Farewell, Space Battleship Yamato (spoilers)

This entry will have spoilers for FAREWELL SPACE BATTLESHIP YAMATO. But spoiling Yamato is like spoiling King Kong so no one should care.

I watched Farewell Space Battleship Yamato the other day. For those who don’t know, it’s the first “proper” Yamato film (the real first Yamato film was just edited together footage from the TV seires.) The movie is about a giant fucking comet that destroys everything in its path and, yes, you guessed it– IT’S HEADING TOWARDS EARTH. Later we find out that the comet is actually some weird flying fortress and belongs to the Comet Empire, hellbent on being and evil and not very nice. The Yamato team decide they can’t have this and try to mess up their shit… AT THE COST OF THEIR VERY LIVES.

Yeah, basically everyone dies in this movie. It’s kind of shocking how easily they just kill everyone off. Does make for some nice epicness though. However, knowing it’s some weird alternate universe (they made a second TV series based on this movie where all the characters don’t bite it horribly, because the fans demanded it!) kind of cheapens it all in the end. I guess it’s nice to view as a stand alone work, with some knowledge of the characters and story.

The film itself is kind of clunky. It’s about two and half hours, so it’s LONG. The first two acts really trudge along, with a lot of fairly uninteresting dialogue mixed in with some good scenes here and there. The enemy in this film is brought in too late, and not developed very well (well there is this opening narration bit… but that kind of didn’t work too well.) By the end I didn’t really care about the enemies at all since they didn’t get much in the way of screen time. The last part is pretty fucking rockin’ though, with all the Yamato guys rushing the base and shooting up crap, with a lot of them dying in epic ways.

The end of the film is fairly good. It delivered the kind of drama I was looking for in these older anime; the type Patrick described to me on that podcast I did forever ago. It ends with the Kodai giving his life to save the universe, presumably ramming the Yamato into the enemy ship (what actually happens is never shown.)

Farewell Space Battleship Yamato has a lot of good scenes, but doesn’t especially flow well as a complete piece of work. It is very well produced though, and budding anime scholars (such as myself) should check it out. Just make sure you have a nice block of 120 minutes set aside before you do.

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