Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Review — A-

Wow, look how much better the animation has gotten.

So, in order for my friend Marina to enjoy TWINTAILS and reach enlightenment, I promised to watch Space Battleship Yamato 2199 and write about it. I had started this show when it first came out and enjoyed it. I just hadn’t finished it. And of course I’d forgotten everything, so I had to start over. I also watched the original several years ago and liked it too.

Since I’m probably one of the few who has watched both, I figure it would be interesting to compare. First of all, compare the animation. Here is a scene from the start of each show:

You can probably guess which is which. Holy shit animation has gotten better. I would recommend the newer Yamato to anyone based solely on this.

You may also notice— in the new Yamato, they have boobs. And butts. Look at the top screenshot. There’s even a swimsuit episode! I feel like if this show’s fans advertised that aspect it would have more fans.

Actually, the original barely had any female characters. It was pretty sexist (I suppose the new one might be too, but in different ways). I guess it was made a long time ago. The only females on the Yamato are Mori, who is basically a secretary, and I think it had the nurse girl. And Mori was essentially a Yamato Nadeshiko in the original. In this new one, I was shocked to find she actually had a personality. Even if it slowly eroded throughout the show… Also, no hot accountant fighter pilot in the original, tragically. It’s clear in the original that saving the Earth is a man’s job.

The original is much more heavy handed in its glorification of the Japanese empire. It’s all in with the military culture. Obviously, the new one is too, a little bit. It’s hard to escape the premise that a WWII Japanese battleship, reviving the glory of a lost empire, is the only thing that can save the Earth. And the Japanese take their rightful place as the leaders of the human race. In the original this was all very blatant, in the new one, somewhat less so. It’s still there, but they try not to draw attention to it, I guess.

Thematically, I felt that the new Yamato was much less interesting. In the original, they found themselves in some real moral quandaries. If I recall correctly, they had to commit xenocide several times to save the Earth. And the show did not sugar coat it. It was bad. But they did it anyway, in order to survive. The ending also diverged drastically. I won’t say how, but the ending in the original was much darker and more shocking.

The quest for survival was much more strongly emphasized in the original. One of the most memorable parts of the show was the countdown before the ending credits: “N Days Until Humanity’s Extinction”. It never allowed the viewer to forget that they were in a battle for Earth’s very survival. In the new one, they took out this message, and for most of the mid-late episodes, it’s easy to forget about the Earth.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the music. The OP is the one thing that has stood the test of time well. The same song is used in both shows.

I’d also like to mention that most of the series was pretty good, but two episodes absolutely blew me away. Episode 9, with Analyzer and the Gamilas prisoner. And episode 14, where an enemy uses the crew’s memories against them. Holy fuck. Those were some top tier episodes.

Even if the original was more interesting thematically, I would still recommend the new version to any new viewers. The animation is infinitely better. The technology has improved so much that it’s kind of embarrassing to go back and look at the old one now. Additionally, the pacing has improved drastically. Things just moved much slower in the original, and there was much less detail.

  • Storytelling – A – Strong story. I suspect I would have enjoyed it more if I didn’t mostly know what was going to happen.
  • Voice – A – Great, although the original felt more distinctive, with the countdown.
  • Characters – A – Love the new characters. Cute girls are justice.
  • Attention Grab – A – Kept my interest throughout.
  • Production – A – Looks gorgeous.
  • Overall – A-

Recommendations – Captain Harlock, Terra e, Starship Operators

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