers fans) flying off in the background. The back cover has a total of two animation shots, and a rear-view shot of the Yamato. Thankfully, this time VEI has avoided spreading spoilers all over the place and came up with a normal summary.

The minus comes from VEI's insistence on using the "Farewell to Yamato" title that was used on the hacked-to-bits dub instead of the official international title of "Arivederci Yamato." "Farewell" leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Yamato fans, as the non-Star Blazers dub was executed extremely poorly: a heavily altered script, massive amounts of cut footage, and badly acted. VEI could've gained a lot of fan respect by using "Arivederci " for the title.

Menus
Like the first movie, the menu starts with an animation sequence. This time we see the Yamato flying up from the sea. Again, overly-elaborate menus are my pet peeve with DVD, so the animation annoyed me. But once we got to the main menu it was quick and easy to navigate, featuring the same Mikimoto artwork as is on the cover.

Extras
Not as good as the last movie disk, this time we've got some text interviews with the cast and crew, and essays on the making of the movie and it's impact on Japanese fandom, and the Japanese public as a whole. We also have a subtitled theatrical trailer (that says "Arivederci Yamato" *right on it*, underneath the Japanese title), and if I thought VEI's packaging was chock full o' spoilers, I hadn't seen this yet! Make sure you don't watch the trailer until you've seen the movie.

Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
When the heavily edited dub was released on VHS years ago, it was many fans first exposure to this incredible movie. I, personally, thought it was a compilation of the second series ("The Comet Empire") with some new footage and an alternate ending (all the footage that was cut was what actually gave it that feel). Later I found out that the second Yamato TV series was actually an expanded version of this movie. The movie is spectacular, and one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the Yamato franchise. But as an American fan, who didn't have the benefit of seeing it before the second TV series, one can't help but make comparisons between the two.

Like the second series, the movie starts off a year after the war with Gamilus. Earth is well on its way to recovering, and has entered a period of renaissance. The Solar System has begun to be explored, colonized, and mined for resources. The technology that had been provided by Iscandar has enabled Earth to build its defenses up rapidly and impressively. The symbol of this new renaissance is the space battleship Andromeda. The Yamato and the Star Force are now merely a footnote in the Earth Defense Force (EDF)'s roster. In fact, the Yamato herself is to be decommissioned and turned into a museum, a sad end for the ship that saved the Earth. Into this atmosphere of overconfidence and prosperity comes two mysteries. One is a garbled message pleading for help and warning of danger, the other is a giant quasar sighted at the edge of the Galaxy speeding towards Earth. The EDF, desperate to avoid another confrontation, and overconfident in the Andromeda, plans on doing !
nothing. Kodai and Sanada decide t
Before long, the Yamato takes off and heads towards planet Telezart, the source of the strange message. We are reunited with the entire Star Force, and meet some new characters, most notably the Space Marines under the command of Captain Saito (Sgt. Knox). The second main new character is introduced after the Yamato answers a distress call from one of the outer patrol ships. It had been attacked by the new enemy, and the only survivor is Captain Hijikata (Captain Gideon), who insists on going down with his ship. After the rescue, the EDF contacts the Star Force, welcomes them back into the ranks, and places them under the command of Hijikata.

While flying towards Telezart, the Yamato fights several skirmishes with the new, still unknown enemy. In more than one sequence, both the crew (especially Kodai) and the audience are left to wonder if the new Captain is suicidal, as his tactics nearly get the Yamato blasted more than once. When they finally arrive, they meet Teresa, who explains the comet is actually a disguise for the White Comet Empire, a huge war machine that either conquers or destroys all planets in its path.

After leaving Telezart, the Yamato encounters its old enemy Desslar, presumed dead at the end of the first series/movie. They invade his ship, and Kodai confronts him, demanding to know why he still fights, even though he is now a mercenary without a shred of honor. This shakes Desslar. In a moving speech, Desslar declares himself more akin to the Yamato and the Star Force than to the Comet Empire. He urges Kodai to destroy the Empire and gives him their one weakness. Then he opens an airlock and lets himself be sucked into the vacuum of deep space.

Meanwhile, the EDF is fighting the advanced fleet of the Comet Empire and holding their own. The Andromeda and other ships of her class are proving to be a match for the Comet Empire ships. But when the Comet itself appears, things take a turn for the worse. With no effort, the Comet wipes out the EDF fleet and begins to move on towards Earth. Just in time, the Yamato appears and, armed with the information Desslar gave them, fires the Wave Motion Gun and appears to destroy the Comet, revealing the huge war machine and city at its core. In two fierce battles that kill both Yuki and the Captain, they discover the other weakness - the launch port at the bottom of the war machine. An invasion force is mounted which succeeds in destroying the Comet Empire machine, but not without a price - Sanada, Saito, all of the Marines, and most of the Cosmo Tiger pilots. Unfortunately, it's not over, as one more layer is revealed - a dreadnaught that is more than capable of destroyin!
g Earth.

With little power remaining, and no weaponry left, Kodai is left with only one option. To use the Yamato in a kamikaze attack against the dreadnaught. Ordering the eighteen surviving crew members to evacuate (and giving a moving speech about how he's happy to die in the service of life), Kodai sets the last course for the Yamato. Teresa joins him, as her anti-matter body will give him just enough explosive power to destroy the dreadnaught, and the Yamato files off into destiny.

If there's any weakness in this film there's only two that I can think of. First is that the Comet Empire is an underdeveloped villain. To put it simply, they're big, they're bad, they're evil and they like it. And that's about it. Emperor Zordar himself doesn't have many lines outside of "Mua ha ha ha ha! I'm evil and strong, you're good and weak!" Thankfully, this is one of the main things that is rectified in the second TV series, as Zordar himself and his underlings get much more screen time. A pretty big political plot is introduced as well, and Desslar's place in the Comet Empire is much higher than a simple mercenary.

The other, which technically isn't a weakness, is that knowing this is not the end kind of cheapens the moving ending. But for the Japanese audience, not knowing there was a second series on its way, the ending must have been something.

Hard subs, less-than-perfect transfer, underdeveloped badguys and all, this movie is a winner. All fans of old-school anime should have it in their collection.


Features
Japanese Language,English Subtitles,Original theatrical trailer (subtitled),The original program book (translated),Promotional Art Gallery,Making of the movie,Cast interview.

Review Equipment
Phillips Magnavox 32" TV, Sony DVP S360 player, "Jury-rigger special" audio set-up, KLH speakers.

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